Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Three Differences Between Communism and Nazism

New Soviet People: Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
As an introductory note, let it be clearly stated that in this article the usage of the word “Communism” refers to Soviet-style socialism, or Marxism-Leninism as applied by the Soviet Union and later China.  “Nazism” refers specifically to German National Socialism in the Third Reich.

I’ve been reading a lot of Karl Marx lately, as well as a number of books and articles on the early decades of the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, for a large term paper due in one of my political science classes.  The thesis of my paper is that Stalinism is the logical conclusion to Marxian socialism.  The abbreviated logic is that the many holes and open ends in Marxist theory, combined with the oppressive growth of the state under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, render the conversion from socialism to stateless communism to be impossible.  The state will not wither away as workers enjoy new freedom, but rather will grow into a totalitarian one at their expense.

“On [Dr. Goebbels’] assertion that Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between Communism and the Hitler faith was very flight, a faction war opened with whizzing beer glasses” (from a November 1924 New York Times article, cited in The Soviet Story).

In my research I’ve found an overwhelming number of similarities and downright parallels between communism and Nazism, but what I found most striking were the three main differences between the two, which ultimately convinced me that Communism and Nazism are but two sides to the same utopian totalitarian coin.

1.      A superior human being.  Karl Marx offers in The German Ideology a glimpse of a utopia where the post-revolutionary proletariat is so productive that men are free to fish in the morning, hunt in the afternoon, and write literary and political criticisms in the evening.  From this, Trotsky expanded the utopia to include the idea of the New Soviet Man who
“will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instincts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman” (from Literature and Revolution).
Basically, the revolutionary proletarians will be such hard workers and so dedicated to the Marxian revolution that they will physically and mentally evolve into super-humans.  The Nazis, on the other hand, worshiped the Aryan as the next super-human.  In contrast to the Soviet superhero being more evolved due to class consciousness and dedication, the Aryan will advance because he is genetically (racially) superior to other humans and through selective breeding will continue to far surpass the others.

2.      Private property and state control.  In a May 1, 1927 speech Adolf Hitler said,
“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”
The Soviet state confiscated the overwhelming majority of private property, encompassing real estate (land), industry/businesses, and physical objects like machines and tools.  Turning these items into state property, the Communist party-state planned the economy and dictated production.  The Nazi state never did away with capitalism, nor did it abolish private property, but rather marginally tolerated them for the sake of benefiting the state.  The Nazi party-state instead planned the economy and left it to the industrialists and business people to make it happen within heavy regulations imposed by the government.  This merger between corporate and state power was the socialism Hitler was after, with the benefit of German citizens derived from the economic outputs of the corporate/state marriage.

3.      Imperial expansion.  Marx reinterpreted Hegel’s theory of dialectics (opposing forces or viewpoints) to form historical materialism, which argues that history is the story of class struggle (The Communist Manifesto, Section I).  The struggle and victory of one class over another is what makes history move from one stage to another.  The first stages were primitive communism—as practiced by the early peoples—then slave society—as practiced by the ancient empires like Rome and the Greeks—and feudalism.  The world is currently in the capitalist stage, at the end of which the proletariat will rise up and usher in the socialist stage, which will pave the way for the stateless, moneyless utopia of communism.

The Russian Revolution/Civil War and later the Chinese Revolution/Civil War solidified the idea that the proletariat was beginning to complete its historical mission.  However, beyond Russia, no other country in the world became Marxist all by itself (except tiny Cuba).  Because the proletarians were lagging in rising up, it was the job of the Soviet Union to make revolution happen worldwide.  The USSR heavily funded Mao’s Communist army in China during the Chinese Civil War.  Later, the USSR and China either sent combat troops into or provided financial and material support to every militant Marxist movement in the world.  All the European countries that became Communist after World War II made the transformation at Soviet gunpoint.

Lenin’s idea was that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would spread revolution across the world (implying that Moscow would be the world’s capital).  While Lenin and Stalin were intent on conquering the world for Communism to establish one giant Communist society, Hitler’s aim was to conquer the world and liquidate the undesirables for the benefit of the Aryan people of the worldwide Nazi German Empire

When comparing these three differences in the Soviet and National Socialist ideologies, they start to appear only superficially different.  They start to appear like… tyranny and genocide.

