Thoughts on economics and liberty

Hitler’s inferiority complex led to his glorification of the German “state” (society), hence socialist

Those who know me are aware that I form my own opinions on the basis of facts/data. Don’t really care about “experts” and their verbose and often confused opinions.

Regarding my opinion that Hitler is socialist, Sheila (a commentator) has persisted in arguing he was not! No amount of evidence to disprove her has been sufficient. Her last communication to me in this regard, unfortunately, had no content, only personal insults. She thinks I’m persuaded by insults, but she’s mistaken. Insults are neither here nor there. I ignore insults and look only for hard data/evidence – of which she had none. My trashing her last comment is not indication that I disrespect her or her ideas: merely a message that to engage with me you must provide serious PROOF.

I decided to explore this issue a bit further, by skimming through Mein Kampf.

It is very clear that Hitler is driven primarily by the “great society” theory. His state is based on a Hegelian view that raises the state above the people. I trace this back to Rousseau’s “general will” which in this case Hitler would himself purport to represent (without calling it “general will”). Great Society-Great Man are two sides of the same coin.


The triumphant progress of technical science in Germany and the marvellous development of German industries and commerce led us to forget that a powerful State had been the necessary pre-requisite of that success. On the contrary, certain circles went even so far as to give vent to the theory that the State owed its very existence to these phenomena; that it was, above all, an economic institution and should be constituted in accordance with economic interests. Therefore, it was held, the State was dependent on the economic structure. This condition of things was looked upon and glorified as the soundest and most normal arrangement.

Now, the truth is that the State in itself has nothing whatsoever to do with any definite economic concept or a definite economic development. It does not arise from a compact made between contracting parties, within a certain delimited territory, for the purpose of serving economic ends. [Sanjeev: Hitler thus specifically rejects the classical liberal approach towards the state, and approach based on primacy of the individual. It may be noted that Hitler’s approach is entirely consistent with most Western philosophy and religion, and entirely inconsistent with classical Indian philosophy, which specifically talks about a social contract and the king being a servant of the people: to be killed like a mad dog if he doesn’t serve the people’s interest.]
The State is a community of living beings who have kindred physical and spiritual natures, organized for the purpose of assuring the conservation of their own kind and to help towards fulfilling those ends which Providence has assigned to that particular race or racial branch. [Sanjeev: These are “ends” for an entire society determined not by Providence but by an individual – Hitler – who represents the general will.]
Therein, and therein alone, lie the purpose and meaning of a State.
Economic activity is one of the many auxiliary means which are necessary for the attainment of those aims. But economic activity is never the origin or purpose of a State, except where a State has been originally founded on a false and unnatural basis. And this alone explains why a State as such does not necessarily need a certain delimited territory as a condition of its establishment.
This condition becomes a necessary pre-requisite only among those people who would provide and assure subsistence for their kinsfolk through their own industry, which means that they are ready to carry on the struggle for existence by means of their own work. People who can sneak their way, like parasites, into the human body politic and make others work for them under various pretences can form a State without possessing any definite delimited territory. This is chiefly applicable to that parasitic nation which, particularly at the present time preys upon the honest portion of mankind; I mean the Jews.
The Jewish State has never been delimited in space. It has been spread all over the world, without any frontiers whatsoever, and has always been constituted from the membership of one race exclusively. That is why the Jews have always formed a State within the State.
The instinct for the preservation of one’s own species is the primary cause that leads to the formation of human communities. Hence the State is a racial organism, and not an economic organization.
The difference between the two is so great as to be incomprehensible to our contemporary so-called ‘statesmen’. That is why they like to believe that the State may be constituted as an economic structure, whereas the truth is that it has always resulted from the exercise of those qualities which are part of the will to preserve the species and the race. But these qualities always exist and operate through the heroic virtues and have nothing to do with commercial egoism; for the conservation of the species always presupposes that the individual is ready to sacrifice himself.
The sacrifice of the individual existence is necessary in order to assure the conservation of the race. Hence it is that the most essential condition for the establishment and maintenance of a State is a certain feeling of solidarity, wounded in an identity of character and race and in a resolute readiness to defend these at all costs.
With people who live on their own territory this will result in a development of the heroic virtues.
Socialist theories ALWAYS lead to a SINGLE interpreter of the “general will”. Such a theory requires an aristocrat at the top: a Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao. Like Plato, Hitler firmly advocates aristocracy.
“The parliamentary principle of vesting legislative power in the decision of the majority rejects the authority of the individual and puts a numerical quota of anonymous heads in its place. In doing so it contradicts the aristrocratic principle”
And he clarifies how this great man – who knows best for such society (and is apparently “responsible” for his actions in some way), will rule:

