Was Hitler right-wing?

Some activists and scholars attempt to portray Adolf Hitler and other former authoritarian European governments as creatures of the right. This is typically done in large part by invoking the authoritarian nature of the regime as demonstrable, even self-evident proof of right wing status. Yet to classify, by definition, anything authoritarian as “right-wing,” is to obscure the actual philosophical orientation of these regimes. In so doing, blame for genocidal atrocities is conveniently shifted from the left to the right.

Hitler lead the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, popularly known as the Nazis. The party rejected free market capitalism and instead advocated what can only be described as solidly left of center economics. Authoritarian regimes may have right or left wing impulses – in this case, certainly when evaluated on the critical dimension of socioeconomic philosophy,  the authoritarian regime in question was decidedly left wing. To assert otherwise, and certainly to do so without at least discussing the left wing aspects of the regime’s programmatic objectives, does a disservice to serious and responsible political discourse.

That’s only to scrape the surface of the matter, so let me direct you to Jonah Goldberg for a comprehensive treatment of the subject at large. I offer a brief statement here on his excellent book Liberal Fascism, and you can watch the author deliver a lecture at the Heritage Foundation.


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