Friday, May 17, 2013

Alpha Socialism II: Swole Hitler

Ray Sawhill has linked to an interesting research paper showing a strong link between physical strength and the propensity for right-wing views. Now the study itself seems reasonably good except that the authors conflate right-wing with self-interested. Nothing like a subtle bit of frame shifting.

The study demonstrated that physically stronger men will favour social policies which gain them advantage whilst physically weaker men do not show this affect. Strong men of high socioeconomic status (SES) will oppose social policies which redistribute wealth, whilst men of low SES will support policies that do. The important point is that the effect is not observed amongst physically weak men and women. Strong men are assertive.

It is with these findings in mind that we now turn to the subject of Fascism, and the type of men it would appeal to.

As the study above demonstrated, strong men of low SES will favour social policies which favour wealth distribution. i.e Socialism. The question then is which type of Socialism which such men favour?

Now, anyone who has spent even the slightest amount of time studying fascism will see that it was an outgrowth of early socialism. Goebbels, in this interesting pamphlet outlining the Nazi position, claimed that Nazism was true socialism and that the other variants of it were corrupt. 
We are socialists because we see in socialism, that is the union of all citizens, the only chance to maintain our racial inheritance and to regain our political freedom and renew our German state.....

The sin of liberal thinking was to overlook socialism’s nation-building strengths, thereby allowing its energies to go in anti-national directions. The sin of Marxism was to degrade socialism into a question of wages and the stomach, putting it in conflict with the state and its national existence. An understanding of both these facts leads us to a new sense of socialism, which sees its nature as nationalistic, state-building, liberating and constructive. ......

We are socialists because we see the social question as a matter of necessity and justice for the very existence of a state for our people, not a question of cheap pity or insulting sentimentality. The worker has a claim to a living standard that corresponds to what he produces. We have no intention of begging for that right. Incorporating him in the state organism is not only a critical matter for him, but for the whole nation. The question is larger than the eight-hour day. It is a matter of forming a new state consciousness that includes every productive citizen. Since the political powers of the day are neither willing nor able to create such a situation, socialism must be fought for. It is a fighting slogan both inwardly and outwardly. It is aimed domestically at the bourgeois parties and Marxism at the same time, because both are sworn enemies of the coming workers’ state. It is directed abroad at all powers that threaten our national existence and thereby the possibility of the coming socialist national state.
 Dr Goebbels.
Nazism was tribal socialism. It viewed life as Darwinian struggle granting victory to only those who will assert themselves. When it came to matters of economics the Fascists were socialists as well, but with a difference,...... they were not stupid. Under the Fascist scheme, the state still controlled everything but permitted some private ownership only because it benefited it:
     Hitler believed that private ownership was useful in that it encouraged creative competition and technical innovation, but insisted that it had to conform to national interests and be "productive" rather than "parasitical". Private property rights were conditional upon the economic mode of use; if it did not advance Nazi economic goals then the state could nationalize it. Although the Nazis privatised public properties and public services, they also increased economic state control.
So while both systems were socialist there were differences. The Fascists or National Socialists, believed in some private property, some inequality, assertion and tribalism. The Marxist Socialists, on the other hand, believed in strict equality, equal outcomes and universal identity.

Now, imagine you're a young man growing up in late 1920's Germany. The Depression has wiped out the old order and Socialism is the new thing. Which variant of it are you going to pick. Fascism or Marxist socialism?

This study by Price et al may help. 

Price demonstrated a medium negative correlation between muscularity and egalitarianism. In other words, muscular people don't seem too enthusiastic on strict equality. (A similar correlation was observed for attractiveness). So given a choice between an equal socialism and unequal socialism the muscular would be more likely to favour the latter. It's not stretching things too much to say that an ideology of force, self assertion, tribalism and worship of the healthy body would be tempting to those who are muscular and attractive. Life's losers, either economic or physiognomic would find a haven in Marxism.

It's interesting when one reads about the rise of fascism how the contemporary observers described them as thugs whilst the communists were thought of as rabbleReck describes the Nazi's most ardent supporters being those of the lower middle class; Germany's modern yeomanry. Men who would have had a minor degree of social rank and a degree of personal autonomy but who were totally destroyed by the economic calamity of the Depression. The factory drones and flabby intellectuals embraced Marx.

