• Article by: The Prussian

    • im-skeptical

      Tribalism – I would agree. But collectivism ??? I seems like a stretch.

      Rand equates collectivists with progressives. White supremacists in America tend to identify with conservative and right-wing politics. They align well with Rand in many aspects, including their hatred of government, taxes, liberals, and anything that smacks of collectivism. It sounds like Rand is trying to make these racists out to be a bunch of liberals. It doesn’t work.

      • ThePrussian

        Well, in point of fact, the most notorious racist political movement was that of National Socialism, the origin of Apartheid was agitation by white labour unions who did not want the trouble of competing with black labour in the free market, the civil war was between the capitalist north and the feudal south, eugenics was widely championed by Fabian socialists and ‘progressives’, if you look at the political platform of the British National Party and France’s National Front, they are pro-welfare state, pro-protectionism and violently anti-capitalist, the anti-capitalist Upton Sinclair was explicitly racist, in favour of ‘white socialism’, George FitzHugh, the South’s prominent defender of slavery, defended it as a natural form of socialism…

        I can keep doing this, believe me. If you are a collectivist, you believe that the group comes above the individual. What group? Well, the most obvious is the one you’ve been born into – the race. It is the political left that is, in the guise of identity politics, the one that is most insisting that people think with their blood.

        You are right, though, about a nasty tradition in America. Ayn Rand knew it and called it out – she said the worst contradiction in modern times was that of conservatives who thought they could reconcile racism and capitalism. Rand said there was no way to defend capitalism while attacking its moral basis – indvidualism and individual rights.

        • im-skeptical

          Nothing liberal about the Nazis. That’s why they are so admired by right-wing extremists.

          And racism fits right in with the conservatives’ way of thinking. Just like it did in South Africa.


          Bill Maher’s with me on this.


          • ThePrussian

            Depends what you mean by “liberal”. If by ‘liberal’ you mean the European sense, classical liberalism that’s close to libertarianism, then of course not. But if by ‘liberal’ you mean the US sense… well, both were/are in favour of a big wellfare state, heavy state intervention in the economy, environmentalism, racial politics etc. The recent US president who most exploited and invoked racism – with photo-op executions, attending whites only clubs and so on – was the ‘liberal’ hero Bill Clinton.

            But you’ve shifted the goalposts. What cannot be dodged is that the Nazis were 100% anti-capitalist collectivists. We can debate whether that is ‘left’ or ‘right’, but there is no debate that they were against individualism, against capitalism.

            • im-skeptical

              And there is no question that the tragedy at Charleston was motivated by a worldview that is extremely right-wing, nationalistic, and about as far from collectivist as you can get. It was the nationalist leanings of the Nazis that led to their extreme tribalism and racism.

            • ThePrussian

              You’re now saying that the totalitarian racism and nationalism of the Nazis – doctrines that mandated the utter subordination of the individual to the group, to the collective – were not collectivist. I can’t argue with that – I mean, I literally can’t argue with that, because it isn’t an argument. It’s saying that words don’t mean what they mean, because you say so. It is just an assertion floating in mid air, tied to nothing.

            • im-skeptical

              You are conflating two very different things. Collectivism and ultra-nationalism are not the same at all. Collectivism may subjugate individuals, but it does not exclude them from the group. It takes nationalism (or tribalism) for that. If you could get out of your right-wing mindset for a moment and think about the meaning of these words, it should seem obvious that collectivism is the opposite
              of what Rand implies.

            • ThePrussian

              Again, that is more of the same. That’s no different that white nationalists saying that Roof isn’t one of theirs – that their perfect, imaginary white nationalism is one where no one gets hurt and everything is dandy. It doesn’t fly anymore than your assertion that racism and totalitarian nationalism are “not-Collectivism”. If so, they are a “not-Collectivism” that have been called collectivist, defended as collectivism, defended by collectivists, argued in favour of as collectivism, and practiced the tenets of collectivism.

              Just playing around with words doesn’t change the underlying reality – that may be why you haven’t responded to one of the factual, historical points raised here.

            • im-skeptical

              “not-Collectivism” ?

              I did a little searching, and the only people who equate collectivism with racism seem to be Rand and followers of Rand. In reality, racism is much more associated with individualism and tribalism. Rand’s declaring that it is collectivism doesn’t make it true. And while it is possible that a collectivist can be a racist, or a liberal can be a racist, it is true that most racists are conservative.

