We all know how Our Betters, the Liberals, like to throw the word “Nazi” around.
- The Nazis were racists and nationalists;
- racism is bad;
- nationalism is “right wing;”
- therefore “nationalist” means “racist” means “right winger;”
- therefore anyone who disagrees with a Liberal is bad
- because Nazi
That doesn’t mean the Nazis aren’t worth studying, though.
In reality, Nazism was a utopian revolutionary movement like any other. The only difference was the details, which cynics on both sides acknowledged — Goebbels bragged he could turn a Red into a Nazi in two weeks; the German Communist Party recruited heavily among Nazi Brownshirts. Let’s leave the details aside, then, and focus on the process.
The names everyone recognizes — Hitler, Goebbels, Goering — were anomalies. Great War veterans(1), they were middle-aged when the Nazis seized power in 1933. Their time on the Western Front defined their lives — Hitler’s military decisions, for example, don’t make sense outside the context of trench warfare. But the men who actually carried out the prototypically Nazi stuff — the SS, the Einsatzkommandos, the Gestapo — were younger. Their defining life experience wasn’t the War, though they were fully aware of it. The “War Youth” generation was defined by defeat, the stab in the back, the missed opportunity to prove themselves worthy of their Fatherland.
This is important: They spent their entire adolescence preparing for war, physically, mentally, and emotionally. They longed to test their mettle in the crucible of combat like their fathers, brothers, and older schoolmates did…. but they didn’t get the chance to.
So they turned to radical politics.
As “everyone knows,” the guys who joined the SS(2) were mindless thugs, sadists, failures like Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, wannabe-farmers who (in Eichmann’s case) actually scratched out a living raising chickens for a while after the war. As with pretty much everything “everyone knows,” this is false. SS officers were largely college-educated; many had real degrees in real subjects; quite a few of them considered themselves intellectuals and, of those, quite a few actually were. They preached, and practiced, a radical ideology they learned in college — a distinctive, instantly recognizable weltanschaaung that guided their actions.
Again, this is important: They learned this stuff in college. They were Nazis long before the war, and their actions during the war were logical, though horrifying, consequences of their ideology. The war didn’t turn them into fanatical killers, their ideology did. The war, especially the brutality of the Eastern Front — which they all regarded as an existential struggle against Bolshevism — provided them with the means and opportunity to put their motives into practice. Had Germany not gone to war, or had the war gone differently, these guys still would’ve been fanatical, murderous Nazis… except instead of leading “special actions” in Russia, they’d be teaching college seminars.(3)
I’m pretty sure the Six Regular Readers see where I’m going with this but for everyone else, let’s talk about the Sixties.
That’s Bernardine Dohrn, the driving force behind Weatherman, the most violent radical group in the 1970s.(4) For those who haven’t heard of Dohrn, Barack Obama’s best bud Bill Ayers, and the rest, Weatherman, like every other white radical outfit in the Sixties and Seventies, was a movement by, for, and about the frustrations of over-privileged college kids. Their membership was invariably middle- to upper-middle class: Dohrn grew up in an upper-middle-class suburb of Milwaukee and was a law student; Ayers’s father was the CEO of ConEd energy in Chicago; Mark Rudd and John “J.J.” Jacobs were undergrads at Columbia. And they all wanted to be black — “I think in our hearts what all of us wanted to be was a Black Panther,” a former (female, natch) leader proclaimed, and none of the black groups who terrified California in the early 70s would’v gotten anywhere without the white, female attorneys who helped them… and, of course, slept with them.
Reading about Weatherman and the rest, then — Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage is a good start — one gets the overwhelming impression of solipsistic kids overdosing on white guilt and boredom.
The parallels are obvious if you choose to see them. Where the German “War Youth” were radicalized by defeat, the Americans were done in by victory. Their fathers defeated Hitler, then and now the evilest human being that could ever be. What could possibly compete with that? They’d never be tested in battle. They’d never endure the hardships of the Great Depression. The only foreign evil on offer was Communism, whose JV squad was slapping their generational cohorts around and whose Varsity was armed with ICBMs. A hot war with Ivan would be over in twenty minutes.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Like the SS intellectuals, the Radical intellectuals of the 1960s were convinced that utopia was within reach, if only we had the steel to reach out and take it. Their idols — Che Guevara, Regis Debray, Carlos Marighella, Lenin, Mao — taught that a dedicated cadre of professional revolutionaries could lead the masses to victory. The only requirements were iron will, utter ruthlessness, and total rejection of conventional morality. The American version played out like a caricature of modern SJW hyperventilating — in their total rejection of “the System,” Weatherman leaders decided to “smash monogamy” by ordering all revolutionary couples to break up; when that wasn’t enough they moved on to mandatory orgies, and when that proved insufficient, to compulsory homosexuality (somehow Dohrn herself always seemed to miss out on the action). It would almost be funny if not for the bombs, but these people were serious:
We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who would kill us. We however do not have the right to enrich ourselves with even one fur, with one Mark, with one cigarette, with one watch, with anything. That we do not have. Because we don’t want, at the end of all this, to get sick and die from the same bacillus that we have exterminated. I will never see it happen that even one bit of putrefaction comes in contact with us, or takes root in us. On the contrary, where it might try to take root, we will burn it out together. But altogether we can say: We have carried out this most difficult task for the love of our people. And we have suffered no defect within us, in our soul, or in our character.
That’s Heinrich Himmler addressing a group of SS officers, not Bill Ayers addressing the Weathermen, but change the “bacillus” from “Jews” to “capitalism” and he’d agree with every word.
Which brings us to the Millennials.
