The essay Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian by George Reisman difinitively explodes the lie that Nazi Germany, a country controlled by the National Socialist German Workers' Party, was a derivative of capitalism.
Yet, despite socialism’s brutal history, people continue to fall for the idea that socialism somehow empowers the people. Here is a comment from TomPaineCommonSense, posted under Reisman’s essay:
If Nazi Germany was socialist, how come all the corporate leaders, bankers, and military generals were able to make so much money and spirit it out of Germany through banks for themselves and their families? Why did their leading companies - steel, chemical, construction - make such fat profits from all the armaments, materiel? Why weren't profits distributed to the people if it were socialism? Why would a socialist state form such a close alliance with the fascist state of Italy? WWII Germany had elements of private enterprise, fascism, and socialism blended for the economic and political benefit of their elites, and because the people had little if any influence I would say socialism was the minor element of their economic system.
It is naive believe that socialism is the system of the people. Under no manifestation of socialism do people retain influence or control over their own lives. Why? Because socialism is the political expression of collectivism. Collectivism holds that the standard of moral concern is the group; the individual’s only moral purpose is to serve the good of the collective. Therefore, the individual’s life, liberty, property, goals, and values—his personal pursuit of happiness—have no moral relevance under socialism, and elicits no concern of the state. “The people” under socialism is not a collection of individuals possessing rights to life, liberty, and earned property. Under socialism, individual rights are the first thing to go. The collective, whether described as society, the public, “the people,” etc., is merely an abstraction—and for a socialist, an abstraction seized on to create the illusion of popular power, but in whose name the state rules with an iron fist. Actual individuals, aside from the ruling political class, have no actual influence.
“The people had little if any influence” in Nazi Germany precisely because Germany was a socialist state. Hitler laid out in brutally honest fashion the nature of Germany’s path to socialism. From Herman Rauschning’s The Voice of Destruction, as quoted in The Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Peikoff, page 231-232:
“The party is all-embracing… Each activity and each need of the individual will thereby be regulated by the party as the representative of the general good…This is Socialism--not such trifles as the private possession of the means of production. Of what importance is that if I range men firmly within a discipline they cannot escape? Let them own land or factories as much as they please. The decisive factor is that the State, through the party, is supreme over all, regardless of whether they are owners or workers…Our Socialism goes far deeper…[the people] have entered a new relation…What are ownership and income to that? Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.”
“We socialize human beings!” Fascism is back-door socialism—state control of the means of production through the front of quasi-private “business.” Like the Great and Powerful Oz, big business was the front: The “man behind the curtain” was the Hitler regime.
Socialism begins with promises of free stuff through legalized theft, and ends the only way any system that repudiates the moral relevance of the individual can end; in widespread terror under a totalitarian state. The result is the same whether the government owns or controls “the means of production.” The means of production, after all, is individuals. Ownership or control of the means of production is ownership or control of people. The result is the same whether or not the government is democratically elected, and regardless of original intentions.
The only alternative to any form of socialism is laissez-faire capitalism, the system based on individualism. Only capitalism recognizes individual people power—the only kind, for the people, that counts; for real, breathing, thinking, planning, flesh-and-blood people individually controlling his own life’s decisions. Only under capitalism do the people actually exercise social control over “the means of production”—control not by force but through voluntary exchange; i.e., through his choices as a consumer, because the cumulative choices of consumers—the market mechanism—ultimately determines which companies survive, profit, and flourish, and which individuals succeed and prosper, and to what extent. Only capitalism actually relegates power to the people—the power of choice exercised through individual liberty. Every other system relegates power to the state—the power of aggressive physical force over the individual.
Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian by George Reisman
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