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Samizdata quote of the day

“To kill someone for their class origins is just as bad as killing someone for their religious or ethnic origins. You’re killing someone, d’ye see? That Uncle Joe did it in the name of the proletariat while Hitler did it for some other reason he’d made up does not make Joe less evil, sorry, it just doesn’t.”

Tim Worstall.

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16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • The Band

    A valid point. However, Hitler did kill people “in the name of the proletariat.” His opposition to the Jews was entirely based on trumped up economic envy. He whipped people up with the accusation that “greedy Jews” had leached their profits off the backs of the honest hard-working German everyman. Race was just a convenient method for identifying the “rich people who shouldn’t be” that the Left so much loves to hate.

    Which brings me to another point: the Left doesn’t hate the rich. They hate the rich who aren’t on the inside, whatever that happens to mean within the immediate context. Every Leftist state has had rich elites they consider acceptable, whether it’s high-ranking Party members, politically-connected donors, or German industrialists. In all cases, these people are acceptable only so long as they further your cause. If they become a liability, you throw them under the bus.

  • Laird

    But obviously killing someone because of his race or sexual orientation is far more evil than simply killing him to steal him money, right? I mean, you’re not saying “hate crime” laws are wrong, are you?

  • This is probably the right place to ask for some help, with some context.

    In Bulgaria, the first non-communist president elected after communism collapsed, Zhelyo Zhelev, was for lack of a better word, a simpleton trained as a philosopher, whose big “accomplishment” was a treatise that pointed out that fascism and socialism were not far apart. This revelation is clearly stolen/plagiarized, but I wonder… who was the first to speak of that self-evident (with the benefit of hindsight) truth in the West? Any ideas?

  • Apologies, “Zhelyu Zhelev” appears to be the accepted transliteration of the fellow’s name.

  • mike

    “…who was the first to speak of that self-evident (with the benefit of hindsight) truth in the West? Any ideas?”

    I don’t know, but Karl Popper is certainly an earlier shout than your man Zhelyu Zhelev (The Open Society & Its Enemies was first published in 1945).

    Earlier still, one might consider Gustave de Molinari who certainly repudiated the State’s monopoly on security in 1849 – although with him, I suspect the identification of fascism and communism is largely a matter of implication rather than an explicit say-so (partly, of course because the term “fascism” appears to have emerged about sixty years after he wrote “The Production Of Security”).

  • mike

    Blasted smite control… once again, with escape-edits:

    “. who was the first to speak of that self-evident (with the benefit of hindsight) truth in the West? Any ideas?”

    I don’t know, but Karl Popper is certainly an earlier shout than your man Zhelyu Zhelev. The Open Society & Its Enemies was first published in 1945.

    Earlier still, one might consider Gustave de Molinari who, in 1849, certainly rejected the State’s monopoly over security. Yet with him the identification of the f-word with the c-word is largely a matter of implication rather than an explicit say so, at least because the f-word wasn’t in common usage until about sixty years later.

  • ClockworkOrange2

    >> However, Hitler did kill people “in the name of the proletariat.” His opposition to the Jews was entirely based on trumped up economic envy. He whipped people up with the accusation that “greedy Jews” had leached their profits off the backs of the honest hard-working German everyman.

    This is gotta be the most stupid thing I have read on Samizdata yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%27s_political_beliefs

    “… anti-Semitism, anti-communism, anti-parliamentarianism, German expansionism, belief in the superiority of an “Aryan race” and an extreme form of German nationalism were steady themes. Hitler personally claimed he was fighting against Jewish Marxism.”

    So Hitler was fighting against “rich Jewish Marxists”, right?

  • Hitler was inconsistent! Who would have thought?

  • steve

    How about 1940s ‘Germany -Jekyll and Hyde’ by the young german lawyer and emigre, Sebastian Haffner

  • Pa Annoyed

    ClockworkOrange2,

    The Wikipedia description isn’t wrong, but it’s a somewhat misleading simplification. The idea that Hitler killed people in the name of the proletariat is probably based on Mein Kampf, in which Adolph describes his early life among the working men of Austria, his view that the Communists were misleading them into making gross tactical errors, starting fights they couldn’t win against the bosses, in order to destroy them, and his conviction that wealthy Jews were behind the Communists.

    One way to think of it would be the attitude a modern-day loud-mouthed working class BNP member would have to the upper-middle class George Monbiot or Polly Toynbee. (I believe Polly earns in excess of £100K a year.) Hitler’s hatred for Marxism was a hatred of pretentious knobs like Monbiot, who said they were speaking for the poor and downtrodden, but were in fact fully paid-up members of the Establishment whose leadership towards various insane dead-end policies totally screwed any real hopes for the worker’s movement. Hitler reckoned it was intentional.

    Mein Kampf is on the web, somewhere. It was, of course, only what he wanted other people to think he thought, so you have to take it with a pinch of salt. He was obviously recruiting from amongst the working classes. But it’s hard to find a better statement of his outward political beliefs, at least.

