The Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology

Liberalism, Communism, Fascism

by David E. Ingersoll and Richard K. Matthews

Prentice Hall, 1991, paper


Rousseau's chronicle of human evolution, titled Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, begins with a description of the life of our protohuman ancestors. Asocial, amoral creatures blessed with sufficient food and natural shelters, they lacked any reason for interaction among themselves. Having very simple needs which the natural environment easily met, these creatures were lazy, contented, and peaceful. Rousseau believed that they operated on two principles of motivation: self-preservation and compassion. Naturally, these primitives did everything necessary to survive. Given the low, animal level of wants and the relative bounty of nature, this did not require struggle for scarce resources. But in addition to self-preservation, these creatures displayed compassion because they did not like to witness the suffering of any of their number. Although the first principle-self-preservation-would always take precedence over the second, conflict between the two would rarely occur.

Over a period of years, these primitive needs began to change, and it became necessary for these creatures to expend additional energy to meet the new, superfluous wants. As Rousseau put it, "The first man who made himself clothing or a dwelling, in doing so gave himself things that were hardly necessary." Taking on a force of its own, a dynamic situation developed between human needs and wants. As these creatures began to want new objects and to work to secure what they desired, they become incapable of being satisfied or fulfilled, always desiring additional, more sophisticated things. Out of this process developed the need for other people; thus, humans became social creatures Originally asocial, they evolved and needed other humans in order to survive. Rousseau, in contrast to Hobbes and Locke, believed humanity to be a developing species changing over time. More important, humans are the only species who had the potential to participate knowingly in their own evolution!

At first, temporary hunting and gathering associations were sufficient to meet the needs of humanity. Eventually, psychological needs developed, more permanent relationships were required, and families were formed. Believing this stage to be the happiest in history, Rousseau lamented its passing and noted the transition into civil society caused by the creation of protocapitalist property rights.

The first person who, having fenced off a plot of ground, took it into his head to say this is mirze and found people simple enough to believe this, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared by someone who, uprooting the stakes or filling in the ditch, had shouted to his fellowmen: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to all and the earth to no one!

To be sure, prior to the invention of property rights that allowed individuals to exclude others, there occurred random, sporadic outbursts of violence, but this was the exception. With the creation of property, the generally peaceful existence of precivilized humanity came to a close and a constant, systematic, all-pervasive competition and exploitation of people by one another began.

But from the moment one man needed the help of another, as soon as they observed that it was useful for a single person to have provisions for two, equality disappeared, property was introduced, labor became necessary; and vast forests were changed into smiling fields which had to be watered with the sweat of men, and in which slavery and misery were soon seen to germinate and grow with the crops.

Rousseau's account of human history reached the point where Hobbes and Locke began their arguments. As economic inequality and class divisions developed between those who own and those who do not own property, a general condition of war prevailed. Pressed by necessity the rich devised a clever scheme to deceive the rest of the people into establishing a state to protect the property of the rich. In Rousseau's view, "Destitute of valid reasons to justify himself . . . the rich, pressed by necessity, finally conceived the most deliberate project that ever entered the human mind." The project was the creation of a social contract designed to protect the rich from the poor in the name of justice for all. Presented with the contract creating government, Rousseau argued that, "All ran to meet their claims, thinking they secured their freedom." The modern state, then, is the product of a fraudulent contract; and as such, it must be overthrown in order to establish a legitimate community.

The Social Contract

Rousseau begins his most famous work, The Social Contract (1762) by reminding us of both our past and the predicament of the present with this enigmatic observation: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One believes himself the master of others, and yet he is a greater slave than they." Here, Rousseau is exposing the self-deceptive nature of modern life. People think they are free, yet they are not. The modern person is a creature of alienation, an alienation that is self-inflicted and self-endured. Individuals agreed to establish a state believing it would bring them freedom; instead, they established class inequality and the rule of the rich for themselves, but with the appearance of rule of all by all. Among the first of all modern political theorists to understand domination when individuals enslave themselves-all under the guise of autonomy or freedom. If the present situation was unacceptable, what prerequisites were necessary to create a legitimate community? Since neither fraud nor force can be resorted to, Rousseau had to create a condition in which all willingly and knowingly consent to live together. His prescription is threefold, involving property, factions, and individuals.

Recognizing the disruptive effect of class division among people, Rousseau argued that a moderate equality of property is necessary to a harmonious society. "It is therefore one of the most important functions of government to prevent extreme inequality of fortunes; not by taking away wealth from its possessor, but by depriving all men of the means to accumulate it; not by building hospitals for the poor, but by securing the citizens from becoming poor."' The role of government was to help combat the creation of antagonistic class relationships by passing legislation, for example, income and luxury taxes, property laws, designed to redistribute wealth. "No citizen shall ever be wealthy enough to buy | another, and none poor enough to be forced to sell himself," Rousseau 5 argued. In this specific prescription involving "citizens" who either "buy" other citizens, or must "sell" themselves, Rousseau showed clearly that his concern was with the lack of freedom created by capitalist economic relations where one class of citizens bought the services and freedom of another class of citizens.

Anticipating Karl Marx, Rousseau was alarmed at the condition of wage-slavery by which modern citizens were oppressed. To guard further against class conflict, Rousseau argued that everyone in society needed to own a limited amount of property. Calling this right to property "the most sacred" of all rights, Rousseau's position was that small ownership gave every individual an alternative to working for someone else. Limited property was instrumental in securing freedom; freedom remained the ultimate goal, but without the economic security provided by property, freedom could not be achieved.

Rousseau argued for a simple one-class society where the citizens would own sufficient property to sustain themselves and where it would not be possible for a capitalist system to develop. Rousseau, then, is a liberal democrat in a dual sense: He conceives of democracy as a kind of society where everyone must have an equal chance to develop; and democracy is an electoral mechanism whereby individuals-not their representatives-discuss and vote on public policy.

[Constitutional Convention of 1787] has become many things to many people: To the patriot, it is the birthplace of the American form of liberal democracy, to the student of political coalitions, it is a fascinating study in political bargaining; to those interested in political ideas, it provides a forum for the discussion and resolution of enduring problems in democratic theory. We cannot delve into all of the personalities attending the Convention nor discuss the ideas they presented-one must tread lightly in the preserve of American historians. But if we are forced to find a figure who approximated an authoritative interpreter of the principles em bodied in the Constitution there is little doubt that James Madison must be the choice. The Madisonian conception of the nature of the American system as articulated at the Constitutional Convention and later formalized in The Federalist papers provides the closest thing to an authoritative interpretation that we possess. Following numerous other writers on American political thought, our presentation will largely be confined to Madison's interpretation, particularly as it is developed in Federalist No. 10. Before moving to that detailed presentation, however, let us note some of the effects on popular thinking wrought by the Articles of Confederation.

