European speech habits place altruistic Soviet communism on the “left” of a line with no dimensions, and altruistic German nationalsocialism on the “right”. The only measurable difference between the two is the relative amount of praise/contempt each has for mystical notions of gods & demons, churches, revealed faith and invisible miracles that defy physics. Both credos define altruism (the benefit of others instead of oneself) as the standard of goodness and sacrifice (betrayal of values) as commendable. None of the “left” and “right” jargon shortcuts became widespread before 1932. Why?
Small wonder, then, that Libertarians who assume none of that, regard the one-dimensional distance distinction much like a Lineland, foreign to reality. Yet the denizens of the said Lineland have completely lost sight of the crucial, so to speak, distinction between the 20th Century Left&Right and its 19th Century predecessors. Most Germans and Americans are indoctrinated from birth to believe that altruism (the common good over the individual good) is good, and that selfishness (concern primarily with one’s own life) is bad.
Here’s how German journalist Karl Marx put politics and religion in 1843:
In Germany no one is politically emancipated. We ourselves are not free. How then could we liberate you? You Jews are egoists if you demand for yourselves, as Jews, a special emancipation. … The political state, in relation to civil society, is just as spiritual as is heaven in relation to earth. On the Jewish Question, 1843.
Here is how Adolf Hitler published his view in the National Socialist Platform of 1920:
The party as such subscribes to a positive Christianity without binding itself to a specific denomination. It opposes the Jewish materialistic spirit within and around us and is convinced that a lasting recovery can only come about from within based on the principle: THE COMMON GOOD BEFORE THE INDIVIDUAL GOOD.
U.S. President Herbert Hoover, Quaker enforcer of National Prohibition who referred to laissez-faire as dog-eat-dog, declared on March 10, 1930:
The idea that the Republic was created for the benefit of the individual is a mockery that must be eradicated at the first dawn of understanding. (Hoover 1930 1976 p89)
We see then that the communist view is of government itself as god or religion. The nationalsocialist view is of a socialist nation of christians. Republicans who elected Hoover were clearly at least as opposed to egoism, individualism, ownlife, selfishness or independence as Hitler and Marx, who themselves differ mainly on whether government is god or simply god’s handmaid. Yet todays politicans and shriekers of political dogma claim that there is a straight, dimensionless line such that Marxist communism is at one far extreme, Hitlerite national socialism at another, and Herbert Hoover’s prohibitionism somewhere in between, on the yellow stripe, closer to where they say YOU belong. But if freedom were divisible into individual and economic, and mixed economy mavens could be for or against either, there would have to result four category areas–much like a Venn diagram–with only the top and bottom squares containing any integrity at all.
Libertarians, who regard freedom as indivisible, and individual rights as natural, do not fit anywhere on this strip. Why? Because to totalitarians any system that offers more freedom than theirs is, ipso facto anarchism, which, again, is communism, in a perfectly circular argument with no dimensions meaning, sense, values or definitions–only an imaginary, notional gradient. Nameless experts describe that as a sensible plan for comparing what politics and law are all about, with no standard of comparison included.