Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Nazis XVI: Misrepresentations of Nazis

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Preamble: Once upon a time, I set out to write a single, if somewhat longer, text on why the Nazis should correctly be viewed as Leftists. Somehow, this turned into a never ending and ever expanding task, until I (a) was too tired of the topic to continue in force, (b) lost the overview of what I had already written, forgot what more I had intended to write, and otherwise lost track. With hindsight, I might have been better off writing a book on the topic, including through how this would have simplified content control and required more structure from early on. As is, the future of this text series is uncertain, but I do have a few drafts for additional texts lying around, many of them from the early period, which I will review and either reject or patch up into something publishable—but likely incomplete or of lower quality compared to the original intent. (I have already spent too much time on the topic.) The below is the first of these texts.

There are some more specific-than-is-far-Right issues* where the Nazis are regularly misrepresented, often with an eye at discrediting others through guilt by association.

*I will not attempt a complete list, as this would involve additional and likely considerable leg-work.

Consider e.g. the claim that the Nazis were anti-abortion (as are the U.S. Republicans; ergo, …):

It is true that the Nazis strongly opposed abortion of healthy “Aryan” babies, but they did not do this due to convictions about abortion—they did so in order to ensure a growing population of these healthy “Aryans”.

On the contrary, they were very much in favor of abortion when it came to e.g. Jews—in order to keep the unwanted portions of the population down.

Abortion, per se, was neither wrong nor right to the Nazis—it was a tool to be used or not used as suited the Nazi goals.

In stark contrast, a typical position among U.S. “pro-lifers”, even when Republican, is that abortion, in and by it self, is wrong, regardless of whether the baby is White or Black. Indeed, in the wake of “Dobbs”, I saw repeated mentions of how restrictions on abortion could increase the Black population share, as Blacks are more likely to have abortions than Whites, which puts the very allegedly anti-Black Republicans on the side of Black lives and the equally allegedly pro-Black Democrats in opposition to Black lives. Moreover, many Democrats argue strongly in favor of abortion in order to combat e.g. Down’s syndrome. Who, then, is truly closer to the Nazi position?

In other cases, the reason might be more to build a fictitious distance between the Nazis and the (usually) Leftist speaker, as with e.g. an alleged pro-Capitalist or anti-union angle to Nazi politics. This from very early own, if originally to discredit the Nazis (!) through guilt by association, as with the “Agent Theory”.* However, Capitalism and Capitalists, just like abortion, were just tools to the Nazis—tolerated as long as they cooperated with the Cause and with no care for what individual business owners might be crushed by the turning wheels of the Nazi state. As to free markets, the Nazis did their best to obliterate them by e.g. increasingly centralizing and merging various businesses**, setting production targets and prices, and similar.

*A remark in the draft refers to a deeper discussion of Nazis vs. Capitalism for more detail. This discussion has not yet taken place (it might or might not follow later), but some discussion of the anti-Capitalist take of the Nazis’ 25-point plan is present in the entries dealing with said plan. The “Agent Theory” amounts to the idea that the Nazis were shills for Big Business, pretending to be Leftist to fool the working class.

**Incidentally, a recurring issue with Leftism, including e.g. the Soviet Union and China, but also e.g. Sweden (cf. excursion).

Unions, on the other hand, were a potential obstacle to the Cause and the Gleichschaltung and a potential competitor for the support of the people—as the Polish Communists were later to learn at the hands of Solidarity and Lech Walesa. To the degree that Nazis were antagonistic to the unions, it was not a matter of e.g. profit-seeking industrialists vs. struggling minimum-wage laborers—it was a matter of political power, control of the people, and meeting state-set production targets. The concerns of the unions were subjugated to the overall political goals—just like the concerns of the Capitalists—and like with businesses there was a massive consolidation, leaving only one (?), Nazi controlled, union. Besides, who needs unions when you have a Führer to ensure that wages and working conditions are fair? Contrast this with, e.g., Thatcher’s and Reagan’s anti-union positions, which stemmed from issues like union excesses and destructive behavior, distortions of the free markets, and whatnot—the unions as a problem for a free society, not as an obstacle to a totalitarian one.*

*And, yes, there were often objective problems, up to and including massive criminal involvement in some U.S. unions. Or consider “you may not change a light-bulb if you belong to the wrong union” regulations. Or consider physical attacks on non-strikers. Or consider the horrifyingly Luddite British printers’ unions.

Oh, and unions in e.g. the USSR? Transformed into indoctrination vehicles in the service of the Communist party… (Again, a much stronger Nazi–Communist parallel than e.g. any Hitler–Thatcher parallel.)

Excursion on Sweden and centralisation:
Under Social-Democrat rule, Sweden was unusually set on creating or favoring very large businesses. This included a strong drive towards state-owned businesses, artificial monopolies, and selective state support. A particularly perfidious approach was the “solidarisk lönepolitik” (“solidary wage-politics”), which included a state and union driven attempt to keep the wage level constant over different businesses by holding wages back relative their natural level* in more profitable businesses**, while letting them rise above their natural level* in unprofitable businesses. This with the deliberate (!) goal that the latter would go bankrupt faster, after which the former would be able to suck up the newly unemployed.

*I.e. the level that would have resulted from fair negotiations and market forces. Note that problems with this include not just the premature or maybe even avoidable bankruptcies mentioned in the main text, but also issues like misallocation of workers and a lesser differentiation between competent, conscientious, or otherwise high-value workers and their opposites, as a business that merely reduces its scope will try to keep the quality employees, while a business that disappears will indiscriminately put all its employees on the street. (An issue additionally worsened by various other rules, like a mandated “last in; first out” approach to partial lay-offs.)

**Which tend to already be among the largest or the fastest growing. If in doubt, after sufficiently many bankruptcies among the competitors, the survivors were likely to have grown large by expanding in the resulting vacuum.

I am unclear on the exact underlying motives for this push towards very large companies in so many Leftist countries, but I do suspect that it is partially one of facility: Firstly, to influence or outright control a single, or just a few, businesses in any give field is easier than doing so with many businesses. Secondly, once that glorious day for outright nationalization finally is here, it will be so much easier with fewer businesses. Another suspicion of mine is that fewer businesses mean fewer owners and entrepreneurs and more employees, which might make for a population demographic more likely to favor Leftist policies.

(The above is not be confused with the long-term international trend towards bigger business, e.g. through mergers, economies of scale, and growing markets in the wake of globalization.)


Written by michaeleriksson

August 5, 2022 at 1:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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