Nonsense is nonsense
…and it should be exposed as such; often and always. There are few right wing lies quite so annoying as "the Nazis were Leftists/Socialists/Communists" lie. The revisionist hooey whores like Jonah Goldberg have made it easier for this orchestrated stupidity to gain new traction with his "Liberal Fascism" screed. The left, as it is quite good at doing lately, has utterly failed to push back against this absurdity in any focused manner, so this too gains acceptance among those who think Obama was born in Kenya, the media is liberal, Canadians are overwhelming the U.S. health care system, and government can't create jobs.
Below I've put down a few good articles you can use to defuse this idiotic argument. It's not hard. I will update it as I have time. If you know of some brief or extended articles I should add here, please pass them along to me via Twitter or in comments below.
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The basis of the conflation of nazism and socialism is the term "National Socialism," a self description of the Nazis. "National Socialism" includes the word "socialism", but it is just a word. Hitler and the Nazis outlawed socialism, and executed socialists and communists en masse, even before they started rounding up Jews. In 1933, the Dachau concentration camp held socialists and leftists exclusively. The Nazis arrested more than 11,000 Germans for "illegal socialist activity" in 1936.
The GOP uses deception and fears to try to break the president and his agenda for change. Ultra-right broadcasters even lie about our World War II enemy. Their claims about health care, big business and "socialism" in Nazi Germany are not only untrue, but vicious and ignorant
The Myth 1 — The Nazis were National Socialists and therefore Nazism is a form of socialism. The left-wing parties like Labour and the Greens are therefore similar to the Nazis politically.
The Truth 1 — Nope: a common mistake propagated by people who think that a name means what it says. Take the Democratic Republic of Congo, the German Democratic Republic or the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea). Any takers for claiming them as being democracies?
To most people, Hitler's beliefs belong to the extreme far right. For example, most conservatives believe in patriotism and a strong military; carry these beliefs far enough, and you arrive at Hitler's warring nationalism. This association has long been something of an embarrassment to the far right. To deflect such criticism, conservatives have recently launched a counter-attack, claiming that Hitler was a socialist, and therefore belongs to the political left, not the right.
The primary basis for this claim is that Hitler was a National Socialist. The word "National" evokes the state, and the word "Socialist" openly identifies itself as such.
However, there is no academic controversy over the status of this term: it was a misnomer. Misnomers are quite common in the history of political labels
SPLC has some great articles in their archive that reveal just how many of the more vicious and ignorant Nazi myths have been morphed and migrated into American extremist's culture. Often with the tacit approval of many mainstream conservatives and Republicans.
The money shot
If you just don't have a lot of time, you can use Hitler's own words from Mein Kampf, where the Furhrer clearly illustrates his contempt for the "leftists," and had used their colors (not to mention their name) to annoying them:
Yes, how often did they not turn up in huge numbers, those supporters of the Red Flag, all previously instructed to smash up everything once and for all and put an end to these meetings. More often than not everything hung on a mere thread, and only the chairman’s ruthless determination and the rough handling by our ushers baffled our adversaries’ intentions. And indeed they had every reason for being irritated.
The fact that we had chosen red as the colour for our posters sufficed to attract them to our meetings. The ordinary bourgeoisie were very shocked to see that, we had also chosen the symbolic red of Bolshevism and they regarded this as something ambiguously significant.
The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists. The actual difference between Socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people up to this day. The charge of Marxism was conclusively proved when it was discovered that at our meetings we deliberately substituted the words ‘Fellow-countrymen and Women’ for ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ and addressed each other as ‘Party Comrade’. We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims.
We chose red for our posters after particular and careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate the Left, so as to arouse their attention and tempt them to come to our meetings – if only in order to break them up – so that in this way we got a chance of talking to the people.
Why Did Fascists Like Hitler Encourage Conflating Ideologies?
This from David McGowan puts it fairly succinctly:
- Bibliography – Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany
- The Third Reich—by Christian Leitz (google excerpts)
- Liberal Fascism: A Critique-From The Left
- Shoq Value: When Historical Lies Are Allowed To Flourish