              I know that not everyone on the right is a racist, but there is no question that they are much more likely to be racists than are liberals. Don’t believe it? Look at this: http://www.allthingsdemocrat.com/not-racist/ and be sure to scroll down and look at the pictures. These people are your fellow right-wing Obama haters.

              As for your comment about white nationalists distancing themselves from racists, it sounds exactly like what we hear from conservatives all the time. Even you admit that they are driven by nationalism (ie tribalism). Read this: http://www.thenation.com/article/166524/right-wing-racism-past-present-and-future for examples of conservatives trying to distance themselves from their fellow conservative racists.

            • ThePrussian

              “Individualism and tribalsim” – aiyaiyai. That’s like saying matter and antimatter. It’s ridiculous. It’s beyond ridiculous. You are saying that a philosophy that subordinates the individual to the group is the same as a philosophy that holds the individual as sacrosanct. That’s not even not an argument, that’s a contradiction in terms. I don’t know how old you are, but at some point you need to realize that things don’t change their nature just because you change the name.

              As to the rest of this – sorry, pass. I’m not going to be accused of racism by someone who sedulously avoids all evidence of racism when it doesn’t fit their preconceived worldview. When you’ve bothered to acknowledge at US lefty hero Bill Clinton’s record of race-baiting, as well as any of the other factual points in this piece,

              Actually, let me make it simple: do you or do you not accept that the Nazis were completely anti-capitalist, supporters of the welfare state, supporters of identity politics and of environmentalism?

            • im-skeptical

              > You are saying that a philosophy that subordinates the individual to the group is the same as a philosophy that holds the individual as sacrosanct.

              No. Why don’t you listen? I am saying that a philosophy that subordinates the individual to the group (collectivism) is NOT the same as a philosophy that holds the individual as sacrosanct (individualism). Tribalism and individualism go hand-in-hand together, along with racism. This is precisely what we see with white supremacists. They are right-wing nuts who despise government and anything that appears to be collectivist, and love to think of themselves as rugged individualists. Open your eyes and look.

              > I’m not going to be accused of racism by someone who sedulously avoids all evidence of racism when it doesn’t fit their preconceived worldview.

              I didn’t accuse you of racism. But you are exactly like the rest of the right-wing jerks who deny that racists share their political views. Many of them even deny that racism exists to any significant extent, because the civil rights movement has been so successful in banishing it.

              > do you or do you not accept that the Nazis were completely
              anti-capitalist, supporters of the welfare state, supporters of identity
              politics and of environmentalism?

              No. Naziism came about during the hard economic times of the early 20th century as a counter-movement against communism. It was supported by capitalists as a way to thwart communism, although it had to adopt certain socialist policies to survive the prevailing economic conditions, much as the USA also did.

            • ThePrussian

              ” I am saying that a philosophy that subordinates the individual to the
              group (collectivism) is NOT the same as a philosophy that holds the
              individual as sacrosanct (individualism).”

              Actually, you do in the very next sentence, following it up with a line that betrays little knowlege of the history of either within the United States and absolutely none of the history outside it. Simply being opposed to the central government because you have your own brand of tyranny does not make you an individualist, anymore than the Communists fighting the Nazis were individualist.

              “I didn’t accuse you of racism.”


              And you round up by saying that the Nazis were capitalist despite having ‘many socialist policies’. Well, as anyone who knows anything about the subject knows, the Nazis exerted complete control and intervention over every level of the economy and subsidised huge numbers of welfare state and similar programs. They always made it clear, from the first days, that they were completely against capitalism and the free market. Yet they are supposedly capitalist… because you say so.

              These are just bald assertions. Not tied to reality or facts at any point.

              Entire history’s have been written on this. Try Schoenbaum’s “Hitler’s Social Revolution” and go on from there.


            • im-skeptical

              I suppose if you’re an objectivist, it doesn’t matter what kind of strong government you’re talking about. If they do anything beyond protecting the assets of the wealthy, they all look the same to you. And you interpret history through the same lenses.

              This article gives a more objective description of Nazi economics. It also includes some discussion, including a few quotes from Hitler, on the meaning of “socialism” in the context of the fascist system.

            • ThePrussian

              So you’ve moved from assertions without basis to insults without basis. I’m really curious – do you think you convince anyone with that sort of thing?

              And as that article clearly shows, the fascists were anti-capitalist – the Nazi 25 point plan is well to the left of anything, e.g., the US Democratic party could advocate.

