The Inverted Saint - HitlerWritten by Sam Vaknin
"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.
In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through passage which tells us how Lord at last rose in His might and seized scourge to drive out of Temple brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against Jewish poison.
Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon Cross.
As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have duty to be a fighter for truth and justice . . .
And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at end of week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.
When I go out in morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited."
(Source: The Straight Dope - Speech by Adolf Hitler, delivered April 12, 1922, published in "My New Order," and quoted in Freethought Today (April 1990)
Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history. Yet truth is that they were culmination and reification of European history in 19th century. Europe's annals of colonialism have prepared it for range of phenomena associated with Nazi regime - from industrial murder to racial theories, from slave labour to forcible annexation of territory.
Germany was a colonial power no different to murderous Belgium or Britain. What set it apart is that it directed its colonial attentions at heartland of Europe - rather than at Africa or Asia. Both World Wars were colonial wars fought on European soil. Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories (usually reserved to non-whites) to white race itself. It started with Jews - a non-controversial proposition - but then expanded them to include "east European" whites, such as Poles and Russians.
Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. The far right in France was as pernicious. Nazism - and Fascism - were world ideologies, adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Latin America, and Britain. At end of 1930's, liberal capitalism, communism, and fascism (and its mutations) were locked in mortal battle of ideologies. Hitler's mistake was to delusionally believe in affinity between capitalism and Nazism - an affinity enhanced, to his mind, by Germany's corporatism and by existence of a common enemy: global communism.
Colonialism always had discernible religious overtones and often collaborated with missionary religion. "The White Man's burden" of civilizing "savages" was widely perceived as ordained by God. The church was extension of colonial power's army and trading companies.
It is no wonder that Hitler's lebensraum colonial movement - Nazism - possessed all hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. Hitler was this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denied himself earthly pleasures (or so he claimed) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling. Hitler was a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that (Aryan) humanity should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Hitler became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".
Fascism - The Tensile PermanenceWritten by Sam Vaknin
Nazism - and, by extension, fascism (though two are by no means identical) - amounted to permanent revolutionary civil wars. Fascist movements were founded, inter alia, on negations and on militarization of politics. Their raison d'etre and vigor were derived from their rabid opposition to liberalism, communism, conservatism, rationalism, and individualism and from exclusionary racism. It was a symbiotic relationship - self-definition and continued survival by opposition.
Yet, all fascist movements suffered from fatal - though largely preconcerted - ideological tensions. In their drive to become broad, pluralistic, churches (a hallmark of totalitarian movements) - these secular religions often offered contradictory doctrinal fare.
I. Renewal vs. Destruction
The first axis of tension was between renewal and destruction. Fascist parties invariably presented themselves as concerned with pursuit and realization of a utopian program based on emergence of a "new man" (in Germany it was a mutation of Nietzsche's Superman). "New", "young", "vital", and "ideal" were pivotal keywords. Destruction was both inevitable (i.e., removal of old and corrupt) and desirable (i.e., cathartic, purifying, unifying, and ennobling).
Yet fascism was also nihilistic. It was bipolar: either utopia or death. Hitler instructed Speer to demolish Germany when his dream of a thousand-years Reich crumbled. This mental splitting mechanism (all bad or all good, black or white) is typical of all utopian movements. Similarly, Stalin (not a fascist) embarked on orgies of death and devastation every time he faced an obstacle.
This ever-present tension between construction, renewal, vitalism, and adoration of nature - and destruction, annihilation, murder, and chaos - was detrimental to longevity and cohesion of fascist fronts.
II. Individualism vs. Collectivism
A second, more all-pervasive, tension was between self-assertion and what Griffin and Payne call "self transcendence". Fascism was a cult of Promethean will, of super-man, above morality, and shackles of pernicious materialism, egalitarianism, and rationalism. It was demanded of New Man to be willful, assertive, determined, self-motivating, a law unto himself. The New Man, in other words, was supposed to be contemptuously a-social (though not anti-social).
But here, precisely, arose contradiction. It was society which demanded from New Man certain traits and selfless fulfillment of certain obligations and observance of certain duties. The New Man was supposed to transcend egotism and sacrifice himself for greater, collective, good. In Germany, it was Hitler who embodied this intolerable inconsistency. On one hand, he was considered to be reification of will of nation and its destiny. On other hand, he was described as self-denying, self-less, inhumanly altruistic, and a temporal saint martyred on altar of German nation.
This doctrinal tension manifested itself also in economic ideology of fascist movements.
Fascism was often corporatist or syndicalist (and always collectivist). At times, it sounded suspiciously like Leninism-Stalinism. Payne has this to say:
"What fascist movements had in common was aim of a new functional relationship for functional and economic systems, eliminating autonomy (or, in some proposals, existence) of large-scale capitalism and modern industry, altering nature of social status, and creating a new communal or reciprocal productive relationship through new priorities, ideals, and extensive governmental control and regulation. The goal of accelerated economic modernization was often espoused ..."
(Stanley G. Payne - A History of Fascism 1914-1945 - University of Wisconsin Press, 1995 - p. 10)
Still, private property was carefully preserved and property rights meticulously enforced. Ownership of assets was considered to be a mode of individualistic expression (and, thus, "self-assertion") not to be tampered with.