On Liberalism as “Auschwitzphobia” and the Suicide of the West

In his entry on “Auschwitzphobia” today, one of Larry Auster’s readers offers up a new description of liberalism* as “fear of engaging in activity or thought that would lead to another Holocaust”.  This is because liberals took the wrong lesson from the Holocaust, as they take the wrong lesson from everything.  Where the lesson of the Holocaust should be to fear the totalitarian State, liberals instead fear nationalism and the military and continue to worship the State–again, that synecdoche error so rampant on the Left.  What was Nazism composed of primarily? SOCIALISM, not military insignia OR antisemitism. What do liberals consistently associate with Nazis? the military.

The real problem that liberals have with rejecting Nazism is that they agree with it on almost everything.  The fight in Europe between Communism and Fascism was one of scale, not fundamental first premises–should we have a universal collectivism thereby demolishing nationalism or have it on a state-by-state basis, thereby retaining it. 

Because they agree with Nazism on almost everything they are continually trying to admonish THEMSELVES not to slip into the Nazi-like aspects of Progressivism under the guise of admonishing the NON-socialists, possibly because they simply do not recognize the existence of noncollectivists except as an aberration even though they are operating in a country founded on explicitly OPPOSITE principles.  This guilt they feel for fundamentally agreeing with a philosophy that had such atrocious consequences and their subsequent misunderstanding of the GENESIS of those consequences is causing them self-destruct all over Europe and the US.  They can’t bear the shame of what resulted from the full implementation of their beliefs and yet they also CANNOT let their beliefs go.  The cognitive dissonance of this position is untenable and they seek to simply snuff themselves out as an entire race and culture as a result.

*like many in the US I do tend to use liberalism and leftism interchangeably.  I am fully aware of the differences. Since Auster used “liberal” in his entry, I am continuing that usage here.

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26 Responses to On Liberalism as “Auschwitzphobia” and the Suicide of the West

  1. David Foster says:

    They tend to ignore the point that while Naziism made use of the emotion of patriotism, the successful war against Naziism *also* made use of patriotism…indeed, even Stalin was forced to revive old Russian patriotic archetypes. To argue that patriotism is evil because Nazis made use of it is similar to arguing that railroads are evil because Nazis used them to transport prisoners to concentration camps. I’d also argue that Naziism, despite the “national” in its title, was really less about *nation* than about *ethnicity*, as witnessed by the fact that the Jew whose family had lived in German for 200 years, and who had served with distinction in the German Army in WWI, was considered an outsider, whereas the Czech of Germany ethnic background was considered an insider.

  2. dana says:

    that is the WEIRDEST part of the ww2 cargo cult! everyone LOVES roosevelt era propaganda yet when we engage in such flag waving hypernationalism now it smacks of being a nazi. liberals also love soviet realism art–hypernationalistic.

    btw my grandfather served as a crack shot in the polish army and a picture of him hung proudly in his house forever, but was still always and only a JEW, he could never be a Pole, by their definition.

  3. David Foster says:

    BTW, Wednesday was celebrated in the UK as the 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain day, marking the point at which the Luftwaffe realized that it would not be able to achieve air superiority over the RAF. A quick perusal of Google News shows almost no coverage of this in the U.S. media.

  4. PA says:

    The fight in Europe between Communism and Fascism was one of scale, not fundamental first premises

    I disagree. Their fundamental first principles were exctly opposite of each other. Fascism, or nationalism to be more precise, is philosophically predicated on a vertical loyalty and interdependence of classes within a given nation, all sharing a common purpose and future as one peoples.

    In contract, Communism is a horisontal internationalist ideology that sought to unite the people of Europe and ultimately the world under one banner.

    Lefties are essentially following the Communist model, especially its eetty-beeetty leetle feature called Nomenklatura that’s built in to, um, manages the whole horisontalization process. And they have no “auswitsophobia” anxieties. If they had any decency, they’d subconsciously fear “gulagophobia,” which they don’t.

  5. PA says:

    more on the Communist horizontalization: they sought in theory to unite the proletariat across all nations, and to eliminate the higher classes.

  6. maurice says:

    @PA- that’s a pretty good way to look at it. Although the fascist “vertical” collectivism had its nomenklatura as well- goes with the territory. Whenever I get into this “Fascism vs Communism: Cousins or Enemies?” debate, I always think a little bit of the “Road to Serfdom.” It was written during the war, when the USSR was an ally of the U.S. against Germany, so all the examples of the malign consequences of collectivism were from Nazism. Yet today it’s viewed as one of the strongest indictments of the Soviet economic model (which it is). Perhaps that means if you strip away the political speechifying, the two systems in their *economic* organization were nearly identical, or else Hayek fudged the analysis (wrote “Nazi” when thinking “Soviet” due to war propaganda conditions). Thoughts??

