The Historical Roots of Green Fascism

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

EIRNS/Helene Möller
Helga Zepp-LaRouche

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The Historical Roots
Of Green Fascism

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

This article, which was first published in January 1982 in the German weekly Neue Solidarität, remains the definitive study of the roots of eco-fascism. We publish here the first of two parts, which has been translated from German.

Our hope rests in the young people, who can tolerate high temperatures, since in them, the fresh, festering sore of disgust is consumed.

—Ernst Jünger, The Adventurous Heart, 1929

If, only 36 years after the end of the Second World War, a general uneasiness spreads far and wide, that we are on the edge of a possible third, and therefore probably last world war; that we are already in the midst of a new world economic crisis; that our society threatens to fall apart; that all values seem to be dissappearing, and hardly anyone has the ability to rule out any longer the danger of a new fascism—then it is the best possible time to ask some fundamental questions, and clarify concepts.

It is most urgent to create and clarify once and for all, what fascism really is; from what elements it is composed; and who its representatives were and are. For that, it is necessary to remove the assumption, for example, of countless Anglo-American films, that fascism, or nationalism, is an exclusive problem of Germans. We should also get rid of the linguistic sophistry, that the concept “fascist” does not apply to National Socialism, but instead, describes historical developments in Italy or Spain. Such sophistries only serve as academic rationalizations, when the question is, to fight the danger of fascism everywhere that it appears today.

Just as there is a conceptual prehistory of fascism, there is a conceptual post-history. National Socialism in Germany, and the Holocaust against Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, Communists, and Social Democrats, was only one of many expressed forms of fascism, even if, up to that point in time, the most horrible and barbaric. But, from this standpoint, the Pol Pot regime—which, after all, killed 3 million people in three years, and with that, nearly half its own people, is arguably fascist.

An historically well-grounded conceptual clarity is likewise necessary, since frequently, persons and organizations which represent the exact opposite of fascist ideas, are called names by followers of truly fascist movements, only because they advocate building nuclear energy, or an effective fight against the drug plague. It has been proven historically correct, that the glorification of drugs and hostility to technology are prominent features of the fascist worldview.

As a first approximation, let us say that fascism and its forerunners were characterized by the following primary elements: 1) Malthusian or racially motivated genocide; 2) fascist economic policy; 3) a fascist mass movement; 4) a fascist elite, which controls this mass movement, without this movement being conscious of it.

This fascist elite likes to call itself a “conservative intelligentsia,” but it understands the word “conservative” in an entirely specific sense; it looks down at those who are not part of the life of the select movement, with the same arrogance that this social circle in its time looked down on “the Austrian corporal.” Even if they need the fascist masses to accomplish their policy, the introduction of the masses is for them—as elites—a horror. One does not associate with this movement very easily, just as one would not like to be seen with embarrassing distant relatives—but the family bonds cannot be denied.

One need only read the writings of such representatives of the “conservative intelligensia,” to be taken aback by how openly they write about their adversaries and their intentions. Their enemy, which they wanted to annihilate at all costs, is Judeo-Christianity, and its secular forms: concepts of development of all kinds; the idea of mankind’s capacity for perfection; even the idea of progress. They say openly—e.g., Dr. Stephen Mumford recently in the American Humanist Magazine—that the Catholic Church must be smashed, so that the intended reduction of the population can be implemented. Or, they indicate openly, as do the members of the Club of Rome, that it is they who have established the “green” movement in the world. One does well to take these confessions seriously.

Old Ideas in New Clothes

The current world economic crisis threatens that the structural problems in the developed nations will become far worse in their extent than those of the 1930s, but the developing nations will be hit on an unprecedented scale. Economic experts do not preclude that a great crash might come even as soon as this Winter.

There are oligarchical circles in London and New York, who quite openly discuss that a new Hitler is needed again, perhaps one without the personality flaws of Adolf Hitler, but someone who can implement the same policy now. In Italy, the press blatantly says that Socialist Party head Craxi might make a very good new Mussolini.

Today the significance of a charismatic Führer-figure is broadly overestimated in discussions of fascism, the more so now that in the television society of the United States, it has been demonstrated that completely synthetic “charismatic” Führers can be produced by the dozen, and out of plastic.

For the rise of National Socialism, as of fascism in general, program and ideology were, and are, very different. If our judges were better trained not only in law, but also in economic theory, history, and philosophy—to say nothing of energy technology—then they would long ago have put on the Index, not only direct Nazi propaganda, but also all writings which contain the same basic ideas, but adopt other confusing connections and use other ways of speaking.

If one wished to pick out every writing which had a great influence on National Socialism, one would have to take at least the following: The Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche; The Destruction of the Evening Lands by Oswald Spengler; The Third Reich by Müller van den Bruck; The Foundations of the 19th Century by Houston Chamberlain; The Myth of the 20th Century by Alfred Rosenberg; and naturally Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which was by no means the most widely read among these.

What these writings were for National Socialism, are now, for today’s danger of a new fascism, such books as Limits To Growth by the Club of Rome; Global 2000; Global Futures; or the U.S. bestseller The Aquarian Conspiracy. Such culturally pessimistic catastrophe theories and mythologies serve now, as then, as justification for the omission and avoidance of those steps which could address the actual catastrophe. That the whole lot of these “theories” are, from a scientific standpoint, quackery, and arise from a primitive Malthusian-Darwinist-nominalist worldview, is not an argument that carries any weight with their adherents: It is exactly the world of reason and scientific thinking, against which they want to hurl their irrationality.

The “green movement” is a fascist movement. The absolute intolerance against other ways of thinking, even if they are held by the majority of people; the emphasis on “the people’s common-sense feelings”; the mystical ennobling of nature; the Romantic flight from the world to a pre-industrial life on the Eco-farm; the apotheosis of a transcendent mystical intoxication about life; the Dionysian character of the rock-drug culture—these are all entirely typical markers of the fascist mass movement.

To be sure, every “Green” is not a hardboiled, conscious fascist, but potentially, tends in that direction, and under conditions of a worsening economic crisis, the unfortunate Green proceeds there rapidly. Punks carry swastikas quite blatantly, and the radicalized part of the Green movement long ago seized upon the methods of the stormtroopers. On this point, the street battles in many German cities, the atrocities and attacks against advocates of technological progress, and the terrorist methods with which the political activities of their opponents are disrupted, speak volumes.

Part of this political movement does not even shrink from political murder, as the killings of Jürgen Ponto, Hanns-Martin Schleyer, Siegfried Buback, or Heinz Herbert Karry prove. These all take place in an intellectual climate characterized by the exaltation of irrationality, fully supported by the news media and the film industry. The cult films of a Fritz Lang find their counterparts in a plethora of modern cult films such as Clockwork Orange, The Shining, or New York 1990. And the fact that hundreds of Protestant ministers have placed themselves in the forefront of this movement, also awakens unpleasant memories of the Nazi Ministersbund.

Where does all this come from? The German people must immediately overcome their blocking about history, and examine the past 200 years of their history, in order to prevent disaster.

From the ‘Romantic’ Movement to the Greens

From the standpoint of the oligarchical elite, the transition from the 18th to the 19th Century was littered with catastrophes, which caused them so many nightmares, that some of them literally went mad over it, such as George III, or Friedrich Wilhelm IV. What the Republicans and humanists welcomed as hope of the advent of the Age of Reason, appeared to the oligarchs as an intolerable danger of their loss of power.

The success of the American Revolution, from which the English nobility has not to this day recovered; the spread of the same ideas in Europe and, in the initial stage of the French Revolution; the wide circulation of humanistic ideas in the German population by the Weimar Classic; and the effects of the Industrial Revolution, becoming ever more clear in the course of the 19th Century in the consciousness of broader layers of the population in many nations—all of this drove these circles to desperation.