Once again, we see an entire generation of over-educated youngsters who feel they’ve missed an opportunity — really, the opportunity — to test their mettle. The wandervogel who were radicalized into the SS in college missed the First World War, the Weathermen missed the Second, and the Millennials missed everything.(5) And unlike the Sixties, money can’t paper this over — when The Simpsons joked about Homer’s hippy-dippy mom “marketing Jerry Rubin’s line of diet shakes, proofreading Bobby Seale’s cookbook, and running credit checks at Tom Hayden’s Porsche dealership,” it wasn’t really a joke. Hayden never owned a Porsche dealership (Wiki prissily informs us), but the rest of the Sixties bomb-throwing crew did just fine — ask Bill Ayers, emeritus professor of education at Northwestern, or Bernardine Dohrn, law professor at same. Mark Rudd was a college prof, too, and so is Tom Hayden, who was also married to Jane Fonda back when she was still hot.
The rest of the Sixties flower children became hedge fund managers. Their grandkids can barely get jobs at Starbucks. And — this is the important part — radical politics are dead, too, at least as we’re used to understanding them. The Weathermen were stupid, grandiose, murderous clowns, but at least the racism they decried (in between the mandatory homosexual orgies, anyway) was a real evil. Millennials are stuck picketing department stores so that 6-2 dudes in dresses can make wee-wee in the little girls’ room.
So what’s left for them? As Matt Forney (a Millennial himself) points out, they’re turning en masse to a new kind of radical politics — the shitlord kind.
Millennials came of age in a world where the entire establishment, from the politicians down to the flesh-puppets of Hollywood, were complete and total jokes. No shock that we want to crash it with no survivors. Donald Trump is the avatar of our rage: while not a millennial himself, his ideas and attitude make the overly comfortable chattering classes collectively brown their pantaloons. Because we have no memory of the leftist upheavals of the sixties and seventies, we’re not bound by the taboos that have held back Boomers and GenXers. Our parents fear the taint of “racism” because of their memories of Hair, Martin Luther King, Jr. and industrial-strength LSD: we see four Chicago savages kidnapping an autistic boy for an anti-white snuff film and we call a spade a spade.
If you’ve followed along with me this far (I’m sure all but the Six Readers stopped about a paragraph in — “oh god, he’s on about the Nazis again!”), you’ll see where this is going. The only important difference between the SS and the Weathermen was opportunity. Because America was a lovely place, even in the coked-out patchouli-reeking early 1970s, only a few truly deluded weirdos went underground and became Weathermen. The Ostfront in a total war was a whole different ballgame, and while Ayers, Dohrn, et al were willing to kill cops and soldiers — and Weatherman did bomb police headquarters in L.A., and the bomb that blew many of their stupid asses up was intended for an army dance at Ft. Dix — the Einsatzkommandos could shoot all the Jews and Commissars they had bullets for. Bernardine Dohrn praised the Manson Family for killing a pregnant Sharon Tate and sticking a fork in her stomach; Himmler praised his men for remaining “decent” while herding women and children into mobile gas vans. Other than scale, the difference is…. what, exactly?
The opportunity for serious political violence — on an SS scale, not a Weatherman scale — is potentially right around the corner. An entire generation is angry, hopeless, and backed into a corner. They’ve been stewed in radical politics their whole lives — remember, Ayers is a professor of education; former flower children have been in charge of almost every primary school, and certainly every college, in America for decades. The Nazis spared no expense conducting “research” to prop up their bizarre racial views, and the flower children could at least quote Marx Marcuse and Mao to back up their weird notions of collective guilt. Millennials can’t grasp — literally can’t grasp, and for once I’m using their signature slang unironically — the notion that different groups don’t have different rights. They can micro-calibrate racial, gender, and sexual identities with a sickening ease that’s beyond us older folks. They’ve been trained to do so for literally their entire lives.
What happens when the student loan bubble pops?
What happens when China’s economy crashes?
What happens when the shitlords in the crowd start punching first?
It’s not going to end well.
(1) except Goebbels, who was rejected for service due to a club foot.
(2) As any World War 2-related discussion invariably brings out the internet’s spergiest spergs, let’s get this down for the record: I’m grossly oversimplifying. I’m talking about the type of guy who ended up in one (or several) of the organizations under the umbrella of the RHSA, the Reich Main Security Office. The SS was a separate organization, and because of the distinctive Nazi leadership style, there was serious, vicious competition between them and the RHSA, and within the various departments of the RHSA. But because the Nazi-est Nazis were in the SS, and because everyone who was anyone in the Gestapo, SD, etc. also held SS rank, I’m using “SS” as a catchall term to describe this type of guy. I’m also aware that the SS itself was far from a homogeneous organization, and that there’s a difference between an Einsatzkommando and a private in the Waffen-SS. I’m really not interested in who did what during the war, who should’ve been sentenced to what at Nuremberg, et cetera ad nauseam. There are plenty of cheeto-stained gentlemen on the internet who’d be happy to discuss all that with you; don’t bring it up here.
(3) N.b. to spergs part II: Whether the Nazi regime could’ve existed without going to war, or if it were capable of winning any of the wars it could have chosen to fight, are open questions that we won’t be getting into here. Save it for your Man in the High Castle fan fic.
(4) not a typo; their official name was WeathermAn, singular.
(5) I know, I know, I’m excluding Gen X. For one thing, that’s my generation, so it’s hard to be objective about it. My quick take, though, is that Gen X was largely against youthful rebellion because “being against youthful rebellion” WAS youthful rebellion. Remember: our parents, the Boomers, made Sticking it to The Man a lifestyle, and they just Would. Not. Shut. UP. about it. When you’re 18, everything your parents tell you to do is lame; therefore, Sticking it to The Man is lame. We still did it, of course — “it” being sex drugs and rock’n’roll — since that’s what modern kids do, but we had to be all, like, you know, whatever about it. Which is one of the main reasons our kids are so fucked up. And now, back to the rant….