From a reader:
Neiwert writes: “But it was present all along; “the Left” were the
people who were beaten and murdered in the 1920s by the squadristi and
the Brownshirts; and the first Germans sent off to Nazi concentration
camps like Dachau were not Jews but socialists, communists, and other
left-wing political prisoners, including “liberal” priests and clerics.”
He fails to note that the Brownshirts (SA) were purged and murdered by
the SS years before Dachau. The biggest murderer of Communists was
Joseph Stalin. Is the historical fact that Leftists often murder their
own the can of worms Neiwert really wants to open?
Looking forward to reading the book (being shipped by Amazon today).
Thanks and great column,
Do you think these guys really don’t know the difference between
classical liberalism and contemporary American “liberalism” (=soft
socialism)? Because I usually read them as dishonestly trying to elide
the categories to they benefit, but really their fury, dismissiveness,
and air of superiority seems more explicable if they just don’t know
what they’re talking about, equate the two, and believe you’re
phantasmagorically stupid for not understanding the “plain meaning” of
And this came in earlier today:
“This became manifest in the Italian fascist and German Nazi transformations from a faction of street thugs into an actual political power that seized the reins of government, when fascists gradually shed all pretensions or appeals to socialism and became violently anti-socialist and anti-communist. But it was present all along; “the Left” were the people who were beaten and murdered in the 1920s by the squadristi and the Brownshirts; and the first Germans sent off to Nazi concentration camps like Dachau were not Jews but socialists, communists, and other left-wing political prisoners, including “liberal” priests and clerics. “
The above paragraph from Neiwert’s critique seems particularly fertile for any refutation you care to do. For starters, “all pretensions or appeals to socialism” is counter indicated by citing any program offered by the Nazis controlled state that sought to provide work, healthcare or other sustenance to the German people. More broadly and importantly, if it is his contention that the Nazis may not be considered to be of the left for the reason that they persecuted others on the left of the political spectrum, you can certainly point to the tolerance shown to Mensheviks, trade unionists, socialists, liberals and others after the triumph of the Bolsheviks in Russia. That is, why would he consider it unusual that a particular leftist tribe would persecute other leftist tribes – such persecution is closer to the norm than the exception.