The best constitution and the best form of government is that which makes it quite natural for the best brains to reach a position of dominant importance and influence in the community.

In its organization the State must be established on the principle of personality, starting from the smallest cell and ascending up to the supreme government of the country.

There are no decisions made by the majority vote, but only by responsible persons.

Hitler’s being an exemplar of the “great man” theory doesn’t mean he is not socialist – even in the economic sense. Since he doesn’t believe in liberty of the individual – who must (he repeatedly asserts) “sacrifice” himself for the nation – Hitler can NEVER promote the market (free) economy. If and when he comes to power, such a person must invariably NATIONALISE, or otherwise CENTRALLY COMMAND.
And while Hitler was forced, due to financial constraints, to privatise, “in Nazi Germany privatization was applied within a framework of increasing control of the state over the whole economy through regulation and political interference” [Against the mainstream: Nazi privatization in 1930s Germany].
Hitler makes a pathetic attempt in Mein Kampf to “oppose” Marxism, but his only grievance against Marxists is that they are “internationalist”. He wants workers to believe in German nationalism and race. His supporters initially came from the communists. His economic ideas being very similar to theirs, they had little difficulty in joining Hitler. Also, being agreeable to use of violence (standard communist practice), they didn’t mind when he proposed violence to achieve his goals.
All said and done, Hitler – despite his denials and perhaps lack of self-awareness – was a fervent Leftist. Definitely not a proponent of liberty.
To the proponent of liberty the state is a SERVANT. To the socialist, the state is his MASTER. (And if an extreme socialist like Hiter comes to power, he thinks he himself is the state and hence master of all other citizens.) Leaving aside the utopian state of Marx that withers away, the fact remains that the socialist can’t countenance the citizen being ABOVE the society.
PS. I believe socialists have an inferiority complex. They don’t have (and can’t achieve) a modicum of self-respect, and are forced to depend (like Rawls does) on the “talents” of others. To them society is automatically larger than them.
The (classical) liberal, on the other hand, not just respects others as individuals, but has INFINITE self-respect. To him the Advaitic view that we are all God doesn’t sound arrogant but natural. If there is God, then surely we are ALL gods. And if ALL are gods, then how can you impose your view on others? Can’t they decide for themselves?
To that extent the Hindu can NEVER be a genuine socialist or votary of a nation above the individual. Only Westerners can be socialists, for they have no confidence in their own ability to be God. They simply can never understand Vivekananda. Nor can achieve the mental resources – and KINDNESS – of Gandhi.
Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Sanjeev Sabhlok

View more posts from this author
14 thoughts on “Hitler’s inferiority complex led to his glorification of the German “state” (society), hence socialist
  1. sheila

    The root of your misunderstanding arises in your belief that the words ‘Socialist’ and ‘Leftist’ are what Skt grammarians call- yadraachaashabda- i.e. words you can use in any way you like because it up to you to define what they mean. However, for Hindus, the rule for correct use of words is given by Saunaka- sarvaanyetani naamaani karmatastvaaha- words are formed from actions. What action corresponds to the word ‘Leftist’? In its etymology the action is that of sitting on the Left in the French parliament. Since the parties and ideologues most closely aligned with Hitler sat on the right of the French parliament- your claim is defeated. Within Germany, too, Hitler was never aligned with any party which enjoyed cordial relations with those sitting on the Left in the French Parliament. They did however have close connections with those sitting on the far Right. No contemporary of Hitler called him a Leftist. They called him an extreme Right Wing extremist. Just because you fancy you see a similarity between Hitler and the Socialists does not mean that you are right to use words in a way which contradicts the historical record regarding the action underlying the name used. This is Hindu doctrine.
    Similarly your usage of the word Socialist contradicts the historical record re. Hitler’s actions. It goes against established usage. It is bizarre and impeaches your judgement. Hitler was not Leftist, he was not Socialist. He was a far-right Fascist.
    The extracts you quote support the latter view.
    You feel personally insulted because I draw your attention to the logical fallacy of ignoratio elenchi that you commit in this regard.
    Since you aspire to a public role, surely it is better that you heed my criticism than that you continue to make bizarre statements which can only lead to your being exposed to ridicule and contempt but also an undeserved hatred.
    People will think- If Sabhlok thinks even Hitler was a Lefty- how far Right is he actually? Perhaps he proposes a ‘final solution’ more ghastly than that of the fanatic whom Sabhlok honours with the title Socialist (in Hindi, the translation of Socialist is- Samajvadi.)
    Do you really want to go down this road? Is this how you want to be remembered?

  2. sheila

    I may add that Hitler hadn’t read Rousseau. His intellectual antecedents are as I stated- you can’t refute that because that is what is in the historical record.

  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    In your superficial analysis of where people may have sat in parliament , you fail to understand the ROOT of socialism (primacy of SOCIETY).

    Socialism is a worldview that gives primacy to society.

    Socialism is a GENERIC worldview with many illustrations (Marxism, Fabianism, fascism, fanatic religious fundamentalism, tribalism, xenophobia, racism, etc.). Within socialism there can be many breeds, just like there are many breeds of dog. But they are all dog.

    Socialists have two key identifiers:
    (a) a “great man” who interprets what society needs and forces his views on everyone (Hitler/Stalin/Lenin/Indira Gandhi); and
    (b) a views that individuals must sacrifice for the sake of society.

    Hitler ticks the boxes on both.

    On economic matters this view leads squarely to DIRECTION of the economy. On freedom of expression it leads squarely to PROHIBITION on free speech.

    There has been a tendency to focus on the economic expression of this worldview to the detriment of deeper analysis about what socialism represents. My value-add to the world of human thought (following on from Isaiah Berlin, Mises, Ayn Rand, Hayek, etc.) is a CLEAR demarcation of socialist ideologies from liberty-based ideologies.

    You are unfortunately stuck in analyses of where people sit in parliament, or who read whom and was influenced by whom. I don’t use such primitive indicators of intent. I use the CORE idea to analyse people’s worldviews.

    In Hitler there is TOTAL contempt for individuals. They are TOOLS for his use – to somehow take his “society” to the direction HE wants. Like herding sheep.

    To me, coming as I do from the Kantian perspective, individuals are not tools or means. They are ends in themselves. I DON’T care about society. I think it is a fictitious idea. I care only for individuals, their life, their liberty, their accountability.

    I urge you to discard your silly “academic” glasses that are colouring your ability to look into CORE ideas.

    I don’t really care for “Left-Right” type of analyses. I’m not a “rightist” but advocate of liberty. Best to use the words SOCIETY-INDIVIDUAL to distinguish the two perspectives.

    I see ALL ideas in a single dimension, unlike “sophisticated” analysts who miss the forest for the trees. Everything boils down to ONLY two ideas: society vs individual. The former I call socialist the latter capitalist.
    If this doesn’t make sense, pl. move on. I will not publish your repetitive argument replete with as many insults as you can muster. We must agree to disagree. You can publish any further rebuttals on your own blog. Use any insulting language you feel like. This is a free world! Let people read and decide.

    But this is what I stand for: the utter rejection of any ideology that gives priority to society at the expense of the individual. Let that be well known, with no confusion whatsoever. Hope that helps!