( Disclaimer. I repeat again, There is no crypto support for the Fascists or Socialists here, both can go to Hell.)


asdf said...

I've yet to find something I disagree with in the pamphlets you've been posting.

Most of the things we associate negatively with the Nazi's seem to come later in their regime, are either unrelated or extreme versions of their published policies, and were concealed from the German's to a great degree, including the holocaust.

The more I learn about the military history of WWII, the more I'm struck by how much Hitler was afraid of German's finding out his full intentions. Operation Barbarossa for instance was designed to maximize how many Russians were killed during the war because Hitler didn't think the Germans would tolerate mass killings after the war. The distraction probably cost him Moscow in 1941.

Bob Wallace said...

I saw one of Hitler's uniform's on sale and was shocked at how thin he was through the chest. He would have a weak man, and of course, contrary to the modern myth, was a socialist and not some sort of "right-winger."

David Foster said...

"the study itself seems reasonably good except that the authors conflate right-wing with self-interested"

What they are missing, unintentionally or otherwise, is that support for "redistribution" is a VERY self-interested policy for a significant % of high-SES people....senior government officials, academic administrators, tenured professors, "nonprofit" executives, executives of companies receiving government subsidies, etc.....because they are the RECIPIENTS of the redistribution.

The study, I thought, was very well-written as academic studies go; it's too bad that the actual questionnaire used to gauge "support for redistribution" wasn't attached.

Elusive Wapiti said...

" of low SES will support policies that do"

Yet is it not also acting in one's self-interest to use government force to extract bennies from others for one's own benefit?

I echo Bob Wallace's comment above...fascists aren't right-wingers but another flavor of Left.

When it is said that Browns are of the Right, that is the Red's vocabulary and frame at work.

The Social Pathologist said...


My own reading of German social history of the times leads me to conclude were:
1) That a lot of Germans did not know exactly what was going on but did not want to ask too many questions.
2) A lot of Germans were anti-semitic and didn't care much for the Jews. That's not to say they were enthusiastic with regard to their systematic murder, rather, they didn't think about the Jewish plight very much. I mean it's not like the West became rabidly indignant when what was happening in Rawanda came out. Lots of protesting but not much else.
3) A lot of Germans were genuinely shocked about what was going on when they found out.
4)When non-Nazi's did find out what was going on, it motivated a few to resist. Sophie Scholl, if I remember correctly,was motivated by stories of atrocities on the Russian front.
5)Many Germans who were appalled at the Nazi regieme were too frightened to speak up.

The say that the Germans were racist and anti-Semitic is fair but to say that they were, as a population, intrinsically genocidal is false.

I mean, look at current Israel. Many Israelis don't have that much sympathy for the Arabs but are appalled at their own military's actions toward them. Not liking some one is not the same as wanting to kill them.

So, yes Hitler tried to keep the murders low profile, but given the industrial scale of the project it was hard to keep quiet.

@Bob Wallace

Correct, he wasn't that muscular, but he forcefully espoused and ideology which appealed to the muscular. I think he is a prime example of power of charisma in overcoming sub optimal "physicality".

The portrayal of King Richard, by Ian Mckellen in Kenneth Branagh's Richard III, illustrates this quite well.

The Social Pathologist said...


What they are missing, unintentionally or otherwise, is that support for "redistribution" is a VERY self-interested policy for a significant % of high-SES people

This is quite a complex topic, but a fascinating one which I plan to explore more deeply if I get the time.

I think a lot of the high SES types on the government payroll don't see themselves as beneficiaries of redistribution. Rather, they see themselves more as workers working for a "firm", without too much concern as to how that firm makes its money.

I'm sorry that I can't find it at the moment, but the local paper ran an interesting story about a senior public servant who lost her governmental job. She described herself a being a traditional conservative until she lost her job. Then, of course, she switched sides. It never occurred to her that the same state mechanism which provided social security was also providing her with her income. Lots of people, even high SES types, seem quite happy living a life of cognitive dissonance.

The study, I thought, was very well-written as academic studies go; it's too bad that the actual questionnaire used to gauge "support for redistribution" wasn't attached.

Apparently there are some "online resources" but I haven't been able to locate them.


When it is said that Browns are of the Right, that is the Red's vocabulary and frame at work.

The thing is we have to escape that frame because what they have been successfully able to do is conflate any form of nationalism and mono-culutralism as intrinsically evil. The Right needs to hammer the Left Wing origins of Fascism into the skulls of thinking people and not buy into the frame.

The Social Pathologist said...

@Bob Wallace

Correct, he wasn't that muscular, but he forcefully espoused and ideology which appealed to the muscular. I think he is a prime example of power of charisma in overcoming sub optimal "physicality".

Sorry, should be,

Correct, he wasn't that muscular, but he forcefully espoused and ideology which appealed to the muscular. I think he is a prime example of the power of charisma in overcoming sub optimal "physicality".

David Foster said...

Although the details of the Holocaust may not have been well-known, it was certainly known..especially after The Night of Broken Glass...that the treatment the Nazis intended for Jews was something considerably more than social anti-Semitism, and was *at a minimum* more like the Pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. Ironically, a significant number of Jews had moved TO Germany from these places, specifically to get away from these pogroms and live in what at the time appeared as a more civilized place.

Anonymous said...

I think most German's knowledge of what was going on with the Jews or anything else was something like 50/50. As SP put it, if they knew everything they would probably have opposed it, but they didn't know and didn't want to know, so they didn't ask questions. Willful ignorance.

I think there was also a class of people that didn't buy into Hitler's theories, but also figured he was the only one who could make the trains run on time and all that. Get life back to normal where Germany was a successful and proud country again. What the Germans went through from 1914 on was just traumatic.

It is a wonder what would have happened if Germany stopped in 1941. Simply said OK we own most of Europe, no need to invade Russia or the UK. We're done. How long would Hitler have stayed in power? What kind of a approval rating would the guy have had?

Hitler was "elected", but it was basically just a third of the electorate and then he weaseled his way in after that due to various emergencies. If the war didn't go on, if at some point things calmed down and he had to justify his power some other way, how long do you think the Nazi's could have stayed in power?

Many of the Nazi's big backers simply saw Hitler as a means to an end (to stop the communists). They never expected the guy to stick around. I've read many a person who objected to the Nazi's didn't do anything because, "we figured that after awhile things would calm down and moderate."

Looking at Hitler's military decisions this seems to play into it. The need to constantly be at war didn't just fit in with his ideology, it also was a practical way to keep him in power.

The Social Pathologist said...


that the treatment the Nazis intended for Jews was something considerably more than social anti-Semitism

Agreed. The average German did not like the Jews but I doubt that he envisaged widespread extermination of men, women and children in camps.

I'm not saying this is a good thing, rather, people only tend to empathise with people like themselves or with a stranger in extreme circumstances. One Brit, fifty frogs and a thousand wogs as the old newspaper adage goes. Anti-Semitism has a long history of "on the ground" respectability in Europe. But not liking Jews is not the same as wanting them murdered.

No one likes the gypsies in Europe; People just want to be rid of them. Most Europeans couldn't care less if they're thrown in prison and get an occasional roughing up, but the average European would be appalled if the likes a Final Solution for Gypsy's were to be proposed. There seems to be a limit, at which maltreatment of others will be tolerated. I mean the Jews have always been persecuted, and despite all their persecutions have still co-existed with other Christians. But it took National Socialism to supercharge the anit-Semitism and even the Nazi's had to make some effort at concealing what they did.

To expect the average man to protect a person with whom he has, at best, no sympathy for, at the expense of his own life, is really being a bit naive about human nature. It's an ugly truth but a fact of life. I don't approve of the sentiment but that's the way it is.

This interesting paper published just after the war is quite fascinating in its insights into the question of German guilt.

Firstly, it appears that the allies had predetermined that all the Germans were in some way guilty, whilst the Russian position pushed the line that Germans were divided into those who were active Nazi's are those who were on the sidelines. Secondly, many Germans were aware of the camps but were fearful themselves of being sent to them. They knew the camps were bad places but most did not know how bad.

