January 19, 2004

Discussing Hitler

Bruce Bartlett's current NRO article on Keynes tackles the problem of seriously discussing Hitler as an actual leader with policies that had nothing to do with the Holocaust and the human rights. He does it fairly well though I disagree with his conclusions on Keynes. Frankly, if you say your theories are more easily adapted to a totalitarian state and that doesn't creep you out, leading you to reconsider your economics, this is pretty good evidence that you have an insufficient aversion to tyranny.

I don't know whether it's correct to say Keynes was a crypto-fascist, or even wise to debate the subject except as historical biography. What I do feel is important is putting Hitler into context as more than the monster who killed so many, jews and non-jews.

Obsessive focus on this aspect of Nazi Germany hides the fact that there were other things wrong with Hitler's rule and empowers Hitler revisionists who take Nazi hype on economics and social policy (outside ethnic policy) as largely true because critiques of Hitler keep getting get hijacked by the human rights victims and their families. Other aspects of the regime have been insufficiently critiqued which is a shame because there were lots of other things wrong with that regime and we shouldn't limit our lessons learned from the debacle just to "don't commit genocide".

Posted by TMLutas at January 19, 2004 02:26 PM