This failure of reason and logical thinking is most easily exposed by daring to posit that fascism is the intellectual child of the left. Bring this subject up and you will soon see how the "open-minded" and "tolerant" leftist is more close minded and intolerant than any conservative I've ever met. Such a contention is met with utter contempt at best, accusations of stupidity or attempting to manipulate any discussion at worst. For the contemporary left this is a closed subject and even the discussion is strictly forbidden. It's even worse in circumstance than questioning Al Gore and his global warming consensus. (I wonder how those folks in New England and the upper mid-west enjoyed the first day of spring from under that freshly fallen blanket of snow.)
Never mind that the so-called idea that fascism was a rightwing ideology had its origins with Joseph Stalin who regarded anything not in conformance with Soviet style international socialism as extreme rightwing. These leftists have had this idea pounded into their heads in college by various professors who no doubt came from the same "this is axiomatic, no discussion is necessary" (or allowed) perspective. The question that many of these same professors were/are dedicated leftists doesn't seem to have entered or affected the thought process of these so-called graduates. In short they have been taught what to think not how to think, particularly as to the subject of the origins of fascism.
This highly singular and as we shall see dangerously erroneous position places profound limitations on the development of political thought moving forward. I would compare it to dropping anchor and then putting a ship’s engines in all ahead full, then looking over the stern and confusing the turbulence created by the props for forward motion. They may look over the bow and fixate on the horizon of some "perfected state" but they never look down to see that there is no bow wave being formed.
And yet it doesn't take a very deep examination or comparison between the propagandist rhetoric of today's leftist and that of 1930's Nazi Germany to find shocking similarities. The evidence exists but like with so many other things they are convinced that by simply refusing to acknowledge its existence it magically disappears.
How frequently have we heard the argument that the constructions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are "antiquated" or out dated or somehow not consistent with modern society? How different is this really from "the constitutional reality of the Third Reich cannot be mastered with the aid of juridical thought patterns of the past."?1 The left has created a political thought process whose only discernible foundation is that the Constitution must be seen as a "living" document whose interpretations are only defined by the exigencies of the moment or whatever is currently deemed "politically correct." How different is this sophistry from that of the Nazi's'; "nor is it admissible to determine National Socialism's political theory by drawing inferences from its system of thought."2 How different is the left’s desire to use the electoral process to move the United States in the direction what they envision as European socialism from the Nazi's self characterization of the Füherstaat as "the most ennobled form of a modern European Democracy."?3
The contemporary leftist will tell us that the concepts of individual liberty (defined as freedom from government interference in daily life), self-initiative and moreover personal responsibility for our actions and circumstances are out dated or incomplete. It is no longer enough to have a system of government and rights that guarantees what the government can't do to the people and their freedoms we must have a government that guarantees what it will and must do for us. Never mind that historically under such systems "do for us" soon devolves into "do to us". "No one among us lives for himself, each of us lives only for the people. No one lives for his own happiness, each lives only for the happiness of the community. No one among us can say as he may have done before: 'My happiness lies in my home, in my business, in my profession.' No -- we live beyond space and time in the millennial destiny of the people.....we have built our happiness in the fortress of socialist life."4 Sounds like something lifted right out of the pages of Pravda or Izvestia right? Guess again then see note 4 below.
It would be mistake to think that this is simply a resurgence of the Hegelian concept of primacy of the rights of the state over the rights of the individual. Nothing could be further from the truth. The theme of the 1934 Nazi national party congress was "We Command the State!" Under this doctrine the party and its functionaries (in spite of claims to the contrary) regularly interfered with the conduct of long existing administrative functions, doing so under the rubric of "the will of the leader". The Party became the State. How different then is this from Attorney General Holder saying that it's his job to decide which laws are to be enforced and which ones are not, or telling sovereign states that they have no right to protect themselves from a flood of aliens coming across their own borders with a foreign state, using their own duly passed legislation? According to the Nazi's themselves it was "not the proper function of the administrative courts to act as arbiters in controversies between local government and supervisory departments."5
What most would be students of government and politics (both left and right) either forget or simply were never taught was that the Nazi's formed their government and continually ruled on a basis of the need of addressing a "national emergency".
At some point in the not to distant future we are all going to have to come to grips with a very significant question. Do we want to live in a country where the final authority of the Federal government is based in law and the consent of the governed or in one where it is based in the will of those who are in "command of the state"? Look around you at our increasingly militarized police, aggressive "pat downs" at the airport, unmanned drones in our skis and a DHS that is stockpiling enough hollow point ammunition for a thirty years war and then arrogantly refusing to answer questions about those purchases from members of Congress. DHS is issuing mine resistant armored vehicles (MRAVs) developed in dealing with the insurgency in Iraq to local police departments. Just who is it these "Federalized" local police envision themselves going to war with? Look at these things in joint context and then tell us how we don't have a government operating on the basis of "national emergency".
When Senators like Chuck Shumer or John McCain tell you that none of your rights as defined in the Constitution are absolute you had best take them seriously, because what they have envisioned is an Orwellian nightmare of "All pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others." He is not unlike the chuckling Dr Goebbels; "we were not legal in order to be legal, but in order to rise to power. We rose to power legally in order to gain the possibility of acting illegally."6
James Madison in Federalist #51 said that "If men were angels there would be no need for government."7 Men are not angels so Madison and the other founders insured our right to protect ourselves from government, its agents and even the officials we elect. Therein lay the fundamental difference between the right and the left. We don't believe in Heaven on Earth. The left thinks they can make heaven on earth if only they have the power to do so, and our individual right stand in their way.
Not to be deliberately repetitive but George Santayana famous quotation is often truncated and its full meaning lost or distorted. Taken in full it is far more profound, especially in regards to to what I have shown above.
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians in which instinct has learned nothing from experience."
Fascism in one form or another has been with us for a very long time just as has the idea of government. Whether it started with the ancient kings of Babylon and Persia that demanded their subjects worship them as gods, or in the divine right of kings, who is to say. History is full of manifestations of evil From the Aztecs slaughter on the alters of human sacrifice to Pol Pot's killing fields of Cambodia evil has existed in the hearts of men who have always, who will always claim they are doing what is in "our best interest".
Our contemporary leftists may indeed be far more sophisticated than the fascists of the past, but they are fascists none the less. They may dress themselves up in cloaks of erudition and claims of superior intellect and wanting what (only they are allowed to define) is "best for us". But beneath those cloaks lay the same same ambition, lust for power and willingness to sacrifice the rights and lives of the people for their own accumulation of power and wealth that were not just the hallmarks of the fascists of the 30's and 40's but have plagued mankind since the dawn of time.
1. Reuss Juristische Wochenschrift, vol. 64 page 2314, 1935.
2. Hans Schnidt-Leonhardt, Deutsches Recht, (central organ of the Association of National Socialist Jurists), vol. 5, page 340, 1935
3. Joseph Goebbels, Hamburger Fremdenblatt, no. 78, March 20 1934
4. Reichs Minister Hans Frank (later governor of occupied Poland), Mitteilungblatt des Bundes National-Sozialistischer Deutscher Juristen und des Reichsrechtsamts derNSDAP, no. 1, page 9, 1935
5. Theodor Manuz, Deutches Recht, vol.5, page 479, 1935
6. Deutsche allgemeine Zeitung, nos. 549-550, Nov. 25, 1934