I’ve often described myself as a “reactive” thinker. I get my best ideas and arguments in response to others, not while
daydreaming pondering Deep Thoughts. It’s one of the reasons I find myself liking the detractors we get here at Wizbang, and value the comments section so much.
Recently, I’ve been describing my encounters with at least one Neo-Nazi here in New Hampshire. My last article provoked a mocking, derisory response from a Neo-Nazi blog. Unlike the American Nazi Party web site my neighbor had directed me to, this one accepted comments — and I waded in.
First up, I had to disabuse the author of calling me a “twink.” I informed him that while I am “gay-friendly,” I am quite heterosexual. He backed off and said he meant he categorized me as one of those “skinny, malnourished” anti-racist protesters he says he’s so used to dealing with.
“Skinny?” “Mal-nourished?” I WISH.
Anyway, while discussing the finer points of Nazism’s history (I pointed out that their ideology had gone up against Communism in both “taking over the world” and “practicing genocide,” and had been crushed by the Commies — something they oughta be properly ashamed of), I presented my answer to the “were the Nazis right-wing or left-wing?”
My response has always been that the Nazis don’t fit on the left-right continuum. The Nazis, as I see them, took the worst elements of both fringes and combined them into a melange of ideology that resulted in a nightmare that was the closest the world has ever seen to something absolutely Lovecraftian.
But then I took it a bit further. And I had an insight that I want to share.
Nazism is, at its very core, the very antithesis of America’s ideals and history.
The Nazis are obsessed with “purity.” They believe in a strict hierarchy of race, and they resist like hell any attempt to dilute their “pure” race, culture, or beliefs.
America, on the other hand, is the world’s greatest “mulligan stew.” We took in people who weren’t wanted or welcome in their homelands. As the poem says:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We took in the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refuse, the homeless of the world. And they brought with them the best of their old races and cultures and beliefs and genes and everything got tossed into the mix, and what emerged was the greatest nation that the world has ever seen.
We didn’t do that by fighting to preserve our purity, to keep ourselves untainted and unsullied and locked in amber. We did that by trying everything, keeping what works, and trashing what didnt.
For example, Nazi Germany. It’s become de rigeur to denounce them as The Ultimate Evil, and by extension everything associated with them as Irredeemably Evil. But that is too simplistic. The Nazi regime did a few things right. For example, the Autobahn was the precursor to our interstate highway system. The Volkswagen Beetle’s legacy continues even to this day. The United States space program got a hefty leg up from Nazi research into rocketry.
The greatest has to be in the field of medicine. The Nazis conducted the most insanely inhuman tortures on their prisoners in the name of “science” — and documented it thoroughly. It’s astonishing how many lives have been saved by the knowledge they acquired in such depraved ways. The example that sticks most in my mind is in hypothermia — the Nazis repeatedly immersed people in freezing water and recorded the results most meticulously. As a result, countless people who’ve ended up in freezing water in less deliberate circumstances have had their lives saved because of what we took from those monster’s notebooks.
And in an especially delicious irony, the American nuclear program included quite a few ex-Germans who were the Nazi’s “wretched refuse.”
In the aftermath of World War II, the United States saw what worked within Nazi Germany, and co-opted it and made it uniquely American. The rest? For all its evil, the single greatest moral failing of Nazism is that It Doesn’t Work. It Can Not Work. It Will Never Work. And trying to find the magic formula to get Nazism or Communism to work is not just stupid, but criminally stupid.
There’s a followup piece brewing in the back of my mind, but right now I gotta get going to The Day Job.
Author’s note: paragraph on medical research added, formatting fixed. Hey, it wouldn’t be Wizbang if I didn’t completely screw up the page at least once every few months, would it?)