I was brought up to believe that people who said things — to the Police, to the deceived wife or husband, to the Social Security about the foreigner next door who is perhaps cheating on benefits, to anyone really — without giving their name should be ignored. Nevertheless…
Someone who does not give his or her name or a possibility of direct reply has remarked, (apropos of my post concerning people who condemned Communism because they believed, without having read Marx or Lenin, that communist theory held that the end justified the means,) that many people condemned Nazism without having read ‘Mein Kampf’. He or she asks — no doubt rhetorically — if that is bad. There is in fact no such simplistic idea as that the end justifies the means in the works of Marx or Lenin. There is, however, just such an idea in ‘Mein Kampf’, and the recent weaselly attempts by the American Authorities to justify their use of torture shows that they too believe the end justifies the means.
Certainly an informed condemnation is better than an uninformed one. The comparison is too complex to be dealt with in a blog post of reasonable length, but I would say that, whereas the horrors of Germany under Nazism were fully in accord with the ‘theories’ — such as they were — of Nazism, the horrors of the Soviet Union under Stalin were nothing to do with the theories of Marxism.
It is too easy to say that Hitler was deranged — though he certainly was — as this suggests that but for him all would have been well. The ‘ideas’ of Nazism, even under a deranged leader, would still have led to the concentration camps.
Stalin too was deranged. But it was his paranoia that led to the Gulags and the general paranoia of the Soviet Union, and not the writings of Marx and Lenin. It is a mistake to identify communism with the Soviet Union; it is reasonable to identify Nazism with the Germany of the ’thirties and ’forties.
As I say, the matter is too complex to deal with in a daily blog post. But as I suggested above, informed criticism is better than facile comparisons. By all means read ‘Mein Kampf’; doing so would certainly lend authority to one’s condemnations of Nazism. By all means read Marx and Lenin, and don’t forget that fine writer Engels: doing so might change the minds of many who condemn communism.
Oh, here’s a picture of a Communist Plot: