WS>>The Nazis Were Leftists (aka liberals)

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Sun Dec 30 12:59:14 MST 2001


                           by Adam Young
                             May 6, 2001

          The  New York Times published the results of a poll  of
     1,000  Germans conducted between April 25th and 26th by  the
     German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.  This survey found that 60%
     of  Germans  feel neither guilt nor responsibility  for  the
     Jewish  Holocaust  and that 80% believed that only  a  small
     minority  of Germans are actually anti-Semitic.  45%  flatly
     said  they were fed up hearing about the crimes of  National
     Socialism  and are tired of being judged in relation to  the
     Holocaust.  68% of the respondents said Germans could use  a
     little  more national pride, and while 61% agreed  with  the
     statement that one should not always poke around in the  old
     wounds  of the Nazi era, 85% agreed that  discussions  about
     the Third Reich remain necessary to learn from the past.

          However, as the AP put it, "a full 46% said Nazism  had
     not only bad but good sides, and 28% said Hitler would  have
     been  a great statesman had he not instigated World  War  II
     and  the Holocaust."One can almost imagine the staff of  the
     New  York Times shaking their heads that these Germans  just
     won't learn.

          Yet,  by the standards of the Left the measurements  of
     the  Leftish world community who define "progress"  and  the
     inevitable "direction' of history Adolf Hitler would've been
     deemed a "great statesman" had he died before he started the
     war (or had won it too).  Its sometimes said that if  Hitler
     had  died in 1938, he would've been the greatest German  who
     ever  lived  (if  one chooses to measure  greatness  by  the
     amount of land and number of people under one mans thumb).

          For  those Germans who believe Nazism had a good  side,
     namely socialism / interventionism in the name of the common
     man, conclude this to be "good" because this same  interven-
     tionism  is  the foundational principle  of  today's  social
     morality.  In the Nazi regime was present the same trends of
     political, economic and social interventionism and centrali-
     zation that are lauded by today's social elites and are  the
     object  of all governments and political parties before  and
     since.

          Since  the Germans surveyed are basing this  belief  on
     the  pre-war Nazi era of 1933-1939, it would be  helpful  to
     take  a closer look at this period.  In the post-war  Weimar
     Republic  in  order  to counterbalance  the  Reichstag,  the
     President of Germany was given broad powers he was  directly
     elected,  could  make treaties and  alliances,  was  supreme
     commander of the armed forces, and could dissolve the Reich-
     stag  and submit any of its laws to a referendum, and  under
     the  infamous Article 48, he had the power to suspend  civil
     and  political  liberties "in case of emergency."  This  was
     done  in 1933 and remained the basis of Hitler's  "legality"
     throughout  the Nazi period when he succeeded Hindenburg  as
     president in 1934.  Hitler occupied both the Presidency  and
     the  Chancellorship and their powers were combined into  the
     "office" of Fuhrer.  The Reichstag passed the Enabling  Act,
     which transfered to the Cabinet the Reichstags'  legislative
     functions.

          Decrees  abolished  the states  parliaments  or  diets,
     abolished  their flags and symbols and reduced them to  pro-
     vincial  status  and mere administrative  divisions  of  the
     central  government.  Where are efforts like this  happening
     today  one might ask? With the stabilization of  the  regime
     came the sprawling tentacles of the state octopus an  alpha-
     bet-soup  of  executive administrative agencies  42  in  all
     (which, by the way as of 1992, the United States  government
     has  52 such executive agencies).  And in addition to  these
     42  agencies  were the regular Cabinet, the  Secret  Cabinet
     Council,  the  Reich Defense Council and  its  many  working
     committees;  the  Ministry of Education, the Office  of  the
     Deputy  Fuhrer,  the Office of the  Plenipotentiary  of  War
     Economy and the Office of the Plenipotentiary of Administra-
     tion,  the  Office of the Delegate for the Four  Year  Plan,
     both  a Ministry of Finance and a Ministry of Economics  and
     so on and on and on.  Where does this sound familiar?

          In 1933 Germany had an estimated 6 million  unemployed,
     and like his contemporaries in the capitals and  governments
     of the world  and like so many politicians today  Hitler had
     little  interest in economics and in fact was totally  igno-
     rant of economic theory.  But, although economic centraliza-
     tion  had  to wait until political opponents  and  organized
     opposition  was  suppressed or liquidated, the  Nazi's  "New
     Deal" began almost immediately.

          For  instance,  in October 1933, Hitler  declared  that
     "the  ruin  of the German peasant will be the  ruin  of  the
     German  people." New farm programs were instated along  with
     propaganda  about  "Blut and Bloden."  Hitler  appointed  as
     head  of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Walther  Darre
     who  in  1929 published a book "The Peasantry  as  the  Life
     Source  of  the Nordic Race." Darre wished to  "reform"  the
     production  and  marketing of food and to raise  prices  for
     farmers.

          Darre's entire program was designed with one  objective
     in mind: to insulate the peasant farmer from the market.  To
     this end Darre issued the Hereditary Farm Law in 1933, which
     had  the purpose of preventing forclosure on or the sale  of
     farmland  at the expense of the peasant farmers liberty.

