Biocentric Political Thought in the Third Reich: A Review of Johann Chapoutot’s The Law of Blood

The Law of Blood
Johann Chapoutot
La loi du sang: Penser et agir en nazi
Paris: Gallimard, 2014
(English translation by Miranda Richmond Mouillot
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018, in press)

“I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” — Walter Sobchak

In today’s culture, any nationalist activist, or really anyone who is politically incorrect, is liable to be labeled a “Nazi” and compared to Adolf Hitler. This is so even when the comparison is patently absurd and the person in question is obviously not a “Nazi”: whether the conservative French patriot Jean-Marie Le Pen, the anti-Zionist mixed-race Franco-Cameroonian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, or indeed the populist civic nationalist Donald Trump. Comparisons to fascism are also de rigueur whenever the Western politico-media Establishment wishes to demonize a foreign leader who refuses to kneel, such as Slobodan Milošević or Vladimir Putin.

The reason such individuals are called “Nazis” and compared to Hitler is typically not because of any formal ideological similarities — none of those above have ever championed a totalitarian dictatorship or any kind of systematic racial or anti-Semitic politics — but for more emotional, civil-religious reasons.[1] In the current culture, “Nazi” or “Hitler” is simply the meanest name one can call someone (hence the phenomenon of Godwin’s law) — the designated term for anyone violating the orthodoxies of political correctness. Political correctness, in turn, has steadily shifted leftwards and radicalized over the years. This means that, today, if people adopt the opinions of prominent anti-Nazis like Charles de Gaulle or Winston Churchill (who were both racialist proud of their White identity and moderately Judeo-critical), they will, however absurdly, be sure to be called “Nazis.”

However, eventually a reaction sets in. Nationalists and free-thinkers will tend to become curious: what did Hitler and the National Socialists actually think? Am I, the so-called Nazi heretic, really like them? Were they — the designated worst evil of human history —  really that bad? These questions — as writers such as Irmin Vinson and Greg Johnson have noted —  are irrelevant to the legitimacy of ethnic Europeans’ right to live and prosper in their own homelands.[2] Furthermore, and quite obviously for anyone who examines the topic, the fact is that there are innumerable differences between historical German National Socialism and contemporary European nationalisms and White advocacy.

Nonetheless, National Socialism remains a historically and politically important subject, the genesis and downfall of which remains crucial to understanding the development of Western civilization in the twenty-first century. We can then salute the French historian Johann Chapoutot who in his La loi du sang: Penser et agir en nazi has provided a formidable intellectual history of official thought in the Third Reich.[3] Chapoutot, who had previously written a somewhat less fair-minded but still useful book on National Socialist Germany’s infatuation with Greco-Roman civilization,[4] can be credited for showing why and how so many Germans found National Socialism to be both intellectually and emotionally compelling. Read more

The Notion of Racial Diversity in German Academia and National-Socialist Legislation, Part 1

Introduction

What follows below are the translations of several excerpts from rare books and essays on race published by prominent German legal scholars, biologists, and medical doctors who were also high ranking members of the National Socialist Party in before and during World War II. The focus of the translated passages is on verbal, legal and sociological analyses of race. It is not TOO’s, or for that matter my intent, to whitewash National Socialism or glorify the works of its academic or military spokesman. The fact that after the NS seizure of power the number of NS  party members skyrocketed from the modest 800,000 to 8 million members by 1943, a number which also included a large number of world-known German scientists and academics, proves time and again that opportunism and intellectual duplicity among scholars is nothing new. Dominant ideas, however bizarre, or dangerous they may ultimately sound, as long as they are shielded by the ruling class and its police, will always attract cheerleaders among herds of glory-hungry academics, limelight searchers, and a host of circumstantial sycophants. Many of them will quickly disavow their beliefs when different cultural or ideological trends start lurking on the political horizon.

The great danger, however, lies in the fact that dominant political ideas invariably have an impact on the definition of natural science — and never the other way around. Hence it is a waste of time today trying to convince the political adversary on racial differences by inundating him/her with empirical data, especially if dominant ideas espoused by elites are hostile in advance to any discussion about race. Facts are seldom important—what counts is the interpretation of facts.

The sole intent of these essays is to point out significant semantic and conceptual errors arising today with the usage of former German political and legal concepts related to the issue of race which, while common in higher education and politics in NS Germany, often turned after World War II into demonic misnomers. Following Donald Trump’s election to US presidency, accompanied by the ongoing language distortions in the media and higher education, aka “fake news”, and in light of the mass arrival of non-White migrants to the US and EU, as well as the increased racialization of political discourse, some parallels in intellectual climate between Weimar and NS Germany and the EU and the US today can be drawn. Read more

“The Book and the Rifle”: Cultural and Racial Policy in Fascist Italy, Part 3

difesa_della_razza

Eugenics and Racial Policy

Tarquini devotes substantial attention to race and eugenics in Italian culture under Fascism. She notes that the Fascist government gave Italian eugenic scientists support and attention which they had never enjoyed under previous regimes:

