Friday, July 29, 2011

On Left and Right

It has been interesting watching the political left-wing around the world, and here in New Zealand, shamelessly exploiting the 76 tragic deaths in Norway to push their political dogma. They are trying to promote the line that Anders Behring Breivik was a Neo-Nazi and right-wing nationalist and therefore anyone with right-wing political beliefs is likely to commit similar heinous acts.

Let us examine the logic behind this. If Breivik was a Nazi, he was a Socialist. After all, the acronym NAZI stands for National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in German) and Hitler professed to be a Socialist. He believed in a strong state, a mixed public-private economy and a single party political system, all hallmarks of other Socialist regimes worldwide. He had much more in common with the many left-wing dictators who survived and followed him such as Stalin, Mao Tsedong and Pol Pot, than with any of the mainstream political leaders in Western nations who would be categorised as "right of centre" today.

The problem with the term "right wing" is that it is used inconsistently to categorise political beliefs as broad as Nazism and Libertarianism. Adherents of the latter, for example, as represented in New Zealand by the members of the Libertarian Party and, to a much lesser extent, the ACT Party, subscribe to a minimalist state and maximum personal freedom (social, political, religious and economic). This could not be further from what Hitler believed than is possible.

Socialists and Nazis are cut from the same cloth - they both believe that the collective should predominate over the individual, that might is right, and that ultimately the initiation of violence is justified in pursuit of their beliefs. All the founders of Socialist philosophy and practice, including Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Mao, had these tenets in common with Hitler.

My heart goes out to the survivors and families of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik and I think if there is one lesson to be learned from this tragedy it is that we should not tolerate any political philosophy that believes it can promote its views through the initiation of force.

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