          This  "law"  established that only  Aryan  Germans  who
     could prove the purity of their bloodline back to 1800 could
     own a farm.  All farms up to 308 acres were declared heredi-
     tary estates  they could not be sold, divided, mortgaged  or
     foreclosed on for debt.  With the death of its present owner
     it would pass to his nearest male relative, who in turn  was
     obligated  to provide an income and education for his  rela-
     tives.  The peasant farmer was called a "bauer" or  peasant,
     an "honored title" that he forfeited if he broke the  "peas-
     ant honor code," that is, if he stopped farming.

          To  compliment  this the Reich Food Estate  was  estab-
     lished  to  regulate the conditions and  production  of  the
     farmers.   Its  vast bureacracy  enforced  regulations  that
     touched  all areas of the farmers life and his food  produc-
     tion,  processing  and marketing, and was  headed  by  Darre
     himself as "Reich Peasant Leader." The Reich Food Estate had
     two goals: to jack up agricultural prices and to make Germa-
     ny  "self-sufficient in food." Darre arbitrarily  fixed  the
     prices of agricultural products: within the first two  years
     of  the  regime, wholesale prices rose 20 percent,  and  for
     cattle,  vegetables  and dairy products the  rise  was  even
     steeper.   But the farming sector is not exempt;  the  addi-
     tional  costs of these artificial prices were passed  on  to
     all consumers.  Where is there a country in the world  where
     public opinion doesn't support farm subsidies and regulatory
     controls?

          For its first year the regime concentrated on a program
     of  government grants of loan credit and stimulus bills  for
     public  works, such as road building and  forrestation,  and
     "targeted  tax cuts" to enterprises that  increased  capital
     expenditure  and increased their number of  employees.   But
     from 1934 onward, the implementation of the  Wehrwirtschaft,
     or  war  economy, became the model, to  which  business  and
     labor  were subordinated and which was designed to  function
     not just in time of war, but in the period before war began.
     The  economy of total war was based on rearmament  the  con-
     struction  and  maintenance of an enormous war  machine,  to
     which  all  of  society was subordinated.  To  do  this  the
     regime resorted to inflation.  Hjalmar Schacht, the Minister
     of Economics, printed Reichmarks, manipulated their official
     exchange  value  so  that at one time it  was  estimated  by
     contemporary  economists  to  have  237  different  official
     values, arranged barter deals with foreign governments,  and
     invented  financial  instruments which were  issued  by  the
     central  bank and "guaranteed" by the government, and  which
     were kept "off-budget" to pay for rearmament.

          German banks were required to accept them and they were
     discounted  by  the central bank.  The Minister  of  Finance
     explained to Hitler that these were merely a way of  "print-
     ing money." In 1936, Goering's Four Year Plan was inaugurat-
     ed and which made Goering, almost as ignorant about  econom-
     ics  as Hitler, Germany's economic dictator.  In  the  drive
     for  a  total  war economy, protectionism  was  decreed  and
     autarchy  the desire the so-called "Battle  of  Production."
     Consumer  imports  were nearly eliminated,  price  and  wage
     controls  were  enacted, vast state projects were  built  to
     manufacture  raw  materials.  The  bureacratization  of  the
     economy  necessarily followed suit.  Walther Funk,  who  re-
     placed  Walther  Schacht as Minister of Economics  in  1937,
     admitted that "official communications now make up more than
     one half of a German Manufacturer' 's entire correspondence"
     and  that "Germany's export trade involves  40,000  separate
     transactions daily; yet for a single transaction as many  as
     forty  different  forms must be filled out." Are  there  any
     doctors  and  physicians  reading this who  find  it  sounds
     familiar?

          Businessmen  and  entrepreneurs were smothered  by  red
     tape, told by the state what they could produce and how much
     and  at what price, burdened by taxation and forced to  make
     "special contributions" to the party.  Corporations below  a
     capitalization of $40,000 were dissolved and the founding of
     any  below  a capitalization of  $2,000,000  was  forbidden,
     which  wiped  out  a fifth of all  German  businesses.   The
     cartelization of industry which began before the Nazi regime
     was made compulsory and the Ministry of Economics was empow-
     ered  to  form new compulsory cartels or to force  firms  to
     join existing ones.

          The maze of business and trade associations created  to
     lobby the Weimar Republic for various considerations in  the
     law, now under the Nazis were nationalized and made  compul-
     sory  for  all businesses.  The Reich Economic  Chamber  was
     established  on top of all these associations and  consisted
     of  seven  national economic groups,  twenty-three  economic
     chambers,  seventy chambers of handicrafts and  one  hundred
     chambers of industry and commerce.  From these bureacracies,
     and  the  numerous offices and agencies of the  Ministry  of
     Economics and the Office of the Four Year Plan rained down a
     flood  of decrees and laws, which in turn created for  busi-
     nesses  the  need on the one hand for lawyers  and  a  legal
     department to understand these rules, and on the other,  for
     a systematic regime of bribing officials.

