Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf

Hitler started with exploration about principles of Nature, as he believed, “the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on this earth.” Honestly, I did feel the invisible line between different races when I first time came to America. I doubted whether it’s kind of human nature to search for “people like us,” but after getting to know more friends in different racial backgrounds, the gap seemed not that hard to jump as before, but I still wasn’t sure it didn’t exist anymore. In saying so, I’m by no means trying to agree with Hitler, but to understand why he felt the Nature in this way, and how he developed his theory.

Hitler’s theory, in today’s term, is more like social Darwinism, such as “in the struggle for daily bread all those who are weak and sickly or less determined succumb, while the struggle of the males for the female grants the right or opportunity to propagate only to the healthiest.” I’m wondering when Darwin discovered the rule of the nature, whether he thought of someone in years later applied his theory into human society, which caused probably the most horrible catastrophe in human history. According to Hitler, the relationship between people is fighting, a matter related to life or death, as he wrote, “those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.” It implies those who don’t deserve to live should be killed, which was the actual case in later history.

In order to get uniform character, Hitler made up his racial purity theory, which specified social Darwinism into particular race. He argued “the stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness.” I couldn’t believe how arrogant and narrow-minded this sounds to be. Hitler even assumed “everything we admire on this earth today is only the creative product of a few peoples and originally perhaps of one race,” which was Aryan.

Hitler’s understanding of the state was also in consecutive with his theory of race. He defined state is “the organization of a community of physically and psychologically similar living beings for the better facilitation of the maintenance of their species and the achievement of the aim.” I would rather say he’s setting his personal ideal on a state stage, which surprisingly but very unfortunately succeed. He switched the purpose of a state normally should have, as he said “the urge to preserve the species is the first cause for the formation of human communities; thus the state is a national organism and not an economic organization.”

The relationship between individual and state in fascism is a little bit similar to socialism, both demanding “the ability and will of the individual to sacrifice himself for the totality.” But their reasons are different: in socialism, individuals sacrifice their property so as to live in a community; in fascism, “the sacrifice of personal existence is necessary to secure the preservation of the species.” Again, it’s back up to the whole theory of race.


Jonah Askarinam said...
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Michael O'Brien said...

I particularly enjoyed the anecdote from your personal life. Aside from that, it looks like Hitler was looking for any excuse to get his personal goals involved with the state. He goes so far as to deny that a state is an economic organization, stating that a state "is not a collection of economic contracting parties in a definite defined living space for the fulfillment of economic tasks." I think that, to a degree at least, that really is the purpose of the state, and that the people do not have to be similar physically to make up a state.

Daniel Brown said...

I agree with the majority of your analysis on Mein Kampf, and I think the comparison to Social Darwinism is especially relevant. However, I am not convinced that Hitler has "switched the purpose a state normally should have." If by that you mean security, the quote you provide seems to prove that security is in fact exactly what Hitler argued to be the primary role of the state. Alternatively, you could be arguing that the normal role of the state is to function as an economic institution primarily, with less focus on security. I think it wold be difficult to find any state that is more concerned with economics than security. I could also be simply misreading the sentence.

It caught my eye because I think it is an extremely interesting point - What leads Hitler to come to the conclusions he does? The main question that all leaders face is to find the best way to keep their country secure. Hitler's conclusions were obviously very different from nearly all other's, both at the time and throughout history. His extreme, overt racism is clearly an important factor here, but what else is? Perhaps your discussion of the purposes of state is getting somewhere in answering this question.

On a side note, I really enjoy reading your blogs and am glad they come so frequently!