Nazism and Communism

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By MARCIO LUIZ MIOTTO*

The false and absurd symmetry between Nazism and Communism

The Brazilian experienced the embarrassment caused by a certain “an influencer”, stating that Brazil should accept the existence of a Nazi party on the pretext of freedom of expression and, shortly thereafter, declaring that he said everything on public television because he was drunk, that is, he was supposedly incapable of expressing himself freely. At almost the same time, everyone saw a so-called “journalist” fired after performing what seemed – by chance or not – a distinctly Sieg Heil.

What no one commented on is the “conceptual” universe – let's say – in which the two speeches took place. As it has been more and more frequent in Brazil, talking about Nazism inevitably comes together with some comment about communism. But that's not all (and here's the essential and most dangerous thing): the commentary on communism has the concrete function of reaching concrete people: people linked to the left in general and, by extension, anyone and everyone who takes a stand against certain politicians ultra-right.

The narrative, as a rule, consists of, starting from a very well-dated thesis and coming from certain think tanks liberaloides (confusingly liberal or libertarian) that proliferated in Brazil during the 2010s, make a naive defense of the notion of “freedom of expression” to attack the very principle of freedom of expression (since the concept of freedom of expression necessarily presupposes the existence of freedoms that can be expressed – something that Nazism denies on principle).

It is ironic, but the frequent example of Nazism always testifies against the liberaloid himself. By choosing precisely Nazism as the object of his mention, he manages at the same time to deny any principle of freedom and – worse – to deny the own appeal that he himself makes to freedom, because the freedom appealed as exemplary is a type of freedom that defends the possession of the right to deny the freedom of others.

With that, the liberaloid's profession of faith carries with it a curious confession.

As it turns out, this is pretty ugly. But to make up for the nonsense, the liberaloid undertakes a rhetorical strategy that, if it is silly, is nevertheless very effective: it consists of diverting the focus from Nazism to something that would be a) supposedly "equal" and b) not just the same, but “much worse.” This is where "communism" comes in.

 

“What about communism?”

It is from this hole that so many lines like “but what about communism? Didn't it kill over 100 million people? Is it not still there, defended by certain people?”

This speech has magical powers, like all good sophistry. It (1) diverts the subject and focus from Nazism (since the subject to be condemned magically becomes that of communism); it (2) diverts the attention of the libertarian himself, who has cornered himself in defending the private ownership of a thought that, if carried out, results in the denial of the freedom of others; and finally – this is essential -, speech (3) ends up making analogies that are simply false, such as the assumption that Nazism and communism somehow coincide and that, coinciding, “communism killed much more”.

The theme that communism would be a kind of symmetric of Nazism is absurd, but well dated. It also comes from the proliferation of think tanks liberaloide who came to associate, via neoliberalism thinkers such as von Mises and Hayek, any thought that involves the word “State” to the word “communism”. One of the major effects of this continuous association was a member of the Brazilian royal family saying during the 2018 elections that, except for the PSL and – perhaps – the NOVO, all other Brazilian parties would be “leftist” because to some extent they would be interventionist and , therefore, “pro-State”.

Another major example is the attempt to spread the message that “Nazism is left-wing because it is statist or interventionist”. Despite the historical absurdity that this thesis represents – because Nazism has always been viscerally opposed to communism -, the association between Nazism and communism was paved by the association between anything that smells like the word “State” with the word “communist”. A final analogy – the most absurd one – is the one that occurs in the simple occurrence of the words “socialism” and Nazism. Even certain journalists went so far as to propagate the theme that “Nazism is socialist – and then left – because it has National Socialism in the name”, going so far as to say that the Nazi party was a kind of “German PT” for involving the term “workers” in the name!

It also occurs with the theme that “communism killed many more”. The device consists of two false theses. The first is a theoretical error, and consists of saying that totalitarian practices (such as Stalin's) and the entire change of course of countries like the USSR reduce, summarize, capture entirely for themselves the concept of "communism" (as advocated by the Marxist theory). The second is a historic error, that of saying that “communism killed more”, under the formula that, if Nazism killed 6 million people, regimes like Stalin killed 100 million (as – for example – the newspaper The Facts already proved by several sources, neither the Nazi deaths are reduced to 6 million - a sum attributed to the deaths of Jews - nor the victims of Stalin's totalitarianism amounted to close to 100 million).

 

Concrete results

But as mentioned, the most serious thing is not the invention of figures or concepts. The continuous association or incessant pairing between Nazism and Communism causes very concrete effects. It is shocking because of its naivety, but the result is the realization of one of the ideals of Nazism: the persecution of political opponents labeled “communists”.

Speeches in this sense even involved State authorities, who They arrived a to declare (on February 9) that “the Nazi ideology must be repudiated in an unrestricted and permanent way, without reservations that would allow its flourishing, as well as any and all totalitarian ideology that puts at risk the fundamental rights of peoples and individuals, such as the right to life and liberty”.

It is our wish, including, that other organizations that promote ideologies that preach anti-Semitism, the division of people into races or classes, and that also decimated millions of innocents around the world, such as Communism, are reached and fought by our laws .

The target is clear and it is not Nazism. Under the pretext of talking about Nazism, one speaks of “communism”, defined no longer as the totalitarian regime of figures like Stalin, but from now on as any “organization” that at some point has stumbled upon the word communism. Social movements, political parties, unions, in short, any individual with some level of disagreement with the government can fall into the trap.

It is a curious mesh: starting with the denunciation of those who defend Nazism, it ends with the denunciation of those who were persecuted by Nazism (without forgetting that the starting thesis was that of “freedom of expression”).

*Marcio Luiz Miotto Professor of Psychology at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

 

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