Jonah Goldberg takes a socialist apologist struggling to separate the evils of Nazism from the glorious righteousness of socialism to the woodshed in his recent article at National Review.
Stanley makes some fine points here and there, but I don’t think they add up to anything like corroboration of his thesis. The chief problem with his argument is that he’s taking doctrinaire or otherwise convenient definitions of socialism and applying them selectively to Nazism.
Stanley’s chief tactic is to simply say Nazis shouldn’t be believed when they called themselves socialists. It was all marketing and spin, even putting the word in their name. Socialism was popular, so they called themselves socialists. End of story.
One of the most effective tactics of the left is to simply deny any association with the proven failures of the left. "We said that, but we didn't really mean that," is a convenient feint. Another corollary to that is, "We did that, but we didn't really mean that." The left, it must be noted, struggles under the burden of less than stellar outcomes, but insists that we allow them their failures (and their body counts) because their goal of a workers' paradise is so very, very noble.
Another frequently employed rebuttal to the charge that Nazism was indeed a brand of socialism is that it couldn't possibly be socialism because it was nationalistic in its expression. Socialism, it would seem, is only valid as a label when applied to everyone -- in the world. "Workers of the world unite." But as Goldberg points out, all the "-isms" explored have never actually been able to carry that whole world thing off...settling unanimously instead for nationalistic glory. Over and over and over again.
In purely economic terms, nationalization and socialization are nothing more than synonyms (socialized medicine = nationalized health care).
This is true every time, kittens. Despite their declared goals to unite the whole world, socialism is, by necessity, a nationalistic expression of an economy. In comparison, capitalism can reach to any corner of the world to unite people in cooperative and productive ways. But socialism can only be expressed through control. Therefore it is necessary to have all participants under the same iron fist. That's why socialist countries don't enter into trade agreements as frequently as they enter into wars. Or they become strangulated on their self-imposed isolation.
Yes, simply put:
Simply put, no one talks about uniting the workers of the world anymore. Every socialist movement or party that comes to power promises national unity, not international solidarity. Sure, rhetorically a handful of tin pots may talk about their brothers across some border, but that’s a foreign-policy thing. Domestically, economically, culturally, it’s all about nationalism, not internationalism. In other words, nowhere in the world does being a nationalist preclude a person or movement from being a socialist. Rather, it’s a requirement.
Socialism, communism, fascism, collectivism...are all possible variations of how and under what moral authority the state seeks to control you and everything you do, and are better defined as forms of statism, in my mind. The term statism removes any doubt as to just who is behind all the grabbing and killing. (I find it amusing, yet disheartening to realize that when I type "statism", my computer thinks
it is misspelled. How can we have an intelligent conversation about this when we can't even accept that the term exists?...sigh...) It is not "society" that rules, as implied in the word "socialism." And it isn't the "commune", as implied in the word "communism." It isn't even the fasces, which is the Latin root for fascism, meaning "strength through unity." It is the state - the guys with the guns. In all forms, collectivism is the most radically UN-collective form of government there is because it is uniformly imposed by a very small elite exerting total control and power over everyone else. The "collective", in every example, is stripped of all power, left voiceless and vulnerable; all power resides in the state.
And it was ever so.
Stanley at times seems to hold up Marx as the only acceptable standard for socialism. It isn’t and never was. I would argue as a matter of sociology and philosophy, socialism traces back to caveman days. Put simply as a matter of accepted intellectual history it long predates Marx. Babeuf’s “Conspiracy of the Equals,” for instance, which was hatched long before Marx was even born. (emphasis mine.)
This is something I have been arguing for so long I am weary. Statism has always been with us; it is the default state of mankind. From the caveman to Generation Z, the average man on this planet has been born, lived and died under the rule of a handful of other men who were so convinced of their superiority and worthiness to rule that they were willing to kill to settle the matter.
The reason the left disavows Nazism is not that it was such a horrific, deadly and potent form of socialism. All socialism is horrific, deadly and potent in its ultimate expression and socialists are never squeamish about what must be done when they are winning. "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs," Stalin is reported to have said to dismiss the alarming number of citizens who just needed killing. Socialists are never dissuaded by a high body count under winners. So Stalin can kill 20 million of his own people because Stalin won, and kept his millions of dead behind an Iron Curtain. Mao can kill 50 million because Mao won, and kept his millions of dead behind the Great Wall. Castro won. Chavez won. Pol Pot won. Kim-Il sung won. And their dead are forgotten because the winners write history. And creating paradise, it would seem, requires a firm stomach.
It is when you LOSE that the left disavows you.
The left disavows Nazism (and equally fascism) because it was so thoroughly beaten by the loathsome capitalist nations, and, therefore, not just exposed, but humiliated. Nazism LOST against the power of free people. So did fascism. This can not be. So both systems were simply re-assigned, with a smirk, to the right.
These guys aren't even hard to figure out.