From 1922 to 1945 Italian scientists contributed to racial culture and policy. These included anthropologists, statisticians, demographers, and doctors who were already well-known in the scientific world in the early years of the century, when demography and eugenics — the science which studies the methods to perfect the human species by favoring the proliferation of individuals deemed best (positive eugenics) or through the suppression of individuals considered harmful (negative eugenics) — brought their attention to the demographic decline present in many Western countries. … With the advent of fascism these scientists played a role which they did not have in previous regimes. In exchange they offered the totalitarian and racist policy their own generous support. (pp. 201–202)

Demographic issues were given particular attention in the aftermath of the massive bloodletting of World War I and a significant fall in the birth rates of Western countries. Read more

“The Book and the Rifle”: Cultural and Racial Policy in Fascist Italy, Part 2

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Giovanni Gentile and Benito Mussolini

Go to Part 1.

Intellectual Debate in Fascist Italy

Tarquini emphasizes that culture in Fascist Italy was by no means monolithic, but allowed considerable stylistic variation and intellectual debate so long as these respected core Fascist principles. Indeed, Fascists emphasized that being a Fascist was more about a certain manly mindset than about theoretical abstractions. As Nietzsche did, the Fascists rejected the bourgeois spirit with its satisfaction with mediocrity, its skepticism and compromise, its concern with careers, and its death-fearing selfishness.

Fascism was born out of diverse groups dissatisfied with Italy’s small gains during World War I, frustrated with liberal impotence, and disturbed by the rise of communism. These included military veterans, self-sacrificial arditi soldiers, futurist artists, revolutionary syndicalists, socialistic republicans, and others. Fascism emerged organically as “a militia in the service of the nation,” a political movement, and finally a government, rather than as a preset set of ideas.

The “spirit of the trenches,” the spirit of hierarchy, discipline and community, which had shown its awesome destructive power in wartime would be used by the Fascists to constructively develop the nation in peacetime. Indeed, Fascism developed a “secular liturgy” (p. 43) and “a conception of the nation elevated to a sacred entity” (p. 51). Fascism rejected internationalism, egalitarianism, and materialism, embracing aristocracy, spirituality, and nationalism. Some Fascists even credited their movement with the potential to save Europe from decadence and degeneration.

Fascism was unabashedly communitarian. Economics and culture were to respect community interests. The Fascist doctrine of corporatism reflected “the relevance to the state [statalità] of every economic phenomenon” (p. 157). Fascists similarly argued that writers had “a political, moral, and educational role” and culture had to support “the struggle for civilization” (p. 184). Read more

“The Book and the Rifle”: Cultural & Racial Policy in Fascist Italy, Part 1

tarquini

Storia della cultura fascista (Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2011)
by Alessandra Tarquini

Since World War II, the very word “fascism” has always conjured up images of evil in the cultural and political mainstream. This is largely because the fascists lost that war and, as we know, the victors write the history books. It is also because the most famous fascist regime, National Socialist Germany, did in fact have an official doctrine of disregard for the lives of many non-German groups, thus providing ample material for the Allies’ atrocity propaganda.

It is interesting then to note that the original fascist regime, that of Fascist Italy, also been widely demonized despite the fact that this government was far more moderate. Indeed, the deaths attributable Fascist Italy are perhaps an order of magnitude lower than those of the Western Allies or the Soviet Union. Italian Fascism, having ruled for over 20 years, longer than National Socialist Germany and mostly in peacetime, then provides another example of what the West might have been had history taken a different course.

Here at The Occidental Observer, we are obviously extremely interested in culture and its impact on evolutionary adaptiveness and reproduction, that is to say gene-culture coevolution. Italian historian Alessandra Tarquini has provided a useful summary of cultural policy and life in Fascist Italy in her Storia della cultura fascista (History of Fascist Culture). Tarquini’s study is scrupulously neutral and empathetic, even as she dedicates her book to “the memory of the first anti-fascist I knew” (presumably a close relative).

Perhaps the most striking theme in the book is the absolute importance the Fascists gave to culture understood as the systematic education of the people. This meant especially the youth, but also the working masses and women who had been neglected by previous regimes. Tarquini observes: “From 1922 to the end of 1943, one of the main objectives of Fascism’s cultural policy was the education of the young generations” (p. 231). The National Fascist Party (PNF) “for the entire Ventennio [two decades of Fascist government] invested all its energy in the mobilization of the new generations” (p. 232). Furthermore, “from the earliest years, the Fascists showed the will to educate women and workers” (p. 233). This was not done in the lackadaisical way characteristic of liberal regimes — a bit of schooling, perhaps some cultural subsidies, but otherwise leaving young people’s minds in the hands of often hostile television oligarchs —  but systematically, through schooling, sports, Party activities, holidays, film, radio, etc. Read more