Another year passes, and we are back at April 20th, which is known as “marijuana and Hitler day” in the USA. We remember Columbine, since there are no real events of any memorable status in the long endless repetition of late stage liberal democracy. We are glad taxes are over.
When you think about it, we do not really have proper holidays anymore. We have government holidays, or times when you can get off work, and those holidays which overlap with commerce like Christmas, then some invented by merchants to sell product, like Valentine’s Day.
Normally, in a culture, you have a calendar, or a series of points at which you commemorate the year, onto which you layer remembrances for important events, then religious days, and finally cultural activities like celebrating strength or a favorite vegetable.
Our culture however seems to be an anti-culture, meaning that it is comprised more of what it is not than what it is. We dedicate ourselves to freedom, or the ability to refuse to participate in the type of cultural unity that produces real holidays.
To a culturalist — this is like nationalism, but you believe that we need the spirit of a culture within us in addition to the right ethnic tribe — holidays can be summarized as doing things together. We all participate in events of importance.
For example, Oktoberfest is great for the beer and breasts, but what really makes it important is that everyone marks having gotten almost through the year with a big event that everyone can come back from with memories, and having reached out to others.
People always talk about how they do not see their neighbors here. In a society without culture, you run into them by accident at a store, or catch a glimpse when they go out to dump the trash. At Oktoberfest, you see everyone including those whose paths you rarely cross.
We remember things like Columbine — ugly, horrifying things, symbols of how we have failed — in order to achieve retroactive continuity with the idea that we are together. On that day, we all suffered together, or at least, we like to think that we did, now.
In reality, most of us probably went through the day without noticing. We were busy at work, picking up the kids, at the gym, fixing that leaky toilet in the basement, or doing our taxes late. We just like to think that we all experienced the same thing and it was meaningful.
When looking for meaningful things, the tendency is to find things that seem important and assign a personal attachment to them in order to be part of something bigger, or something right. It feels right to mourn Columbine, even if we do not know why.
Through the same mechanism, many people connect to Adolf Hitler. His reign was the last time that Europeans were feared and Western Europe had worldwide power; after that, it became clear that democracy cannot fight guerrilla wars the same way it fought world wars.
In many ways, Hitler symbolizes the beast within us: when we are finally tired of all the “socially acceptable” nonsense, we raise the fist of pure power and destroy all those who are not consistent with our worldview of what is beautiful.
Still, there is the bad. He lost a war and destroyed most of Europe, for starters. There was the pesky fact of the Holocaust, which remains fact no matter how many parts of the narratives were faked by the Soviets, Americans, and English.
There is also the repression. We are OK with kicking the bad people out of society, but not with making the rest live in fear. We do not like censorship, secret police, and concentration camps. There are reasons to fear his totalitarian reign.
Too much of Hitler came from the Jacobins and Soviets. Having seen the guillotine, he decided that it was a good idea, and had lots of people executed. Having observed the Soviet total state, he decided he wanted one, too, but for his aesthetic objectives.
These ideas fail us because they do not describe civilization, but rather, a more intense form of the same anti-civilization in which we live, run by government and ideology instead of culture.
Maybe this state has the right ideas, but so what? By the method of its implementation, it will turn people into aliens from their own culture and themselves just like the rest of modernity.
Hitler could not know this, of course. He was an artist and as Burroughs says, an artist is a camera. Lost lonely Adolf — smarter than the people around him, more alert than his world — reflected the totalitarian reality that he saw, but to make art of his own.
Unfortunately art does not win wars nor build civilizations. Instead it sets everything on fire, and when you see the sheer number of dead, suicide is really a blessed release, as it must have seemed to Adolf during his final days in the Berlin bunker.
How else does one deal with seeing the nation that one loves torn apart, conquered, humiliated, shamed, and deprived of so many of its best people? The Nazis wanted fire, and went down in flames, not because their enemies were good, but because they were unstable.
We should remain balanced. Hitler fixed a lot of things, and had he stayed at that point, he would have been one of the heroes of history. However, without his conflagration, the next war would have taken on an even more extreme character.
He implemented the only sane environmental policy ever created, setting aside a third of the land for unbroken nature. He fixed the tedious and bureaucratic nature of modern life, put people into motion, and oriented them toward good things.
It is hard to argue with his sterilization of criminals and the insane or gassing of the retarded, either. Sane people accept that nature has distortions and we must eliminate these or die by their hands, directly through violence or indirectly through slowdown.
His military defied the imagination. Rising out of nothing, they became a fighting force that was so intense that the enemy wanted to outnumber them a dozen to one before engaging on the field. It took most of the rest of the world united to bring them down.
Even his horrors, his rage, and his cruelty was somewhat appealing. Finally, someone was achieving decisive action without tying a hand behind his back in order to be “democratic”! If you are going to smash someone or something, do it without mercy or emotion.
As if showing us how paltry we were, he also revealed his enemies to be liars. The Allies partnered with the Soviet Union, for the love of absent gods, and that is a shame worse than death. The Americans firebombed and nuked cities, including children.
His bad side was his scientific side, caught up in the modern dream and through that incorporating Leftist ideas. He wanted a universal, absolute, and immutable truth, and saw it in power, but power ultimately betrayed him.
If anything, he went wrong by forgetting that systems which operate by terror and might will alienate the very people that they need, the remnant who can restore civilization by understanding the good, the beautiful, and the true.
Had I been alive in Nazi Germany, I would most certainly not have been anti-Nazi, but it is unlikely that I would have been a Nazi either. More likely, I would have been on the periphery, avoiding political discussion and interacting little with others.
The good side of Hitler was his traditionalist side, including his conservationist instincts. On some level, he saw that modernity was so rotten that it must be purged with incendiaries, and he got close, in some crucial ways.
We know that this society requires a great sorting. Some people can support the rebirth of Western Civilization where others are useless to it. The former must be kept, and the latter sent on to elsewhere.
Hitler took this a bit farther. Instead of sorting people, he came up with a strict logic about what should be done in a universal context, and applied it. This had him see Jews as abominations, instead of merely different, while recognizing that different meant that they could not dwell among Germans, just like any other different group could not.
For us on the traditionalist side of things, this kind of universal thinking makes less sense than thinking about aesthetics. Namely, how to make our existence beautiful, so that we do what is beautiful.
Totalitarianism cannot do that.
Wars that killed Germans by the millions are incompatible with that, as is turning ourselves into monsters like the Jacobins or Soviets that killed whole families. Yes, we have righteous anger at them, but we cannot become them, and Hitler in his own way did.
The sheer waste of that war — basically recapitulating the last world war, and the revolutions and Napoleonic wars before it, those in turn acting out the religious wars and middle class insurgencies of the century before — makes a sane person ill.
Somehow it turned our instincts toward the noble into defensive, irate, and cruel madness, as if we knew we were doomed and wanted to rage quit in the most destructive way possible. A frustration and futility revealed itself.
I am mad at Adolf Hitler, not just for the horrors and waste, but for the missed chance to turn this civilization from its slow descent into third world levels of insanity. Modernity is a curse, even if used for the “right” reasons. It is a method without a goal.
This April 20th, go ahead and Heil Hitler if you want to. It is your freedom to do so. Remember how that like Columbine, his gesture was one of the drowning and not the soaring, and it turned out about how one might expect.
You can commemorate the war however you want. I will be lighting a candle for the European-descended dead, on all sides, and reflecting on how much a traditional society based in aesthetics is needed over a modernist empire based on highly mechanical methods.