Naziism as the triumph of love over morality

When a Westerner hears the phrase “triumph of love over morality” he’s likely to think of some sort of sexual sin.  Our civilization has a long history of romanticizing adultery in these sorts of terms.  Today, a person might think of homosexuality.  At least in Christian times, though, these would not have been good examples.  Seducing another man’s wife is enticing her into mortal sin with the consequent danger of hellfire, which is surely not a loving thing to do.  In any case, the collision is not between morality and love per se, since morality doesn’t ever forbid one from loving someone, but at most between morality and certain expressions of love.  A Christian cannot admit any ultimate contradiction between morality and love, since Jesus Himself made love the two greatest commandments, from which the others are derived.

Are there any cases, then, of people being forbidden to love?  Certainly.  My country’s bishops have cruelly forbidden one normal type of human love–its very existence and not only any sinful expression thereof.  I refer to the love of one’s own ethnic group, roundly condemned by moralistic prelates as “racism”.

Confronted with such condemnation, how is a pious man (following the word’s original meaning of a man who reveres his ancestors) to respond?  He may accept the condemnation and try to reform his loves, trying to smuggle in as much of his kind’s continued existence as universalist morality allows.  This is the way of the  neoconservatives.  He may reject it by arguing that true morality sanctions love of one’s ethnic group.  The authority of the universal moral law is acknowledged, but its content is disputed.  This is the way of the traditionalists.

Suppose liberal morality is all one knows, so the traditionalist way is not available.  A man, a white gentile let’s say, instinctively loves his people, his ancestors and their ways.  Then he hears predominantly Jewish moralists condemning them as wicked, unjust, and oppressive.  His instinct is to be angry, but as he listens to the condemnation, he is forced to admit its validity.  The only standard of justice he knows stands with the Jews and against his kind.  What can he do?  Justice itself demands that he renounce his own father, but how can he do such a monstrous thing?

He feels in himself a contradiction between love and justice, and he chooses love.  He turns on justice and defies him to his face:

“They say that you’re a neutral referee standing over everybody, but your partiality gives you away.  Once the Jews had a tribal god called ‘Yahweh’ whose job was to take their side in fights and egg them on in their squabbles with other Middle Eastern tribes.  Then the Jews started saying that their god was actually the one true God, the great metaphysical principle who made everybody and has a claim on everybody.  But, funny thing, the great master of the universe kept on acting like Israel’s little tribal god, always caring about the Jews in preference to everybody else.  It was the same old Yahweh.  But now the goyim have caught on, so they’ve started telling us we all have to bend the knee to Justice, the great universal principle of practical reason.  This ‘justice’ turns out to be just the same old Yahweh, the Jews’ little tribal god.  ‘Justice is on our side–we’re so righteous’ the Jews always say, but Mr. ‘Justice’ would be on their side, wouldn’t he?  Notice how he says that the weapon the Jewish side can win with, satire, is a basic freedom, while the weapon our side could win with, violence, is impermissible.  Well, I’m tired of obeying somebody else’s tribal god.  I say there is no impartial referee between the races, no universal justice.  Each race struggles to survive, thrive, and expand; this is the fundamental reality.  The only morality is loyalty to one’s own race, and no external principle can trump that loyalty, or check it, or check its expression.”

Funny, we started with a man with entirely natural and generous sentiments and we taught him only liberal morality, and we have ended up with a second Adolf Hitler.

Fascist and Nazi theorists insisted that they were an entirely distinct group of anti-communists from the reactionaries, the monarchists and Catholics.  The difference is that we can’t accept any principle of group imminence, that the nation or race is ordered to and judged by nothing outside itself.  Refusing to subordinate one’s people even to God Himself may sound like a more perfect love of group than we Christians can give.  In fact, this idolatrous love falls into the same self-contradiction as adulterous love.  To teach a people to be perfectly selfish would destroy what is most precious in it.  There are no truly immanentist cultures, not even those of the pre-Christian pagans.  If Hitler’s Reich had lasted a thousand years, or even a hundred, it would have long ceased to be recognizably German.  One doubts that a people can exist at all without some shared vision of the Good.  There is certainly something sympathetic in the person drawn to Fascism or Naziism–I find them far more sympathetic than those drawn to communism, an ideology based on envy and hatred of the sacred.  Ultimately, though, Jesus Christ is right:  love properly thought through requires His laws.

12 Responses

  1. There are certainly parallels between the contemporary US and Weimar. I’d say a rebranded version of the Nazis has a non-trivial chance of making headway during my lifetime.

    It’s just as you say. Liberal justice isn’t. If you figure this out significantly before you seize upon a replacement, then it’s perfectly natural for some other commitment to grow unnaturally and to fil up the space which would have held justice. Love of “people like me” is an extension of love of kin and makes a handy commitment to do the trick.

    One doubts that a people can exist at all without some shared vision of the Good.

    I’m not sure what you are saying here. The Nazis, both historical and contemporary, seem to me to have a commitment to much of natural law. Fascist iconography is attractive pretty much because of its unabashed embrace of natural law—of the claim that what it means for a man to be good is for him to be a particularly good example of what a man distinctively is.

    There was this brilliant bit of fascist propaganda I saw several years ago somewhere on the internets. It was just a slide slow depicting, in alternating series, the sort of disgusting rejects our culture lionizes and then various bits of fascist iconography and propaganda images. It was very effective. It was effective because it encouraged one to notice the death-and-disease-worship which seems to be Liberalism’s constant companion and to contrast that against fascism’s enthusiastic embrace of life and health.

  2. Isn’t it that the bishops only condemn loving your own ethnic group if you’re of European descent? You write like they condemn it for all, yet my impression is they support it for all but Europeans.

    “Then he hears predominantly Jewish moralists condemning them as wicked, unjust, and oppressive. His instinct is to be angry, but as he listens to the condemnation, he is forced to admit its validity.”

    Why? Why is he forced to admit its validity? You mean due to social and legal pressure which create thought and speech controls? Or because it’s the only thing he knows?

    “The difference is that we can’t accept any principle of group imminence, that the nation or race is ordered to and judged by nothing outside itself.”

    Right, it is pride again if so.

    If you add that the nation or race is ordered to and judged by nothing outside itself except God then we’re a lot closer to it being just fine.

  3. One of fascism’s appeals is that it is a vitalist nihilism.

  4. “I refer to the love of one’s own ethnic group, roundly condemned by moralistic prelates as “racism”.”

    Love of one’s forefathers is not condemned as racism, rather the inordinate attachment to the ideal of race to the detriment of others is condemned, as are all inordinate desires condemned. Racism is a corruption of Natural Piety in the same way Nationalism which, lest we forget, is also a sin, is a the corruption of Patriotism. The very Reich which Hitler tried to corrupt had as its patron Saint Maurice, a black African, and the inhabitants of the Germanies were proud of this once.

  5. Contemporary “racism” isn’t occurring in normal times of demographic stability (which would probably demonstrate an idolatrous character) but in a freakish time of genocidal race/ethnic replacement & demographic dispossession – which suggests contemporary white nationalism is not idolatry, inordinate attachment, etc.

  6. […] is Bonald, in an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀, with Naziism as the triumph of love over morality. If you follow liberal logic, that’s where it […]

  7. Love of one’s forefathers is not condemned as racism, rather the inordinate attachment to the ideal of race to the detriment of others is condemned

    Not really. The episcopacy and the popes, starting at least with Pius XII appear to condemn pretty much the same things Al Sharpton condemns as racist. It is easy to define the word “racism” in such a way that racism is sinful. Zippy, for example, uses the happily tautological: racism is hatred of a person by reason of their race. It is also quite easy to define the word “racism” in such a way that the episcopacy’s sayings on the subject appear to make sense in context.

    It’s hard to do both simultaneously, though. Condemning, say, segregation as racist and therefore sinful is bizarre. The obvious way to try to save such a claim is to bracket off “segregation is racism,” prove it is true using one definition of “racism,” bracket off “racism is sinful,” prove it is true using a different definition of “racism,” and then hope the listener lets his intense desire to be socially acceptable do the final equivocation for you.

    I assume this is what the bishops and popes do inside their own heads since this seems the most charitable interpretation of their behavior.

  8. Good comment by Dr Bill.

    I think it is important to acknowledge – and I think this is where some reactionaries take issue with my approach – the in principle possibility of making true moral statements in the language of liberalism/modernism. If we don’t acknowledge that we can’t get past the slogans to the substantive matters at hand.

    Modernity plays this equivocal game whereby it gets everyone to agree to its slogans and then fight over who is most “authentic”. This cannot be deconstructed by insisting in postmodern fashion that everything everyone means by the slogans is an anti-concept.

    Basically, reactionaries who live by the postmodern sword will die by it. You can’t show how the concept of racially motivated injustice is being abused if you won’t acknowledge that it is a meaningful concept in the first place. All you can do is make the manifestly false claim that racially motivated injustice never happens.

  9. I very much agree with this article. Naziism was the biggest and most dangerous misfire of the rightist mind, because its assumptions themselves were intrinsically leftist, just not Communist or Liberal.

  10. @Zippy

    Yes, but it should be pointed out that by the “racism is a sin” definition, things like segregation aren’t inherently racist.

  11. “Naziism was the biggest and most dangerous misfire of the rightist mind, because its assumptions themselves were intrinsically leftist, just not Communist or Liberal.”

    Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn makes the case in his book Leftism that Nazism was not and never was rightist at all. Htiler himself had been soaked in Leftism from his childhood by his Pan-German Nationalist father, as is evident from his writings.

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