The American revolution was fought in the name of resistance to arbitrary authority and in defense of the traditional rights of Englishmen. Naturally the symbol of that capricious authority became the English monarchy. Whether that was a correct assessment of the situation or not is unimportant in this context, but it did produce a widespread distrust of a powerful head of state. This fear of monarchy was, of course, reflected in the postwar Articles of Confederation, which provided for little effective national leadership, much less a powerful head of state. In the language of democratic theory, the prime fear was tyranny by one individual or by a minority, and the resulting political arrangements reflected that apprehension. Experience with the Articles of Confederation, however, convinced many of those who gathered at Philadelphia that the prime threat to the American experiment lay not in a tyrannical individual or minority but in the capricious moods of majorities. This distrust of uneducated, mob-like majorities fit in nicely with the aristocratic attitudes of many of the Founding Fathers, and it provided some balance to the question of controlling unwarranted authority. The central problem of American liberalism then became, at least in Madison's eyes, the establishment of a popularly based government that would avoid the excess of tyranny whether imposed by a minority or a majority. It was this problem that Madison addressed in Federalist No. 10, justifiably the most famous analytical writing to emerge from the constitutional period.

The Federalist papers were written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison as individual newspaper pieces designed to convince the people of the state of New York to support the recently completed Constitution. While their major purpose was persuasion, the papers also provided a defense of the philosophical presuppositions and institutional framework provided for in that document. In particular, Madison's tenth paper addressed itself directly to the classic political problem of tyranny, and it claimed to have found a " Republican remedy for the diseases most incident to Republican Government."

Madison's View of Humanity

Madison began his discussion by presupposing the desirability of some form of popular government. T here is little in the way of systematic analysis of other possible governmental types. It is simply asserted that a government that denied a significant. albeit indirect, degree of popular sovereignty would be incompatible with the character of the American people. Indeed, there seemed to be almost universal agreement that some sort of popular government was what was needed, but the problem lay in devising one that would avoid the difficulties of past democratic regimes. Madison's analysis of all past experiments with democratic governments indicated that they were constantly subject to instability. The most common cause of this instability was a majority of the citizens who, for whatever reason, attempted to impose their will upon the rest of the society and in the process deprived them of their rights. Simply stated, prior democratic forms had a marked tendency to degenerate into mob rule. Sensing its inability to govern, the mob would then elevate a single person to assume dictatorial powers in the name of the people, and once that happened that particular democratic experiment was finished.

The cycle of tyranny of the majority leading to dictatorial rule and the consequent loss of freedom was all too familiar to students of the history of democracies. Some even contended that it was impossible to create a stable and enduring democratic government. This tendency of a group of citizens, whether a majority or a minority of the whole, to seize power and deprive other citizens of their rights was the cardinal difficulty with democracies; a solution to the problem would have to be found before the system could work. One must take note of a distinctly Hobbesian attitude in Madison's analysis of human nature. Human passions are such that, in the absence of constraints, people will naturally seek to dominate one another. As Madison boldly stated, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition . . . But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

People are not angels. They must be held in check, or they will tyrannize each other. Here Madison notes an interesting characteristic of humanity. As an individual, isolated from other individuals, people are reasonable, timid, and cautious creatures. However, an individual inevitably comes into contact with other individuals, and behavior changes. "The reason of man, like man himself is timid and cautious, when left alone; and acquires firmness and confidence, in proportion to the number with which it is associated." When this occurs, as it must, passion- not reason-rules. In one of the most uncharitable observations ever penned on human nature, Madison ... eloquently captures the essence of the situation. It bears repeating: "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates; every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." Even Socrates, historical symbol of the wisest and most just individual, will turn into a member of a tyrannical mob when he becomes associated with like-minded individuals.

Jefferson's self-evident truths

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.

Those heady, opening words of the Declaration of Independence contain both a brief summary of the evolution of liberalism and present a unique addition to liberal ideology. Concepts of equality and rights go back to the time of Thomas Hobbes, and the ideas of consent of the governed and the right to overthrow government can be traced to John Locke. What is new to more modern political thought is Thomas Jefferson's introduction of the concept of "happiness" as a standard by which to evaluate governments. In the preceding quotation Jefferson argued that if a government does not protect people's life and liberty, people have a right to overthrow it. More importantly, he argued that if government does not allow people to pursue happiness-an abstract and ethereal notion itself-people again have the right to revolution. With the introduction of happiness, then, Jefferson introduced a higher standard for government to strive for, and he began to describe a view of American liberalism that was not attached to private property.

In the Second Treatise on government, John Locke argued for rights to "life, liberty, and estate." But Jefferson demanded more. Although he too thought some amount of property was necessary to freedom and happiness, he did not think individuals had natural rights to property. Moreover, Jefferson did not believe that property acquisition was what individuals should pursue throughout their life. Instead, happiness is the end for which we were created. Jefferson's clear preference of happiness over property is evident on at least one other important occasion. While serving as the American Minister to France, Jefferson was asked to review an early draft of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Jefferson bracketed the words "right to property" and substituted the phrase "search for happiness." Throughout Jefferson's life he argued that it was happiness-not property-to which individuals have an equal, natural right.

Many students of American history view the Constitution of 1787 and the Madisonian political philosophy it embodied as a conservative reaction to the more majoritarian ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. Where the Declaration recognized equality, freedom, and the supremacy of popular will as the ultimate goals of government, Madison's system compromised on equality, attempted to restrict freedom through competition, and placed severe checks on the power of popular majorities-all in the pursuit of stability. One need not agree with such an assessment of the enterprise of the Founding Fathers to recognize that the overall pattern of development of the American political system since 1787 has been toward increasing majoritarianism. The expansion of the franchise led the way. Slowly but surely, all segments of the populace-nonproperty owners, blacks, and ! women-were granted the vote, so that universal suffrage became the hallmark of twentieth-century American democracy.

The idea that government ought to play a more positive role in the lives of its citizens developed only gradually in the United States. If one wanted to attach a date to its emergence, one could point to the latter part of the nineteenth century, when the political system became actively involved in the protection and control of the economy, or to the expansion of functions that occurred during World War I, or to the aforementioned Great Depression. The date one might choose is somewhat immaterial. From the point of view of Madisonian liberalism the significant fact is that the one hundred years between 1850 and 1950 marked a profound change in the processes of American government.

Although the core values of the liberal tradition remained relatively intact, certain of their number were given greater emphasis while others moved to a lower position in the value hierarchy.(We have already noted that)the trend toward majoritarianism had a great effect on the individualistic liberal conception of limited government. Instead of viewing the political system as an umpire, balancing the competing claims of private interest groups, the majoritarian liberalism of the twentieth century envisioned government as an active force in producing a better life for its citizens. The impartial third party of Lockean theory is replaced by attempts to institute a modern welfare state. Perhaps the most important value change that occurred in the evolution from individualistic majoritarian liberalism was in the status of the individual.

Beginning around the turn of the twentieth century, people began asking how one could be free without the means to exercise that freedom. To use an obvious example, a person residing in the United States possesses a theoretical freedom or right to leave that country for any other place in the world. That theoretical freedom does not, however, put the money in his or her pocket that will permit the exercise of this right. Isn't a person similarly situated, but who possesses the means to exercise the abstract right of free movement, actually more free than one who does not? Stated in a slightly more complex way, people were beginning to see that economic inequalities conferred greater power on some of their number and that the abstract values of liberty and equality meant little without the ability to fulfill them.

