History matters. Those who fail to learn from it are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Those ignorant of the history of Nazism and “white supremacist” groups like the KKK, for example, might make the mistake of associating these groups with political conservatism, while nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s start by remembering that American conservatism is grounded in the Bible, and what it seeks to conserve is a society conformed to the biblical worldview. That’s why conservatism is so heavily focused on the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution, and the most intense political battles between conservatives and liberals relate to “original intent” and “traditional values.” On race relations, the New Testament is quite clear that – as individuals – all human beings are equally valuable to God and to be judged on their conduct not their ethnicity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” reads Galatians 3:28, summarizing the Biblical view.
Yes, the Bible allowed various forms of slavery in the Old Testament (but never based on skin color), just as it allowed divorce and polygamy – all practices God disapproved. Importantly, these were worldwide practices in those days that the Bible regulated in such a way as to steer the world away from barbarism toward civility. Biblical law must always be viewed in contrast to the extreme depravity and wickedness of the pagan world at that time. Modern critics point to such statutes as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” to suggest God endorsed mayhem, but in reality, it was the world’s first law restricting revenge to a proportional response. In every statute of the Mosaic Law, God was teaching principles of self and social governance to the world through the people He had assigned to be the example of a better way. By the time of Christ, the higher biblical standards of the Hebrews had raised civilization to a level it could understand and follow a New Covenant. Slavery, divorce and polygamy were all actively discouraged in the New Testament.
The anti-slavery movement has always been a primarily Christian phenomenon from it’s earliest roots in the 14th century. The modern popular abolitionist version was epitomized by William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect of Anglican believers in the late 1700s. American abolitionism followed their lead and made slow incremental steps in the right direction. Without the progress of Christianity in its long, continuing contest with paganism, there would never have been an end to slavery.
In contrast, “white supremacy” is a doctrine of the occult, built upon the ancient anti-Creationist worldview we call Evolution, which was popularized (not invented) by Charles Darwin. In the late 1850s, Darwin emerged as the ideological savior of the African-slave-owning world just as post-Reformation Christianity began making major strides against slavery. Later, in 1871, Darwin wrote “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. … The break [between humans and non-humans] will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian [aboriginal] and the gorilla.” (Charles Darwin, “The Descent of Man,” p. 156.)
In other words, Darwin taught that blacks were just an intermediary step in human evolution between apes and whites. This gave “scientific” backing to the logic of the infamous Dred Scott decision denying constitutional protections to black African slaves, a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court three years prior to the first publication of Darwin’s most famous book, “On the Origin of the Species.”
Darwinian racism was given further wings and an “Aryan supremacist” flavor when it was adopted by occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, founder of the global and enormously influential Theosophical Society. In her 1888 book, “The Secret Doctrine,” Blavatsky asserted that humanity had descended from a series of “Root Races,” naming the Aryan race as the fifth and currently dominant one out of an eventual seven. Blavatsky succinctly showcased the logic of Darwinism in her occultic delusions, writing, “The intellectual difference between the Aryan … and such savages as the South Sea Islanders, is inexplicable on any other grounds. No amount of culture, nor generations of training amid civilization, could raise such human specimens as the Bushmen, the Veddhas of Ceylon, and some African tribes, to the same intellectual level. … Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage … dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favoured groups – the failures of nature – will … vanish from the human family” (Vol. II, p 421, 446).
However, it was Adolf Hitler’s early inspiration, the defrocked homosexual monk Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels and his occult partner Guido von List that redefined “Aryan” to mean “Nordic” to produce what we recognize today as “white supremacy.” Lanz and List led Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society in Germany, where Lanz published Hitler’s favorite magazine “Ostara,” and later (with List) the Theosophical magazine “Lucifer.” Lanz was “The Man Who Gave Hitler His Ideas” (according to Austrian psychologist Wilfried Daim in his 1957 book of that title) and flew a swastika flag above his castle in Bavaria in 1907, a dozen years before the Nazi Party was even founded.
Lanz isn’t normally credited with inspiring the Ku Klux Klan, but a simple Internet search for images of the man will show that he sported a white hooded robe long before the KKK adopted that as its uniform, as well as Lanz’s “white supremacist” philosophy. Of course, hooded robes have a long tradition in secret societies going back to the ancient post-Crusades Catholic monastic orders and Freemasonry. The first connection of these secret societies to anti-black racism I can find seems to be Lanz, who formed the Order of the New Templars.
It must also be remembered that the KKK’s primary political target was the Republican Party, whose roots are in the anti-slavery movement, while the KKK was primarily populated by Democrats, even into the 20th century (e.g., U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, D, W.Va., and Senate candidate and Supreme Court justice, Hugo Black).
While the radical left is today campaigning hard against “fascism,” its own storm troopers in groups like Antifa are following the playbook of the 1920s Nazi Brownshirts to the letter. This makes perfect sense when one remembers that the Brownshirts were not conservatives, but Socialists and named themselves so! Even their fellow Germans called them “beefsteaks” – brown on the outside, red on the inside (a reference to the Communist street fighters that inspired them to form their own force).
Lastly, there have been only two high-profile American Nazis in recent decades: homosexual Frank Collins who led the Nazi march on Skokie, Illinois, in 1977 (later being jailed for sex with teen boys) and George Lincoln Rockwell who headed the American Nazi Party from 1959 to 1967. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “[In] Rockwell’s group gays made up a ‘significant’ – if carefully hidden – part.” SPLC goes on to admit: “Although it will come as a surprise to many, there has long been a fascist gay subculture. Hitler’s paramilitary SA storm troopers had a significant gay element.” (Despite this, the SPLC designates my ministry as a “hate group” because my Orthodox Jewish co-author, Kevin Abrams, and I wrote “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,” documenting the full extent of the “gay”/Nazi connection in Germany and the United States.)
No, the so-called “far right” is not conservative; it is and has always been the outer fringe of the far left.