"Until its complete extermination or loss of national status, this racial trash always becomes the most fanatical bearer there is of counter-revolution, and it remains that. That is because its entire existence is nothing more than a protest against a great historical revolution... The next world war will cause not only reactionary classes and dynasties, but also entire reactionary peoples, to disappear from the earth. And that too is progress." –Friedrich Engels (from The Magyar Struggle)

"The classes and the races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way.... They must perish in the revolutionary holocaust." -Karl Marx (from The People's Paper, April 16, 1856)

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USSR postage stamp and Stalin/Hitler portrait are in the public domain and were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.  The video is from the film The Soviet Story by Edvins Snore and is used via Standard YouTube License.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Liberating Syria without the Empire (UPDATED)

This article was originally published in July 2012 by Young Americans for Liberty.  It has been expanded and updated to make it relevant to May 2013.

Red stripe is government's, Green stripe is rebels'
Nearly a year has passed since the Obama administration began expressing their “deep concern” with the spiraling crisis in Syria—a crisis many are rightfully calling civil war.  The last time the DoD showed such “deep concern” over the deteriorating situation in any country was regarding Libya in 2011.  The concern over Libya was soon followed by Operation Odyssey Dawn and further intervention by the United Nations in the Libyan Civil War.  Given the track record of NATO and the United Nations, and an investigation by Senator Rand Paul revealing that the Obama administration is responsible for smuggling weapons from Libya to the Syrian rebels, it’s reasonable to assume that these powers will soon intervene officially in the Syrian civil war.

For over two years the Syrian government and the opposition have battled it out to the general stalemate renewed every day in blood.  The rebels waged the majority of offensives between November 2012 and March of this year, while the government forces have kept the score even.  In support of the Syrian government forces are many pro-Assad Shabiha militias, local militias trained by Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Basij, and Hezbollah.  On the side of the rebels under the umbrella of the Syrian National Coalition are the decentralized Free Syrian Army, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, the al-Nusra Mujahedeen, and the Syrian Kurds.  So far at least 80,000 people have been killed in Syria, nearly 40,000 of them being combatants from the loyalist army, the rebel forces, and each side’s foreign state and non-state allies combined.

Guerrillas of the Free Syrian Army seeking help from the empires of the US or NATO may help the rebels’ cause in the short run, but it will greatly stunt the sovereignty of the Syrian free state in years to come, with foreign military bases and oil rigs on Syrian soil.  It would also potentially put the US and her allies in a hot war with Russia or Iran.  Many are still calling for US intervention since the Syrian government has made a policy of massacring whole villages of Sunni Muslims, in response to the trend that the majority of FSA rebels and anti-Assad Mujahedeen happen to be Sunni.

Richmond, Virginia in April 1865
However, there are two pressing reasons why the US government should not get involved (at least no more than it already unofficially is).  First, the US government has no moral or ethical standing to intervene in the civil wars of foreign states, given its conduct in the American Civil War.  The Lincoln Administration waged war on the Southern States not for the noble purpose of freeing slaves, but rather to maintain territorial integrity of the federal government.  Any slaves that were freed during the war were freed only in order to hurt the Southern war machine while slaves in Northern states continued to languish in bondage.  Furthermore, the US war machine blockaded all Southern ports in order to cut the Southern Confederacy off any foreign aid or intervention.  Most Southern guerrilla fighters, when captured or upon surrendering in 1865, were not treated as enemy combatants but as criminals in violation of martial law and were summarily executed by US soldiers.  Worse yet, a documented minimum of 50,000 civilians are reported to have died from the “collateral damage” from the total war which the US waged on the Southern population.  Farms large and small were burned in order to deny Confederate troops of any food source whatsoever.  Starvation was rampant.  The US Army burned and destroyed paths miles wide in Sherman’s March to the Sea.  Atlanta was burned to the ground.  Vicksburg and Petersburg were besieged and bombed indiscriminately for months, regardless of the likelihood of civilian casualties.  Richmond in 1865 looked like Berlin in 1945.