Similarly, the theoretical equality between black and white, male and female, is little more than meaningless rhetoric if minorities and females are systematically denied the opportunity to achieve at least some degree of economic equality. To return to our initial point, however, governmental legislation that is designed to achieve at least some degree of economic equality, or laws that attempt to ensure that blacks and women will be treated equally both in fact and in theory will undoubtedly constrain the freedom of other members of the community. This is precisely what is meant by the tension between freedom and equality. When my ability to discriminate on the basis of race religion, or sex is abridged through the action of government, my personal liberty is limited. While all right-thinking individuals would applaud such legislation on the grounds that such discrimination deprives others of their rights, from the individualistic liberal point of view, it does reduce freedom. The response from majoritarian liberalism would simply be that the classical value of freedom is meaningless without relative equality. The hallmark, then, of the American majoritarian liberalism of the twentieth century is the attempt to use the political system to ensure greater degrees of equality or, at least, equality of opportunity.

With the advent of majoritarian liberal democracy, a split in the ideology occurred over the meaning of both the liberal and the democratic components. The early liberals argued on behalf of those market freedoms necessary to allow individuals to pursue their own self-interest, even if this meant, as it usually did, that one person's gain was another person's loss. When the class inequalities produced by capitalism became obvious, other liberal theorists argued that the freedom that was necessary to human fulfillment was not market freedom but the equal effective right of individuals to develop their own capacities.

Similarly, liberal theorists disagreed over the nature of democracy. One group believed that democracy was essentially a political mechanism for electing government. It was important in that it allowed individuals to protect themselves from each other as well as the government. Since this viewpoint espoused the market freedoms associated with capitalism, it desired a minimum amount of governmental influence so that in the private economic arena individuals could pursue their own advantage.

The second perspective views democracy not only as an electoral mechanism but also as a way of life, a type of society. Placing greater weight on the principle of equality, this side believes that participating in politics is not simply an activity to be engaged in out of self-protection but rather an endeavor that is beneficial in itself, part of living a fully human life. Since every person must have an equal effective right to develop his or her own individual powers and capacities, some of the so-called market freedoms will be restricted in the interests of social well-being.

... any large-scale organization, including government, is, of necessity, organized in a hierarchical fashion. That is, there are certain people, who, by the nature of the tasks they perform, possess far more power than others. Any organization can thus be divided into two groups of people-the elite who make all of the basic decisions and the mass that follows them. The reasons for such a division are many and varied. Obviously every member of a group, be it a government or a fraternal organization, cannot be expected to know all of the details involved in running the organization. In the case of political systems, people who are nominally citizens of the state are primarily concerned with earning a living for themselves and pursuing their individual interests. To expect the average person to be a full-time participant in the political process at the same time is simply absurd. The complexity of modern society thus demands that we adopt a specialization of labor whereby some people become experts in running organizations and fulfill that task on a full-time basis.

... classical liberal democratic theory confronted a similar problem and solved it by introducing the concept of representation, so that democratic governments might exist in large states. To the elitist, however, such a solution really raises more problems than it solves, particularly in complex modern societies.

A representative is, by the very nature of the position, cut off from those represented, elitists contend. The representative possesses far more information than the average constituent, pursues tasks as a professional politician, and in all probability has a broader perspective than any of those represented; in short, the concerns and position are quite different. One would not, after all, expect the chairman of the board of General Motors to submit a questionnaire to all of the stockholders of the company asking them how many cars they should build that year and then proceed to act on their recommendation. The average stockholder simply could not make an informed judgment on such a matter without spending a considerable amount of time studying the market for automobiles, that is, unless the person was willing to become an expert.

To return to political concerns, there is an even more pervasive phenomenon that colors the types of decisions that can be made. The representative's (and here we use the word to refer to any elected decision maker) position makes it possible to influence greatly even the types of questions that are submitted to the population. By posing two alternatives as the only possible courses of action in any situation, the representative can effectively preclude discussion of a third alternative that might be more desirable from the people's point of view. In effect, formidable limits can be set on the types of governmental action that can even be considered. Robert Michels, author of the "iron law of oligarchy," ... argued that organization gives birth to the domination of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. With organization inevitably comes oligarchy, Michels declared.

This, then, is the cornerstone of the elitist position. The complexity and need for expertise in modern societies ensures that popular representatives are divorced from their constituents and are capable of making-and to a certain extent must make-decisions independent of popular wishes. The choice, then, seems to be between organization (which appears indispensable) and democracy (which may be desirable). But, the elitist argues, you cannot have both.

We must note that as yet there is no moral judgment attached to such a position. From this descriptive perspective, the elitist simply asserts that, like it or not, this is the way it is, a fact of modern society. Confronted with such an argument, the defender of liberal democratic theory might admit that it is necessary to have this situation when the process of running a government is such a complicated business. Such a defender would, however, probably go on to assert that it really doesn't matter, for the representative's constituents can remove that person if they desire when the next election occurs. If a person acting in the name of the people fails in their eyes to perform his or her tasks correctly they can simply vote the person out of office. This is, in effect the old Madisonian argument for the appropriate means of controlling minority tyranny.

... periodic elections provide no real popular control, for the choices to replace a bad representative are greatly limited. The existing elite controls the access to the political system, thereby ensuring that only candidates who possess elite values are offered as choices to the electorate. This is accomplished through the political party structure through the necessity of having great amounts of money to wage a successful campaign, and through a series of legal rules and customs.

Further, even if a "common person" surmounted all of these obstacles and was elected to office, that person would have little power, for within the governmental institutions themselves there are additional control devices as exemplified by seniority and committee systems in Congress. These are dominated by the elite as well. Under such circumstances the only choice available to a voter at election time is between competing elite groups who possess basically the same values, which preclude the possibility of any real change in governmental policy. If this is reality, what does the phrase "government by the people" mean?

Accepting as fact the notion that complex organizations are of necessity hierarchical in structure and that a clear distinction must be made between elite and mass, [C. Wright] Mills went on to argue that economic factors in the United States had produced a two-class society wherein even the government was powerless to effect any basic changes in policy. Let us ignore for the moment the prior argument that elected representatives are by virtue of their positions divorced from the people and assume that they actually do reflect popular desires. What real power does the average representative or senator possess? Very little if any, Mills contended, particularly regarding the basic matters such as war and peace or significant changes in the economic structure. The elected representative is at best in a middle-range power position, for the great decision-making capability lies in the hands of an economically based power elite, which is largely outside the control of the political system. Membership in this group is defined by birth and wealth, although it is possible for a member of the non-elite to become part of it by adopting the values of that group. Elite members go to the same schools, belong to the same social clubs, intermarry, and in general share similar values. While there may be minor disagreements among members of the elite over the everyday matters of public policy, they share a firm commitment to preserving the existing value and class structure.

The sum of the power-elitist argument is that the government is largely controlled by a small group of people who owe their power to their economic and social position in the society. If this be the case, there can be no true change in the system, for the members of the elite group will simply not permit any decline in their status. Government and, consequently, the representatives of the people are reduced to making relatively unimportant decisions which in the end can only serve to perpetuate the existence of the status quo.

From the power-elitist perspective, the American political system has always involved tyranny by a minority, which derives its power from its economic position. Attempts to implement greater economic equality through the institution of majoritarian liberalism have provided, elitists assert, nothing more than sops to the people and perpetuated a class-based capitalist economic system. Viewing the American political system as a device for perpetuating minority interests, the elitist thus calls for revolution in the system in the name of producing a true democracy. The only way the minority control of the system can be checked is through giving greater decision-making power to the people.

... it is the well-educated and generally affluent minority that has the highest respect for traditional I liberal democratic values. The average person seems far more prone to adopt authoritarian solutions to problems, is quick to attempt to silence dissent, and in general finds it difficult to live with individual deviation from accepted behavior.

There is a tendency in majoritarian democracies to attempt to standardize all forms of conduct and to punish any deviation from those norms. As the sphere of governmental activity expands, we have found that it establishes rules of behavior in areas formerly part of the private sphere of activity. In a majoritarian liberal democracy, what this means is that the wishes of a majority of the people gradually become the accepted standards of conduct for the entire society. What bothers the elitist is that these mass tastes seem inevitably to reflect the wishes of what they believe to be the lowest common denominator of individuals in the society. What develops is a mass culture composed of television programs designed to appeal to the greatest possible number of people, news programs that simplify complex events to make them understandable, architectural styles designed for broad appeal, and faddish clothing styles that reflect the changing desires of the masses. One can go on and on.

Although the phenomenon of mass culture is not in and of itself a bad thing for democracies, the elitist sees it as inevitably discouraging individual deviation from the established norms. Thus the individual who does not conform is far less successful than one who does, but the society loses the type of creative energy that seems to be generated most often by nonconformists. Put in terms of political values, mass democracy seems bent on destroying the individuality that is the core idea in liberal democratic theory. In a way we are back to the points made earlier about the tensions between liberty and equality. In pursuit of equalitarian goals, majoritarian liberal democracies tend to standardize everything, creating a society with a homogenized culture which stamps out individual liberty.

It is the irony of American democracy that the elites, and not the masses, are most committed to liberal democratic values, and, if the masses ever did actually rule, they would wipe out all vestiges of these democratic norms in favor of more authoritarian values. Voter apathy consequently, is seen as a positive benefit since it is primarily the masses who fail to participate. There is some question whether this view can legitimately be called liberal democratic in that it explicitly relies on elite control of the masses. If one insists on a more majoritarian definition of liberal democracy, it obviously cannot be. If, however, one defines liberal democracy in more individualistic terms while retaining an overall commitment to popular sovereignty, normative elitism is probably as liberal as the Madisonian variety. The elitist, while recognizing the desirability of ultimate control by the people, is very happy that complex modern organizations ensure that educated liberal elites control much of the day-to-day activity of the state.

Originally, the ideology of individualistic liberalism developed alongside of capitalism. It was believed that in contrast to the feudal economic tradition, capitalism would free humanity from the past and put an end to economic scarcity, so both individual and aggregate material needs would be met in the most efficient manner. As class divisions became more apparent and increasingly unmanageable, individualistic liberal theorists extended the franchise. First, they included nonproperty-owning white males; eventually, black males and then women were granted the vote. This extension of the franchise provided the precondition for the rise of majoritarian liberalism.

... the implementation of a more majoritarian form of the individualist tradition was more easily achieved in countries other than the United States, largely because of the strictures imposed by the Madisonian system. In America, the debate over how much majoritarianism does in fact exist or, for that matter, ought to exist, goes on.

The second tradition of alternative liberalism sprang from different roots, but its ultimate goal was and is the same as that of individualistic liberalism-the freeing of the individual so as to ensure the full development of his or her potential. These liberals, however, differ in their view of what processes ought to be used to accomplish that purpose and what values a truly liberal society ought to pursue. Lacking ties to capitalist economics, espousing a more equalitarian society, and arguing for a full participatory community, alternative liberalism provides a legitimate alternative to the dominant individualist tradition.

Finally, we must emphasize once again the values of toleration and dialogue inside of the broad spectrum of perspectives contained in liberalism. Regardless of which liberal thinker one encounters, each values the necessity of an ongoing dialogue in the search for a democratic society.



A dictionary definition of fascism:
Any authoritarian, anti-democratic, anti-socialistic system of government in which economic control by the state, militaristic nationalism, propaganda, and the crushing of opposition by means of secret police, emphasize the supremacy of the state over the individual.

Hallmarks of Fascism

repudiation of rationalism and reason, emotion over reason
leader discovers and represents the will of the people
the state over the individual
nation supremacy, nationalism, national greatness
social Darwinism and constant struggle
action for actions sake, violence to strengthen nation
corporation-state unity
faith in the nation and the leader
hero worship
police state, crushing of opposition

National Socialism - add racism to fascism




... the liberal democratic tradition saw people existing as individuals prior to the establishment of political institutions. Further, they possessed certain rights-as individuals-granted to them by God or nature. Because of certain inconveniences of this presocial, prepolitical situation (recall the state of nature), individuals banded together and gave up certain of their natural rights to a collectivity so that they could, as individuals, live a more comfortable existence. State and society are thus established for specific purposes, have limited powers and functions, and may be abolished if they exceed their granted powers. The state and society are, in short, artificial creations of sovereign individuals. Democratic representative institutions (parliaments, congresses, and so forth) are generally designed to translate the desires of individuals in the society, normally on a majority rule basis, into public policy. Representative institutions are, by their very nature, intended to express the particular wills of individuals within the society. The preferences of a majority of individuals on any issue are simply that-a summation of individual preferences totaling more than 50 percent. Finally, liberal democratic thought is quite clear about the locus of sovereignty in the society: Ultimately it lies with each individual, and the actions of the state must be with the consent of those individuals.

To the fascist this is all simply absurd. The mainstream liberal tradition defines freedom as an absence of restraint on individual action, yet it requires humans to give up some freedom (for example, relinquish natural rights) in order to attain freedom. How, fascism asks, does one become free by giving up freedom? Indeed, a fascist would argue, in talking about giving up natural rights so as to achieve a more convenient situation, the individualistic liberal exposed the fallacy of the entire enterprise. As fascists view it, liberal democrats are saying that freedom cannot exist without a stable body of laws and political institutions, and the only way true freedom can exist is through obedience to those laws It is law and a framework of order that ensures freedom. The myth of the isolated sovereign individual is thus destroyed and we come to understand that the individual can exist only in and through the state As Mussolini stated:

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical functions when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the Individual. And if Liberty is to be the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State.

Any rights that individuals may possess are granted and may be removed by the state; similarly, the private interests of individuals must be subordinated to the general interests of the collectivity. Insofar as representative institutions, political parties, and all of the other trappings of parliamentary democracy are designed to reflect the interests of individuals (particular wills), they must be discarded and replaced by institutions that will determine the general will of the nation. The properly constituted state thus becomes the articulator of the general will of the nation.

One of the more commonly used modern attempts to describe the function of political institutions refers to them as authoritative allocators of value for the society as a whole, meaning that states can, within certain limits, control what is done by other institutions and individuals within the society. Fascist ideology takes this type of descriptive statement, expands it, and adds an ethical dimension. The nation is the source of ultimate values for all members of the community and the political arm of the nation-the state-gives articulation to those values. There is, simply, no higher ethical authority. If this is the case, individual human beings fulfill themselves by assuring that the goals of the collectivity are achieved. Indeed, the terms individual and state are incorrect abstractions insofar as they indicate separate entities-in fascism they are but two sides of the same coin. The nation is struggling to achieve actuality, to fulfill its potential; individuals are human when they contribute to that quest. Given this, it is obvious why fascism was opposed to liberal democratic thought: The latter's assumption is that the state is ultimately the creation of and subservient to the individual. Fascism contended that such thinking had led to conflict, disunity, even chaos in society and afforded no notion of national cohesiveness. Liberal democratic thought was in the end predicated upon assumptions of selfishness and conflict and as such prevented human beings from living in moral association with one another. As Mussolini declared in 1929, "When the conception of the State declines, and disunifying and centrifugal tendencies prevail, whether of individuals or particular groups, the nations where such phenomena appear are in their decline."


If the basic fascist premise is that the nation-state is the ultimate authority in all matters, it must, of necessity, be in direct opposition to Marxism-Leninism, providing us with another basic fascist value-antibolshevism. To the Marxist, nationalism is but another capitalist trick designed to prevent the formation of an international proletarian movement. From the fascist point of view, communism is one of the prime sources of disunity in the state for it preaches unending class conflict and therefore divides the people. Further, communism is particularly dangerous in that it asserts that nation-states are but passing phenomena on the path toward a world society. It was thus almost inevitable that fascism would adopt a radically anti-Marxist stance, whatever the intellectual origins of its founding father. Indeed, the anti-Bolshevism of fascism was so vehement that it has been seen by some as the central trait of the ideology.

... the prime goal of fascism-autarky: the creation of a more productive powerful, and autonomous nation.

... Mussolini stated that the goal of fascism was to create a greater and more powerful nation and that the state must have total power to pursue that end.

For Mussolini's fascism the powerful nation was the ultimate goal, and in pursuit of it a policy of corporativism, or corporatism, was adopted. In Mussolini's words:

The Corporation is established to develop the wealth, political power and welfare of the Italian people. Corporativism means a disciplined, and therefore a controlled, economy, since there can be no discipline which is not controlled. Corporativism overcomes Socialism as well as it does Liberalism: it creates a new synthesis.

How does the corporate state work? What kind of "synthesis" does it provide? Herman Finer, writing in 1935, concluded that there was "considerable mystification" about these ideas of " .. The Corporation, and State tonics for private enterprise," not only abroad but in Italy itself.' Much of that "mystification" remains. But insofar as Mussolini declared the notion of the corporate state to be the "keystone of fascist doctrine" we must try to understand at least what it was designed to accomplish.

The idea is relatively simple. If liberal capitalism produces class conflict and controlled competition in the economy because of its excessive individualism, and if Marxism supports class warfare between workers and owners, corporativism is designed to remove all conflict in the economic sector. Labor and management rather than attempting to win gains for their respective groups are to achieve a unity of purpose in pursuit of the goal of greater productivity. To this end the state will set up various corporations representative of different segments of the economy (for example, the steel industry, the transportation industry) which will contain representatives from both workers and management. These will be organized vertically, that is, representing the whole industry, rather than the more familiar horizontal organization wherein a group or class of workers confronts a group or class of owners. These corporations will be empowered to make decisions on wages and production quotas on an industrywide basis. All of this, of course, will be under the watchful eye of the party and the state. A corporative chamber, designed to replace parliament, would contain representatives from the various corporations, and this chamber would aid in making economic decisions for the entire nation. We cannot go into the institutional details of this conception of the corporate state-indeed, they were never really very clear; for our purposes it is primarily important as a device to eradicate the influence of selfish interests, whether expressed by a single capitalist or by an entire working class.

Finally, two things one must note with respect to fascist economic policies. It must be emphasized that corporativism is not necessarily synonymous with fascism, although many people tend to think so. There are numerous examples of the operation of aspects of corporativism in non-fascist societies. In Great Britain, Sweden, Japan, and even to a lesser extent the United States, industrywide decisions concerning wages and profits are made in many sectors of the economy-all under state supervision.

Looked at from another perspective, the corporate state was Mussolini's answer to the five-year plans in the Soviet Union, which attempted to set production goals, centralized economic decisions, and rationalized the allocation of resources for the entire country. Second, it must be emphasized that the goal of all this is increased productivity, social unity and collective strength, not necessarily greater redistribution to the people. But, given the logic of fascism, as the productivity of the nation rises through cooperative action, all Italians, whatever their status, will benefit. Given this argument, the "socialist" in Mussolini could accommodate his support of Italian capitalist elements in the name of making things better for everyone. From the ideological perspective one thing stands out: Institutional arrangements are carefully constructed by the state and the party to achieve the goals of national unity and strength. Those aspects of capitalism and socialism that support these goals are maintained; those that detract are discarded. In clear control of all aspects of the economy, the state and the party construct a "third way," an alternative economic system that utilizes the best components of the other two economic systems. Still, it seems Stanley Payne is correct when he states, "No point remained less clear in the doctrines of most fascist movements than economic structure and goals."


... one of the major goals of fascism is to supplant the selfish individualism of liberal democracy with national solidarity expressed in the form of the will of all of the people. We must now inquire as to the source of that will, what it is and how it is to be found. Asking such questions immediately involves us in voluntarism, anti-intellectualism and elite leadership, three additional doctrines in the constellation of fascist ideas.

If the nation is to be seen as a type of organism, it must possess certain functions, a purpose, and have goals which it is to accomplish. While it is true that Italian fascists constantly spoke of the spirit of the nation and invoked the concept of a will that was general in nature, there was little in the way of systematic articulation of the goals of the Italian nation. Vague references abounded to the glories of ancient Rome and the potential greatness of the Italian people, as well as aspirations to Empire, but nothing as specific as the goal culture which we shall find in Nazi Germany. Perhaps it was inevitable that the concrete form of these vague references to Italian power resulted in various attempts to expand the influence of the nation-state in foreign affairs. Italian adventurism in Ethiopia and, for that matter, in World War II can be seen as an attempt to provide the material resources and physical boundaries necessary for national greatness. We should not, however, be surprised by the lack of specificity of goals to be reached by a great Italy, for Mussolini's celebration of action for its own sake is an important element here.

Fascism was not the nursling of a doctrine worked out beforehand with detailed elaboration; it was born of the need for action and it was itself from the beginning practical rather than theoretical; it was not merely another political party but, even in the first two years, in opposition to all political parties as such, and itself a living movement.

He later declared that the fascist movement of the early 1920s had no specific goals, and surely did not possess a well-formulated program for political action. Social Darwinism, a general name given to describe social theories that view life as a struggle for survival between groups, is also very much part of fascism. In an almost Hegelian fashion, the nation and its people come to know what they can be only by constantly testing themselves through ceaseless action. The exercise of national will is as l important, perhaps more important, than the fulfillment of any set of goals, action and violence are celebrated almost for their own sake. Emphasizing what we might today call a "macho syndrome," fascism viewed forceful and violent actions as indicators of a strong and healthy movement. Only by continually testing itself through struggle with other countries can the nation find its limits. The advocacy of what Mussolini called "controlled violence" and the seemingly unnecessarily violent actions of fascist groups against perceived enemies seem to support this conclusion. However, in attempting to describe this, there is no substitute for Mussolini's own words:

The years which preceded the march on Rome were years of great difficulty, during which the necessity for action did not permit of research or any complete elaboration of doctrine There was much discussion, but what was more important and more sacred-men died They knew how to die Doctrine, beautifully defined and carefully elucidated, with headlines and paragraphs, might be lacking; but there was to take its place something more decisive-faith.

It should be apparent from the above that fascism has little use for the "rational" quibbling of intellectuals. If action is what is desired there is little point in spending a great amount of time debating or spelling out logical systems of ideas. There is a very distinct and deep strand of anti-intellectualism in fascism, accompanied by the belief that human emotions provide the true seat of wisdom and truth. Human beings, while they are thinking animals, find true wisdom in their emotional responses to words and actions and show that wisdom through committing their collective will to further activity. As such, speeches and written statements are not used to communicate information so much as to induce certain emotional responses in the audience, to stir them to action.

To a cynical observer, this means that the speaker or writer is merely using symbols for their propaganda effect. There is, however evidence to indicate that both Mussolini and Hitler believed that the interchange of emotion that occurred during their speeches and at mass rallies was actually a fundamental method of communicating with the people. Here again we encounter the elitist element in fascist doctrine, for if the spoken word is seen as a device for inducing emotional response and is a fundamental method of communication between people, the person who is speaking those words becomes most important indeed. Hence, to appreciate fully the notions of emotionalism, will, and mass action we must look at the person who is to be the source of all these- the leader.

The fascist leader is the person who discovers the general will of the nation, interprets it, and communicates it to the people in a way that will lead them to fulfill its commands. As such, the leader is in many ways the key to all fascism ... the leader is literally the personification of the nation; the leader's body and will express the will of all of the people. We must emphasize that fascist doctrine asserts that the leader does not act out of personal interest; that is, all of the leader's words and actions are supposedly dictated by the general will. In a sense the leader is a captive of that will and could not act arbitrarily or on the basis of personal whim. Benito Mussolini is unimportant; Il Duce is everything.

We have already noted that the spirit of the people exists through out time independent of any person, so the leader is really discovering and being led by a national will which already exists. Thus, we must ask how a particular person such as the leader comes to know what that will is. Fascist doctrine provides us little in the way of an explanation of this discovery process. The leader's communication with the general will is shrouded in mystery; the leader simply knows it and is chosen by history to be the one person who gives verbal form to the national spirit. That will always existed in potential, but it required a great person to know it, translate it for the rest of the nation, and mobilize the people to ensure that the potential is fulfilled.

How do people know when a particular person such as Mussolini or Hitler is the authentic manifestation of the general will? Fascists assert that the true greatness of the people and the leader is manifested when the people simply recognize the leader when the leader emerges from the struggle for political power and they agree to follow all of the leader's commands. Again we see the emotional, irrational, social Darwinist base of fascism. How does the leader know that he (or she) is chosen to articulate the will of the people? The leader simply knows it! How do the people recognize the leader when he (or she) appears? They simply do and thereafter follow the leader's commands! There just is no rational explanation for these phenomena for they arise from the will and emotions of the people or, as Mussolini said in the passage just quoted, the process is based on faith.

From another vantage point one can see the tremendous power that fascism gives to the leader, particularly when this concept is combined with other doctrines. If, as we stated earlier, the nation is the final authority in all matters and the leader is the personification of the nation, that person's commands are by definition law. Ultimately, the leader is accountable only to the will of the nation. The masses show both their wisdom and demonstrate their greatness by acknowledging and following the leader. Here we can see with greater clarity the elite-mass distinction observed in the thought of the young Mussolini. The leader possesses the truth, and it is the leader's historical duty to communicate that truth to the masses and to ensure that the nation fulfills its destiny. Fascism sees the masses as possessed of great potential energy; the problem is to mobilize them toward the proper goals. Thus, the question of the method of communication between the leader and the masses is of great importance. Here the elite finds the use of myth and propaganda extremely useful. Much as the "noble lie" of Plato, myths are used to communicate to the people a simplified version of the general will, and propaganda is used to direct their energies. Note that according to the doctrine this does not mean that the leader is manipulating the masses for the leader's own personal power. Rather, what the leader is doing is leading them on the proper path to personal and national fulfillment. If successful, the entire nation will be mobilized in pursuit of national glory, and the will of the people, however vaguely defined, will be achieved. What could be more democratic?

Here, then, are some of the central traits of Mussolini's fascism: corporativism, irrationalism, emotionalism, will, leadership, action for its own sake-all within the confines of that supreme value of national greatness.

A dictionary definition of fascism:
Any authoritarian, anti-democratic, anti-socialistic system of government in which economic control by the state, militaristic nationalism, propaganda, and the crushing of opposition by means of secret police, emphasize the supremacy of the state over the individual.





The life and personality of Adolf Hitler have in all probability been subjected to more detailed analysis than any other figure in the twentieth century. Confronted with the enormity of the evil committed by Nazi Germany under his leadership, untold numbers of scholars and laypersons have attempted to find an explanation for-and too often to explain away-Nazism in Hitler's personality. We make no attempt to summarize that scholarship or to add to it, but brief mention of Hitler's life and the circumstances in Germany that permitted his rise to power seem necessary to any understanding of Nazi ideology.

Adolf Hitler was born in l889 in the small town of Braunau on the border between Austria and Bavaria. Hitler was later to describe his early life as one of poverty and suffering, although the evidence indicates that his father, who was a minor civil servant, provided adequately for the family. The young Hitler was not a success in formal education; his grades were poor, he was a disruptive influence, and he seemed to lack the discipline necessary for concentrated study. Some have argued that these early experiences led to Hitler's lifelong contempt for formal education and those who possessed it. In any case, his dream was to be an artist or an architect. After his father's death, his mother moved to Linz, in Upper Austria, where the young Hitler pursued that dream doing sketches and drawings in an effort to sustain himself. In 1907, after two years in Linz, Hitler journeyed to Vienna to further his artistic ambitions by attempting to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts. He was denied admission on the grounds that he lacked artistic talent. In spite of this, he remained in Vienna until 1913. By his own account, these years were crucial to the development of both his personality and his ideas.

He lived an essentially solitary existence, barely sustaining himself through sketching and architectural drawing. He was described by contemporaries as moody, incapable of finding a job, and possessing a passion for politics and opera (particularly Wagner). Alan Bullock characterized the young Hitler as possessing the artist's temperament without talent, training, or creative energy. In 1913 Hitler left Vienna for Munich, where he led basically the same type of existence, until the outbreak of World War I.

There is little doubt that the war gave direction to Hitler's life and provided an outlet for his energies. He volunteered for and was accepted into a Bavarian regiment that saw considerable action throughout the war. Although he was decorated several times for his actions, he was only able to achieve the rank of corporal, whether through lack of ability or lack of ambition. He was gassed, temporarily blinded, and in the hospital recovering from his wound when the war ended.

We cannot attempt to chronicle the events that led to Hitler's rise in 1933 to the position of Chancellor of Germany. Our concern must remain with Hitler's ideas. Before exploring them, however, we need to sketch briefly the social and political environment within Germany after the war, particularly since many commentators believe that these circumstances were crucial to the eventual success of Nazism.

Germany at that time presented a general picture of political and economic chaos, interrupted only briefly by periods of relative stability. The nation had been defeated on the battlefield, although the myth that the German army had been "stabbed in the back" by leftist politicians rather than defeated militarily was to grow in strength in the coming years. The country was saddled with an economy in shambles and a large debt for war reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles Further, the economic depressions that swept all of Europe throughout the 1920s had particularly severe effects in Germany, producing rapid inflation and dislocations throughout the economy.

On the political front, there existed very strong socialist and communist parties, paralleled on the right by an established conservative movement as well as a new grouping of "radical rightists" from which the Nazi party was eventually to emerge dominant. Street violence and political assassination, particularly in the early 1920s and 1930s, were common occurrences. As economic conditions worsened in the early 1930s, the Nazi party, heretofore a somewhat obscure regional group, rose to a position of national prominence, winning, for example, 107 seats in the Reichstag elections of 1930. By early 1932, the Nazis controlled 230 seats out of 608 in the Reichstag as nearly 14 million Germans voted for Hitler and his Nazi party. Taking into account the fact that Germany had many political parties, this represented an unprecedented success accomplished in a very short period of time. It should also be noted, however, that the parties of the left remained quite strong even as the Nazis grew in power. The German political arena was polarizing on the left and right. Finally, on January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor and the Nazi era began.

With this brief background completed, let us return to our major concern and summarize the ideas of the young Hitler to see how they incorporated the various intellectual traditions we have been describing, and to provide points of comparison with Italian fascism. It is appropriate to speak of the young Hitler because in large measure the ideology of National Socialism was firmly set in his mind by the time he was 24. Ernst Nolte in a deft phrase refers to National Socialism as "practice as fulfillment," asserting that the ideology was "preformed" in Hitler's mind and that all that was necessary was its "fulfillment." As such, the ideas of Hitler's youth can be used as keys to understanding not only the ideology of National Socialism but also the entire Nazi movement. Once again, we must point to the centrality of racist ideas, for in Hitler's mind race explained everything.

Hitler's own description in Mein Kampf of his conversion to anti-Semitism perhaps will help us to understand this point:

Once, when I was walking through the inner city, I suddenly came across a being in a long caftan with black sidelocks. My first thought was: Is that a Jew? In Linz, they did not look like that. I watched the man stealthily and cautiously, but the longer I stared at the strange countenance and studied it feature by feature, the more the question in a different form turned in my brain: Is that a German?'

From this early experience on the streets of Vienna, Hitler moved to the position of finding race at the core of all human affairs. In particular, it was the existence and widespread influence of Jews that served both as an explanation for the sorry condition of Germany and a rationalization for Hitler's personal lack of early success in life.

It is true that Hitler went on in Mein Kampf to spell out most of the major themes that we have associated with Italian fascism. He condemned Bolshevism, class, democratic institutions, the liberal press, and spoke in glowing terms of national unity, organicism, duty, and a vaguely socialistic economy. What differentiated Hitler from Mussolini, however, was that blood-mixing and Jews were seen as the basic cause of all of the problems of modern life contained in the fascist litany. Marxism, for example, was viewed by both men as a dire threat to national unity and as a revolutionary doctrine that competed with fascism for recruits. But for Hitler, Marxism was a doctrine invented by a Jew (Marx's father was a convert to Christianity) and used by international Jewry to prevent the German working class from realizing its prime allegiance to Volk and state. "And so the Jewish leaders succeeded in hammering into the minds of the masses the Marxist propaganda: 'Your deadly foe is the bourgeoisie; if he were not there, you would be free!' Similarly, democracy, and all of the so-called freedoms associated with it, was a doctrine designed and dominated by Jews. By asserting that political equality was a basic presupposition in governing, Jews had tricked people into believing that they were equal to legitimate members of the Volk. Thus, democracy as a political form ensured the debasement of the Volk while at the same time permitting Jews to rise to positions of power.

Finally, free speech and press, two of the cornerstones of a liberal democratic society, were seen as vehicles of international Jewry in that they spread equalitarian falsehoods or, at the least, prevented a united Volk by fostering differences among the people. Behind all of these evils of modernity was the Jew, a member of a lesser race, a parasite living off the body politic, yet a clever and dangerous adversary. Perhaps one can fully appreciate the depth of Hitler's racism by reading his own words-presented here at length-from a 1922 speech in Munich:

the Jews are a people of robbers. He has never founded any civilization, though he has destroyed civilizations by the hundred. He possesses nothing of his own creation to which he can point. Everything that he has is stolen. . . . He has no art of his own: bit by bit he has stolen it all from the other peoples or has watched them at work and then made his copy. He does not even know how merely to preserve the precious things which others have created: as he turns the treasures over in his hand they are transformed into dirt and dung. He knows that he cannot maintain any state for long. This is one of the differences between him and the Aryan. True, the Aryan also has dominated other peoples. But how? He entered on the land, he cleared the forests; out of wilderness he created civilizations and he has not used the others for his own interests, he has, so far as their capacities permitted, incorporated them into his State and through him art and science were brought to flower. In the last resort it was the Aryan and the Aryan alone who could form States and could set them on their path to future greatness.

Having discovered his truth-that is, that Jews destroy and Aryans create civilization-it became Hitler's self-appointed task to communicate it to the German masses so that the evils of Jewish control could be eradicated and a new Aryan culture established. Sure of his truth, Hitler's main difficulty was in conveying it to masses conditioned by false values; nevertheless, it was in this area, perhaps more than anywhere else, that his particular genius lay. While we have discussed the notions of leadership, emotion, and mass psychology in connection with Italian fascism, Hitler's development of these doctrines are of such proportion that they merit additional attention.

Mystical Exchange of Spiritual Energy

He, at one with Mussolini, had considerable contempt for masses of people; at the same time he believed that they possessed tremendous potential energy. They needed, therefore, leadership by an elite. This leadership was to be achieved largely through emotional communications between elite and mass and, in particular, through the spoken word. Mass rallies and emotion-laden speeches designed to achieve a religious-like catharsis for both speaker and audience were Hitler's major devices for ensuring the success of the Nazi movement. In his words: "if a people is to become free it needs pride and will power, defiance, hate, hate, and once again hate."

There is a good deal of evidence that shows Hitler regarded his speeches as the fundamental means of communication between the leader and the followers. They were designed not primarily to communicate ideas or to convey information but to provide for a mystical exchange of spiritual energy. As Alan Bullock observed:

Speech was the essential medium of his power, not only over his audiences but over his own temperament. Hitler talked incessantly, often using words less to communicate his thoughts than to release the hidden spring of his own and others' emotions, whipping himself and his audience into anger or exaltation by the sound of his voice."

In even bolder terms, Joachim C. Fest describes a speech by Hitler at Hamburg:

There, amid the cheers of thousands, he delivered one of his passionate speeches that whipped the audience into a kind of collective orgy, all waiting tensely for the moment of release, the orgasm that manifested itself in a wild outcry.... No doubt there was a deeper meaning to Hitler's frequent comparison of the masses to "woman." And we need only look at the corresponding pages in Mein Kampf, at the wholly erotic fervor that the idea and the image of the masses aroused in him, to see what he sought and found as he stood on the platform high above the masses filling the arena-his masses. Solitary, unable to make contact, he more and more craved such collective unions. In a revealing turn of phrase (if we may believe the source) he once called the masses his "only bride." His oratorical discharges were largely instinctual, and his audience, unnerved by prolonged distress and reduced to a few elemental needs, reacted on the same instinctual wave length. The sound recordings of the period clearly convey the peculiarly obscene, copulatory character of mass meetings: the silence at the beginning, as of a whole multitude holding its breath; the short, shrill yappings; the minor climaxes and first sounds of liberation on the part of the crowd; finally the frenzy, more climaxes, and then the ecstasies released by the finally unblocked oratorical orgasms.

