Topic: Accuracy in Media
One of Accuracy in Media's favorite outside authors is Mark Musser, who likes to claim that the Nazis were environmentalists, which can only mean that today's environmentalists are Nazis. (Also, Muslims are environmentalist Nazis too, as is Van Jones). AIM's Cliff Kincaid "strongly recommends" Musser's book "Nazi Oaks."
Musser strikes again in an Oct. 28 AIM column making this bizarre claim:
In a word, the Nazi quest for Lebensraum in the East was an early pioneering attempt at what is today called the Green Economy. It was a backward eco-imperial plan of Aryan sustainable development, all at the expense of Jews and Slavs, and all dressed up in the latest scientific vocabulary of the day. To fixate on Nazi technology, industry, and the economy, therefore, as the explanation for that all that was evil about the Third Reich, is to subvert the means of holocaustal murder with the motive. The Nazi economy was merely the means by which the holocaust was paid for. The Russian Front provided the opportunity for murder. However, the motive of the holocaust was an Aryan environmentalism rooted in a romantic, evolutionary philosophy of man and nature, notwithstanding Speer’s defense at Nuremberg.
AIM won't tell you, of course, that Musser's entire Nazi-environmentalist link has been discredited.
According to the Seattle Times' David Postman, Musser has previously cited professors Raymond Dominick and Peter Staudenmaier to support this claim. But Dominick said his words have been "twisted almost into its opposite."
Germany's conservation movement began in the 19th century, but the Nazis co-opted it: "But it is not the kind of conservation that the Greens preach.
For the Greens, this kind of racist conservation is not part of their world view at all. I see the Greens as descendents of those parts of the conservation movement that were not tainted by Nazism." Dominick continued:
Well the one that’s so problematic is the racist environmentalism, has largely disappeared. And that’s because in Germany and elsewhere, the lessons of the Nazi debacle and devastation had discredited racist thinking. I wouldn’t suggest that there are no racists left on the planet, and maybe wouldn’t even suggest that there are no racists among the Greens. But certainly among the Greens, racism is antithetical to what they preach. If you follow the program of the Green movement, and in Germany and Australia, it’s very similar, the Greens preach profound tolerance of human diversity.
What the Nazis preached was the genocidal extermination of people they considered unworthy of life. It’s hard to find a more categorical difference than that. And if you run down the programs of the Greens and the Nazis point by point, you find similar kinds of diametrical opposites. For example, the Greens preach non-violence in international affairs and I imagine that’s part of what motivated Senator Brown’s confrontation with President Bush. The Nazis of course were the opposite. At the very core of Hitler’s world view was this militaristic, aggressive world domination. If you begin to talk about domestic politics, the differences are profound there too. One that leaps out to me most obviously is the feminism that’s preached by the Green movement. The Nazis were as patriarchal as any political movement that’s ever existed, and of course the Nazis preached totalitarian dictatorship. The Greens preach the exact opposite, grassroots democracy. So to say that the Greens and the Nazis are closely related is to defy the evidence, I would say.
Similarly, Staudenmeier says his work has been misappropriated:
I have heard from a number of conservative political figures in the United States, where I live, who are eager to use my historical work as a weapon in the struggle against what they see as the Green menace. These people refer to my research on ecofascism as a cheap tactic to impugn virtually all varieties of political environmentalism. In my opinion, this is not a serious way to approach important historical questions.
The Nazis certainly did not come to power because the predecessors of the Greens in Germany were too vocal in their opposition to the militarist and authoritarian tendencies of their day.
Postman also contacted environmental historian J.R. McNeill for his views of Musser's work:
There is a core of truth to the proposition that some (by no means all or even most) Nazis cherished a romanticized ideal of German nature, free from the ravages of industrialization. But this was a low priority among the leadership, and never carried out. The laws of 1935 on nature conservation were not enforced or followed, as the regime preferred heavy industry, development and rearmament. It would be more accurate to say a small minority within the Nazi party took nature conservation seriously, but they were unable to prevail over the mainstream, which for reasons of national power and full employment favored coal, steel, armaments, etc.
Postman further contacted University of Maryland professor Thomas Zeller, co-editor of the book "How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich." Needless to say, he too thinks Musser's views don't reflect reality:
This polemic has been used a lot and I'm sure this is going to continue to crop up, unfortunately. It's convenient, but doesn't advance our understanding of Nazism or of environmental history. Either you say the Greens are latter-day Nazis, or people from the extreme right wing say these people, the Nazis, weren't all that bad. Either view distorts the historical record for a current-day political purpose.
There's much more from Postman discrediting Musser, but don't look for AIM -- who supposedly believe in accuracy in media -- to tell you about it.