I never claimed Mein Kampf to be a “liberal” book, certainly not in the European sense and not in the American sense either. If in the American context we are to distinguish liberalism from, say, leftism or radicalism, then Mein Kampf cannot be considered a liberal book. But it is deeply radical, not reactionary nor conservative as so many glibly claim. If you even skimmed the book, you’d learn that Hitler does not seek to restore the monarchy (something a reactionary might want to do) and he reviles classical or Manchester liberalism as well as democracy. Oh, and he despises the bourgeoisie (who, by the way, according to Marxists are supposed to be the enablers of Fascism). He attacks big business and bankers frequently. He says he is a nationalist but not a patriot. His nationalism is decidedly anti-Bolshevik (because that is foreign and, more importantly, Russian and Jewish, in his mind), but he is not anti-Socialist (as folks keep saying). If he was, he probably would have led a party other than the National Socialists. It is also not, as you sometimes hear, a remotely Christian book. Hitler celebrates the “much freer” pre-Christian pagan world.
So, depending on your lexicon, you could say Mein Kampf is right-wing because it is very nationalistic, but certainly not conservative in either the European or American understanding of conservatism. Also, unless you are both a dedicated and very specific kind of Marxist, you’re going to have a very hard time defending the claim that nationalism is, of itself, “right-wing.” If it is then Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hugo Chavez, to name a few, are all right-wingers.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Jonah Goldberg on fascism: