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Conservatism = Hitlerism (?)
In Dissent, Number One Hundred and Twenty-Eight
by Brian S. Wise
5 August 2003Adolf Hitler

According to a new study, Hitler and Reagan are both politically conservative.

True story: Three days ago, I took a short walk to a local gas station for the expressed purpose of purchasing Doritos, the fine Frito Lay product.  Directly ahead of me in line was a rather large white man, about six feet two inches in height and approximately 200 pounds of little more than muscle.  On his t-shirt was a picture of Hitler and the caption, “One Nation, One Leader.”  A swastika was tattooed in the palm of his right hand as well as on the right side of his head.  What you need to know is, according to Stanford professor John Yost, University of Maryland professor Arie Kruglanski and University of California at Berleley professors Jack Glaser and Frank Salloway, there is virtually no difference between the Nazi sympathizer and this columnist.  Or between Hitler and, say, Ronald Reagan, the former having killed six million Jews, the latter having dedicated much of his presidency to the defeat of Communism.
The Berkeley News website goes on to clarify as only it can: “Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare.  But are there consistent underlying motivations?”  The question fails because it is loaded; Vietnam is separated from Korea is separated from Kuwait is separated from Iraq, the idea being that perhaps if the Right goes out of its way to support this very unpopular war, it will be seen as the collection of fanatics you are to suspect they are.  Combine this with certain strong religious and moral values, mix in a reluctance to support a few million people who have no interest in helping themselves, and presto!  You and Hitler, principal architect of the Holocaust, are best buddies, though a few decades removed.
Continues Berkeley News: “Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism [?!] report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include: Fear and aggression; Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; Uncertainly avoidance; Need for cognitive closure; Terror management.”
Other than dogmatism (which is only relevant if you honestly believe there is no dogmatism on the Left, something we know not to be true by virtue of NPR, one example of many), what is necessarily wrong with any of those things?  Should one not have fear of things greater and scarier than he is, and should he not wish aggression upon those who most deserve wrath?  Should one not have intolerance of things obscure and indistinct?  Should one not be certain about the things that matter?  He should, unless his mode of reasoning suggests he is inherently more dangerous standing alone than the things he fears, that obscurity and indistinctness make up a pleasant gray area in which most legitimate considerations are supposed to reside, that certainly of conviction unquestionably means someone on the outside is being oppressed.  That is: He should, unless he is a Leftist.
Ann Coulter is still out promoting a fine book called Treason, in which it is stated that whenever there have existed large pockets of sympathy and support for dictators, Communists (of all ranks) or terrorists, they have come from the Left, and with a certain noticeable delight.  For this assessment Coulter was slapped around by Chris Matthews a few weeks ago, the host concluding a segment by noting Coulter’s previous book was called Slander, and that perhaps this one should have been, as well.  The implication was not only that Coulter was lying, but that the overall conclusion of the book, a correct one, was fruit of the poisonous tree and therefore irrelevant.
The point?  Chris Matthews is a bright man who knows better than all that, so are we to safely assume he will soon come to the airwaves and plainly state there are rather profound differences between a man who oversaw the slaughter of six million Jews (a point we cannot tire in making, as it perfectly illustrates the absurdity of the study’s conclusion) and the man who fought to end Communism?  (Communism, it should be said, was an apparatus that set into motion killing machines the likes the world had never seen before or since, to the tune of 100 million or more “dissenters,” real and imagined, in the 20th century.)  No, because it is only important Leftism is not defamed, not that conservatism is at all understood.

Brian Wise is the lead columnist for IntellectualConservative.com.

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