The Stoic Traveler

"Wherever I go, it will be well with me."

27 February 2007

On Chains, Fuzzy or Not

L.A.S. s.d. C.L.:

Si vales bene est amice. I have reason to deviate from my plan this evening, though my earlier ruminations on Stoicism shall continue, at length, whether you pay attention or not. My reasons, as ever, are my own...
I had reason recently to spend some time in Austria. In between art museums, Roman ruins, and eighteenth century architecture, I sat in the cafes and enjoyed melange and atmosphere. One day I got to thinking about German and Austrian questions of identity. Now, the Germans are obsessed with "War Guilt;" they are only now, it seems, getting over the strongest outward manifestations. The Austrians pitch themselves as victims in the manner of Czechoslovakia or Poland. It is a curious thing when the Austrians claim Beethoven as one of their own, when he was a German, and announce loudly that Hitler, an Austrian born outside Vienna, was German.
My thoughts on Germanic identity in the question of the War aroused an arresting thought: why is Nazism never referred to as National Socialism? Leaving aside Occam's Razor, I believe it is because peope like socialism, for what I'm sure pass for good reasons and do not like to be reminded of its rawest form.
Slaves drawn from a variety of sources including "imported" foreign workers and concentration camp inmates, drove a significant portion of the pre-war and wartime economy of National Socialist Germany. Slavery was both necessary and justified under the NSDAP's platform, which promised enormous social welfare, demanded total self-sacrifice to the party, and denied the humanity of foreigners.
This is, as I have said, the ultimate conclusion of any socialist system: a minority of the population forced to work, at gun point, for the welfare of the majority. Hitler's National Socialism lacked, perhaps, the quidities and quillets of the modern socialist or market socialist state. Perhaps not. After all, it was all done under the full protection of German law. But then, when a free population is reduced to slavery, what matters the form of the chain?