I recently read Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. It was one of the most interesting books I ever read. I don’t necessarily recommend you read it. Let’s talk about it.
Obligatory disclaimer: Hitler was an evil person. He is responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, most famously Jews. Good Christians, and good people generally, don’t hate someone that isn’t of their religion or race. Hitler wasn’t a good person.
That said, Hitler, like all people, was a complex person. He was incredibly smart. He spent his youth reading all the books he could get his hands on, and developing an appreciation for arts and high culture. When he was 11, he spent the money he earned working a job to pay for operas and symphonies.
Hitler was a patriot and wanted the best for Germany from birth. His idea of “best” was quite unique for leaders of strong nations. Hitler was racist. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. But race was more than something to like and dislike and matter of preferences for Hitler. It was his ideology. And again, he was very smart, and his ideology was well thought out.
The man saw racism as a positive. His thesis was that race – our DNA and blood, contains not only physical and mental characteristics, but the capabilities of an individual. Intelligence, strength, creativity – these are all a part of our blood, which is passed from generation to generation.
Hitler saw the preservation of these characteristics as the most important function for humans. As some people are smarter than others, and more creative, and stronger, these people should breed with others that have favorable genetics so that their children will be even stronger, or at least not weaker. If someone has ultimate genetics, breeding with someone with inferior genes will weaken those genes. If preservation of superior genetics is your goal, you don’t want to do that.
He applied this to groups of people. Races of people. Adolf saw the Aryan as superior in creativity and intellect, and cited scientific and cultural reasons for this. Therefore, Aryans must breed with each other and not with other races.
I haven’t done much race research, and there isn’t that much of it – it’s such a taboo especially within academia that there isn’t much funding. Whether it’s true, scientifically or not, if the goal of your society is the preservation of your society’s genetics, then Hitler went about it in a good way.
He’s wrong when he tries to make it a Christian calling. To be Christian is to be Christ-like, and it’s a hard sell to try to convince me that Jesus would have called for the separation of blacks and the death of Jews. Everyone on the planet is capable of being Christian, and with that everyone is capable of living virtuously and being happy. To rob someone of this opportunity is decidedly non-Christian.
Hitler saw what he was doing as Christian because he envisioned the ultimate man – superior in intellect, strength, and creativity, as closer to God. Not in a way that he was closer to creating a God – just closer to the image of God. In that way, the individual would best be able to honor God, who we are created in the likeness of.
Christianity defines “likeness of God” as having the ability to choose right from wrong and to have the option of honoring all that is good. Hitler defined “likeness of God” as the human element – being closer to God in terms of physical and mental ability. He thought the man that is closest to God can do God the most honor, and that is worth it.
Because his Aryan race was deemed ultimate and closest to God, his race should realize the rewards of their superiority. They would have creative and material freedoms not available to others. Other races would be put in their place, and would be forced to stay there so that the Aryan would not be threatened. He proposed to enslave other races, such as black people. This slave class would work for the Aryan and not be allowed to interbreed. This would keep them in a state of servitude and also allow the “best” race the best spoils.
The Jews were a different sort of problem. They were competition. Highly intelligent and with a (well-reasoned) ability to survive struggle, Hitler saw the Jews as a threat to the Aryan in the “race” to comfort and the top of the hierarchy. There’s almost a recognition that they are doing good things that Hitler wished to be doing himself. So, rather than making them slaves, he sought to make them out as evil and have them eliminated.
Hitler did this by using propaganda. This was a very conscious maneuver. Hitler was well-read and had a great understanding of history and psychology. He used propaganda to persuade the masses. His book is a masterclass on propaganda and political influence. He brilliantly targeted his audience – the masses of the middle class and lower classes, to carry out his strategy. He did not make arguments to appeal to the intellectuals, but made his appeals to those suffering from economic hardship.
He blamed the hardships on the competing Marxist ideology which directly opposed into his thesis on race. Marxism was the ultimate evil according to Hitler. And the idea that people should be equally rewarded went directly against his idea that rewards would be handed out by race and, within that, merit.
Hitler isn’t wrong that Marxism is perhaps the most evil, harmful ideology ever invented. But the way he went about solving the Marxism problem was quite evil. What do they say about the road paved with good intentions?
The book gave me a new for the American Constitution. The Founding Fathers knew that if people are forced into a Christian world by tyrannical hands, that the individual would not be more likely to be Christian at heart. The choice that God leaves us must be made on our own accord. Hitler didn’t allow that for his people. The Founders did. They built the country on both individual freedom and strength, while Hitler built his on strength, intellect, and propaganda.
I prefer our way, although there are downsides to the American Constitution. Because of our liberal economic policy and freedoms of speech and media, the citizens are exposed to massive amounts of propaganda. While Hitler used the state, America uses television and advertisements to persuade the masses. This robs people of their ability to freely choose God (or not to) in similar fashion (psychologically speaking) as Goebbels’ pamphlets.
The book is fascinating. It’s biographical, and I’m always interested in reading how leaders of nations get into power and about their lives. Every president has a great story. Hitler’s no exception. It was hard to read because of the prejudice I had going in. I knew how evil he was and the destruction he caused to the Jews and the world. To continue reading and challenge myself to be objective was a battle and was rewarded.
It was rewarding to challenge my ideas and to be objective in challenging his. Again, they were well-reasoned. But it was also rewarding because there are some brilliant, wholesome ideas in his book that should not be ignored.
Hitler had theories on education that are still relevant today. He wrote the following on the study of history in high school:
Instruction in world history in the so-called high schools is even today in a very sorry condition. Few teachers understand that the study of history can never be to learn historical dates and events by heart and recite them by rote; that what matters is not whether the child knows exactly when this battle or that was fought, when a general was born, or even when a monarch (usually a very insignificant one) came into the crown of his forefathers. No, by the living God, this is very unimportant. To ‘learn’ history means to seek and find the forces which are the causes leading to those effects which we subsequently perceive as historical events.
At least when I was in high school, 85 years after this was written, we were still big on memorizing dates rather than learning to be critical of history and how we can learn lessons from understanding it.
He was not a big fan of foreign language being taught in lower levels of school, even though he knew that’s when foreign languages are best acquired. What is important is to learn your own language, and to understand the structure of languages. He didn’t want to the youth to learn French, and he wouldn’t want his Californian children to learn Spanish.
He was a big proponent of physical education. He thought that all youths should have two hours of gym time each day – an hour in the morning and evening. This would mold them into physically strong individuals and tamper energy that could be spent on less productive pursuits. He promoted general strength and aerobic training in addition to combat training. At young levels this meant boxing and Jiu Jitsu. When the war picked up, these students were physically ready to pick up a gun and fight.
Part of Hitler’s political idea was that of strength. The strength of the nation is of utmost importance in order to protect what is valued – in Nazi Germany that being race. This national strength relies on soundness of mind by leadership, strong individuals that are able to endure hardship, and technological superiority. While I disagree, and probably most disagree on his central value, Hitler’s Germany was a strong nation.
I recommend very smart people read this book. Like, really smart people. Not average, and not just smart. Kind of smart people with left leaning politics won’t get past the Jew stuff. Pretty smart people with right lean will agree with the reasoning, when you shouldn’t.
My other recommendation is we should work hard to protect Constitutional freedoms. They exist for a purpose that rewards every single citizen with the chance of happiness, a chance we don’t even have without them. America was founded by Christian rebels. They didn’t ask for conformity. The founders want us to rebel against tyranny. Tyranny in the form of oppressive government, in the form of corrupting ideologies – a la Marxism, and tyranny in the form of psychologically oppressive media.