Saturday, August 18, 2018

Leftism: A Perfect Track Record of Failure

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse, by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (EvKL)

The purpose of this book is to show the character of leftism and to what extent and in what way the vast majority of the leftist ideologies now dominating or threatening most of the modern world are competitors rather than enemies.

This book, published in 1974 by Arlington House Publishers, examines all facets of leftist political ideology, as you can tell from the title.  Hitler a leftist?  Yup. 

EvKL examines leftism throughout Europe and North America; having travelled and taught extensively – and with an understanding of over a dozen languages – he seems eminently qualified to opine on the matter.

Given his background, he can make – with some authority – statements such as:

I think that the nascent United States of the late eighteenth century was already in the throes of warring political philosophies showing positive and negative aspects…. The American War of Independence had an undeniable influence on the French Revolution and the latter, in the course of the years, had a deplorable impact on America.

These two revolutions were not born of right and left; instead the two – one supposedly leading to liberty and the other certainly leading to tyranny – were born of, and developed into, common, albeit not identical, cloth.

EvKL does the reader a service by exposes his biases right up front:

I am a Christian: I am emphatically not a democrat but a devotee to the cause of personal liberty.  I would thoroughly subscribe to the words of Alexis de Tocqueville when he wrote, "Despotism appears to me particularly to be dreaded in democratic ages. I think that I would have loved liberty at all times, but in the present age I am ready to worship it."

I don’t know that this would make him a “libertarian” in the thin NAP sense of the term, but there you have it.  EvKL sees in the unwarranted connection of democracy with liberty the manifestation of the evils to be found in the twentieth century, not to exclude the evils perpetrated by the greatest of all democratic societies: the United States.

We have to remember all the wars, all the propaganda, all the pressure campaigns for the cause of democracy, how every hailed and applauded victory of democracy has ended in terrible defeat for personal liberty, the one cause really dear to American hearts.

This connection and subsequent destruction has continued even to the present day; see Iraq as just one example of many.

The French Revolution; Kerensky’s government in Russia; the Weimar Republic.  The list is endless, and continued long past the time of the publishing of this book.  All initially hailed as victories to the Progressivist cause; all resulting in “grievous disappointments”:

…dictatorships, civil wars, crowded jails, confiscated newspapers, gallows and firing squads, one-party tyrannies, sequestrations, nationalizations, "social engineering."

These failures are not just visible in hindsight; de Tocqueville and many others saw such failures coming in advance – not just the elimination of “liberty and decency,” but also “the democratic evolution towards nonviolent slavery….”

One should not be surprised about this, because the roots of the evil are historically-genetically the same all over the Western World. The fatal year is 1789, and the symbol of iniquity is the Jacobin Cap.

The denial of personality and liberty; all forms of leftism from Marxism to National Socialism:

The issue is between man created in the image of God and the termite in a human guise. It is in defense of man and in opposition to the false teachings which want to lower man to the status of an insect that this book has been written.

Given my oft-stated (and controversial if not ridiculed) view of the kissing-cousin relationship of classical liberalism / libertarianism to communism, this book and some specific chapters will prove, I hope, of invaluable service in clarifying my thoughts and / or disabusing me of certain blasphemous notions.  For example, chapters such as:

·         Right and Left
·         The Historic Origins of Leftism
·         Real Liberalism
·         False Liberalism


Of specific interest to me will be the issue of culture and tradition.  In this, I find a clear element of connection between many libertarians and communists, say a connection between many libertarians and Marcuse – a connection based on the use (or abuse) of the idea of the individual.

While the ends are no doubt different for libertarians such as these (at least for the honest thinkers) and the communists, the means are rather similar.  So, if EvKL can do something to either reinforce my views or disabuse me of same, this will be a worthwhile read.

After all, I am about to invest in a 650 page book.


  1. Great stuff, Bionic. Foucault was one of the first to put forth the problematic nature of the self, the subject, the individual, and the very concept of innate 'identity'. And fundamentally, Foucault debunked Marcuses concept of the repressed individual, the repressed primordial sexual identity and the pressing need to 'liberate' them. The LGBTQXXXXs libertarians are caught in this Marcusean Trap which is the basis of their ridiculous contretemps with Jordan Peterson:

    'I would also distinguish myself from para-Marxist like Marcuse who give the notion of repression an exaggerated role—because power would be a fragile thing if its only function were to repress, if it worked only through the mode of censorship, exclusion, blockage and repression, in the manner of a great Superego, exercising itself only in a negative way. If, on the contrary, power is strong this is because, as we are beginning to realize, it produces effects at the level of desire—and also at the level of knowledge. Far from preventing knowledge, power produces it.' (Foucault 1980:59, “Body/Power” in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings, New York: Pantheon Books)

  2. I recently became aware of another filter through which to view societies/ideologies.
    A society/ideology is either eugenic or dysgenic. If it is dysgenic, it will eventually disappear or go under. Communism is clearly dysgenic, but so are democracies, especially liberal democracies.
    The rate of dysgenic behaviour determines the life-span of the society.