This is, of course, thoroughly consistent with the antirationalism and emphasis on mystery and emotion that we have noted before. Hitler saw himself as the reincarnation of ancient German rulers, returned by history to lead the people in fulfilling their destiny. In asserting these ties to historical Germany, Hitler was able to draw on large portions of the romantic tradition that had become so much a part of everyday culture. Ancient symbols were resurrected to assert these historical ties; the simple strong man of the soil became an ideal German; even architectural styles copying the designs of the Middle Ages were in vogue. These symbols of the romantic tradition were, as we have noted earlier, combined with those of racism to produce a view of the forthcoming Third Reich that was simultaneously German and Aryan. All this is but another way of saying that Hitler was an instinctive master of the new art (science?) of propaganda and mass psychology.

Use of Propaganda

Early in life he was greatly impressed with British efforts at propaganda during World War I, and he realized the potential of mass communication. All of the media were used to emphasize the Aryan Ideal and to condemn the Jewish influence in German life. The motion picture art form was perfected by the Nazis even though the use of films for political purposes had only been recently recognized. Hitler's personal taste in art and architecture dictated aesthetic values for the entire society, while the whole cultural and educational structure was revamped to wipe out liberal values and Jewish influences.

This cleansing of our culture must be extended to nearly all fields. Theater art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political and cultural idea.... The right of personal freedom recedes before the duty to preserve the race.

Typical of such movements, particular emphasis was placed upon ensuring that the youth of Germany-the next generation-would grow up uncontaminated by foreign influences. Fuhrer worship became an integral part of the socialization of the youth of Germany. For example the following is a prayer that was to be said before meals by children in Cologne:

Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, bequeathed to me by the Lord, Protect and preserve me as long as I live! Thou hast rescued Germany from deepest distress I thank thee for my daily bread. Abideth thou long with me, forsaketh me not, Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith and my light! Heil, mein Fuhrer!'

Similarly, Christianity was "Germanized" and "Aryanized" to lend the weight of religion to the movement:

As with every people, the eternal God also created a Law for our people especially suited to its racial character. It acquired form in the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and in the National-Socialist state that he formed.... One People!-One Reich!-One Church!"

Such examples could be duplicated endlessly.

It is in this attempt to develop what George Mosse has called a "Nazi culture" that we can see the genuinely revolutionary nature of Hitler's enterprise. He was attempting to change the values of an entire population and point them toward a new society, composed partially of elements of an idealized historical Germany but dominated by a vision of a new Reich. Finally, we must underscore the fact that such an attempt at producing a total culture was only possible because of the existence of a modern bureaucratic state. The rise of a rationalized bureaucratic class whose purpose was the effective implementation of orders given to it provided a mechanism for putting Nazi culture in place. The bureaucrat's purpose was not to question the orders given, but to implement them efficiently, without bias or scorn, regardless of how absurd or inhuman they appeared to be.

We cannot enter into a detailed discussion of the economic policies of Nazi Germany. It can be argued that none is necessary for Nazi economic policies in general exhibited the same type of eclectic accommodation to varying groups in the society that we have observed in Mussolini's Italy. At an early date, Hitler had proclaimed socialism to be a doctrine only possible within the confines of the nation-state; international socialism, particularly Marxism, was declared to be a perversion of the fundamental doctrine-a central element in the "international Jewish conspiracy."

After their assumption of power the Nazis were able to blend this vague socialism with the existing corporate interests in Germany to produce economic policies whose goals were easily stated-power and greatness. Such practical accommodation was not, however, a distinguishing trait of National Socialism, nor was it characteristic of Hitler. We noted earlier the fascism of Benito Mussolini possessed no clear conception of a goal culture and tended to emphasize action and involvement almost for its own sake. Such was not the case with Hitler; he had an all too clear conception of his new society and the actions that would be necessary to achieve it.

At the beginning of this discussion of National Socialism it was asserted that Hitler was fundamentally an Aryan racist and that the fruition of his plans would have led to the destruction of the German nation-state. By now we believe we have established the importance that race played in Hitler's mind, but the full import of those doctrines can be seen only by examining his plans for the future society. Once again, perhaps it is better to let Hitler speak for himself:

The main principle which we must observe is that the State is not an end, but a means. It is the foundation on which higher human culture is to rest, but it does not originate it. It is rather the presence of a race endowed with the capabilities for civilization which is able to do this.

Hitler asserted clearly that the state serves as a vehicle for the elevation of the Aryan race to a position of power where the race can create higher human culture and civilization. That is the state's prime purpose. Surely, one might ask: But doesn't that mean greater power and glory for all Germans? By no means. It must be remembered that the existing German nation had been corrupted by blood-mixing and therefore contained impurities that had to be eradicated.

In its capacity as a State, the German Reich must gather all Germans to itself; it must not only select out of the German nation only the best of the original racial elements and conserve them, but must slowly and surely raise them to a position of dominance.

Not merely the state, but the existing German Volk itself is a device for resurrecting the pure Aryan strain. In effect, a German whose blood is not pure is at best a culture sustainer, at worst a destroyer of culture and civilization. The only true human is an Aryan, and anyone existing within the state who has mixed blood must either be a slave to the Aryan or be eliminated. While Jews are both the most obvious and dangerous of culture destroyers, they are not alone.

Here we see Hitler's racism in full-bloom. The thousand-year Reich will not be a German nation-state, but an Aryan state in which any non-Aryans exist only to serve the interests of the culture creator. Extermination became Hitler's final solution to the Jewish menace, but it must be remembered that Auschwitz and Buchenwald were also slavelabor camps whose bureaucratically calculated goal was working "people" to death-a world, in Richard Rubenstein's words, "of the living dead." In addition, the expansionist military policies of Nazi Germany against other non-Aryan nations were not simply designed to provide "living space" for the German nation as Hitler frequently stated. Their ultimate objective was the subjugation of all non-Aryan peoples to the master race. And all destroyers of culture would have to be themselves destroyed. This, then, is not German nationalism but racist internationalism. Given that, many of Hitler's actions and Nazi policies fall into a pattern. The "scientific" efforts to determine Aryan blood, and programs formulated literally to breed people possessing Aryan characteristics, can be seen as direct means for achieving the goal culture. Further, during the latter days of World War II, Hitler could declare that Germany had failed him without destroying the basic premise of his racism. That is, the fact that Germany was losing the war had nothing to do with the innate superiority of Aryans but showed that Germans of mixed blood had not been strong enough to fulfill their task of achieving Aryan supremacy. Finally, with retreating armies on all sides, Hitler could declare that he had been successful, because his extermination camps and breeding policies would ensure that from the ashes of a defeated Germany would inevitably arise a new Aryan-dominated society, one free of Jews. His racial doctrines, with all of their horrifying consequences, remained with him to the end.

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