Thursday, 14 March 2019

Who is is worse - Communists or Nazis?

There is an answer, and the correct answer is Communists.

But the chances are you may think that you disagree, or regard them as equally bad, or that it is too close to call.

However, if so, you are mistaken, and for one of two reasons:

1. Most likely, almost certainly, you do not know enough about Communism. Even I, who am no friend to Communism, continue to be surprised by what I did not know about the evils of the USSR. It has only been during the past year* I have begun to appreciate this, and even in the past week some major new horrors have come to my attention. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself.

2. The Texas Sharpshooter fallacy

I described the TSF here:

The way it work in this instance is that Nazism is defined as the ultimate evil - then other evils are measured according to how closely they resemble Nazism. Naturally, when this is done to Communism, it seems less evil than Nazism.

The relationship between ideologies (over the past couple of thousand years in the West) is as follows:

1. First came Christianity: primary sin = pride; primary virtue = love (i.e. the type of love which is agape/ charity). These defined ultimately in terms of spirituality, transcendentals, other worldly factors.

2. With leftist/ progressive atheism (e.g. Communism) the primary sin became selfishness; the primary virtue = unselfishness (a.k.a. altruism). These being defined in this worldly and materialistic terms - as 'worldly goods' ('goods' including all valued materials factors such as money and also socially-defined factors such as status).

Unselfishness is operationalized as altruism on behalf of others - e.g. other classes, other races, other sex, animals, climate, the planet...

3. Rightist/ reactionary atheism (of which Nazism is a type) reacts against the self-hatred and suicidal effects of leftist altruism on behalf of others, by reversing the morality of unselfishness to regard this-worldly materialist selfishness (under some communitarian description) as a virtue rather than the primary sin.

(In this sense, Nietzsche was indeed the philosopher of Nazism.)

Selfishness is operationalized by right-wing atheism as distributing worldly goods to one's own class, nation, empire, race, sex or whatever.

To be paradoxical about it, Nazism is aggressive altruism on behalf of oneself!

Both Communism and Nazism are relativistic/ nihilistic - they do not aim at a specific state of affairs, but a permanent revolution in a particular direction - secular leftists aim at continually increasing altruism to others, secular rightists aim at continually increasing selfishness.

Hence atheist ideologies of both right and left are capable of unrestrained evil, so their regimes are the worst in human history - but atheist leftism is capable of attracting vastly more widespread and sustained support and idealistic zeal by its pseudo-morality of un-selfishness.

Hence Communism has spread almost everywhere and accomplished (and is accomplishing) vastly more evil than Nazism - which was a narrow and unsustainable product of unique circumstances.

So - Christianity promotes transcendental love, Communism promotes worldly unselfishness on behalf of others, Fascism promotes worldly selfishness.

Leftists and progressives therefore regard Communism as intrinsically superior to Nazism - in a way that takes no account of evidence, since they see Communism as having the highest possible human aspirations - albeit they are usually corrupted.

Leftists regard Nazism (and other forms of secular rightism) as intrinsically evil because its advocates openly promote their own interests: its primary morality is selfishness. Since this is the exact opposite of leftism - indeed, an exact inversion of leftist morality - it is the ultimate evil.


Leftists also regard supernaturalist Christianity as intrinsically evil because it promotes non-worldly goods, which do not exist; thereby ignoring or neglecting the moral centrality of enforcing the altruistic distribution of worldly goods.

But, for leftists, Christianity is not the ultimate evil, since it is not the exact opposite of leftism. Rather, orthodox Christianity is seen as a hypocritical mask for secular rightism - which is seen as primary. Christians are therefore seen as promoters of selfishness who cleverly disguise it under a cover of nonsensical transcendental aspirations.

Explicit, open, un-ashamed secular rightism is the primary enemy.

So, Communists fear Nazis - because they understand and respect them, but despise Christians - who are seen as fools and cowards.

Communists want to fight real Nazis (if they think they can win), but want to exterminate Christians (as mere vermin.)

So, for leftists, the difference between the mainstream secular right and Nazis is merely that Nazism is more honest and brave: the secular right with the gloves-off. Mainstream rightists are seen as nothing more-than - or other-than - feeble Nazis.


Note added: The inferiority of Soviet Communism to German National Socialism can be seen in their military.

Perhaps it is unfair to compare any other nation with Germany in terms of military prowess - but the German army (and most of the people) apparently loved their leaders and fought for them with absolutely remarkable tenacity and effectiveness until utterly defeated. (The way in which the Allied invasion was held-up in Italy for a year and a half from autumn 1943 was evidence of the Germans' man-for-man supremacy.)

By contrast, from the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, the government waged permanent war upon its own nation. In WWII the Soviet officers *drove* their cowed troops into battle from behind - guns aimed at their own men. On the Eastern Front I have read that the Russians lost ten men for every German killed. 

*The above is reposted from this blog in 2011. I stumbled across it today, and thought it still interesting, and increasingly topical - as (superficially repackaged) communism is making a mainstream comeback.


dearieme said...

"the Fourth Gospel (our most authoritative source)": why so?

And source on what - the historical Jesus or the theological Jesus?

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - If you want to know, you will have to read the book I linked:

Francis Berger said...

I agree with the views you express here, but the crooked cross will be regarded as worse than the red star for a very long time to come, partly for the reasons you expressed here, and partly because communism will never garner the same kind attention Nazism has in the past seventy-plus years.

Nazism has been thoroughly researched and documented in practically all research fields. Nazism has also been thoroughly addressed in the arts and media - so much so, I would feel comfortable calling it a genre within its own right. It is also a focus in education. All students in the West leave school knowing the Nazis were evil (which is good), but very few understand what communism was (which is bad).

Simply put, communism will likely never be addressed as thoroughly as Nazism has been. The reasons for this are many.

On the one hand, the global Establishment is currently trying to implement a revamped version of communism, so why draw attention to the horrors of the old versions?

On the other hand, historical communism (in Europe and the former USSR) contains too many "can't handle the truth" components that simply cannot be openly discussed given our current political and social milieu.

It's always open season when researching Nazism; conversely, many taboos have been placed around researching communism. Those taboos are not going anywhere for the time being. Another century could pass before communism is approached with any meaningful level of honesty, assuming it ever will be.

William Wildblood said...

I would like to add to this superb analysis my belief that the true purpose of Communism was to destroy the true spiritual aspect of Christianity by stealing its worldly thunder. In other words, unselfishness = the theory of love applied to the material world without the actual reality of it which is necessarily spiritual. Thus people are lured into investing their sense of purpose into something obvious (the material world) but false (the material world as sole reality) instead of something not immediately apparent but fundamentally real (the spiritual world).

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Thanks.

@Francis - You are probably coprrect about the future, but I am not sure. Things were not always as they are now.

My generation was brought-up on the idea (from Orwell, I think, and some of his contemporaries like Koestler) that Communism and Fascism were essentially identical forms of totalitarianism, with nothing much to choose between them. I was taught this at school, and it was in my general reading. And, at that time, in my middle teens, I was a red-hot socialist - widely read and an active, representative, member of the Labour Party which i joned on my 16th birthday. Nonetheless, I always loathed Soviet communism.

(I was however fooled by Maoism for a while - since we were lyingly being told nothing but good about it in the early/ mid seventies, and there were no 'historical' sources such as there were for the USSR. At school we were shown, in an educational context, a 100% propaganda movie about modern China; full of happy, smiling, well-fed workers - dignity of labour stuff - and their jolly, poetry-writing leader. The reality was, of course - at least as people now aver, as completely opposite as it was possible to be. I did not then realise then how systematically-dishonest the authorities were, how complicit the intellectual class.)

Which is very different from now. The present ingnoring/ denying/ whitewashing of Communism probably began with political correctness and during the Thatcher/ Reagan era - accelerated by the events of 1989-90.

The Social Pathologist said...


I'd really recommend Marxism, Fascism and Totalitarianism, by A James Gregor, it's being really formative in my thinking of the two ideologies. Gregor shows that Fascism was an organic outgrowth of communism, designed to appeal to the nationalistic element of the working class. They're both the same disease albeit in different forms.

One of Orwell's big insights in that the political position of the massess is more an intuitive thing than a rational one, Fascism and Communism are essentially the same ideology with various modifications designed to appeal to different personality types.

Fascism appeals to brute and muscular, communism to the sneak and noodle-armed.

Communism appeals to the kid who was pushed around in school, fascism to the jock. But both are socialism in the end.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - That's pretty much my view

'Fascism' was a secular* (non-religious) reaction against Soviet communism, in particular its internationalist and universal aspects. The Russian Revolution of 1917 led directly to both Mussolini and Hitler. Indeed fascism is nothing more or other than this reaction - it has no coherent positive features that cover the regimes nowadays labelled as 'fascist'.

This is no mystery - it was understood at the time (I read contemporary sources in my teens); and of course the name NSDAP (of which Nazi is an abbreviation), National Socialist German Workers Party, was a clear indication of Nazi leftism, as was the abolition of aristocratic titles and privileges and so forth.

But the New Left (the post-sixties Left) lies about this, as indeed it must lie all the time - in order to justify its existence and power.

*Franco was not an exception - his Falange party was itself secular, but allied with the RCC clergy and religious orders, who were being slaughtered, indeed genocided, by the Republican Left communists. Franco's - pretty successful - economic policy of the 1950s (following a famine during the 40s that seems to have killed hundreds of thousands) was engineered by Opus Dei technocrats, but sounds like a species of socialist central planning.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

This is really an excellent analysis.

All other considerations aside, Communism's continuing appeal and acceptability -- and the widespread belief that, for all its abuses, its heart was in the right place -- makes it far more harmful than Nazism, which was only a force to be reckoned with for about 12 years.

Decades ago, I picked up some old Soviet military medals at a secondhand shop because I thought they were cool. It goes without saying that no one within hailing distance of mainstream society would ever dream of considering Nazi paraphernalia "cool." Even dressing up as a Nazi for Halloween is verboten.

Bruce said...

I my simple minded way, I have always come to the same conclusion. Communism is idolatry of equality, Nazism is idolatry of inequality. Both wrong from a Christian perspective but Communism is more evil. Equality is more at odds with the world as it is – you have to hurt and/or kill a lot more people in the name of equality (and you still don’t get there of course) than in the name of inequality (a more natural condition).

Dexter said...

Nazism has been thoroughly researched and documented in practically all research fields. Nazism has also been thoroughly addressed in the arts and media - so much so, I would feel comfortable calling it a genre within its own right. It is also a focus in education. All students in the West leave school knowing the Nazis were evil (which is good), but very few understand what communism was (which is bad).

Simply put, communism will likely never be addressed as thoroughly as Nazism has been.

Communism has been researched and documented well enough that anyone who takes the trouble to learn about it will understand that it is evil. The issue is not the evidence, but people's unwillingness to change their opinions based on evidence. Communism is another subject about which, as Bruce has said in other contexts, evidence counts for nothing. There is no new evidence you could provide, no matter how thoroughly you researched, that would convince a modern progressive that Communism was as intrinsically evil as Nazism (let alone more evil than Nazism) if the existing evidence is insufficient. Again to paraphrase Bruce, "Communism is evil" is, from the standpoint of progressives, an extraordinary claim (meaning, something they don't already believe, and indeed, viscerally reject), requiring extraordinary evidence (meaning, "no amount of evidence will ever be enough to convince me of that").

Apropos of arts and media, some weeks ago someone asked me to recommend a good movie or documentary on Stalin, and I took note of the fact that there are vastly more movies and documentaries about Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust than there are about Stalin, Soviet Communism, or the gulags.

Bruce said...

I seem to recall a Jim Kalb analysis I read many years ago that went something like this: both are about elevation of the will – the will as the ultimate thing. With Leftism it’s the individual will (I assume the collectivist thing being a necessary, intermediate stage??) With Nazism it’s about the collective will as embodied by the Fuhrer. I am probably not doing his argument justice.

Francis Berger said...

William touches on an interesting point. The perceived nobility of the communist cause persists among secular/progressive types, but it needs to be dispelled once and for all, especially among Christians.

Communism is not merely secular, it is pathologically anti-religious. As Bruce mentioned, communism fears fascism, but it has nothing but scorn and hatred for religious thinking, especially Christianity because Christianity understands the impossibility of the "noble" thing communist ideology offers - the establishment of heaven on earth.

Bruce said...

I seem to recall a Jim Kalb analysis I read many years ago that went something like this: both are about elevation of the will – the will as the ultimate thing. With Leftism it’s the individual will (I assume the collectivist thing being a necessary, intermediate stage??) With Nazism it’s about the collective will as embodied by the Fuhrer. I am probably not doing his argument justice.

Dexter said...

"Communism is idolatry of equality, Nazism is idolatry of inequality."

In both cases, it is the "in group" that benefits from the "equality" and altruism, and the "out group" gets the boot. Under Communism, "the workers" get equality, but the kulaks and capitalists get the boot. Nazism idolized equality among Germans, with other groups getting the boot according to how much the Nazis hated them.

Looked at another way, Nazism was Communism just for Germans.

One reason intellectuals love Communism and hate Nazism is that Communism was run by (and for) fellow intellectuals, whereas Nazism was run by and for proles (lower middle class, poorly educated types) and had no use for intellectuals as such. Intellectuals claim to love proles (the workers) but in practice despise them and never want them anywhere near the levers of power. In practice, intellectuals define "fascism" as "non-intellectuals having any say in how their country is run".

Bruce Charlton said...

Thanks for the great comments chaps!

Something that made a big impact on me as a young teen was this 1972 BBC play adapting Solzhenitsyn's 'Ivan Denisovich'.

This was the BBC - now prime source of leftist evil - which shows how much things have changed.

But it was the New Left transformation starting in the mid-1960s that reversed and inverted so many values. This was when the USA took-over world-leadership of Leftism and diverted it away from class/ economic concerns; with the student protests, black power, anti-war demos, whitewashing of Maoism, feminism etc.

For 20 years postwar there was a much truer and more balanced understanding of history - even on the Left - than built-up from that point. Late sixties was when the lying became ever-more systematic and enforced, and the cultural self-hatred and slow-suicide became mainstream.

Francis Berger said...


Communism has been researched, no doubt about it. And you are right that evidence is not enough to convince those who refuse to be convinced, but I also mentioned certain aspects communism research that extend into areas that cannot be discussed honestly or will probably never be discussed because they extend in the taboo. No such taboos exist with Nazism. That was the main point I was trying to make.

Lucinda said...

Unselfishness is a worse ultimate virtue because it contains no good judge. Selves judge experience. Selfishness at least has the ability to correct itself if the results are bad enough for the self. But under the rule of unselfishness, if any judgments are made, they must always be made by those without personal experience, by definition.

Unselfishness as ultimate authority is incoherent and/or impersonal.

There was an analogy that went around at some point of Heaven and Hell being the same, a feast with overly long spoons irrevocably affixed to the arms. Those who only thought of feeding self would suffer, those who learned to feed each other were blessed. It is an ugly portrayal, but beyond that, I think it pretty well exposes the basic feeling of permanent impotence of those who honestly espouse such nonsense.

Bruce Charlton said...

See 'Note added' to the post, above.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - That's a very interesting comment! I haven't seen the point made before, but it strikes me as true. May I use it as the basis of a blog post?

Lucinda said...

That would be great.

Michael Dyer said...

My two cents as well,

The scary thing about the NatSocs is that they were more overtly occultic than the communists. Of course Stalin himself was into it, but the Nazis were far more open about getting direct connections to terrible things. It's not just about body count, it's about the spiritual aspect and how it reveals itself. The communist spiritual problem is discussed well in above comments so I'll pass over it.

Desert Rat said...

This is a great insight. It explains much. I have noticed that while both are oppressive and murderous the Nazis, at least, would pretty much leave alone anyone who was identified as being within the group and following the rules whereas the Communists imprisoned and killed indiscriminately and it seemingly mattered not at all if you were a fervent member or not. Nazis terrorized "outsiders" while Communists simply terrorized everyone (egalitarianism in its purest form).

Bruce Charlton said...

@DR - Agreed. But I suspect tah tto the modern Leftist, that is another reason why they prefer Communism.
Certainly, that indiscriminate persecution is the major feauture of the political correctness witch hunts - most of the victims have been 'random' leftist supporters.

The 'message' is that nobody is ever safe, because everybody is in breach of some rule or another (or can be accused of this - which is sufficient to determine guilt).

Modern life is much like having Caligula running things - there are, indeed, many similarities.