In his book The Conservative Revolution, Armin Mohler, the current director of the Siemens Institute in Munich, describes this circle, the agency of this Conservative Revolution, as an effective current in Germany and almost all of the European nations, which has an influence on all the areas of life. Mohler, who himself is to be regarded as in this camp, describes with the insight of someone engaged in the process, that at this time, that worldview has attained victory, which to the Conservative Revolution appeared as the actual opponent.

“We would like to rewrite it [this world] for the present as a world which does not place the immutable in man in the center,” he writes, “but rather believes that it is possible to change the essence of man. It therefore proclaims the possibility of stepwise progress, regards all things, relations, and incidents as intellectually transparent, and tries to isolate and to comprehend each object based only on itself.”

Of course, Mohler—and this is typical for representatives of these circles—does not actually understand the scientific method based on reason, but rather only from the bottom and phenomenally; nonetheless, here he speaks with astonishing candidness. It is the optimistic belief in progress of the 19th Century, against which this right opposition acts, and later against the spirit of the Founding Years [the post-1871 period of German unification] and against that “volatile growth of the economic and military power of Germany.”

No other figure has played such a large role in the ideological realization of fascism as Friedrich Nietzsche. Mohler also says that everything which occurred later in Germany, had to have been conceived by Nietzsche. However, it is worthwhile to reinvestigate, what tradition Nietzsche himself comes from.

The Romantic movement already operated during the Weimar Classic as a counterculture to the Classical-humanist culture. One must absolutely designate some of the leading Romantics as court-ideologues of the oligarchy. Romanticism was characterized by an emotional displacement and a transcendence of all concepts of life, the emphasis on “natural instincts” compared to reason, a mystical fascination with the Middle Ages, in contrast to the Classical and Renaissance periods, and an engrossed escapism. The dictum of Novalis: “The world becomes a dream, the dream becomes the world,” is typical of the loss of sense of reality.

It was that which Heinrich Heine, who was the clearest thinker of his time on this point, called the “disgusting mixture of Gothic delusion and modern lie” in the “Romantic School.” This “disgusting mixture” haunted the youth movement, found a ghastly highpoint with the Nazis, and is now alive again in the Green movement.

These circles, which from now on, for the sake of simplicity, we want to call the Conservative Revolution, promoted Romanticism in the same way and for the same reasons as those, who, like Countess Marion Doenhof, systematically sponsored the Greens for around 11 years.

One had to destroy every realistic world-concept, to annihilate every rational view of one’s own people and of foreign peoples, in order to be able to deploy the youth as a battering ram against technological progress. The death wish implanted in Romanticism later came to the Nazis in the nick of time, in order to glorify a heroic death, and to send even children into total war. Unfortunately, with the yearning for one’s own death, contempt for foreign lives also grew, with respect to which nothing has changed since the Romantic movement, which created the recruiting field for Giuseppi Mazzini’s anarchist bands, through the Nazis, up to the Green movement, with slogans like “Yesterday carry-sausage, tomorrow semolina-gruel” make clear.

The most important link in the intellectual pre-history of fascism, between Romanticism and Nietzsche, was Arthur Schopenhauer, a philosopher of Romanticism, which moreover stood in a close intellectual relationship to the British nominalists Hobbes and Locke, and shared their bestial conception of man. Schopenhauer, also an early foster-father of the Greens, emphasized the incapacity of reason to discern the real essence of things. He banalized reason as a mere vehicle, with the help of which, the objectives set by the will could be attained, somewhat in the sense of the old aunts who warn: “Now, just be reasonable!” Also, the roots of the denial of a meaning of life by the modern existentialist philosophers lie with Schopenhauer, for whom life is basically not worth affirming. In the aftermath, this idea grew powerful and bore not a little of the responsibility for the perpetration of genocide by the Nazis.

Incidentally, Schopenhauer’s ascetic conception recalls the masochistic “self-denial” of our Greens of today, who prefer to eat grain and to heat their homes with coal-burning stoves (and thus to pollute the environment). Schopenhauer is the first who made pessimism into a system, but this pessimism is irrational and amoral. Since there allegedly is no progress in the possibility of rational cognition and action, and he excoriates the Platonic or Christian doctrines of virtue to an equal degree, the necessity of one’s own moral action is dispensed with.

