Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Fascism, Part IV

Welcome back.

Continuing to break apart and “update” the original 25-point plan put forth by the National Socialist German Workers Party. This is the fourth part of this exhaustive series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V), and not a great place to start. Once again, I do not endorse any of these platforms.

Trigger warnings: Politics, History.

(Note: All of the text used is from the translation on Wikipedia)

15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

The modern corollary is obvious:

15a. We demand the expansion and protection of Social Security and Medicare.

16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

Some of the language and details may be lost on the modern audience. This is simpler:

16a. We demand the government protect the middle class, and make supporting small businesses a top priority.

17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

Interesting historical aside, this measure was unpopular with farmers, who feared having their lands seized. Hitler made a point of clarifying, stating that “gratuitous expropriation concerns only the creation of legal opportunities, to expropriate, if necessary, land which has been illegally acquired, or is not administered from the view-point of the national welfare. This is directed primarily against the Jewish land-speculation companies.”

Since we have clarifying intent, I think it’s safe to follow it:

17a. We demand the abolition of property taxes, as well as the return of land to the middle class through seizure from foreign land speculation companies.

18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

Here’s the meat of the matter. This is both deliberately vague, and disturbingly broad. Point 18 is probably what people think of when they think of Nazi domestic policy, and certainly, the consequences of this are well known to history. I imagine that a modern-day rephrasing would not be quite so specific:

18a. We demand an emphasis on law and order, support for the death penalty, and a formal stance against those who would threaten the American way of life.

19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.

Fully unpacking this one seems like a bit of a nightmare, as I really don’t want to delve deeply into the legal system of 1920s Germany. The themes seem clear enough though: self-governance, and standing against a materialistic (meant as code for Jewish) world order/government. Working with these themes:

19a. We demand sovereignty, and reject all attempts of the United Nations to dictate the laws of the United States of America.

20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.

As near as I can tell, Staatsbügerkunde translates as “civics”, though the conceptualization of this point seems to be more about the patriotic indoctrination of the youth. Given that as the case:

20a. We demand a fundamental reconstruction of the education system, one that emphasizes practical skills, recognizes the importance of America and America’s place in the world, and enables students to become leaders and patriots.

21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what to make of this one. While there is still child labor throughout the world, at the time it was highly prevalent in Germany, and indeed, in all the other major industrial powers as well. But since, to my knowledge, there is no one strongly advocating child labor, this point doesn’t seem to say much at all, beyond offering support for organizations concerned with physical education. As such, I’m going to leave this one off our final list.

To be continued. (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V)

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