In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on court nominees last year, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, 85, went on record that “there isn’t any good in Nazism.” Still, millennials and such should know that it does stand for something.
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei is the National Socialist German Workers Party, whose objective was Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism. Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992) had seen this storm cloud coming for some time.
The socialist policy of Germany “was generally held up by progressives as an example to be imitated,” Hayek wrote in 1944 in “The Road to Serfdom.” He noted that while there was a natural progression that most intellectuals denied, “few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and Nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.”
Socialists who set out to plan a country’s economic life, Hayek explained, “will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans.” For this reason, “the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful in a society trending towards totalitarianism.”
Further, “once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity.”
Under socialism, “public criticism or even expressions of doubt must be suppressed because they tend to weaken public support.”
And as the 1974 Nobel laureate warns, “The minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced.” In practice, that’s what National Socialism stands for, but other misconceptions remain.
American politicians appear to believe that in Germany’s National Socialist regime, gun shops occupied every corner and anybody could buy all the Mausers, Lugers and ammunition they wanted. The reality was the exact reverse.
As Stephen P. Halbrook showed in, “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming Jews and “Enemies of the State,” Germans had no right to keep and bear arms. The National Socialist regime used the registration records of the Weimer Republic to confiscate firearms. This was a prelude to their ruthless repressions.
When the German National Socialists occupied France they did likewise, as Halbrook showed in Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance. In 1944, in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, the Nazis razed the village and machine-gunned to death 642 men, women and children. This is what happens when a predatory National Socialist regime faces a helpless, disarmed population.
Those who think such a massacre could not happen in the United States might recall that in 1993 Attorney General Janet Reno approved the use of military tanks in an attack on the Branch Davidians’ compound at Waco, Texas, claiming the lives of 75 people, including 25 children. In her statement following Reno’s death, Feinstein expressed full support of all Reno’s actions.
The previous year, Randy Weaver’s wife Vicki was not wanted for any crime, but FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot her through the head as she held her 10-month-old daughter while Weaver was being investigated by the government for weapons charges. Democratic senators Herb Kohl and Patrick Leahy sympathized with the Weaver family, but as the San Francisco Examiner reported, “Feinstein dealt sternly with Weaver, asking whether his children wore Nazi armbands and shouted Nazi slogans at neighbors.”
So for Feinstein, the targets of the attack were the Nazis, not the government sniper who fired the deadly shot. Feinstein is also a militant supporter of gun control, ignoring the reality that the National Socialist regime suppressed firearms ownership.
For everybody from World War II vets to millennials, the former San Francisco mayor has some Nazisplaining to do. For actual National Socialism, in theory and practice, Hayek and Halbrook are far better teachers.
Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is the author of Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield, and the new crime book Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.