Nietzsche, Progenitor of the Counterculture

You have to agree with Mohler that everything which happened subsequently in Germany, must be understood from the standpoint of Nietzsche. Only he is surely not the “grand judge of time,” as Mohler admiringly calls him, and Mohler identifies him as the “historical-intellectual founding figure” who stood as the “great” of the Conservative Revolution. If you read Nietzsche’s books, you get, above all, the suspicion that the insanity which allegedly overcame him later—apparently in the last phase of his syphilitic disease—had controlled him throughout his whole life.

Nietzsche, whose favorite philosopher was Schopenhauer, hated humanism in all its manifestations, in a certain pathological way, especially if it had to do with Plato, Schiller, or Beethoven. He was an outstanding example of the intellectual current which was interested in the dissolution of scientific thought, after the unity of artistic knowledge and natural science had been brilliantly demonstrated by the work of the two Humboldt brothers.

It is not surprising that the pair Johann Strauss and Klaus Traube, in their book Ecology and Economy, came to the conclusion that the “progressive” left-ecology movement must not only rehabilitate Romanticism, but must take up clear opposition to the “three great revolutionaries” of the principle of progress. These were, first, the Greek-Christian intellectual revolution; second, the Renaissance, and third, the Industrial Revolution.

Nietzsche went so far as to totally deny the scientific and humanistic explanation of the unity of human development, and was therefore the forerunner of Spengler, Rosenberg, and the Green ideologues. He came to a “biological worldview,” which showed itself in such mystical concepts as “blood and soil,” “race,” and “symbol.” Such a “biological worldview” also logically lies at the heart of today’s turned-inside-out “environmental protection,” in the sense of “ecology,” “bioethics,” and so forth.

Nietzsche is therefore a turning point, because he, with this anti-morality, helped tear down the constraints, even to the point of the famous “all is permitted” of the Nazis, or to the point of the belief of the outrageous sections of the Greens, that everything is permitted in order to carry out their irrational will against the majority.

That which was later carried out so abominably from the worldview of the Nazis, Nietzsche expressed thus:

“Is pessimism necessarily the sign of decline, decadence, miscarriages, of exhausted and weakened instincts? ... Is there a pessimism of the strong? An intellectual obeisance to the difficult, the horrid, evil, the problematique of existence? Is there perhaps a disease from superabundance itself? A seductive bravery of the harshest whoremonger, who desires the dreadful, such as the enemy, the worthy enemy, on whom he can test his strength?”

In the history of thought, these notions point directly to Spengler, to the Nazis, and emerge again in the existentialist philosophy of Martin Heidegger.

For Nietzsche, the scientific formulation of questions, which he correctly traced back to Socrates, was the arch-enemy of any culture. In order to shatter this “Socratic spirit,” he went so far as to rewrite history, as it had been described by Schiller, Humboldt, and other humanists, and to give a new interpretation to Classical antiquity.

He contrasts the “Socratic” with the “Dionysian,” and then stresses exactly the phase of history in which irrationalism, in organized form, creates a revolt. This Dionysian, he says, can be comprehended by man most readily through the analogy of delirium.

“Either through the influence of narcotic drinks, of which all primeval men and races speak in their hymns, or through violence, all of nature, joyfully full of the piercing approach of Spring, awakens every kind of Dionysian stimulation, through whose rise the Subjective vanishes in total self-dissolution. In the German Middle Ages, under the same Dionysian power, an ever-growing band tramped, singing and dancing, from place to place: In these St. John and St. Vitus dances, we again recognize the Bacchanalian choruses of the Greeks, with their pre-history in Asia Minor, up to Babylon, and the orgiastic sacraments.”

Then he added, not totally without self-reflection:

“There are people who turn away, out of lack of experience or stupidity, from such phenomena as if they were a common sickness, mocking or deploring them; the poor cheerfully don’t pay attention to how pale and ghostly even health appears, when the glowing life of Dionysian swarms flows over them.”

So pale and ghostly must the anti-fascists in Germany have felt, when the Nazis stormed through the streets and exerted their Dionysian frenzy, for which the Berlin Sports Palace has become forever a shameful name. And such a ghostly feeling would also set in when, in a short time, a hundred thousand street opponents of the [Frankfurt] airport runway [in the 1980s], waving banners and with drumrolls, stormed through Wiesbaden. And Mohler knowingly writes:

“The popular national picture of the nihilists [which is taken from Nietzsche’s thought—HZL] shows them as an unruly mob, which tramples to pieces a malleable world under its rhythmic song.”

One of the most important characteristics of fascism is that irrationalism takes over in an organized, often paramilitary or military way. A specific irrational person is not necessarily a fascist, per se, but at best gets on the nerves of his neighbors. But irrationality in organized form, or en masse, belongs very appropriately in the pre- or post-history of fascism, primarily when it has forced violence and terror upon those who think differently.

The “rise of the Subjective to total self-dissolution” is unfortuntely today the ideology of the rock-drug counterculture, which a majority of the youth in many countries adhere to.

Nietzsche expands on the point:

“Under the magic of the Dionysian, not only does the tie between man and man come together again; also the alienated, hostile, or suppressed nature again celebrates its reconciliation with its lost sons, mankind. Freely the Earth gives her gifts [Have the anthroposophs and ecological farmers been written off by Nietzsche?—HZL] and peacefully the beasts of prey approach the cliffs and the deserts. With flowers and garlands the cart of Dionysus has been showered, under whose yoke walk the panther and the tiger [Now we finally know why the peace movement can stop war.—HZL]

“One transforms Beethoven’s joyful song ‘On Joy’ into a picture and does not come up to his power of imagination, if millions sink with dread into the dust. [Did Nietzsche write under the influence of drugs?—HZL] Now the slave is a free man, now all smash the rigid, hostile boundaries which necessity, free will, or ‘shameless custom’ have erected among men. Now, according to the evangelists of world harmony, everyone feels not only united, reconciled, and fused together with his neighbors, but one, as if the veil of the Maja were ripped apart, and only flutters about in shreds of the mysterious Primal One. When singing and dancing, man expresses himself as a member of a higher community; he has learned the walk and talk, and is on the way to flying and dancing in air....”

This becoming one with the other is the longing which the adherents of today’s youth movement have fallen for, the mystical overcoming of separation. And there is unfortunately no doubt that this participation in a “higher community” was not only the glue which tied the Nazis into a common frenzy for “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer,” but also describes the exact life-feeling that ties together the adherents of the “Aquarian Conspiracy” in the thus-titled book by Marilyn Ferguson.

The development into a higher community which Nietzsche mentions, naturally stands in total contrast to the humanistic educational idea of the German Classic and Wilhelm von Humboldt, which emphasizes the elevation to reason, along with the formation of the character and the personality of the individual. Nietzsche forthrightly attacks the idea of the humanist gymnasium [secondary school] and historical education. One of the spiritual students of Nietzsche, the former leading OECD official and founding member of the Club of Rome, Alexander King, is primarily responsible for the fact that, through the so-called education reform in all OECD countries, the idea of humanistic education has been discarded. The result of that is the youth movement, which we see today.

Nietzsche detested the state (as the Greens do today), as the bearer and transmitter of education. He was the forerunner of the Volk-like, or of the healthy Volk-like feelings, of which the Greens speak so much; he hates rationality, which was connected with the oncoming industrial age.

Our society today has unfortunately come to the point that there appear to be no clear values any more, and the root of this becomes clear if you read from Nietzsche:

“Can you not twist all values? And is good perhaps evil? And God only an invention, and refinement of the Devil? Is everything perhaps false in the last analysis? And if we are perplexed, are we also in the same sense deceivers? Must we not also be deceivers?”

