For years, Conservatives have had to defend themselves from absurd accusations citing them as “Nazis.” I, for one, am fed up with these nonsensical accusations being hurled our way, attempting to portray us as a genocidal, statist, collectivist cult. In reality, we could not be further from that on the Right.
Set the stage: someone accuses a Conservative of “being a Nazi.” In this event, one need only ask the accuser “other than the genocide and racism, what exactly do you dislike about National Socialism?” If this person is on the left, they are likely to squirm as they rack their brain for an answer. The truth is that the National Socialist German Workers Party – better known as the Nazis – draws much more parallels to modern liberalism than its counterpart, modern conservatism.
In fact, American Socialist and founder of the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” W.E.B. Du Bois traveled to Nazi Germany in 1936. in his own words, he found that the regime was “absolutely necessary to put the state in order.” David Levering Lewis, in his book titled W. E. B. Du Bois, 1919-1963: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, recounts that Du Bois found “National Socialism to be neither ‘wholly illogical,’ nor hypocritical, but to be still ‘a growing and developing body of thought’ in which he divined an ‘extraordinary straddle’ between capitalism and communism.”
The American Left, prior to Nazi Germany’s genocide, admired the Socialist society Hitler had built in Germany.
In the same year that Du Bois visited Nazi Germany, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic President of the United States, commented on Italian Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, calling him an “admirable Italian gentleman.” The truth is that American socialists agreed with a majority of Nazi or fascist policies because they were generally socialist policies.
Now, no one is stating that modern liberals are Nazis. Jonah Goldberg was eager to make this point after he wrote “Liberal Fascism” – a book that chronicles the similarities between early 20th Century “Progressives” in America and European Fascists. Instead, it is worth stating that there are serious similarities between the economic and political policies advocated by modern liberals and so-called Fascists. However, the conventional view is that it is conservatives who are the real Fascists, or at least closer to Fascism than any other contemporary political view.
But conservatives believe in a free market, one based solely off the individuals pursuing their individual interests. They also believe that an individual should be able to strive to obtain as much wealth as he possibly can, meaning the work you put in directly reflects the wealth you obtain. Fascism and Nazism, on the other hand, could not be further from this view.
Fascist Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, stated that the economy of Fascist Italy was to be “based not on individual profit, but on collective interest.” Does that sound like a view currently being espoused by conservative thinkers? Of course not. Fascists believed in extensive government control and intervention in the economy; something conservatives are entirely and fervently against.
Arguably the largest aspect of conservatism is the freedom of the individual. The freedom to pursue wealth, own land, bear arms, the freedom of religion, and many more rights are essential to the conservative view of politics. Fascist states and Nazi Germany limited almost every aspect of society, stripping the individual rights of their citizens. The Nazi Party dictated that citizens could not bear arms, advocated for the nationalization of land, the genocide of certain ethnicities, the banning of certain religions, and the staunchly opposed the wealth of the individual.
The Nazi Party even attempted to remove Christmas and Christian views from modern German society. The idea of celebrating a Jewish Messiah, such as Jesus, was preposterous to the Nazi Party. They attempted to replace Christmas and Christianity with previous Germanic pagan beliefs. Santa was replaced by a Germanic Viking, Jesus was removed entirely, and the event was renamed “Julfest.” This directly contradicts with conservatives’ belief in the freedom of religion.
Ultimately, since the horrid actions of Fascist European countries in the 1940s, the word “Fascist” has been used to discredit groups, diminish their strength, and turn the public against them. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin used the word “Fascist” to describe heretics, and traitors to Communism. Any organization not loyal to communist Moscow was now “objectively Fascist.” Famous left-wing writer George Orwell perfectly described the misuse of the word when he stated “Fascism has no meaning anymore other than something undesirable.”
Since the Presidential Race of 2016, the accusations of ‘Fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ have risen immensely – mainly being hurdled at Donald Trump and his supporters. I am far from a Trump supporter. I would not even label Trump as a true or modern conservative. Nevertheless, he does still bring a centrist, or centre-right authoritarian, populist style of government forward. This, to the Left, is enough to label Trump as a far-right conservative, and, by extension, a Fascist.
The Left has attempted to identify a missing link between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, placing Trump on the same evil pedestal as a man responsible for exterminating over six million people. This is an illogical and offensive comparison – for further explanation, see No, Donald Trump is not “Hitler”.
But, even if Trump does not compare to Hitler, is his governing style, at its core, Fascist? Although we have seen Trump’s demonstration of an authoritarian-leaning government, the Trump administration is still far from Fascist in nature.
Firstly, Donald Trump is a business man, believing in, at least, some level of individual wealth and Capitalism. While Donald Trump staged numerous rallies throughout his Presidential campaign to yell about “jobs, business, companies, (American) jobs” (a stupid argument, but an argument nonetheless), Fascists such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler routinely criticized the capitalists, the industrialists, and the conservatives of their time.