  4. Shiela

    So, you are a Kantian constructivist- i.e. you develop a political philosophy from the bare idea of Liberty. Is yours a prescriptive theory- i.e. would it be the case that reading or hearing about your political philosophy leads other people, provided they are rational, to wish to adopt the same political philosophy and act in accordance with it? If so it becomes identical in every observable effect with what you call a ‘Great Man’ theory by reason of what Ken Binmore (a self conscious Whig like Hayek) calls the fundamental folk theorem of Game theory. In other words the end state to which dissemination of your political philosophy leads will be the same as one created by what you call a ‘Great man’ exercising coercive force.
    Secondly, in your Kantian constructivist approach to a bare concept or Liberty, the question arises- is the context in which this Liberty is exercised a set of other individuals? If the answer is yes- your philosophy is Socialist.according to your own definition. Suppose your notion of Liberty does not have as its context a set of other individuals. Suppose it relates to inanimate objects- then it is not political and has no associated nomos.
    The remarkable thing is you quote, in this blog post, a paper showing that Hitler was a fore-runner of privatization.

  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    Note I’ve deleted anything in your comment that was unrelated to substantive issues. I’m not THE LEAST bothered by your assumptions about me or my knowledge, and any invective .etc. You are most welcome to your opinions about me – but on your own blog/ writings, please. If it doesn’t add value to ME, I’ll delete it.

    And the only thing that adds value to me is REASONED debate.

    On my blog we talk ISSUES, not about me or about you.

    The substantive point you raise is interesting but ill-conceived. First, I’m not a Kantian constructivist, whatever that means. I don’t care for meaningless jargon. Please be clear about that.

    All I’m saying is that you can do or say whatever you like so long as you don’t harm me/ others. And I won’t use you as my tool or ask you to sacrifice for my sake because I respect you as a person. How hard is that?

    ALL my interaction with others is voluntary. Voluntarism is the key.

    I don’t force anyone nor will ever do so.

    On the other hand, socialists MUST impose their views on society. That, too, was found in Hitler.

    Your writings illustrate my point that most Western philosophy was socialist/ collectivist. It is because you are so steeped in certain pre-conceived notions about “philosophy” that you are trying to fit me into YOUR slots of thinking. But you forget my point. I don’t care about such “slots”.

    The same applies to MOST economics. Btw, I’ve read plenty of philosophy and plenty of economics. I simply don’t agree with MOST “slots” and imaginations of these people. You can write “aggregate demand” and that doesn’t mean a whit to me, since it simply doesn’t exist. So also your mental categories are just fertile imagination: precisely meaningless to me.

    All I care is that I MUST be free to decide things for myself, and am happy to be held to account if I harm others (physically: not for imagined mental harm).

    All I ask is to be left alone to think for myself, and to speak my mind. And that, please, let everyone have such a “right”.

    This view that says, LEAVE ME ALONE, is ENTIRELY the opposite of Hitler’s. I’m not FORCING liberty on others. All I’m saying is LET ***ME*** BE FREE. Don’t interfere in my liberty. The natural corollary is that I must necessarily advocate liberty for everyone.

    Doing this is not socialism. It is the EXTREME opposite of socialism.

    If you want to keep slotting me into your preconceived mental compartments (this “ism” or that) please do so. I don’t really care! I hope you get my point!

    I want all of us to be free. Don’t bind yourself to chains. And don’t impose. With that we can all live happily ever after.

    As for Hiter advocating such a view – that’s sheer nonsense, so I’m afraid I don’t classify him as a votary of liberty.

  6. Shiela

    You said ‘I come from a Kantian perspective’. I thought this meant you had read Kant. You mention Rawls to condemn him. I thought this meant you had read Rawls.
    I take it you have read at least something about Kant and Rawls and Rawls on Kant- yet you say ‘ I’m not a Kantian constructivist, whatever that means. I don’t care for meaningless jargon.’ This puzzles me. How can you be sure you are not something whose meaning you don’t know or consider meaningless.