If you discuss today with the Greens about nuclear energy or on the way to achieve peace, you must agree with Nietzsche that at least among this group, the twisting of all values has been achieved.

His explanation of why men behave as they do, is not original; it is the very same hedonistic, amoral principle of Jeremy Bentham or David Hume, by which human behavior is only motivated by the search for pleasure or the avoidance of pain. There is only pleasure or pain, but no good and evil. Peter Bruckner or the Sigmund Freud Institute argue similarly.

Nietzsche’s idea of the “eternal return of the same,” in which the individual is only an ephemeral, develops later into a justification for terrorism:

“The most extreme form of nihilism is the understanding that every belief, everything taken as true, is necessarily false; because a true world does not exist. But a perspective appearance.... We think these thoughts in most terrifying form; existence, such as it is, without reason or goal, but inexorably repeating, without a conclusion, into nothingness; the eternal repetition. That is the extreme form of nihilism: eternal nothingness (the meaningless).”

One of the hack writers, who was influenced by Nietzsche and who contributed significantly to the spiritual destruction of the Weimar Republic, was Hermann Hesse and his book Steppenwolf, which, by the way, is again very popular among today’s youth movement in Germany and the U.S.A. It was written in 1827 with the intention of seducing disoriented youth into prostitution, homosexuality, sex orgies, drug use (from hashish to LSD), and into terrorism against the world of machines, and against the civilized world order generally.

The narrative builds slowly from a description of Nietzsche’s world-pain, of the schizophrenic splintering of the chief character, Haller, into a human half and a wolf half, into sex and drug orgies, up to a senseless murder. “When the wolf comes out,” Hesse writes, in the following passage:

“Thereupon there burns in me a wild lust for intense feelings, for sensations, a rage at this shadowy, shallow, normal, and sterile life, and a furious frenzy to beat something into oblivion, either a warehouse or a cathedral or myself, to commit daring stupidities.... To seduce a young girl, or to wring the necks of several members of the civilized world order.”

Hesse expressed the suspicion (as the Club of Rome’s Aurelio Peccei does today), that probably all of human life is an utter mistake, a violent and unfortunate abortion of the Primeval Earth Mother, a wild and hideously disappointing experiment of nature.

Jean-Paul Sartre, who denies a reason for being, was also (not without a connection to his theory) a sympathizer with the Baader-Meinhof gang, and visited Andreas Baader in prison. The punks perhaps make clear where the loss of reason can lead, in the most horrifying way; they are fundamentally the most miserable victims of the oligarchical elite, still children, but already spiritually dead, and with lifestyles which one can’t even really call bestial, because no normal animal would conduct itself so.

Exactly as the Fascist International today believes it must destroy the moral authority of the Catholic Church in order to be able to carry out its genocide, and thus carries out an assassination attempt against the Pope [John Paul II], so the fascist Nietzsche knew that Christianity and the idea of the participation of the human in the divine represented his greatest problem. So he placed the chief emphasis on the assertion which demonstrated his tremendous insanity most laughably, namely, that God is dead. And now he can say what the Greens later would rejoice about:

“First the greatest outrage was the outrage against God, but God died, with him also died these sacrileges. To commit crimes against the Earth is now the most terrible thing, and to respect the bowels of the inscrutable, higher than the understanding of the world.”

Who could doubt that the militant opponents of the Frankfurt Airport runway consider a crime against a tree as more important than a crime against a man?

Nietzsche’s effect on history must be investigated on two levels: first, the Dionysian, which includes the popular movements and youth movements, the “masses in ecstasy,” and the second, the Apollonian, that is, the so-called elite figures of the Conservative Revolution. There is no doubt that Nietzsche’s concept of Übermenschen not only established the basis for the Nazis’ “Master Race,” but also, in spite of small differences, made an impression on the elitist thoughts of Chamberlain, Spengler, George, and the Junger brothers. Who was this elite, which merits this name only in a extremely negative sense, and what role do they play today?

End of Part I

Go to Part II

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