Tomorrow – today if you’re reading this on Wednesday 14 October – I’ll be giving a lunchtime talk with fellow author and World War II junkie Guy Walters at Cheltenham literature festival.
Guy might slip in a brief mention of his fascinating and brilliant new book on fugitive Nazi war criminals Hunting Evil (in which he reveals, inter alia, that 95 per cent of the extravagant claims made by supposed Nazi-hunting kingpin Simon Wiesenthal were a figment of the old fraud’s imagination). I’ll probably let slip at some point that I’m the author of the fabulously exciting Dick Coward World War II adventures Coward On The Beach and Coward At The Bridge. Mainly though what we’ll be discussing is the enduring appeal of the Nazis.
In the publishing world Nazi Germany is nicknamed “the gift that keeps on giving” because it outsells books on pretty much any other subject, save possibly cats and golf. (That’s why when the great humorist Alan Coren wanted to write the biggest bestseller ever, he jokily called it Golfing For Cats and put a fluttering swastika on the front).
Like many people, Guy and I are almost unhealthily fascinated with the Nazis, for many of the obvious reasons: they had some of the most lurid bad guys (Hitler; Himmler; Goering…), they had the most iconic weaponry (the flak 88, the Tiger tank, the panzerfaust, the Stuka…), they had the best uniforms (some of them designed by Hugo Boss), and, of course, they were responsible for the Holocaust and the war that led to the deaths of around 60 million – making them some of the most revoltingly evil people ever to stalk the earth. (And like it or not, evil is a fascinating subject).
What this doesn’t, of course, mean is that Guy and I happen to sympathise with the Nazis’ policies. Au contraire. Guy and I are both libertarian right wingers – almost outrageously pro-Israel and philo-Semitic; fanatically opposed to anything that looks like Big Government; passionate about liberty (and meat-eating, and fox-hunting) – which means we stand for pretty much everything that Hitler and the Nazis hated.
One of the things that liberal-lefties love to do whenever they want to close down a political argument with people on the right is to accuse their opponents of being “fascists” or “Nazis”. Utter balderdash. The red in the Nazi flag is the red of communism – that’s how closely linked the two ideological movements are. The only reason we think of Nazism as being ‘right-wing’ today is because Stalin very successfully tarred it as such. Orwell understood this game as long ago as the 1940s when he wrote “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ’something not desirable’” [thanks David Gillies]. And if this truth wasn’t obvious before, it has certainly been made so by the publication of Jonah Goldberg’s thorough demolition of the “Nazis were right wingers” myth Liberal Fascism.
Who are the modern Nazis? Certainly not right wing libertarians such as Walters and myself. Look instead, I should say, to the modern Green movement: the fanaticism; its pagan deification of Nature; the denial of any scientific evidence that doesn’t suit its cause; its persecution of heretics; the suppression of free speech; its all-encompassing dedication to one obsessive Weltanschauung.
Or look at Islamism.
Whoever today’s Nazis are they are most definitely not Conservatives of any hue. This is plain fact and it simply cannot be rubbed in the faces of libtards, green lunatics, Islamists, and other fascistic psychos often enough. As I’m sure Guy and I will take great pleasure in reiterating if and when we have the pleasure of your company at 12pm Wednesday at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.