By Garrett Smith | @gwsmith93 | TRINICY.org
Image by WikimediaImages
Most people who are involved in the American political field have heard the following statement: “Conservatives are fascists and Nazis who seek to force their beliefs on others.” Especially since the 1960s, American Progressives in particular have been quick to condemn Republicans and their leaders - such as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump - as Nazis and Fascist sympathizers. Read on for a thorough debunking of the Nazi Conservative connection.
Many often wonder if the Left is making a valid point. After all, Nazism was rooted in a nationalist ideology and many Conservatives often take pride in their national heritage. The Left's rationale relies on their claim that just because Nazis were “National Socialists,” does not mean they were actually Socialists. Both at the root and on the cover, however, Nazis and Conservatives are not alike. To prove that, we will examine the facts using the Nazi Party Platform and perform a short break-down of each subject.
NAZIS AND NATIONALISM
In debunking the Nazi Conservative claim, one issue must be made abundantly clear from the start: Nazis were ultranationalist Imperialists who sought to greatly expand the size of the German state. Unlike Communists, Nazis despised globalism and viewed the German state, with the Aryan race, as their sources of greatness. When compared to the type of nationalism embraced by Conservatives, Nazis and Conservatives actually do not share much in common. This is especially evident for anyone who reads the Nazi Party Platform, created by Adolf Hitler in 1920. The fifth point states, “Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.”
Likewise, the platform holds that only German citizens can be responsible for selecting government officials. On the surface, this may seem like a strong comparison. A closer examination, however, something entirely different is revealed. The platform goes on to state, “Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.”
The true Conservative, however, holds a different belief entirely. Conservatives embrace legal immigration, cherish it, and recognize legal immigrants who wish to assimilate into the country’s cultural melting pot will help improve the greatness of the nation. All the Conservative asks is for immigrants to assimilate in the legal and proper manner, without cutting corners, so as to avoid issues such as voter fraud. On this, Nazis and Conservatives are very different.
ECONOMICS AND LABOR
The Conservative believes the fruit of someone’s labor belongs solely to that person. No other human being has a right to claim someone’s hard-earned pay. Likewise, though Conservatives cherish a hard-working spirit, they believe human beings were created for more than just work. While Communists and like-minded Socialists are proponents of organized wealth distribution, how did Nazis hold up on this issue? Point 10 of the Nazi Party Platform states, “The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.” This is a thoroughly-Socialist statement and not much different from the labor beliefs of Communists.
While the Nazi Party did not share with Communists the belief in class warfare, and they did hold some regard for a middle class. This is evident with point 16 in which they demanded “the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the state, the provinces and the municipalities.” Nazis also, like Soviets and Chinese Communists, demanded agrarian reform, and stated any land needed for the purposes of the state shall be taken without compensation for landowners (point 17). Nazis also included mandatory profit-sharing for large industries in their platform, as well as the nationalization of trusts. Though Nazis and Communists are different in many ways, they both share a mutual belief pertaining to societal welfare: common comes good before individual good.
NOT-SO-FREE SPEECH AND PRESS
While Conservatives seek to uphold the constitutional principle of free speech and press, Nazis sought something different entirely. Point 23 of the platform states, “Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.” The Nazis also made it clear non-Germans were very limited in their press rights and non-Germans could not publish their material in the Germanic language. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe legal immigrants who are not yet citizens still hold various rights in the country, especially pertaining to free speech.
NAZIS AND RELIGION
It has often been said that Nazis were Christians, and therefore, Nazis were Conservatives who wanted to force their religious beliefs on others. While Nazis certainly wanted to impose their will on others, they were not Christians. The Nazi Party Platform states in point 24 they would be tolerant of any religion, so long as it did not interfere with the Nazis’ belief in the superior Germanic race. To further this platform tenant, Nazis omitted all Jewish heritage from the Bible. Later, point 24 states, “The Party as such represents the point of view of a Positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession.” Positive Christianity, developed by the Nazis, eliminated the parts of the Bible that contained Jewish lineage or history.
Christians believe Jesus Christ is the son of God (with Jewish lineage), that He died for our sins on a cross, and that He arose on the third day. William L. Shirer explained in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, how, during World War II, Nazis sought to replace the Bible and the Cross with Mein Kampf and the swastika. They also rejected dependence on the Apostle’s Creed. Shirer continued by stating Nazis wanted the “extermination of the foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany.” No, Nazis were most definitely not Christian Conservatives.
WERE NAZIS PROGRESSIVE?
Given the evidence from their own platform, it should be abundantly clear Nazis were not the equivalent of Conservatives. While they were different from Communists in many ways, they were alike in others, namely on the principle that common good always precedes individual good. Regarding Socialism, Nazis sought many socialist aspects, albeit on a nationalist level. It was Gregor Strasser of the Nazi Party who said, “We are Socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging other human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!”
Nazis were not Capitalist Conservatives who sought a free market. While they were not Communists, one does not have to be an outright Communist to be a Socialist. Self-described Democratic Socialists, like Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) often take pride in that belief. National Socialism is still Socialism, albeit in a different form. Two examples of post-World War II dictators who incorporated elements of Socialism into their nationalist beliefs were Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.
DEBUNKING THE NAZI CONSERVATIVE CLAIM COMPLETE
Though different from Communists in many aspects, Nazis were the Progressives of their country who sought to “progress” Germany into their twisted vision of a utopia, done in the name of “bettering society.” As historian Modris Eksteins states in Rites of Spring, the goals of the Nazi Party were “distinctly progressive...The intention of the movement was to create a new type of human being from whom would spring a new reality, a new social system, and eventually, a new international order.”
Debunking the Nazi Conservative claim was not difficult nor was it a stretch. After doing so, the hope is that Christians and Conservatives will always have the wisdom, courage, and strength to defend their values from those who seek to accuse them of aligning with evil ideologies.
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