  7. maurice says:

    also I remembered seeing this link years ago and found it. I have to say I’m a fan of them both.

    http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/dgwhayek.html

  8. David Foster says:

    There are a lot of similarities between the Marxist and Fascist worldviews: they both emphasize the collective and de-emphasize the individual, but there are also some important differences. Marxism is a bastard child of the Enlightenment; Fascism is counter-Enlightenment. Marxism was historically focused on the overwhelming importance of the economic sphere; Fascism views economic life as less important, indeed almost contemptible, and puts the emphasis on closeness to nature and the soil, physical courage and aggression, etc. Marxists actually wanted to run factories and railroads and thought, however wrongly, that they could do a better job than the capitalists; Fascists think such things are beneath them and prefer to have the economic aspects of society run by those they consider their inferiors, as long as they can keep their thumb on them. Marxists are atheists; Fascists tend to be either traditionally religious or superstitious and weirdly “spiritual.”

    Although modern “progressivism” partakes of both, I think it is in some ways closer to Fascism than to old-line Marxism.

    Interesting comparison by Aldous Huxley:

    “In the field of politics the equivalent of a theorem is a perfectly disciplined army; of a sonnet or picture, a police state under a dictatorship. The Marxist calls himself scientific and to this claim the Fascist adds another: he is the poet–the scientific poet–of a new mythology. Both are justified in their pretensions; for each applies to human situations the procedures which have proved effective in the laboratory and the ivory tower. They simplify, they abstract, they eliminate all that, for their purposes, is irrelevant and ignore whatever they choose to regard an inessential; they impose a style, they compel the facts to verify a favorite hypothesis, they consign to the waste paper basket all that, to their mind, falls short of perfection…the dream of Order begets tyranny, the dream of Beauty, monsters and violence. ”

    (Sorry for very long comment, Dana—thinking out loud for possible upcoming post)

  9. tom says:

    The Nazi party was clearly a party of the right. The “Socialist” part of the NSDAP’s name was added to broaden the party’s appeal (Ernst Rohm reportedly said that his brownshirts and the German communists were recruiting from the same pool of unemployed working class men), but its program was clearly rightist, hence the firm support of industrialists like Fritz Thyssen.

  10. dana says:

    right and left are descriptions of european forms of collectivism. nazism is clearly on the “right” because there is no place on that spectrum for the US founding philosophy at all. taken in a modern view both communism and nazism are forms of leftism, you are giving too much credence to their self descriptions and not the truth of what they are. they have identical fundamental 1st premises, collectivism as politics and economics, altruism and self sacrifice as ethics and ideological mysticism (nominalist word games of reality by fiat, constructivism and rousseauvian romanticism) as their epistemology. the US philosophy is opposite and incommensurable, individual liberty as its politics, rational self interest as its ethics and its economics with quasi capitalism(with its altruism confined to the church, not the polity), and a more realist materialist epistemology (even among the religious reality is deemed objectively real because got created it physically and we have god given senses to directly experience his creation–they reserve the numinous until after death usually).

  11. PA says:

    — the fascist “vertical” collectivism had its nomenklatura as well- goes with the territory

    Well, the ‘vertical’ model by definition provides for some kind of aristocratic leadership class; it’s part of the natural order of things internal to its philospohy, not a hypocritical clique like with Communism.

    — There are a lot of similarities between the Marxist and Fascist worldviews: they both emphasize the collective and de-emphasize the individual

    You could say the same about any political or ethical philosophy except radical Libertarianism. But I see what you’re saying and your comment was quite good.

    — Fascism views economic life as less important, indeed almost contemptible, and puts the emphasis on closeness to nature and the soil, physical courage and aggression, etc

    I’ve also seen fascism described as worship of beauty and vigor. Where do I sign up?

    US philosophy is opposite and incommensurable, individual liberty as its politics, rational self interest as its ethics and its economics with quasi capitalism(with its altruism confined to the church, not the polity), and a more realist materialist epistemology (even among the religious reality is deemed objectively real because got created it physically and we have god given senses to directly experience his creation–they reserve the numinous until after death usually

    In some ways pre-1965s America was as close to paradise as you could get. I thought of saying the same about 60s/70s Western Europe, except those were always underwritten by the US and thus unsustainable.

    What made the US of that time period so damn good? a perfect mix of ethnic stock, political traditions, and space. Dark clouds were amassing alas for a long time prior, but I suspect most people couldn’t feel the coming cultural revolution, and its trumph was never inevitable.

