This month we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe that was the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime in Germany. While we honor the remaining nonagenarians who bravely fought at the beaches of Normandy, let’s not forget that the odious philosophy they fought against, National Socialism, still has traction in some circles.
There is an American Nazi Party with a full-fledged swastika-filled website and a National Socialist Movement that disrupted Detroit’s pride parade. An NSM member urinated on an Israeli flag. Disgusting.
It is well known that these and other Neo-Nazi organizations are explicitly anti-Semitic, racists and anti-democratic. They call for a one-party system open only to “Aryans.” What is less well-known is that these groups hate capitalism and free markets. Although they pay lip-service to aiding small businesses run by Aryans, they advocate policies to end the free market system as we know it.
The NSM’s 25-point party thesis explicitly demands extensive nationalization of industry: “Key industries should be in the hands of the nation, not multinational corporations or stockholders.” It also calls for an “end to the ridiculous legal concept of ‘corporate person-hood,’” implying an end to limited liability corporations, which are an essential component of a modern market economy. It wants to replace shareholder-controlled limited liability companies with “the economic model of the cooperative where workers are entitled to a dividend of company profits and have a strong democratic voice in the management of the company.”
The ANP proposes that “the Aryan republic be totally self-sufficient in energy and that the types of energy it employs be non-polluting” and “… demand(s) an immediate and massive program to develop new, clean energy sources.” Being for green energy does not make one a neo-Nazi. However, note the neo-Nazi approach is characteristically top-down, very much command and control.
Of course, none of this is an accident. State control of economic resources is essential to any political philosophy that wants to forcibly impose its own anointed vision on society. State control of the economy also makes it nearly impossible for those who want to pursue alternatives to the “party line” to be effective. And it doesn’t matter if the anointed vision is one of racial purity, religious piety or radical egalitarianism. The principle of unimpeded voluntary exchange is a bulwark against tyranny. No wonder would-be tyrants of all flavors find it so offensive.•
Bohanon and Curott are professors of economics at Ball State University. Send comments to [email protected]