            • im-skeptical

              You either didn’t read it, or you didn’t understand it. The only thing about capitalism they were against was the free market aspect of it, especially with regard to international trade. They favored private property, corporatism, and commerce for profit, but they also wanted to exert substantial governmental control. With regard to being a “welfare state”, they actually insisted that people work, and provided government jobs during the depression, just as the USA did. Those who wouldn’t work were sent to concentration camps. That’s a little different from welfare.

              I don’t make these things up, as you have insinuated. I have provided documentation for the things I say. The major difference between my documentation and yours is that mine doesn’t come exclusively from sources who share your political views.

            • ThePrussian

              Did you read this? Saying that you are in favour of capitalism but against free trade is like saying that you are in favour of free speech, but the government should be able to censor, or being in favour of the Civil Rights’ movement but don’t want to get rid of segregation. It’s nonsense.

              Socialists routinely tied the welfare state to work – Marx wrote of a _worker’s_ paradise. The Soviet constitution guaranteed a job for everyone. So to claim that the Nazis didn’t have a welfare state…

              Sorry, but when you say that government control of the economy is capitalism and massive wealth-distribution involving housing supports, socialized medicine etc. isn’t a welfare state – then the nicest possible interpretation is that you are just making things up.

            • im-skeptical

              I was not expressing advocacy. The Nazi economy was not what you might call pure liberal capitalism, but nevertheless, it was based on private enterprise and profit.

            • ThePrussian

              Well, I could point out that that’s true of any system – no matter how much various socialist institutions have tried, they have never stamped out either. So the Nazis combining socialist programs with privat enterprise puts them in the same tradition as FDR and Obama.

              But that’d be a cheap shot. The reality is that this is bollocks. The Nazis, like all fascists, despised the profit motive. Here is Julius Evola, the single most important fascist philospher:

              “America … has created a ‘civilization’ that represents an exact
              contradiction of the ancient European tradition. It has introduced the
              religion of praxis and productivity; it has put the quest for profit,
              great industrial production, and mechanical, visible, and quantitative
              achievements over any other interest. It has generated a soulless
              greatness of a purely technological and collective nature, lacking any
              background of transcendence, inner light, and true spirituality. America
              has [built a society where] man becomes a mere instrument of production
              and material productivity within a conformist social conglomerate”

            • im-skeptical

              Had you read the material I supplied, you would have seen that many of the high ideals of Nazi philosophy were not actually put into practice in the regime. That includes much of their “socialist” philosophy.

            • ThePrussian

              Actually, they did deliver on their promises to a huge extent – and, yes, I am talking about their socialist policies. Just google “Volkish equality” or “Gleichschaltung” or “Nazi Welfare state”. The Nazis had very high taxes for corporations, massive intervention, free dental care –

              What’s the use? There’s a pattern in these little exchanges of ours. You throw out some objections. I cite numerous facts that show your accusatiosn to be unfounded. You change the goalposts and come up with another accusation. I shoot that one down to. You change the goalposts _again_ and we continue this until I get bored.

              Looking back over this exchange, you were saying that Rand’s ideas are close to those held by racists. I showed that to be false. You then tried to claim that tribalism and nationalism are not collectivist. I showed that to be false again. Then you tried to claim that the Nazis were pro-capitalist. You have now conceded that they were pro-capitalism in every way except being in favour of capitalism. Now you’re reduced to saying that they didn’t implement or achieve 100% of _every_ campaign promise they made. Well, fair enough.

            • im-skeptical

              Collectivism can be broadly defined. You could say that there isn’t a nation, community, or organization in the world that isn’t collectivist in some sense. Even Galt’s Gulch would qualify. So it is true that in that broad sense of the word, nationalism and tribalism are forms of collectivism. But that kind of collectivism doesn’t emphasize the subjugation of the individual. As I pointed out, the people in the US who are most nationalist and most racist are the same ones who are most opposed to socialism, who rail against government, and who would rightly describe themselves as individualists. And no matter how much you deny it, those people tend to hold political views that are aligned with Rand. In fact, Rand Paul recently received criticism for attracting crowds of racists at his political rallies. Go ahead and deny it if you want. It’s true.

              How can someone be both collectivist and individualist? Only by having a definition of collectivism that is broad enough to encompass such people.