          Then  in  february 1935 all employment came  under  the
     exclusive  control  of government employment  offices  which
     determined  who would work where and for how much.   And  on
     June  22, 1938, the Office of the Four Year Plan  instituted
     guaranteed  employment by conscripting labor.  Every  German
     worker  was assigned a position from which he could  not  be
     released by the employer, nor could he switch jobs,  without
     permission of the government employment office.

          Worker absenteeism was met with fines or  imprisonment.
     All  in the name of job security.  A popular Nazi slogan  at
     the  time  was "the Common Interest before Self!"  Does  all
     this sound familiar in any "western democracy" today?

          And in his foreward to the 1936 German language edition
     of  his  General Theory of Employment, Interest  and  Money,
     John Maynard Keynes wrote: "The theory of aggregate  produc-
     tion, which is the point of the following book, nevertheless
     can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitar-
     ian state than the theory of production and distribution put
     forth  under  conditions  of free competition  and  a  large
     degree of laissez-faire."

          Social  life too, was centralized by the Reich.   Under
     the organization "Strength through Joy" the leisure time  of
     the  people  was regimented.  Recreational  life  everything
     from chess and soccer clubs to bird watching to adult educa-
     tion, to the theatre, opera, and music concerts no organized
     social, sport or recreational group was allowed to  function
     without  the  oversight of the state.   Besides  the  social
     costs  of  not trusting in people to be able to  look  after
     themselves,  there  were  the enormous costs  of  this  vast
     bureacracy  that policed the private activites of the  citi-
     zens.

          Local traditions were attacked and eliminated,  private
     firearms were outlawed and confiscated, and the amalgamation
     of  the  various Christian Churches and the  elimination  of
     Christian  symbols  from public places and schools  was  at-
     tempted.  Education too came under central control under the
     Reich Minister of Education, which designed the  curriculum,
     rewrote textbooks, and licensed teachers.

          Last but not least, and perhaps the Nazis' true  unspo-
     ken  legacy, is their doctrine of collective guilt which  is
     now  so fashionable to deploy not only against  the  Germans
     themselves,  but  also against Catholics  and  against  both
     Palestinians and Jews alike, and against Muslims and so many
     others.  And which is the basis for the claim of reparations
     for  black slavery, and has been most recently used  against
     the  Serbs  as well as the Chinese.   Collective  guilt  has
     returned  as  central state policy in relation  to  official
     victim  groups and their alleged victimizers and has  become
     the central feature of political ethics debates today.

          Reinhardt  Stiebler,  president and co-founder  of  the
     Liberale  Akademie Berlin, a German libertarian  think-tank,
     commented  on today's Germany: "...  everyone  assumes  that
     all  political questions are to be settled within  political
     circles.  Even the idea of providing private solutions to  a
     problem  is virtually unknown." He traces this to  "the  En-
     lightenment  [which in Germany] was not so much an era  when
     the  idea of liberty was advanced but rather a time  of  En-
     lightened  Absolutism.  The idea was that we should  have  a
     brilliant  leader and a highly educated  bureaucratic  class
     that would govern society with no egoistic intentions.  This
     thinking, which survives to this day, eventually led to  the
     political economy of the Third Reich."

          In  Germany,  Britain, France, and the  United  States,
     amongst so many others, we still hear the same old calls for
     protectionism,  for national development and  "national  po-
     licies,"  for  price controls and wage and  farm  subsidies,
     greater  central  control over and  funding  for  education,
     wealth  redistributionism schemes and moral  justifications,
     and the resolute maintenance of a war economy in  peacetime.
     We see that what all these so-called progressive causes lead
     to is social waste, grief and mounting anger.

          Ludwig  von Mises reminded us in Human Action,  and  he
     would  know, was that the Nazis used "Jewish" as  a  synonym
     for  "capitalist." What these 46% of Germans who  said  that
     Nazism  had  not  only bad but good sides  and  indeed  vast
     majorities in all nations don't see is that it is these very
     same so-called good policies which put "people before  prof-
     its"  that inevitabily result in the drive to war and  total
     control.   The latter necessitates the former as the  inevi-
     table  proposed  remedy for economic decline  and  impending
     collapse.

          It  is unfortunate that the 85% of Germans who  believe
     that it is necessary to learn from the past have not learned
     the  true  lessons.  But what is even more  tragic  is  that
     citizens  of the countries that conquered the  National  So-
     cialist  German  Workers "paradise" have  also  not  learned
     those lessons from the past and are advocating the same Nazi
     ideas that lead to and will lead to so much evil:  conscrip-
     tion,  militarism  and war,  increasing  centralization  and
     government  control of the economy and the private lives  of
     all  citizens, belligerent nationalism, ethnic  demagoguery,
     foreign adventurism and occupation.

          Adam  Young  is studying computer science  in  Ontario,
     Canada.   His  articles have appeared in Ideas  on  Liberty,
     Mises.org,  LewRockwell.com,  The  Free  Market  and  Pravda
     (Yes...THAT  Pravda).   Note:  an earlier  version  of  this
     article  appeared  in the September 2001 issue of  The  Free
     Market.

          )  2001  LewRockwell.com Back to  LewRockwell.com

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