Click here for a nice summary of what we’ve been saying for some time now: Adolf Hitler was a political left-winger, not a right-winger. And the summary was written all the way back in 2009!
Heck, we just might have read the book, Liberal Fascism, that helped confirm what we had thought for a very long time. Okay, okay, I did read the book. But, I was aware of its findings long before I read it. It was nice to see someone else — especially Jonah Goldberg — agreeing with me.
Goldberg makes the simple point that hardly were Hitler and leftists like Stalin, Mao, et al, on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but rather rivals on the same end of the spectrum. Kind of like two baseball teams in the same division — they were rivals for dominance of the same division. They both played in the Socialist League, while — to torture the metaphor a bit more — real right-wingers played in the Capitalist League.
The fate of the world rests on the results of that particular World Series, in that continuing rivalry.
Here’s a well-stated passage from the above-linked piece:
Tomasky also compared apples to apples to prove that one of them was an orange. Guffawing at my argument that Hitler was a “Man of the Left,” he observed that one of the first things Hitler did was crack down on independent labor unions. True enough, the Nazis rolled them up into the German Labor Front (DAF—from its German name, “Deutsche Arbeitsfront”). The Nazis defended the DAF by arguing that it gave labor a seat at the table of government (a frequent demand from progressives to this day, and one satisfied, in part, by an outcome not all that dissimilar to the DAF: the UAW’s joint ownership, with the U.S. government, of GM). Whether that defense was true is a worthy debate topic, but either way Tomasky’s example does not serve his critique. After all, how did independent labor unions fare under Stalin? Mao? Castro? Are these men also not of the Left? Sociologist Michael Mann, reviewing Liberal Fascism in the Washington Post, wrote, “What really distinguished fascists from other mainstream movements of the time were proud, ‘principled’—as they saw it—violence and authoritarianism.” If you say so. But again: How opposed to violence and authoritarianism were Messrs. Stalin, Mao, and Castro? Time and again liberals take an aspect of Nazism and say, “This proves Nazism was right-wing.” On almost every count—genocide, racism, discrimination, suppression of free speech, militarism—the most famously left-wing regimes in history have acted in identical fashion. But the actions of those regimes are deemed irrelevant, whereas the actions of Nazis are taken as proof of the right-wing nature of Nazism.
Which invites the most basic question: Since when is violence, or racism, or authoritarianism, inherently right-wing—particularly in the sense of the Anglo-American Right? Tomasky, Mann, and the rest prove the continuing truth of George Orwell’s observation in 1946 that fascism had come to mean “anything not desirable.”
As Tom Wolfe said, the assignment of the Nazis to the political right was the “spin of all spins.”
Adolf Hitler was a leftist, never a rightist.