I see the term “Nazi” thrown around a lot these days.
I learned in Political Science classes in college that Nazism was a uniquely German phenomenon. You cannot be non-German and a Nazi just as no matter how much you love Judaism, if you are not born of a Jewish mother or converted through a recognized beit din (Jewish law court), you are not Jewish.
What made Nazism a party of the right and not the left was that it believed in human inequality.
Just as neo-conservatives aren’t conservative, neo-nazis aren’t Nazis. Just as neo-Hasidism isn’t Hasidic, neo-nazism isn’t Nazism. People called “neo-nazis” are more accurately described as ethno-nationalists just as many Jews are ethno-nationalists (as normative Judaism is ethno-nationalism with Zion its home, and according to Torah, there is no room for non-Jewish citizens in the Jewish state).
“Neo-Nazi” in general usage has no meaning. It is purely a slur. The Unite the Right march in Charlottsville on Saturday was not neo-nazi and had nothing to do with Nazism (even if a few marchers waived that flag). White nationalists who do the Nazi thing are sending a message to the low IQ to rally for their race. It’s a short-hand for white nationalism. Take these guys seriously but not literally. For example, Holocaust denial has nothing to do with the number of Jews who died in WWII, but rather is a denial that Jews have ever been 100% the innocent party in group conflicts and denial that the Holocaust is the supreme event in history through which all else must be viewed.
National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), more commonly known as Nazism (/ˈnɑːtsɪzəm, ˈnæ-/), is the ideology and set of practices associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party, Nazi Germany, and other far-right groups. Sometimes characterised as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and antisemitism, Nazism’s development was influenced by German nationalism (especially Pan-Germanism), the Völkisch movement and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after Germany’s defeat in First World War.
Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum, and exclude those who they deemed either community aliens or “inferior” races. The term “National Socialism” arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of “socialism”, as an alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class conflict, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, and sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the “common good” and accept political interests as the main priority of economic organization.
The Nazi Party’s precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers’ Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers’ Party to broaden its appeal. The National Socialist Program, adopted in 1920, called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, written in 1924, Hitler outlined the antisemitism and anti-communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for parliamentary democracy and his belief in Germany’s right to territorial expansion.
In 1933, with the support of traditional conservative nationalists, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis gradually established a one-party state, under which Jews, political opponents and other “undesirable” elements were marginalised, and eventually, several million people were imprisoned and killed. Hitler purged the party’s more socially and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives and, after the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in his hands, and he became Germany’s head of state with the title of Führer or “leader”. Following the Holocaust and Germany’s defeat in World War II, only a few fringe racist groups, usually referred to as neo-Nazis, still describe themselves as followers of National Socialism…
Following Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II and the end of the Holocaust, overt expressions of support for Nazi ideas were prohibited in Germany and other European countries. Nonetheless, movements which self-identify as National Socialist or which are described as adhering to National Socialism continue to exist on the fringes of politics in many western societies. Usually espousing a white supremacist ideology, many deliberately adopt the symbols of Nazi Germany.
Few if any of the marchers in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottsville were Nazis. The march had no concern with Germany. A few marches adopted Nazi symbols, but just as a man who cuts off his penis and gets breast implants does not change his DNA into that of a woman, so too Americans with no connection to Germany can not become Nazis by adopting Nazi slogans and rituals.
What about the term “fascist”? According to Wikipedia: “Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.” It sounds like the word is similar to “Nazi” in the sense that it is usually used as a slur.
I’ve found that 99% of the time I hear someone fling around the terms “Nazi” and “fascist”, it indicates that they don’t want to think hard. They just want to call names. Name-calling is not an honorable form of argument. There are only two honorable forms of argument — debating facts and logic.
Wikipedia notes that Nazism “aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft).” That sounds like a ton of tribal approaches to life.