              On the other hand, the political system most closely associated with collectivism, as defined in a more narrow sense, is communism. This kind of collectivism is very different from tribalism, because it truly does emphasize state ownership and subjugation of the individual. This is the kind of collectivism that Rand associated with “progressives” throughout Atlas Shrugged. In Nazi Germany, businesses were privately owned and worked for profit. In my book, that makes them capitalist. They were very different from the Soviets. Yes, there was state welfare and taxation. If you want to call that collectivism, fine, but it’s not Soviet-style collectivism, and their racism had little to do with that. Racism comes from tribalism, Trying to conflate these two very different forms of collectivism really amounts to equivocation.

            • ThePrussian

              “Collectivism can be broadly defined” No it can’t:


              “the political principle of centralized social and economic control, especially of all means of production.”

              And philosophically it means that the group should be placed above the individual. That’s it. No other definition exists.

              ” In Nazi Germany, businesses were privately owned and worked for profit. In my book, that makes them capitalist. ”

              You are welcome to your book, and your crayons too. You’ve now come up with two definitions of Capitalism, let’s call them capitalism1 & capitalism2. Capitalism1 – what’s also known as ‘capitalism’ – is the separation of the government from the economy, the free market. Capitalism2 is the Nazi system of nominal private ownership permitted “in the state’s interest”, with massive government control and intervention. So, unles you are an advocate of communism – the system that murdered an order of magnitude more people than Nazism – then you have a choice beween Cap1 & Cap2. And Rand and I support Cap1, the Nazis, Obama and you support Cap2.

              You see how you do not change reality by playing silly word games?

              I love your throwaway about Rand Paul. So some American politician (you seem to think that America = The World) has someone in his rally, according to you, and that proves everything about capitalism. But the fact that the most racist government in human history was a socialist one, proves nothing. Right. Gotcha.

              The shadow of a point you have would be more impressive had it not been previously made by Ayn Rand, far better and far longer ago.

              Again. I don’t know how old you are, but you have a lot of learning to do.

            • im-skeptical

              “the political principle of centralized social and economic control, especially of all means of production.”

              If that’s the definition of collectivism, then racism doesn’t even remotely fit that definition. Which was my point in the first place. But because Ayn Rand said it, you treat it as if it were some kind of religious dogma.

              Regarding Rand Paul: He was named after Ayn Rand by his father, Ron Paul, an avid follower of Rand, and politician who espouses many of her philosophical beliefs. His son is also an Ayn Rand adherent, politician, and current senator. And many of the people who attend his rallies are the kind of people that I’ve been talking about from the beginning of this discussion. I don’t accuse Paul of being racist, but his politics are attractive to many who are.

              Nor do I do not pretend that America is all there is. But this post was, in the first place (I presume), in response to a horrendous act of racism in America. And it just so happens that the perpetrator of that act is precisely the type that I’ve been talking about all along.

              “Again. I don’t know how old you are, but you have a lot of learning to do.”
              – The day will never come when I don’t have anything left to learn. If you think you have achieved that lofty goal, all I can say is “how sad”.

            • Otto Greif

              Rand Paul wasn’t named after Ayn Rand.

            • im-skeptical

              Oh right. That’s what they’ve been saying these past few years, isn’t it?

        • bigmaq1980

          @ThePrussian:disqus- I get where you are coming from. I don’t think Mr Skeptical ever heard of the Nolan Chart, but link is here…

          He is arguing the horizontal placement of the concept, but is missing the vertical dimension, which is critical in understanding what these groups are about.

          Here is a good discussion of National Socialism in that context…

          Note: I provide these links, but have not reviewed the entire website, so don’t vouch for the views provided.

    • eccentricorbit


      I’ve been reading a lot of your blog entries, and I like your articles and way of looking at the world. I especially liked one of your posts about 1920’s optimism and transhumanism. I’ve blogged about similar topics on my own blog before. http://www.amssolarempire.com


    • Mister A

      Dear ThePrussian,

      I accidentally followed a link from Mr. Steyn’s page, and then spent the following week here reading extensively, to the point where I forgot the point Mr. Steyn was originally making.

      You, sir, are performing a real service. Well-reasoned, well-written arguments are uncommon in the blogosphere, in my experience, but not as rare as polite discussions.

      As a fellow Objectivist, I *really* appreciate your defense (and explanation) of the philosophy, and agree that most people incorrectly re-define Ms. Rand’s concepts when arguing against them.

      I also have many uses for ‘How to Argue Like Stalin’. Invaluable.

      Please don’t stop any time soon.