  12. tom says:

    Well, it only seems fair to put the Nazis on the “right” since the terms “right” and “left” originated in the French Estates General, but I take your main point that they are really inadequate for categorizing all political philosophies. Here’s one developed by Jerry Pournelle where two axes are used, one describing one’s view of the state, and one relating to “rationalism” and “irrationalism.” Communism is statist and rational, Nazism is statist and “irrational.” Objectivism is rational and anti-statist, etc.
    http://www.baen.com/chapters/axes.htm

  13. David Foster says:

    Tom…”(Naziism’s) program was clearly rightist, hence the firm support of industrialists like Fritz Thyssen”

    Yet Obama was supported by a probably majority of Wall Street CEOs, and no one would argue that this makes him a rightist…though it would be fair to argue that he is more of a corporatist/economic fascist than a true socialist.

  14. PA says:

    Here’s one developed by Jerry Pournelle where two axes are used, one describing one’s view of the state, and one relating to “rationalism” and “irrationalism.” Communism is statist and rational, Nazism is statist and “irrational.”

    To avoid the negative connotations that come with “rationalism vs irrationalism” I’d say “rationalism vs instinctualism” instead.

  15. PA says:

    … or better yet, “rationalism vs. naturalism.”

  16. Laura says:

    Interesting discussion. I’m going to have to read over a few more times to understand it better. PA made a comment about how life in pre-1965’s United States was as close to ideal as a society could get. I would have to agree with that. The fact that people could spread out and weren’t right on top of each other certainly helped keep the peace.

  17. Laura says:

    Fascism doesn’t sound all that bad. I like the idea of living under strong leadership as long it mostly has my best interest in mind and I think the same way.

  18. dana says:

    laura, in reality fascism is only “bad” if you are the disbanded former senate or a political or racial minority–homogenous countries with shared language culture and history love it. its not the best way to create wealth–but people are happy to trade wealth for social security when they feel related to their fellow citizen

  19. David Foster says:

    Laura–a man called Sebastian Haffner, who grew up in Germany between the wars, has written a vivid memoir describing life under the Nazi variant of Fascism. I’ve written a long review of this book, but here’s Haffner’s summary:

    “With fearful menace the state demands that the individual give up his friends, abandon his lovers, renounce his beliefs and assume new, prescribed ones. He must use a new form of greeting, eat and drink in ways he does not fancy, employ his leisure in occupations he abhors, make himself available for activities he despises, and deny his past and his individuality. For all this, he must constantly express extreme enthusiasm and gratitude.”

  20. Laura says:

    David,
    I certainly don’t want every aspect of my life controlled, nor do I want to do the same to anyone else. I do believe that a stronger national identity and culture would benefit this country. There is a balance, exactly what it is I’m not sure.

  21. B Lode says:

    There is a balance, exactly what it is I’m not sure. – Laura

    A sensibly humble statement. I’m not sure where it is either.

    I can say sort of where it is though. I think the balance lies with
    (a) powerful local governments elected by their creditors (i.e., taxpayers),
    (b) assigning regional governments the power to block land sales in their jurisdictions to whomever they want for whatever reason they want,
    (c) ensuring that judges and legislators for higher levels of government are derived from lower levels of government.

    This doesn’t really allow for totalitarianism, since local governments could never afford to chase all their taxpayers away, and upper levels of government would be servants to the lower. It would allow lower governments to protect safe neighborhoods.

  22. The Ghost of James Caan says:

    Excellent, very insightful, although I don’t agree that progressives labor under some unacknowledged sympathy with fascism. Progressives are firmly communist in orientation, as PA explained, and communists are firmly anti-fascist. You are certainly right that communism and fascism share fundamental first premises, but statists are largely incapable of appreciating the comparison. Whether progressive’s embrace of statism haunts them I can’t say.

    Here is my interpretation. For progressives the state is transparent and unquestionable, because to them the state IS society, or part of it, not merely the means by which “private” society (i.e. voluntary or social society) is intended to be regulated and protected. This is, as you say, opposite and incommensurable with the founding philosophy. Therefore, to observe that the Nazi regime was terrible is, for them, an observation about all of German society, and Germans themselves.

    The explanation progressives eventually embraced is that whites have an inherent tendency oppress “lesser races,” a tendency that must be fought at all times, lest it slide into mass murder. The ultimate solution is race replacement and miscegenation. That their explanation is hideously racist (and solution genocidal) is certainly ironic.

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  25. chortling, smug, lefty academic says:

    Do you even bother to read history or do you just lift these talking points straight from Drudge and Limbaugh? It is not military that liberals identify with Nazism but dictatorships. If you ever attended college, which I doubt from the drivel on this blog, you would know that chortling, smug, lefty academics obsess over the transition of any nation, be it communist, socialist, democratic, or whatever, into dictatorship–a perspective driven by the New Left’s fears of an imperial presidency that shaped the historical profession in the late 1960s and 1970s. Can, in any given circumstance, the military represent that dictatorship? Yes, but it is not the object of derision. How about thinking before typing from now on?

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