Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Karl Loewenstein and the Search for a Führer
I see numerous threads on 4Chan every week on fascism, German National Socialism, etc., and often the posters try and reach, through discussion, what those ideologies were, how they worked and how they would work in Western countries today. Often these discussions make fascism out to be more complicated than it is. But simplicity in theory and practice constitutes one of the hallmarks of a 'totalitarian' ideology - see communism, for instance, or Islam, both of which have reached millions of uneducated, unintellectual and often illiterate people - and fascism is no exception to this rule.
If one wants a good summary of what National Socialism and what it did - from an outside perspective - one should no further than Karl Loewenstein's 1937 monograph 'Dictatorship and the German Constitution: 1933-1937', originally published by the Chicago Law Review. It can be found here and elsewhere on the Internet. The dense paper, in 39 pages, deftly sums up just about everything National Socialism did up to 1938, and all of National Socialism's political theory. Even though it is written by a German Jew who hated the Hitler government, I recommend it for its objectivity; it doesn't stray from the facts and doesn't lapse into hysterical denunciation. It doesn't obfuscate the subject matter, either, by bringing in topics such as Nazi occultism, Hitler's cosmic evil, etc.
Once you view German National Socialism - and fascism - in this light, it can be easily discerned what the fundamental principles of the creed were and how, in turn, these can be applied in Western countries outside of Germany. Admirers of Hitler who come from countries with a tradition of 'democracy' and 'freedom' (especially the Anglo-Saxon countries) will be taken aback by Loewenstein's account: 'So that's how National Socialist Germany worked? I didn't know that'. They might - being steeped in Anglo-Saxon classical liberalism - come to reject Hitlerism unless they overcome their prejudices. Certainly a vast gulf exists between contemporary political practice in National Socialist Germany and America today. The various Jewish and liberal critics of Trump who compared him to Hitler don't know - as we can see from Loewenstein - what they're talking about.
Having said that, if we are to study both the history of Hitler and of Trump, an important lesson can be learned. The lesson is: the quality of one's leader determines the success of one's political movement. Any of the Republican candidates for the presidency except for Trump would not have won against Hilary: they lacked his charisma, his connection with large audiences - and, as it turned out, the American electorate as a whole - and his well-defined media persona. Likewise, you cannot conceive of a National Socialism without Hitler. The party - and the German state itself - pivoted on him like an inverse pyramid. Re-reading Hitler's writings on 'personality', the leadership principle and the rest, and you soon realise that these were intellectual and political justifications for his rule. And there's nothing wrong with that: the majority of Lenin's writing constituted one long argument for the permanent and uninterrupted 'dictatorship of the proletariat', viz., the dictatorship of the 'vanguard party', the Bolsheviks, and for his own rule. Communism relies on charismatic and authoritarian leaders just as much as fascism does.
The closer one is to fascist theory - e.g., books by Evola - the easier it is to lose sight of the simple and obvious truths about fascism; Loewenstein's work serves as a corrective. It gives an answer to the question: why have all the attempts to revive fascism since the war failed? Because the leader principle, the great man principle, plays such an important role in fascist theory and practice - in German National Socialism, for example, the Führer stands at a nexus of state, party and nation - I make the argument that the deficiencies of the post-war fascism can be attributed to the failure to observe this principle. Simply put, we lacked leaders, or we lacked good ones. One couldn't see the likes of Francis Parker Yockey, George Lincoln Rockwell, William Pierce, Tom Metzger, performing the offices of a Führer (even though these men displayed some leadership capability within the confines of their immediate circle). The truth is that they wouldn't have done well even in mainstream Republican-Democratic politics.
As stated in the previous post, the populists in Europe have managed to attract a wide following mainly because of their distinct and recognisable - if not always universally admired - leaders: Le Pen, Farage, Petry, Wilders... In Australia we have the populists Hinch and Hanson, both of them are celebrity politicians who have been known to Australians for decades.
All the populists, of course, represent a different politics from ours - even though they could be classified as 'Far Right'; all of them would reject the constitutional order outlined in Loewenstein's paper - they would back away from it in horror. It goes without saying that Pauline Hanson wouldn't serve as a Führer-type.
In Australia, then, we Australian nationalists must search for a Führer - one who is clean-cut, presentable, media savvy and a little bit 'fash', a lot like the Americans Richard Spencer (National Policy Institute) and Nathan Damigo (Identity Evropa). These men have their critics, but the future leader of the Australian nationalist movement should model himself on these men. To a certain extent, it matters little what Spencer and Damigo say and believe - what matters more is what they look like; humans tend to go off visual, and not verbal, cues.