Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nazi paganism...

It is no secret that Nazism drew upon centuries of Christian anti-Semitism in its campaign against Jewry. What is less known, and less discussed, is how rooted in Germanic paganism Nazism was. As Jacques Maritain says in his essay "Christian Humanism", "A Nazi people were led away from Nazi paganism only by a crushing defeat of Nazism in its undertakings of world conquest" (A Maritain Reader, Image Books (1966), p. 224). (It is also too little known how Nazism, and fascism generally, collaborated with Middle Eastern leaders in their unprecedented anti-Semitic efforts, but that is a topic for another post.) It is a canard that "Hitler was a Catholic," since in fact by his aspirations began to take serious shape in the 1920s he had renounced the Catholic hierarchy as dull to the signs of the times, and had found his true spiritual sustenance in Nietzschean Germanism and Germanic paganism generally. A literal case of spurning the Blood of the Lamb for das Blut des deutschen Volkes!

I mention this not to excuse the role of historical Christian anti-Semitism in the Nazi period, but to emphasize the fact that, like all great historical moments, it was a spiritual phenomenon. It is legitimate--though I would say not completely correct--for Daniel Goldhagen and Thomas Bernhard, et al., to say that "ordinary Germans" were extraordinary (and willing) Nazis, as long as their willingness is understood as a function of a larger spiritual attachment with which they grew up and by which they were hypnotized. Insofar as "Christian anti-Semitism" is a contradiction in terms, and thus a perversion rather than a perfection of the Christian ethos, the "Christian" roots of Nazism must be taken as political exploitations of defects in the culture at the time. By contrast, the logic of die Endlösung als die Auslöschung was endemic to the evolutionist, theosophical blood-madness of Nazi paganism.

1 comment:

Chad said...

There has been reported Nazi ties with Catholic hierarchies. I do not know if it's true, and in fact I don't care. Even if Hitler was a Catholic, that would have been something within that particular system of beliefs which he found as a sufficient cause for the anti-Semitic movement.