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Hitler's ideology 'right-wing'?

The staggering body count Nazi's perpetuated during World War II (over 18 million) affected the Jews the most, but was not limited to them. Wiker writes:

The Nazi regime murdered not only 6 million Jews but millions of other "undesirables": enemies of the Reich, from Slavs, Gypsies and prisoners of war, to the handicapped, retarded and even mildly "unfit." The Aktion T4 program, the Nazi eugenic plan-in-action, resulted in the state-ordered execution of around 200,000 people who were disabled, retarded, juvenile delinquents, mixed-race children, or even plagued with significant adolescent acne.
Remember that Hitler was an atheist who killed millions in the name of atheism and secularism. Also, the Nazi Party was thoroughly grounded in atheist, anti-Christian ideology. Let's not forget that Hitler killed untold numbers of his own people, Christians and Christians ministers like Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who was killed in 1945) and Martin Niemoller (who was tormented in Nazi concentration camps from 1938-45) because they believed in a higher power than the Nazi State. Also, multitudes of other regular German citizens, many devout Christians, spoke out against the Nazi Party and suffered by the millions because they refused to pledge their homes, their business, their family, their lives "for the Reich."

Was Nazism a 'right-wing' ideology?

One of the enduring lies regarding the intellectual roots of Hitler's Nazi Party was that as a philosophy, Nazism was a right-wing or conservative ideology. It was neither. This distortion was ably dispelled by Jonah Goldberg's excellent and well-researched book, "Liberal Fascism."

After World War II and the extent of Hitler's genocidal madness became known to the world, the mainstream press, academics and progressive intellectuals both in America and Europe who spoke and wrote so admiringly of Hitler began to join the universal chorus to condemn his acts. Around the same time there was a subtle but concerted effort made in the marketplace of ideas that characterized Hitler and Nazism as a "right-wing" or conservative ideology.

Of course, Nazism, communism, totalitarianism, fascism, even progressivism, socialism and modern liberalism all overlap and are connected ideologically with each other. Furthermore, leftist politics have little relationship with modern conservatism, which, as Goldberg noted, is ironically more closely aligned with the 18th century classical liberalism of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Montesquieu, Locke, Blackstone and America's constitutional Framers than with Nazi or fascist ideology.

On this point, Wiker writes: "Given the epic scale of their inhumanity, we need to remember that the Nazi regime did not purport to do evil. It claimed to be scientific and progressive, to do what hard reason demanded for the ultimate benefit of the human race. The superhuman acts of inhumanity were carried out for the sake of humanity."

Let's not forget Nazis' connection to the ideas of Darwin, evolutionary theory and eugenics. Wiker writes, "One cannot help but be reminded of Darwin's 'Descent of Man.' 'National Socialism is nothing but applied biology,' said the deputy party leader of the Nazis, Rudolf Hess."

In my opinion, the best part of Wiker's analysis of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" was that he placed the man and his work in its proper historical context with other intellectuals, writers, political leaders and social movements that influenced and shaped his ideas. Wiker writes:

That struggle is the kampf of Hitler's title. Hitler took himself to be that rarest of things, the union of philosopher and king, political philosopher and practical political leader, program-maker and politician in one. Put this way, Hitler seems almost noble, until we realize that the philosophy to which he ascribed was an amalgam of Machiavelli, Darwin, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (as mixed with the racial theories of the Frenchman Joseph-Arthur, comte de Gobineau). We might say that whatever hesitations to action one finds in Darwin, Schopenhauer, or even Nietzsche, Hitler casts aside with the ruthlessness of Machiavelli.
Even before Hitler came to power his brand of fascism, first perpetrated in Italy by Mussolini, was admired by W.E.B. Du Bois, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, John Dewey, Margaret Sanger, Walter Lippmann, Herbert Croly and many, many other liberal intellectuals, artists, academics and politicians. Hitler, like many big-government progressives and social engineers in America, began his grand vision with the commendable desire to eradicate poverty. However, shortly thereafter he soon formulated a utopian plan to fix all social problems.



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