Okay, let’s pause for a minute, note the above title, and have a collective ‘face palm’ over how absurd it is that this article even needs to be written in the first place. But it does.
This debate has never gone away of course; but recent weeks have been something of a renaissance – largely thanks to the bizarre suspension (and eventual – and sensible – reinstatement) of Dr. Rachel Frosh from the Conservative Party candidate list due to a retweet linking Nazism to socialism.
This rather embarrassing affair is in fact a sad and clear indictment that the words ‘never again’ are little more than a hollow slogan. For if we refuse to accept, and more importantly challenge, the ideological origins of a movement that culminated in the systematic murder of millions of innocent human beings, there is absolutely no way we can prevent the same from happening again.
The easiest way of proving that the origins of Nazism are in no way remotely conservative is to start by looking at some defining features of conservatism itself, specifically the European variety.
These include: the belief that a society rooted in monarchy and aristocracy is preferable to mass democracy; that there is a transcendental moral order (what Kirk called the Permanent Things) which in Western Civilization has been preserved and passed down through the Christian Church; that property rights are the very foundation of ordered liberty; and, of course, the universal conservative belief that any necessary societal change must occur slowly and without structural damage to ancient and proven institutions – that problems in society come not from broken traditions and institutions but from broken men and morals.
It should go without saying that Nazism had no love of monarchy or aristocracy. Hitler didn’t reinstate the House of Hohenzollern; he made himself dictator. The notion that the son of a minor civil servant (Alois Hitler himself born a bastard and of peasant stock) had a right to rule over Germany can hardly be called traditionally conservative. Moreover, his great dislike of the…