  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    There is a HUGE difference between reading me and then some silly analyst creating big words to talk about “Sabhlokian constructivism”, etc. I don’t live in a dream world of man-made constructs.

    I’m simply saying that according to the categorical imperative (but also according to the Golden Rule or more simply – according to the most basic rule of human interaction!), I don’t intend to use others for my purposes. People are ends in themselves. That’s not the case with Rawls (according to whom my talents belong to society, so I am a tool of “society”). So I reject Rawls. If you care, you can read chapter 3 of DOF – I’ve provided an extensive critique of Rawls.


  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Why do you assume that I EVER said that Hitler had read Rousseau? I did not. I simply said that his ideas are in that mental tradition, but I also said that such is the mental tradition of 97 per cent of Western thought. Divine Right of Kings, remember? The West never had a social contract view of the world till Hobbes and Locke (which did not filter to the Continent till Kant).

    Note that in India I don’t expect most educated people to have read Rousseau or Marx or even Nehru, but they are firmly in that tradition because they do read newspaper and op-eds which use of such kinds of thought. So they absorb such a mind-set which allows them to glorify the state.

    It is possible that Hitler had “intellectual antecedents” but he might have read 100 books but only picked the one that suited his mind. We waste our time worrying about such “antecedents”. What’s my antecedent? You can’t possibly identify even though you might make a guess. That’s because I’ve read 1000s of books and 1000s of authors but then made up my own mind based on personal thinking. It is ridiculous to attribute Hitler’s mind to a particular author.

    I tend to look at CORE ideas, not at artificial constructs/ideas, or “antecedents”.

    Hitler’s core idea was collectivist. He naturally gravitated to socialism and control over the economy and society. Whose control? His control. Hence the necessity of a “great man”.

    If according to you collectivists are not socialist, then yes, Hitler was not socialist.

    You are fixated on what YOU think Hitler was trying to do: to be a great man. But in essence Hitler was trying to curb the liberty of Germans, Jews and all of mankind.

    Two types of great men exist: one who propose their ideas and deliberately avoid any power over others. Laozi (Taoism) was a great man who disappeared. He loved liberty and wanted the king to mind his own business.

    The other type is the one who pushes his ideas coercively on others. For what? For the sake of “society”.

    That is called socialism, in which society is made into God.

    There are only these two ways of thinking.

    Btw, you are wrong to suggest that Hitler was not socialist because you don’t look at CORE ideas. You are considering only the fact that Hitler wanted to be a great man. But you forget his PURPOSE. The purpose was collectivist.


