Monday 29 June 2020

How the neglect/ suppression of the real nature of Communism and 'Fascism' led to our current (unrecognised) atheist totalitarianism

My high school education took place in the 1970s, and as a result I had a pretty solid understanding of Communism - and its evils. I knew about both the Russian and Chinese versions; and these were expounded alongside National Socialism in Germany as variations on the theme of totalitarianism - three ideologies with many similarities and lesser distinctions.

George Orwell has been by-far the most influential advocate of this analysis; but it was the Western norm up into the 1970s.

But in contrast, the next generations were taught very little indeed about Communism. The 'totalitarian' analytic category was not used. Instead both school and culture hammered home, again and again, an indictment of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP; in English, National Socialist Workers Party of Germany) as the unique and greatest evil of world history.

However NSDAP is nearly-always abbreviated to Nazi, presumably to de-emphasise its roots in Socialism and its Communist-like pro-worker stance. And nowadays the NSDAP is treated as an "extreme Right Wing" party.

What was not made clear - even up to the 1970s - was that these examples (Russia, Germany, China) were all among the rare instances in human history of explicitly atheist states. Because this unfying atheism was seldom mentioned, and because the post-mid-sixties generation took secularism for granted; its significance was missed. (This particular neglect has - of course - continued.)

And because atheism as the core and unifying feature of the twentieth century totalitarianisms was missed; the seeds of our current falsehood were sown.

It used to be said (from the late 1940s and until the middle 1970s) that Communism and National Socialism were examples of extremes meeting. The idea was that Communism and National Socialism were opposites, Left and Right, but at the extremes Left and Right circle around and join-up.

This is a devastating error. In fact, Communist and Nazi are merely variations on the same basic ideology, which is Leftism.

National Socialism is merely Communism moderated by Nationalism (i.e. Nazis were moderate Communists); because in the middle twentieth century Communism was ideologically inter-nationalist (as with their theme song).

More specifically, National Socialism (and indeed, also the earlier Italian Fascism under Mussolini, and the later Falangist-atheist/ Roman Catholic alliance of Franco in Spain) was a reaction-against the internationalism and socially-destructive extremity of Communism.

Because after the Russian Revolution there was a widespread (and apparently justified) fear that Communism would spread across Europe. National Socialism in Germany was a Socialist Workers party, exactly the same as Communism (and appealing to a similar proletarian base); but was nationalist and patriotic, which enabled the different classes to work together under the revolutionary new arragements.

Rather than the attempt being made, as in the USSR, to exterminate the bourgeoisie and the ex-aristocrats; instead the NSDAP imposed a new ruling class of 'lower class' party members (mostly derived from the non-gentry, 'blue-collar' middle class, in practice: e.g. Hitler had been a Non-Commissioned Officer). However, (unlike Communism) although aristocratic titles and privileges were abolished; the ex-Junker nobility, Professors, writers and artists, clerks and schoolteachers etc were all welcome to join the national ('workers') effort; so long as they endorsed the new ideology. Apparently, most of them accepted.

Thus National Socialism was far more effective and efficient than 'pure'/ extreme Communism, since it succeeded in mobilizing a far greater proportion of the population - across all classes; because it repudiated some of the insane inversions of Communism, and also because the NSDAP replaced religion with an intense, supernaturalistic, ritually and symbolically-supported cult of The Fuhrer.

The hatred of Communists for Nazis is therefore the hatred of the ideological purist for the moderate pragmatist. On the other side; the hostility of Nazis to Communism was itself the springboard of their success with both the German workers and the ruling class.

The traditional German nobility and gentry correctly perceived that (in the short/medium-term, anyway) - when the range of possible choice had been reduced to Nazi or Communist, they would be much better-off under the NSDAP than Communism.

Anyway; it can be seen that the recent global totalitarian coup was made possible by the decades of neglect and disinformation concerning Communism, and the misrepresentation of Nazis as 'extreme Right Wing' -- rather than an understanding of the nature of generic atheist totalitarianism that encompasses both.