    Despite the well-known view of lefties that Hitler was somehow right-wing and therefore nothing to do with them, it wasn’t called National Socialism for nothing.

  • The Band

    So Hitler was fighting against “rich Jewish Marxists”, right?

    Hitler was fighting against anyone who stood in the way of his own aggrandizement. Just like modern Leftists, he had to demonize those whose skills permitted them to make a comfortable living. The Jewish musicians, doctors, engineers, physicists, bankers, and scholars who were at the top of their fields made handy scapegoats for the nation’s economic troubles. Jewish businesses were seized and given to non-Jewish Germans. Sound familiar?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Try reading this. It starts off with his difficulties as an artist, but ends with a declaration of holy war against the Marxism of the Jews – and more against the former than the latter. In between, he explains how he got there.

    He wasn’t interested only in his own aggrandizement; he was a passionate believer in his own politics. You can probably recognise the type – absolutely certain that he’s right and that everybody else are dolts not to see it. He’d make a good internet troll.

    He wanted to unite the German people in national pride, and an already hated group of foreigners supposedly plotting to sabotage all that made a good brush with which to tar his political rivals. It wasn’t so much the economic troubles they were scapegoat for as the political troubles.

    With hindsight, and with the modern politically correct requirement to castigate everything he stood for, it is difficult now to discuss Hitler’s beliefs seriously. He wasn’t mad. He wasn’t a typical greedy, lying politician in it only for the power. He wasn’t even unusual in most of his beliefs – anti-Semitism was the norm at that time (especially on the left), and was common across both Europe and America. It would be seen as being as normal as a political leader of today supporting Palestine against Israel. People followed him because they liked his ideas.

    If the image we have today of his ideas and beliefs were true, they wouldn’t have. It’s a dangerous strawman to build, because it makes people feel confident they couldn’t be fooled again – that the evil is obvious and easily recognisable and can be combated with the simplistic, facile arguments of propaganda. It’s a lot better to know the truth of it, to the extent that that is possible, and to have real arguments against it.

  • It’s a dangerous strawman to build, because it makes people feel confident they couldn’t be fooled again – that the evil is obvious and easily recognisable and can be combated with the simplistic, facile arguments of propaganda. It’s a lot better to know the truth of it, to the extent that that is possible, and to have real arguments against it.

    Exactly, Pa. Exactly right.

  • tdh

    Mises’s Socialism, published in 1922 and with extensive changes in 1932, examined various forms of socialism, including the main variants fascism and communism, plus some related ideas. At any rate, as was rather obvious to people at the time, the mere observation of the common socialistic bases of communism and fascism would not have required any keen analysis. “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz” is pretty clear even if you are not familiar with the nomenclature of the time.

    The following quote in Human Action should be especially enlightening: “But few of he champions of these schools [viz Christian socialism and national socialism] have been so keen as the Nazi philosopher Othmar Spann, who explicitly declared that the realization of his plans would bring about a state of affairs in which the institution of private property will be preserved only in a ‘formal sense, while in fact there will be only public ownership.’ ”

    With regard to the relevance of Jewishness to National Socialism, there is a footnote in Human Action that should be taken into account when reading National-Socialist authors: “The Nazis used ‘Jewish’ as a synonym of both ‘capitalist’ and ‘bourgeois.’ ”

  • Paul Marks

    Good posting of a good quote – and good comments.

    I was going to mention Ludwig Von Mises’ “Socialism”and “Human Action” – but tdh had already done that.

    However, Ludwig Von Mises’ “Omnipotent Government” (1944) and F.A. Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” (same year) should also be read.

    Neither book is very long.

  • veryretired

    This post was about killing, so here’s my prediction—the amount of killing over the next 30-50 years, for religious and political reasons, will make the efforts of Joe and Adolph seem mild.

    Look around you. Lunacy is ascendent. Criminality on an international scale is respectable. The few agents in the world which might uphold some form of responsible behavior are faltering, bombarded by scorn and ridicule from the outside, and weakened by contradictory factions and corruption on the inside.

    In popular entertainment, deadly evil is always embodied by some gruesome alien creature, or some flamboyant villian wearing bizarre makeup and costumes that scream “Here’s the bad guy!”

    In the real world, as we have seen, true evil consists of some rather nondescript men and women who work diligently for years to acquire the power they desire, and, having acquired it, unloose upon the world the poison that has festered in their soul.

    The key, as always, is power.

    Prevent these creatures from accumulating the ability to determine who shall live and who shall die, and they deflate like a Macy’s parade balloon.

    Allow them to amass the unchecked power of the state, and couple that power with their hatred for anything they can’t control body and soul, and we open the portal for the Stay-puff marshmallow man, only disguised as some bookkeeper in a funny uniform.

    We are sewing the wind, and we shall reap the whirlwind.