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The socialist left and the Marxist hard left both deny their authoritarian progenitors. Leftists are collectivists, many of whom subscribe to an explicit form of corporatism with the state having supreme power, whether as a permanent or transitional arrangement on the path to full state ownership of the means of production. Collectivism necessarily requires force and the abrogation of individual rights. At this link, corporatism, with its powerful and interventionist state, is aptly described as “de facto nationalization without being de jure nationalization” of industry. To the extent that private ownership is maintained (for the right people), it is separated from private control and is thus a taking. But the word corporatism itself is confusing to some: it is not capitalism by any means. It essentially means “to group”, and it is a form of social control by the state. (And by the way, it has nothing to do with the legal business definition of a corporation.)

Of course, leftists distance themselves from the brutality of many statist regimes by asserting that authoritarianism is exclusively a right-wing phenomenon, conveniently ignoring Stalin, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, and other hard lefties too numerous to mention. In fact, leftists assert that fascism must be right-wing because it is corporatist and relies on the force of authority. But again, both corporatism and fascism are collectivist philosophies and historically have been promoted as such by their practitioners. Furthermore, these leftist denials fly in the face of the systemic tendency of large governments to stanch dissent. I made several of these points four years ago in “Labels For the Authoritarian Left“.

I find this link from The Federalist fascinating because the author, Paul Jossey, provides quotes of Hitler and others offering pretty conclusive proof that the Nazi high command was collectivist in the same vein as the leftists of today. Here are a few of Jossey’s observations:

“Hitler’s first ‘National Workers’ Party’ meeting while he was still an Army corporal featured the speech ‘How and by What Means is Capitalism to be Eliminated?’

The Nazi charter published a year later and coauthored by Hitler is socialist in almost every aspect. It calls for ‘equality of rights for the German people’; the subjugation of the individual to the state; breaking of ‘rent slavery’; ‘confiscation of war profits’; the nationalization of industry; profit-sharing in heavy industry; large-scale social security; the ‘communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low costs to small firms’; the ‘free expropriation of land for the purpose of public utility’; the abolition of ‘materialistic’ Roman Law; nationalizing education; nationalizing the army; state regulation of the press; and strong central power in the Reich.”

Are you feeling the Bern? Does any of this remind you of the “Nasty Woman”, Liz Warren? Here is more from Jossey:

“Hitler repeatedly praised Marx privately, stating he had ‘learned a great deal from Marxism.’ The trouble with the Weimar Republic, he said, was that its politicians ‘had never even read Marx.’ He also stated his differences with communists were that they were intellectual types passing out pamphlets, whereas ‘I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun.’

It wasn’t just privately that Hitler’s fealty for Marx surfaced. In ‘Mein Kampf,’ he states that without his racial insights National Socialism ‘would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground.’ Nor did Hitler eschew this sentiment once reaching power. As late as 1941, with the war in bloom, he stated ‘basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same’ in a speech published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Nazi propaganda minister and resident intellectual Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary that the Nazis would install ‘real socialism’ after Russia’s defeat in the East. And Hitler favorite Albert Speer, the Nazi armaments minister whose memoir became an international bestseller, wrote that Hitler viewed Joseph Stalin as a kindred spirit, ensuring his prisoner of war son received good treatment, and even talked of keeping Stalin in power in a puppet government after Germany’s eventual triumph.”

Some contend that the Nazis used the term “socialist” in a purely cynical way, and that they hoped to undermine support for “real socialists” by promising a particular (and perverse) vision of social justice to those loyal to the Reich and the German nation. After all, the Bolsheviks were political rivals who lacked Hitler’s nationalistic fervor. Hitler must have thought that his brand of “socialism” was better suited to his political aspirations, not to mention his expansionist visions. Those not loyal to the Reich, including Jews and other scapegoats, would become free slave labor to the regime and its loyal corporate cronies. (It’s striking that much of today’s Left, obviously excepting Bernie Sanders, seems to share the Nazis’ antipathy for Jews.)

Socialism, corporatism and fascism are close cousins and are overlapping forms of statism, and they are all authoritarian by their practical nature. It’s incredible to behold leftists as they deny that the National Socialists Workers Party practiced a brand of socialism. Perhaps the identification of the Nazis as a fascist regime has led to confusion regarding their true place along the ideological spectrum, but that too is puzzling. In their case, a supreme corporatist state enabled its most privileged advocates to exploit government power for private gain, and that’s the essence of fascism and the archetypical outcome of socialism.