I imagine that the "all Germans are guilty" approach bought about by a collective sense of guilt by the free world at what happened to the Jews. Remember, many Jewish Refugees sought asylum overseas in the 1930's and were denied entry into the U.S. Britain, Australia and other countries that could have easily accepted them. I think that all of them were quite ashamed at their actions, in retrospect, when the full horror of the concentration camps became apparent. It was easier to blame guiltless Germans than than to admit their own moral failure.

I think the conflation of the German populace with Nazism has been a grave mistake by the Western Powers. Modern Germany, which in many ways has a lot of good things to say to the world, stays silent because of its guilt for the past.

Still, it's interesting to speculate what turn history would have taken if Hitler wasn't such a bastard. If he had, for instance, instead of killing the Jews, forced them into Palestine. He would have probably been grudgingly appreciated by the Zionists as one of the founders of modern Israel. He would have satiated German anti-Semitism. He would have destabilised the British and French in the middle East. Had he not pursued his anti Slavic policies in the East he would have probably been able to wipe out communism in Russia and put it into a German orbit. He would have been remembered as one of the world's greatest statesman and probably instilled a pax Germania onto the world. Instead, he embraced pointed headed Eugenic Darwinism and is remembered as a murderous bastard.

I hope he burns in Hell.

David Foster said...

It's not obvious to me that anti-Semitism in the early 1900s was stronger in Germany than in other European countries...the Dreyfus affair happened in France, after all. But following the defeat of 1918 and the economic crises of inflation and unemployment, and the resulting search for scapegoats by Nazis and other opportunistic politicians, German anti-Semitism had reached very high levels indeed.

Sebastian Haffner tells of a walk he took with his grilfriend "Charlie" in 1933 the woods near Berlin. They sat on the grass among the fir trees, at first simply enjoying the day. But every 10 minutes or so, a group of young people went by–apparently school outings, since they were all accompanied by teachers.

"Every one of these classes, as they passed, shouted ‘Juda verrecke!’ to us in their bright young voices, as thought it was a sort of hiker’s greeting. It may not have been aimed at us in particular. I do not look at all Jewish, and Charlie (who was Jewish) did not look very Jewish either. Perhaps it was just a friendly greeting…So there I sat ‘on the springtime hill’ with a small, graceful, vivacious girl in my arms. We kissed and caressed each other, and every so often a group of boys went past and cheerfully told us to perish."

David Foster said...

One other point about anti-Semitism in seems to have been very regional. Someone did a study comparing the incidence of pogroms during the Middle Ages with the incidence of anti-Jewish violence in the same localities during the early Nazi era...and there was a high correlation, over 5 centuries, in the presence or absence of these violent outbreaks.

Gerhard Neumann, who basically created GE's jet engine business and ran it for many years, makes the point about regional differences in his autobiography. He grew up in Frankfurt in an ethnically Jewish but nonobservant family, and said he never experienced any anti-Semitic insults there. (He left for college in 1935 and --fortunately for him--took a job in China in 1938.)

INTJ said...

I've been thinking about your series of posts, specifically about why women overwhelmingly supported Nazism but not Communism.

While the difference in levels of Alpha dominance may have been a factor, I think most of it boils down to solipsism. Communism is a very abstract ideology, that is about abstract justice and empathy for worldwide people. Such an ideology simply cannot appeal to the average solipsistic female.

National Socialism, as its name suggests, takes Socialism and removes the globalist aspects that are unappealing to solipsistic people.

The Social Pathologist said...


Communism is a very abstract ideology, that is about abstract justice and empathy for worldwide people. Such an ideology simply cannot appeal to the average solipsistic female.

I'm going to partially agree with you here. I think Nationalism is far more appealing to the average person than internationalism. I blogged about this before, people are homophillic when it comes to group identity and the closer people associate with a group the stronger their passion for it.

Still, there is quite a bit of evidence that Hitler got a lot of female interest.

Nazism united the forces of nationalism and masculinity and racism. Mix in an underlying socialist metaphysic and a cultural poison is born.

electricangel said...


I hope he burns in Hell.

that, my papist colleague, is a sin. I have stopped wishing such after discovering this fact. now you must, too.

One bit of Nazi Porn you might have missed is a movie I saw once advertised at a midnight showing of another movie. Look up ilsa, she-wolf of the SS sometime.