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Jerry Shenk


When 'Right' is Really Left

by Jerry Shenk
 

As a college history major with a keen residual interest in history, I've never understood why, today, "Nazism" is considered a right-wing phenomenon.

Both far-left socialist movements, Nazism and communism were sides of the same coin. Indeed, "Nazi" is a contraction of the German for "National Socialists." Under the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Nazi troops and the Soviet Union invaded and divided Poland.

Adolf Hitler's brand of socialism differed from Germany's communists — with whom Nazis competed for German power -- in only one respect: The Nazis were "statists," German communists were "collectivists."

Under collective communism, all the planning, tools and means of production belong to the state. Under national socialism, the tools of production remain in "private" ownership under management oversight, but are controlled by the state.

German businesses embraced national socialism. Krupps, Bayer, Daimler Benz, Dornier, Deutsche Bundesbank -- all of the major German manufacturers and banks — profited from their government relationships until Hitler overreached, world war ensued and Germany was defeated and partitioned.

Retrospectively, some blame a global recession and public overreaction to the punitive WW I reparations imposed on Germany, but it was the fecklessness of Germany's post-war political class which enabled the rise of Hitler: Poor leadership, uncontrolled spending, fantastic inflation driven by printing new, unsecured currency, joblessness, general public restlessness and a loss of national pride all contributed.

America's conditions today bear resemblance to those in pre-Nazi/Nazi Germany. It's a plausible conclusion that President Barack Obama has been pursuing a national socialist economic model, that America suffers from crony-socialism.

The incestuous relationships between and among the American government's elected officials, big businesses and industries aren't terribly dissimilar from Nazi national socialism — e.g.: sweetheart provisions in the tax code, a competition-strangling/market-distorting regulatory regime, guaranteed loans, subsidies and bailouts. Obamacare was designed to reward large insurance underwriters; Dodd-Frank legislation reconfirmed "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions; the Export-Import Bank is pure corporate welfare; and GM and Chrysler bailouts cost taxpayers billions.

Today, as in 1920s Germany, America's economy is weak; spending is nearly unconstrained; we've printed massive sums of unsecured currency, so inflation looms; jobless numbers are grossly understated; and the American public's dissatisfaction with an irresponsible political class explain the mob response to angry populist messages from avowed socialist Bernie Sanders and, less convincingly, hard-left Hillary Clinton.

In the current economic and political environment, elements of, especially, Sander's emotional, idealized, class-based "scapegoating" and "common enemy" themes are reminiscent of Hitler's anti-capitalist socialist rhetoric. Nazism presented itself as a movement promoting what people believed to be "true and just." The modern term is "fairness," a word the left reserves the right to define.

America does have a mature constitutional history that 1920s Germany lacked, but the president has been trampling on the American Constitution for nearly seven years, and its 10th Amendment has been under assault by both parties and federal courts for decades.

America's legal order is decaying. In a fiscal/economic crisis, an existential breakdown in constitutional law is imaginable. If that happens, almost anything can.


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