The Objectivism Seminar is working through Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s all-too-topical book, The Ominous Parallels. In it, he explores what gave rise to to the fascist, totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany — and analyzes whether and how a fascist, totalitarian regime could emerge here in America.
- How “The nationalists, at heart, were socialists. The socialists, at heart were nationalists. The Nazis took over the essence of each side in the German debate and proudly offered the synthesis as one unified viewpoint. The syntheses is: national socialism.”
- This synthesis stressed the basic principles common to all groups and served as an opening to every major segment of the population, reactionary and radical alike. At the same time, the non-Nazi parties limited themselves to a narrower, more specific consituency while alienating the rest of the country.
- The “Twenty-Five Points” document outlining the Nazi agenda: how it demanded special state action on behalf of virtually every group, with the middle class as its most obvious target of appeal. These are the white-collar workers, small tradesmen, bureaucrats, academics — those ravaged by the war and hit hardest by the hyperinfltion, and who felt pinned between government-protected cartels above and government-supported unions below.
- How the Nazis offered private deals and/or public promises to virtually every significant group in Germany to broaden their support — all the way down to the spinsters. What enabled the Nazis to offer conflicting messages tailored to appeal to each audience, flattering everyone as uniquely important, soothing concerns about their interests, promising punishment of those they felt pitted against.
- The one real consistency the Nazis offered was that of supporting and sacrificing to the “public interest” — rejecting the Weimarian mixed economy with its partial freedoms for utter totalitarianism.
- And much more…
The chapter closes by saying:
The poor hated the rich, the rich hated “the rabble,” the left hated the “bourgeoisie,” the right hated the foreigners, the traditionalists hated the new, and the young hated everything, the adults, the Allies, the West, the Jews, the cities, the “system.”