The second reason is that US intervention in recent Middle Eastern civil wars has not ended well for the United States.  Twice has the US intervened in the Afghan Civil War (which has evolved in distinct phases since 1978).  The first time was a CIA operation for the Mujahedeen against the Soviet Union and the Afghan Communists, in which the nominally unified Mujahedeen were armed with stinger missiles and a variety of other light weaponry.  The second time was October of 2001 as the American War in Afghanistan was initiated in order to rout the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Unfortunately, this conflict within the War on Terror had the effect of decentralizing Al Qaeda through birthing regionally-based Al Qaeda groups throughout the Middle East, while the old guards of the original Al Qaeda have found refuge among the Pakistani Taliban.  Furthermore, the pulling of resources from the initial 2002 victory in Afghanistan to wage the Iraq War gave the Taliban ample time to rearm, regroup, and entrench themselves ever more deeply among their countrymen who grow weary of the foreign occupiers.  To add insult to injury, many of the weapons provided to the decentralized, only nominally unified Mujahedeen have been used to attack and kill American and allied Afghan troops.

Free Syrian Army troops being transported in a civilian truck
The other, more recent civil war in which the US, NATO, and UN have intervened is the Libyan conflict.  What the civil wars in Libya and Afghanistan have in common with the present situation in Syria is a decentralized, only nominally unified opposition of rebels waging war against an unpopular regime.  The Afghan Mujahedeen and Libyan opposition were allies in fighting against their respective unpopular regimes, but never did the various factions unite under one government or command structure.  Following the overthrow of the Afghan Communist regime, the Afghan Mujahedeen returned to factionalism and fought a multisided civil war until the Taliban won out (and subsequently fought the minority Northern Alliance).  Following the official end of the Libyan Civil War, low-level civil war persists to this day as rogue militias fight against the new Libyan government, fight against each other, and periodically kill American diplomats.  Given that the Syrian opposition is no more unified or organized than the Afghan Mujahedeen or the Libyan opposition, it’s entirely reasonable to conclude that civil war would continue in Syria even after the possible overthrow of the Assad regime.

The best way for the Syrian free forces to tip the balance of the civil war in their favor would be to imitate the course of action taken by the government of Sierra Leone during its civil war.  By 1995 the psychotic guerrillas of the Revolutionary United Front had advanced to within 20 miles of Freetown (the Capital), waging a terror campaign the entire way which involved forced conscription of child soldiers, routine execution of civilians, and a practice of pacifying the civilian population via hacking off the limbs of innocent bystanders.  The desperate government hired the private military company Executive Outcomes (for $1.8 million a month, paid by the International Monetary Fund) to drive back the RUF, retake all towns, villages, and mines held by the RUF, and to destroy their main base of operations.  Within a matter of months Executive Outcomes had taken back territory lost to the RUF, destroyed the enemy’s main base, and forced the RUF to admit defeat and sign the Abidjan Peace Accord.  Civil war in Sierra Leone only resumed when the UN and IMF pressured the government to expel Executive Outcomes.

Various examples in recent history show that there are good uses and bad uses for mercenary companies.  A bad use would be hiring Blackwater to operate in crowded areas without any legal repercussions, thus giving them carte blanche for violence (e.g. Baghdad Bloody Sunday).  An objectively good and even noble use of a PMC would be one such as Sierra Leone’s hiring of Executive Outcomes to neutralize an insurgency infamous for hacking off the legs of recently “liberated” civilians.  This solution could easily be applied in Syria.

The Syrian National Council could grant legal permission for a PMC to operate within Syria in order to fight the loyalist army and arrest Assad.  Furthermore, the hired PMC—fully accountable and answerable to the Syrian National Coalition—could take on the dual mission of fighting the Assad regime while training the Free Syrian Army to be a professional fighting force with a central chain of command under the Syrian National Coalition.  With the PMC taking on a heavy burden of the fighting, part of the Free Syrian Army would be free to establish its integrity by putting into check all the temporarily allied, potentially rogue militias.  This would help ensure that the overthrow of the Assad regime would not be followed by more civil war as has been the case in Afghanistan and Libya.  Finally, as the newly professional Syrian National Army demonstrates its ability to preserve stability in the newly free Syria, the PMC would return to its home base in its home country.

Such an intervention, applied from within by a local government as opposed to being imposed from without by a foreign empire, could tip the scales in the balance of the Syrian opposition, bring a speedier end to the Syrian Civil War, and preserve the sovereignty of the Syrian Free State while keeping foreign empires at bay.

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Syrian double flag, Free Syrian Army, and Richmond images are in the public domain and were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.  Executive Outcomes book cover courtesy of

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Not In My F-ing Name, Congressman!"

Written in April. Publication was delayed to let the incident die down out of respect for YAL.

This month’s Young Americans for Liberty California State Convention in Fullerton was definitely eventful and entertaining, with the lively high points far outweighing the mid-afternoon lulls of sleepiness. Three events perhaps still cling to the minds of the more than 200 liberty movement activists who attended. First was the great video chat with Congressman Ron Paul. Second was the slot where Campaign for Liberty Chairman (and former Ron Paul presidential campaign manager) John Tate talked about the inside scoops of the 2012 campaign.

Third was the question and answer period with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Orange County following his keynote address. Everyone who attended remembers the ‘F’ word being thrown at Rohrabacher following his answer to a question—an answer which so incensed the inquirer that he saw fit to shout that vulgarity to the Congressman. The title of this article is [almost] the verbatim comment made by the angry libertarian purist. I was deeply offended by this.

I met the angry inquirer and talked with him later on at the Liberty on the Rocks social. He’s a pretty cool guy and I highly enjoyed chatting with him and discussing things only libertarians would care about (such as the differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin). Nonetheless, I simply cannot condone the way he conducted himself to the keynote speaker at the convention. It was rash, it was rude, and it reflected poorly on our organization.

I firmly agree with the political proverb that one’s 80% friend is NOT his 20% enemy. This is the case with Congressman Rohrabacher. I know his record and could already tell my much of the content of his keynote address that he’s not libertarian, but rather a states’ rights conservative. Sure, it would be nice if he was libertarian because then we’d have another Justin Amash, but that’s not the case. We in the liberty movement often become so passionately committed to changing the world into a constitutional/free market Shangri-La that we forget that we need to live life on life’s terms, not the other way around.

Rohrabacher in Afghanistan, 1988
It was already kind of Rohrabacher to drop his community appearances and constituent services for an afternoon to come speak at our convention free of charge. Even though there were elements where he disagreed with us, he was being completely honest in explaining his beliefs and opinions, and he never tried pandering to us on the Ron Paul bandwagon. While Rohrabacher disagrees with our organization in some elements of his foreign policy, he’s our 80% friend, but this weekend some people—not just the angry inquirer but also others who tried trolling him into a debate—treated him as a 100% enemy.

Let me stress where he stands on issues near and dear to our organization (and the greater liberty movement):

· Regardless of the reasons behind his motivation, he supports immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan
· He admitted that supporting the Iraq War was the worst mistake he ever made
· He opposes ObamaCare
· He votes against Federal anti-marijuana bills and supports state-level legalization
· He votes YES on Audit the Fed and co-sponsored two previous Fed transparency acts
· He voted NO on NDAA
He may not be libertarian, but he’s on our side on most of the issues! People like him ought to be welcomed into our movement, and when people as busy as him come and speak to YAL free of charge, we ought to put our best foot forward. In no way is it inclusive or acceptable for we in the liberty movement to troll our keynote speakers into debates and swear at them.

Remember that we’re all human beings and we’re prone to emotions, but we must not become slaves to our emotion. Adam Weinberg made a great point in illuminating the difference between our basis for discussing issues versus the bases of ultra-leftists and neoconservatives: we base our arguments and presentations thereof on reason while the opposition founds theirs purely on emotion. In this context, some of our members abandoned reason for emotion and it reflected poorly on all of us.

Most people don’t enter the liberty movement by reading Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State. Most people don’t become libertarian just by reading Atlas Shrugged. However, many do start to change their minds slightly. It’s our blessed opportunity to politely ask questions that compel them to check their premises. Never is it a good idea to be rude, intellectual-elitist, or to use vulgarity. Otherwise, a potentially dedicated member of the liberty movement is lost forever because of those “rude Ron Paul people.”

On a lighter note, Congressman Rohrabacher gave YAL members an open invitation to join him at his office for liberty-themed movies and discussion. Now THIS is an opportunity for us to politely engage an influential person on the issues and also be good ambassadors of the liberty movement!

Who knows, Rohrabacher may become one of us down the line!

**It should be noted that around the time of writing this article, Congressman Rohrabacher voted in favor of NDAA 2013.  While I find this action highly discouraging, I choose to follow Dr. Ron Paul's example of making enemies of no one, choosing instead to reach out and educate.  I hope to have fruitful discussions with Congressman Rohrabacher in the near future, and still have faith that he'll join the ranks of other former neoconservatives in Congress and climb on-board the great train of the liberty movement.

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First image courtesy of YAL.  Second and third images courtesy of