    1. Can you define what you mean by eugenic and dysgenic.


      And to make the picture complete you also need some of this:

      To be sure, I think the terms eugenics and dysgenic should also include the mental state, not just the genetics. And there is a fair argument to be made that it should include the state of the institutions as well, though it could also be argued that these are a consequence of the individual mental/genetic state.

      I am aware of the 'sensitivity' of these terms. They are most surely not PC. And no, I am _NOT_ advocating killing people left and right. But changes to our genetic and memetic makeup do occur due to our collective behaviour. (For example the 'G' factor -often confused with IQ- has been declining since the late 1800's. IQ has seen a bit of a bump, but that too seems to be declining now)

    3. The word eugenics, meaning the improvement of the human race by selective breeding, was coined by the biologist Francis Galton.

      Ludwig von Mises:

      “Eugenics aims at placing some men, backed by the police power, in complete control of human reproduction. It suggests that the methods applied to domestic animals be applied to men. This is precisely what the Nazis tried to do. The only objection which a consistent eugenist can raise is that his own plan differs from that of the Nazi scholars and that he wants to rear another type of men than the Nazis. As every supporter of economic planning aims at the execution of his own plan only, so every advocate of eugenic planning aims at the execution of his own plan and wants himself to act as the breeder of human stock.”

      Forced Sterilization (1907-1945)

      While Briton Francis Galton provided the blueprints, American progressives were the first to initiate a eugenics movement, beginning in Indiana, which passed the first sterilization law in 1907. About 30 more states followed suit, with California being the most enthusiastic. By the movement's end, about 65,000 Americans deemed "morons" or "unfit" for procreation had been forcibly sterilized, with California having sterilized about 2,500 of its citizens.

      Canada, France, and Sweden followed the U.S., but of course the most notorious imitator was Germany where the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring was approved in 1933. This Nazi law was based on a model drafted by American progressive Harry H. Laughlin, an enthusiastic supporter of not only eugenics but "racial integrity" laws and the establishment of a global government. The 1933 Nazi law established genetic courts that decided whether particular Germans were fit for procreation. By the end of the Nazi era in 1945, about 200 genetic courts had ordered the forced sterilization of about 400,000 Germans.


  3. BM: Hitler a leftist?

    Yes and no.

    I am using the propertarian model of three major factions in society:
    - socialists (female)(S)
    - liberalists (brotherhood)(L)
    - authoritarians (paternalism)(A)

    Usually we consider leftist to be of the S&L variety, which is common in liberal democracies.
    Communism is straight out S driven to an extreme.
    The right or conservatives are a form of A

    Nazi's were a unique blend of S&A which is rather rare as these two are usually in opposition to each other. They take from both socialists (left) and authoritarians (right) and thus can be regarded as either of these when talking about ideological aspects in isolation.

    1. Hitler was a nationalist, socialist and a racist.

      National Socialism can only be sufficiently understood when its religious character is perceived.

      National Socialism was a Religious Movement, same as Socialism and Marxism

      "Heil Hitler" can be translated "Salvation Hitler."

      The German economic system was run by the central government. It preserved the illusion of private property, but it was a socialist system. The government controlled the means of production. The government issued fiat money, and it established price and wage controls. It set up a system of 1,600 cartels, government officials set the prices of commodities, and this resulted in shortages of most domestic commodities. The government also expanded the power of the government over the affairs of everybody in the society.

      Hitler was the head of a political party. In English, it was called the National Socialist German Workers Party, or "Nazi Party" for short. It was not called socialist for nothing. To imagine that this system was anything other than socialism is to parrot the Party Line of the Left ever since 1923. "No, no, no: the Nazis were not really socialists." Well, if they weren't, their policies surely resembled socialism. They believed in centralized control over the economy, and when they got into power in 1933, they established that control.

      Ludwig von Mises in Omnipotent Government:

      Many popular fallacies concerning socialism are due to the mistaken belief that all friends of socialism advocate the same system. On the contrary, every socialist wants his own socialism, not the other fellow’s. He disputes the other socialists’ right to call themselves socialists. In the eyes of Stalin the Mensheviks and the Trotskyists are not socialists but traitors, and vice versa. The Marxians call the Nazis supporters of capitalism; the Nazis call the Marxians supporters of Jewish capital. If a man says socialism, or planning, he always has in view his own brand of socialism, his own plan. Thus planning does not in fact mean preparedness to coöperate peacefully. It means conflict (pp. 242-43).

      Argument of F. A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom (1944) is that without the centralization of power over the economy, the German government could not have exercised the tyranny that it did exercise in all other areas of life.

      The Left always has denied Hayek's thesis. We can have centralized economic planning without tyranny, the Left says.


  4. The question you really got to ask about Hitler or the Nazis, was their Economic Policy any different than the United States government's economic policy?