October 23, 2014

OPINION: Calling Hitler a socialist shouldnít be controversial

Danedri Thompson
Columnist
Itís my fault really. I started a fight on Facebook by saying something I believed to be inconsequential and non-controversial. At least, I thought the part where I stipulated that Adolf Hitler was a socialist was not controversial.
Stupidly, I thought socialism was a bad thing ñ that it could be belittled with no one taking offense.I thought all Americans, save for a very, tiny handful were opposed to socialism. Back in the quaint days circa 2007, political commentators were falling all over themselves lambasting anyone who dared call Barack Obama a socialist.
The pundits were saying ìsocialismî was the new n-word.
So I mistakenly assumed we were all on the same page that socialism was at the very least, not a good thing.
I wrote: 42 percent of Millenials call themselves socialists, according to a Time Magazine survey. Only 16 percent of those know what the word means. You know who else was a socialist? Hitler.
The social media response was swift. It was as if Iíd clubbed someoneís grandma.
I thought the part about Millenials being dumb enough to use a word to describe themselves while not understanding the meaning of it was the controversial part of my statement.
Boy was I wrong.
Apparently, socialism is so great that itís the political theory of Jesus himself. Iím not making this up. Thatís what one person said on my Facebook wall. Of course, when I asked to have a civil theological discussion about the topic, I was informed that it is virtually impossible for a rich man to enter heaven as is mentioned in Matthew 19:24.
It reads, ìAgain I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.î
Iím still confused as to how that makes Jesus a socialist. I guess politically, we should be so worried about the mortal souls of the wealthy that we should have the government take all of their money by force and redistribute it.
This is confusing to me, because I thought socialists, I mean liberals, were opposed to legislating morality.
(For what itís worth, I think the words of Peter to the Thessalonians is a little more telling. In 2 Thessalonians, Peter writes, ìFor even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat.î)
Iíll be honest. I was offended that someone would call Jesus a socialist. Like I said, I believe socialism is bad. I believe itís a political system that has wrought little beyond shared misery from its most adamant practitioners. Itís been tried and tried and failed again and again.
I know there is debate about Hitlerís political philosophy, but honestly, there shouldnít be. His party, the National Socialist Party, believed in a racial form of socialism ñ nothing more and nothing less, and we all know how well that ended.
Donít believe me? Why not take Hitlerís own word for it?
In Mein Kampf, Hitlerís autobiographical manifesto, he wrote that his own doctrine was distinguishable from Marxism only because it placed significance on race.
Hitler wrote that without the inclusion of race, National Socialim ìwould really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground.î
Iím no theologian and Iím certainly no historical scholar, but I would not ascribe to a political theory without knowing some of its history. (Iím quite proud to call myself a member of the Republican Party. Itís the party of Lincoln.)
I am baffled that Americans arenít on the same page about the evils of socialism. I sincerely thought we all agreed, at least in theory, that socialism is rotten.
I thought we all understood that while a socialist or communist utopia sounds like a lovely thing, human nature means itís that utopia can never exist. If you take away the incentive to work, most people wonít. Or as Margaret Thatcher put it, ìSocialists always run out of other peopleís money.î
Color me surprised that itís now a faux pas to call Hitler a socialist, but itís perfectly reasonable to call Jesus one.
Honest students of history, and those who have lived socialism, realize my Facebook status wasnít controversial. It is true.

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