While talking with a coworker recently, he stated that he was against health care reform because Nazi Germany had a nationalized, or "socialized", health care system.
Oh, where to begin with this blockheaded black and white thinking?
First of all, Hitler made the trains run on time in Nazi Germany and it was his idea to invent a cheap, well-made car so that all German workers could have their own automobile. That car survives today by the name he gave it -- Volkswagen -- which translates from German as "People's car".
So -- should we abolish punctual public transportation and scrap every VW beetle on the planet because these good ideas happened to come from an evil man? Will the retention of such things inevitably lead us to fascism? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater!
Another point to make is that the Nazi party was not "socialist" in the way that modern Scandinavian states are. Yes, the Nazis called themselves "socialists", as the word "Nazi" is a derivative of the acronym NSDAP (National Sozialistische Arbeiter's Partei -- National Socialist Worker's Party). Make no mistake about it, Nazi Germany was not socialist but, rather, it was a far right fascist totalitarian regime. And like all dictatorships, the Nazis were masters of misleading euphemism; for example, a number of concentration camps had signs at their entrances with the slogan "Arbeit Macht FreI' on them, which translates as "work brings freedom".
In other words, the Nazis were no more "socialist" any more than the former East Germany was "democratic" or that modern China is run by "the people".
Many right wingers also confuse socialism with statism (control by workers vs control by state) and believe that anything other than laissez-faire capitalism is "socialist". If this were actually true, then every government would be "socialist" under such a definition.Thoughts?