(Part of this was also a false representation of the essence of the Nazi system as being anti-semitism; whereas this was mostly a peculiarity of Hitler himself, and not-at-all intrinsic to the NSDAP system of government.)

Furthermore, the lack of of comprehension concerning the atheist roots of totalitarianism has affected the opposition to mainstream post-middle-1960s New Leftism - because there is a false belief in 'a non-religious Right'.

Whereas there never has been, and never can be, a non-religious Right; and all purported examples of non-religious Right are actually merely (more or less) moderate forms of Leftism; just like the NSDAP.

All forms of political atheism are 1. Leftist, and 2. Totalitarian. The only thing which disguises this is social inertia; and as older (religious-reared) generations die-out, all possible secular societies will move Left towards the extreme of psychotic Communism.

Thus, since the entire West (and developed nations) have been atheist for some decades - all-without-exception are now (and for the past few months) extreme Leftist and under totalitarian rule. 

The only genuine opposition to totalitarianism is therefore from those who wish to put religion at the centre of the political system: those who regard religion as more important than politics (or anything else).

And the only legitimate dispute among those who oppose Leftism is: Which Religion?


Ingemar said...

Because of the Left's commitment to nominalism, I reject any and all attempts of theirs to define anything.

After all, Bruce Jenner is a man.

Francis Berger said...

A keen insight supported by an excellent overview. The socialism in national socialism has been certainly has been ignored and downplayed in the past three or four decades.

One thing is certain, our current global rulers prefer the internationalist communist model (really left) to anything involving even a faint whiff of nationalism (seemingly less to the left, but still left). One of their prominent front sites, the one eagerly pushing the Great Reset initiative, equates nationalism with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression - and even advises those who suffer from nationalism to seek professional treatment.

There is only one way to get off this maddening, horrific, ideological merry-go-round . . . only one way.

Pangloss said...

Great post Bruce, rock solid. Eric Hoffer's The True Believer explains how and underscores that the national-socialists extended the proletariat to include lots of other segments of society as long as they aligned with the party ideology.

Bruce B. said...

Exceptional - one of your best! I'm bookmarking this for future reference.

William Wildblood said...

A superb analysis. That's my only comment!

Kirstie said...

Nailed it yet again. I just hope one day I can do your insights justice when trying to explain reality to those who are struggling and also to those smug and arrogant atheists. This is beyond brilliant. It is truth. Thank you again, Bruce.

Adil said...

Leftism doesn't want nazism associated with itself, because it needs its vilified enemy on the right. The deeper reason is that it doesn't want to take responsibility for Nazism. Leftism is a hydra with many heads, which needs to fight itself to survive. Sort of like unstable characters who thrive on social drama. It does not recognize, like Christianity, that the root of evil lies in every human heart. It is not willing to do the Jungian 'shadow work' to integrate the Self, and ends up projecting evil outwards. This is why leftism acts like a happy rainbow coalition outwards, because it can't face the evil within. In the end, it doesn't even blame Nazis for Nazism. It blames "Nazism" as an abstract, and "nazis" as victims of Nazism. This reveals its collectivist/individualist hybrid nature, where the individual is never responsible for the group, and where the group is always ready to sacrifice the individual for itself. This is also where the modern antipathy for religion creeps in. At the interior level, the religious archetypes reflect the cosmic order of man in relation to nature, a natural order which the left since long have proceeded to disintegrate, which explains its fetisch for atheism and anarchism (and a secret longing for totalitarianism). Naturally, the leftist 'religious' ideal coalesces with Buddhism, because it wants to destroy souls. Therefore, even Buddhism becomes subverted to ideology.

Moonsphere said...

Great post, Bruce!

The 19th century "War in Heaven" and the subsequent Fall of the Spirits of Evil down to Earth seems to coincide closely with the rise of left-wing totalitarian ideologies within humanity.

As the true signature of the Left is a burning hatred of humanity, it has had to wear many disguises over the years. That time is coming to an end - its true nature is being unveiled.

Jonathan said...

Thank you for clarifying the relationship between Nazism and Communism.

jana gatien said...

I think everyone ought to read The Bad War by Mike King and make contact with the impeccable scholarship of Michael A. Hoffman II on this matter (who also happens to be more than a mere scholar, but a man of God and who would be considered a wise elder if we still appreciated such designations). Both have interviews on YT. In link, The Bad War is the 3rd pdf down and provides a direct download.

Francis Berger said...

I'd like to add one more quick point if I may. These ideologies were not merely atheistic, they were doggedly anti-theistic - more specifically, anti-Christian.

Anonymous said...

your (persistent) problem is that you tend to look for the source of evil somewhere outside.

But a causal chain can be started only either by God - and I don't believe He wants evil in this world - or by free-willing subjects, people.

So what you identify as 'source' of evil is in fact only a secondary accident; the source of evil are men and women; their free choice.

We do not live in an age of evil because someone had identified the nature of communism/fascism wrongly; but simply because most men and women around us are evil and want evil. So simple it is.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Yes indeed. One thing I did not know as a youth, it was never told me (or not emphasised; indeed it wasn't much known) was that the early purges in the USSR were mostly focused against Christians - especially the bishops (who were almost-all killed), priests and monks of the Orthodox Church; who were the main enemies of the Communists.

The scale of this Christian genocide and oppression, across many phases and years, was truly colossal - although it is hard to estimate accurately since records were not kept or destroyed, and the Russians do things relatively chaotically. Information was gathered later by interviewing eye-witnesses. Solzhenitsyn did a lot of work on it - although I have read only summaries.

Suffice to say that it probably several-fold dwarfed in scale the Nazi Holocaust; since Russia had a large population and was probably the most devout Christian nation - and because the Soviets had a lot more time to do their work.

Bruce Charlton said...

@L'C - But your statement is self-refuting; itself an example of what you reject.

We Men are social - and it is perfectly reasonable to do social analyses. You are free to reject it, but then why are you commenting on blogs? Why discussing such matters at all?

Therefore I do not believe you truly reject it - and are probably applying your wildly over-inclusive prohibition selectively against ideas of which you (for other reasons) disapprove.

More exactly, the origin of causality, free will is one thing but our consciousness of it; and the choice of what to do about it, are external to that origin-source.

Responsibility is ultimately individual. Including, we are responsible for (for example) generating, propagating, enforcing evil propaganda that is will tend to damn the souls of others. That is what totalitarianism (and also, but to a lesser extent, National Socialism) is about; and those who take the side of totalitarianism are talking the side against God.

Jacob Gittes said...

Great analysis of the relationship between communism and the NSDAP.
Would you place the other fascist parties in Europe in the same category as the NSDAP in terms of their treatment of God?
Fascism was at least largely a reaction against communism that tried to utilize the extreme methods of communism in mobilizing all of society against the threat, but it seems that some of the versions did not crush religion, or even had good relations with religion.

My view is that men of the right should never place God under the state, though, which would cause one to reject even milder versions of fascism.

It must be very tempting, however, to try to completely mobilize all the classes, all production, and all national energies against a threat like communism.
Would there have been a better way to do it that did not leads to the effective rejection of God, given the nature of the times?

Do you know much about the revolutionary conservative movement in Germany post WWI? I need to do much more research...

Bruce Charlton said...

"the other fascist parties in Europe" - if you mean Italy, Spain and Portugal - these all differ in biggish areas. I don't think fascism is A Thing (it has no essence), beyond being a secular reaction-against Communism - and a less-extreme/ more moderate form of Leftism.

Nationalism sometimes worked, for a while, in the first generation after people abandoned Christianity; but in no case was it able to unify a nation for very long; because atheism is self-destroying (it is, indeed, a kind of mental illness). So there is no substitute for God as the focus of life; because anything else is false and a sin.

(Sex - but not reproduction - because All atheistic societies fail to replace themselves, and are everywhere going extinct by choice.)

Also, nationalism does not work Now - starting from atheism. Calls for a nationalist revival are futile, as well as anti-Christian in practice (even when not in theory).

(In practice, when religion is rejected, then the second-most-powerful motivation usually dominates - which is sex.

"Do you know much about the revolutionary conservative movement in Germany post WWI?" - Sorry, no.

dearieme said...

The Nazis weren't nationalists. They presented themselves as nationalists and accordingly gained enough support to win power. It was Chamberlain's hope that they were nationalists i.e. that they would be like Bismarck. Britain had felt no need to get involved in Bismarck's wars.

The invasion of rump Czechoslovakia showed them to be imperialists - like Napoleon. That's when it became unambiguously clear that they would have to be stopped one way or another.

Whether the Polish guarantee was an intelligent way to try to stop them I rather doubt, but I don't claim to know much about it.

Of course, Lenin's attempt to invade Germany in 1920 - stopped by the Poles' victory on the Vistula - showed the Communists to have been imperialists too.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I don't think the Third Reich can be called an "explicitly atheist" state. While National Socialism was obviously anti-Christian in nature and motivation, this was not often made explicit, with NSDAP leaders sometimes saying their movement was incompatible with Christianity and other times saying it was itself a Christian movement. Even when it explicitly positioned itself against Christianty, the NSDAP still encouraged generic theism and/or Germanic paganism, not atheism. The motto "God with us" was commonly used by the party, and atheists were barred from membership in the SS. Throughout the Nazi era, some 95% of Germans identified as Christian.

None of this is to try to say that National Socialism was in any way Christian or compatible with Christianity; just that the Third Reich was not an explicitly atheist regime like those of revolutionary France or the Communist world.

All of which is compatible with your larger point: that National Socialism was nothing but a more moderate version of its International cousin.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - On the contrary, the Nazis, and indeed Germans, were deeply committed to a mystique of their nation; which had for centuries been defined as a language and culture scattered through middle Europe and up to the Baltic.

The unified German nation state was therefore regarded by some as incomplete - since there were Germanic parts of (i.e. 1933) Czech, Poland, Hungary and some Hanseatic cities such as Riga; there was Austria, and German Switzerland (which tough nut was, I suppose, a long term intended inclusion).

I was struck by the German language universities in other nations - for example Einstein's first professorship was in Prague.

It therefore seems a bit daft to me to deploy a definition of nationalism that excludes the National Socialists!

Their great philosopher, Heidegger, based his work on exactly the mystique of the German language andi tis unique metaphsyical potential, that was 'operationalised' by the National Socialists - as H. himself recognised (he offered himself to Hitler as The party philosopher); and H. was the culmination of a line of German Professorial work that stretched back a couple of generations.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - All traditional states, to some degree, asserted the divine legitimacy of the leadership and system; and referenced this is public discourse, laws etc. So far as I know this was not at all the case for National Socialism.

However, there was a spiritual and mystical nationalism, especially focused on Hitler and from him permeating all aspects of life; which was part of its great effectiveness and cohesion.

I suppose Nazi Germany could therefore be called deistic; again a moderation from Communism which tried, and failed (and sometimes gave up) on making the State and System wholly 'rationally' explained. In practice the USSR fell from their 'materialist' 'ideals' into using the Orthodox church remnant and a Hitler like leadership cult, to try and create sufficient national cohesion to stop civil war and function in wartime.

But the Communist state could not even approach the loyalty and courage inspired by the German system.

dearieme said...

@bc: you miss the point. If Hitler had restricted himself to nationalism HMG would not have intervened. The Rhineland, Austria, the Sudetenland, Danzig - no business of ours. It was when he invaded the non-German lands in Czechoslovakia that he showed his true colours: Napoleon Mark II - a megalomaniac who wanted to conquer without bound.