Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feeling evil

Oliver Kamm, for once, is lost for words:

I will go so far as the historian Robert Conquest in feeling that Nazism is a greater historical evil than Communism. Yet the disrepute and the mode of argument of the political fringes are parallel and not divergent.
The word "feeling" is an acknowledgement that this is not a view with any intellectual justification whatsoever; far from being a justification of his opinion, this is an avoidance of rational justification. But that reflects how he thinks, and there's no doubt that the weight of half a century of consensus lies behind it.

It is so widely accepted that fascism is worse than communism, or indeed socialism, that bloggers from both left and right could attempt, a few days ago, to organise a blockade of a BNP/David Irving meeting.

Fascism was and is as bad as people think. But it was actually much less bad than communism. Communist countries killed some 140 million people during the twentieth century, not including casualties of war, something like five times the equivalent figure for fascist dictatorships. If fascist regimes didn't kill you, there was a degree of personal freedom and even prosperity; if communist regimes didn't kill you they impoverished and enslaved you.

Even the starkest horrors of the Nazis - genocide against Jews, extermination of homosexuals - were dimly mirrored by the Soviets, and can now be seen in all their Nazi glory in the attitudes of those parties of the hard left that have allied themselves with Islamists in open support of organisations like Hezbollah, whose stated aim is to exterminate all Jews wherever in the world they may be found.

I understand Kamm's feelings. I used to feel like that, as a consequence of growing up with the social consensus that fascism is worse than communism. But it isn't.

If the BNP should be banned, then so should the Communist Party, the SWP and RESPECT. If any should be free to operate, all should be. If any are eligible for jobs in the police force, all should be.

In no sense am I downplaying the evil of the Nazis. I'm just suggesting we stop downplaying the evils of communism and socialism.

3 comments:

Peter Horne said...

Alan Charles Kors is relevant here

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--722-Can_There_Be_After_Socialism.aspx

Why do people still believe in this socialism in it's various guises, in the teeth of the evidence? Maybe it's because they are making a statement. Not a statement about the poor or the oppressed but a statement about themselves, and that ststement is "Behold My Virtue!"

In other words it's vanity, a kind of malignant narcissism, and feeling good about themselves is far better than facing facts, and a lot easier. It's magical thinking, like a child's belief in Father Christmas.

dearieme said...

Personally, I try hard not to refer to Nazism as fascism. But anyway, you must be right. Eventually Nazism will be seen as an inexplicable, brief burst of lunatic, murderous barbarity whereas Communism will be seen as a chronically evil pseudo-religion that murdered more and impoverished far far more. Looking at it now, I think that Nazism's great moment - the Fall of France - was a reward for an extraordinary, daring action against a preposterously self-enfeebled opponent. So was 9/11. Happily, the Islamaloonies don't have control of a great industrial nation or the world's best soldiers.

Anonymous said...

It's not even clear that there is a clearly defined thing called facism.

Franco's Spain was highly religious, Germany was anti-religion. Mussolini was against anti-semitism. The leftist roots of many such as Mussolini, and the Nazi's was not mirrored in Spain.