Nazis suck. So do neo-Nazis, Nazi wannabes, Nazi sympathizers, and those who share the “values” of racism, oppression, broad hatred, ethnic cleansing, and all the rest of that garbage. The Third Reich and the war it started killed tens of millions of people. As I recently echoed the words of musician Jeff Hanneman, “I shouldn’t have to tell you that.”

Socialists suck too. So do communists. Soviet Russia and its puppet states, Red China, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Cuba, Venezuela, and others have imposed poverty, suffering and oppression on billions and killed tens of millions. I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

In a rational world, this should be enough. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be in a rational world. Today, people get upset when someone says “Nazis suck, but Commies also suck. Today, we see a clash where one side has people waving Nazi flags, the other side has people waving hammer-and-sickle flags, and outrage over those who condemn both. Today, political debate has devolved to binary integers, matter-antimatter, Good and Bad. If X is Bad, then anything not-X is Good. So, when socialists, communists, and Antifa militants line up against the Nazi-wannabes, people dub them Good and go postal when others point out that they’re not exactly standing up for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There’s a word for this: Manichean. Things are black or white – there are no colors or shades of gray. Things are Good or Evil, and that which opposes an Evil must be Good rather than simply a competing form of Evil. It’s a child’s way to look at the world, and it’s how people come up with the idea that fascism and socialism are spectrum opposites. In fact they are first cousins, offspring of the same grandparents.

People resist this truth. They mire themselves in overwrought arguments about whether Nazism and Fascism are far-left or far-right ideologies, as if it matters when, as we already know, they suck. The Left wants to dub Nazism as “far-right,” so as to tar people who self-identify as “right” but still think that Nazis suck. The Right wants to dub Nazism as “far-left,” so as to distance itself from the commonalities it has with the nativist, nationalist, protectionist “alt-Right” movement of today. This is all a great big distraction, because it’s unnecessary. Nazis suck.

The more insidious and crafty players in this political Kabuki see a golden opportunity at hand. They are trying to leverage current events and public outrage into (further) rehabilitating the image of socialism. By getting the masses righteously riled up at anyone who suggests the anti-Nazi protestors at Charlottesville were anything other than noble knights standing up to Evil, they sell the message that socialism ain’t really all that bad. After all, if it stands up to the Evil of Nazism, it’s gotta be good, no?

The 20-30 million that Stalin killed, the 40-50 million that Mao killed, the 9 million that died in Russia’s civil war, the 2 million killed by the Khmer Rouge, the 2-5 million dead in North Korea, and untold dead others from places like Cuba, Venezuela and other smaller Communist and Socialist states would disagree, if they weren’t dead. So would billions who lived lives of privation, suffering, and oppression under all those regimes, if they dared speak against the State.

But, but, what about all those social democracies over in Europe? The dirty little secret is that many of them don’t work, and the ones that sorta-do are less socialist in many ways than even America is. The few European social-democracies that aren’t in death spirals have been moving back in the direction of capitalism and free markets. They just tax the bejeezus out of their citizens to support welfare programs. All their citizens, by the way, less progressively and at levels that would make Americans absolutely howl with outrage.

But, but, what about Democratic socialism? That’s just Bernie Sanders latching onto this long-con effort to make the word “socialism” palatable again. Bernie’s ideas are foolish and naive, ignore history, and will cause great economic harm, but they don’t rise to the level of hammer-and-sickle socialism. Not so the flag wavers, Antifa and otherwise. If you’re waving a Soviet flagn(or, worse yet, an ISIS flag), you’re making a statement as heinous and repugnant as anyone waving a Nazi flag.

Lest we forget, that’s what’s being waved by the Antifa mob and the socialism apologists. Oh, and Che Guevara t-shirts. Lets not overlook the grotesqueness of wearing the image of a racist, bigoted, homophobic, murderous thug as a testament to the glories of socialism.

Certainly, the Charlottesville counter-protestors were standing against some disgusting people preaching disgusting ideology. That’s a good thing (until the point of violence, but set that aside). It does NOT, however, mean we should praise what they stand for. Stalin’s Soviet Russia stood against the Nazis, as an ally-of-necessity. That doesn’t mean that what he and his nation stood for was remotely a good thing.

It is human nature, in a circumstance such as this, to lean toward saying “socialists mean well, and they’re not the nationalist, ethnic-cleansing monsters the Nazis were.” Those tens of millions of dead don’t really care that the socialists and communists who killed them meant well. As Private Joker observed in Full Metal Jacket, a movie about a war rooted in communism, “The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive.”

It would be a travesty of unimaginable proportions to allow this mass hysteria over a handful of Nazi-wannabes and the sudden discovery that gasp! there are Confederate statues all over the country (including the Capitol Rotunda) to rehabilitate the image of socialism, even as the people of Venezuela are suffering and dying due to its ravages. It would also be an almost irrecoverable error to allow this incident to be used to undermine the First Amendment, as an increasing number of pundits are calling for.

If your instinct towards speech you don’t like is to suppress someone’s right to say something, there ain’t nothing “anti” in your fascism – anonymous Internet friend.

Get this: You’re allowed to simultaneously deride Nazis and deride socialists. Anyone who calls you a Nazi sympathizer or apologist if you act so deserves nothing more than a one-finger salute, because, no matter that our society has diluted the word, calling someone a Nazi is a really aggressive thing to do.

Hyperbole about the Untethered Orange Id notwithstanding, America is not about to turn into the next iteration of the Third Reich. She is, however, well-populated by people who ignore or dismiss the horrors of socialism and communism, and have no qualms about manipulating public events to rehabilitate their images through games of relativism.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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