No Serf Rotating Header Image

National Socialism

If you go over to the Wikipedia, and looks at the Socialism page, you’ll notice something funny with the history presented there: there’s an awful gap between the Russian Revolution and the end of World War II. (A week ago, the gap was even worse: it went from 1923 to 1946.)

So why the gap? Well, it should only take you one guess, given what I titled this post.

That the Nazis are not mentioned is not really that surprising: nobody likes being associated with Nazis, and modern socialists like computers. But control of Wikipedia’s edits doesn’t make something so: the Nazis themselves called themselves socialists, and their contemporaries (e.g. F.A. Hayek) agreed with them.

The Nazis were neither lying nor mistaken: they believed that their efforts would lead to a (German) National Socialist Utopia. Socialism wasn’t the only thing found in that utopia — Environmentalism and animal rights, of all things, also played roles in their vision. (See Blood and Soil, if you can find it.)

Given that we’re taught that the Nazis were a right-wing party, this sounds more than a little odd. However, the “right wing” label was given to them by their German contemporaries — contemporaries who’d grown up under the welfare state pioneered by Otto von Bismarck. All Germans in the 1930s were conditioned to be socialists to one degree or another, so their definition of “left” and “right” wings had nothing to do with socialism.

Instead, Germans differentiated their parties via different criteria: the most obvious is the nationalism of the Nazis, especially when compared with the internationalism of their Communist opponents. Even today, nationalist parties tend to be described as “ultra-right” parties in Europe, and supporters of the internationalist E.U. are “center-left” parties.

Now, I object to socialism in general, but it’s worth pointing out that the Nazis’ insanity was in how they expected to achieve their Utopia — similar (as Paul Berman pointed out) to the Communist insanity, and the current Islamicist insanity.

Comments are closed.