  9. Shiela

    There is no danger in anyone speaking of ‘Sabhlok constructivism’. You may recall, in the part of my comment that you edited out, I very specifically clarified this.
    Apart from Trietschke. Wagner and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Hitler had no ‘intellectual’ antecedents. He was brought into politics by the German Army for a specific purpose. Had Luddendorf not refused to go to jail, for the Munich putsch, Hitler would never have come to prominence. His goal was the Army’s goal of re-armament and avoiding blame for defeat in the first War- which is where the Jewish/Socialist ‘stab in the back’ theory came from. Hitler’s only original contribution, in Mein Kamf, is that he added the anti-Pan German Habsburgs to the list.
    Mussolini was an intellectual and moved from Socialism to Fascism. Hitler never was a Socialist and gained power by ditching the the Leftists in the S.A.- actually, by killing them. What you call CORE ideas are jejune and arise from ignorance of the historical record. You write ‘I also said that such is the mental tradition of 97 per cent of Western thought. Divine Right of Kings, remember? The West never had a social contract view of the world till Hobbes and Locke (which did not filter to the Continent till Kant).’ This is sheer nonsense. Western Europe had limited monarchies, not Divine Right of Kings till the Seventeenth Century. Since you do not understand even one percent of Western Thought, your claim re. 97 percent of it is opinionated ignorance of the shallowest type.
    I had previously pointed out that Western theories tended to be teleological or eschatalogical. You don’t understand what those words mean. Both Roman and Canon Law are sources for the later Contractarian theory of Grotius and Hobbes. Hume woke Kant ‘from his dogmatic slumber’, not Hobbes and Locke. Jansenist and Protestant political theorists, including Moravians like Comenius, cleared the way for Contractarian theory for Europe. You are simply ignorant of all this. What you write is verbose, opinionated, ignorant nonsense.
    It is also Hindu chauvinst nonsense- Jesus says ‘Ye are as Gods’ and the concept of Theosis is well developed in Europe and has inspired much political theory. By contrast, Advaita does not say ‘You are Gods’ and inspired no similar libertarian or contractarian theory. It is only your ignorance which permits to utter such a heretical and hysterical nonsense.
    Do you feel no sense of shame for writing this- ‘Only Westerners can be socialists, for they have no confidence in their own ability to be God. They simply can never understand Vivekananda. Nor can achieve the mental resources – and KINDNESS – of Gandhi.’ Gandhi and Vivekananda had plenty of Western disciples and collaborators. But neither had ‘confidence in their own ability to be God’. Vivekananda was a disciple of Ramakrishna and endorsed a humble Advaitic bhakti religion- absorption in and subordination to the Godhead- along with a vehement insistence on a life of self-sacrifice for the up lift of Society. His thought is the foundation of much in indigenous Socialism. Gandhi was a Vaishnav who wrote a commentary on Gita- salokya-sarsti-samipya- sarupyaikatvam apy uta diyamanam na grhnanti/ vina mat-sevanam janah-“My devotees do not accept salokya, sarsti, sarupya, samipya, or oneness with me (sayujya)—even if I offer them liberation- i.e. devotee refuses to become God or even gain Heaven but only wishes to serve God by serving Society- including weakest and poorest sections. Gandhi changed his caste from Bania to bhangi only for this reason. For him, as for all true Vaishnavs- kaivalyam narakayate- to achieve Gnosis is to attain the condition of a hell dweller. Service to Society and all Creation with the sentiment that one is serving one’s own father and mother- Vasudeva kutambakam- this is what is counselled by Hindu religion.
    You have said you are not a Hindu. Why are you painting a distorted and hateful picture of Hindus as obsessed with becoming Gods and refusing to serve Society? Is this what your Baba Ramdev has taught you?
    Show some shame and turn back from this path of untruth and calumny.

  10. Ravindra Kaul

    It is interesting that the whole debate runs in terms of categories (Left, Right, KAntian, Hobsian, Lock etc.) in terms of the western categories and western ideas. I don't see a single notion that arises from Indian world views, be itBuddhist, Hindu, Jaina or any thing else. That, coming from even aspiring leadership,  to me is indicative of continuing trouble for India.

    Western language and thought is completely steeped in its dominant theological constructs of christianity. Be it Marxist  ideas (Dialectical materialism a negation of Christian notion of Divine God and supernatural), Secularism ( as soft form of protestant theological assumptions of duality of God/Evil (satan) & Man's Free will), or be it Capitalism (Fonded God's grant of absolute free will ; to justify punishment in hell) etc.

    Now all these categories may be fine for the west as their social structure their ethos and their language is in consonance with that. What about non-christian/non-Muslim nations? What if there is no notion of such religions in a civilization. Such as in India, China, etc. How can these categories and principles be forced on them. It can be argued and shown (See Prof Balakrishnana's work) that violence in India is consequent of enforcement of Secularism that contradicts the India's native views & experience.

    In my openion and experience, what ever what does to improve India has to be consistent within Indian's internal ethos, experience and categories. Otherwise even the best well wishers will damage India further. Our education system, legal system, Economic system, ans Social system has to be anchored to that. Transplanting alien ideas will either be unsuccessful or kill Indian civilization.



  11. Ravindra Kaul

    I should also mention that my comments may seem out of place, because the issue was about Hitler. Whether he was Socialist or a Fascist. To that extent my previous remark may seem unfair.


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial