Today marks the 90th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor of Germany's politically chaotic Weimar Republic. Ten weeks later, the Nazis began codifying a series of anti-Semitic laws that would culminate in the Holocaust. Yet few realize that the ideas motivating the Nazis came primarily from two intellectuals from the 19th century.
That fact should provide a sober warning for Americans today.
Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain were men of "immense erudition, deep culture and wide experience of travel," wrote William L. Shirer, the former CBS Radio correspondent who authored The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. "Neither, be it said at once, was a mountebank." De Gobineau, a former French diplomat, and Chamberlain, a British philosopher living in Germany, wrote the two works that gave racism a respectable, pseudo-scientific facade.
De Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, published in six volumes between 1853-1855, not only asserted race as the fundamental criterion of civilizational development. The work argued for the white race's inherent superiority and cited racial intermarriage as a major cause of civilizational decline.
"The racial question dominates all the other problems of history," de Gobineau wrote. "The inequality of races suffices to explain the whole unfolding of the destiny of peoples. History shows that all civilization flows from the white race, that no civilization can exist without the cooperation of this race."
De Gobineau even used the term "Aryan" to describe "the noblest among the white races." Though he traced Aryan roots to Central Asia, de Gobineau showed a particular fondness for the Germans.
"The Aryan German is a powerful creature," he wrote. "Everything he thinks, says and does is thus of major importance."
Predictably, de Gobineau's views found a home in Germany, where they influenced Chamberlain, who wrote Foundations of the Nineteenth Century in 1899. That work intensified de Gobineau's views.
"Certain anthropologists would fain teach us that all races are equally gifted," Chamberlain wrote. "We point to history and answer: that is a lie! The races of mankind are markedly different in the nature and also in the extent of their gifts, and the Germanic races belong to the most highly gifted group, the group usually termed Aryan ... Physically and mentally the Aryans are pre-eminent among all peoples; for that reason they are by right ... the lords of the world."
Unlike de Gobineau, however, Chamberlain added virulent anti-Semitism.
"The Jew," he wrote, "thanks to Ezekiel, is the teacher of all intolerance, of all fanaticism in faith, and of all murder for the sake of religion; that he only appealed to toleration where he felt himself oppressed, that he himself, on the other hand, never practised it nor dared to practise it, for his law forbade it as it forbids it today and will forbid it tomorrow.
Chamberlain tinged his anti-Semitism with racial victimization. Both elements would define Nazi ideology.
"The Indo-European, moved by ideal motives, opened the gates in friendship," he wrote. "The Jew rushed in like an enemy, stormed all positions and planted the flag of his, to us, alien nature."
Hitler reinforced that theme in a speech in 1934:
"We do not have the feeling that we are an inferior race, some worthless pack that can and may be kicked arounds by anyone and everyone. Rather, we have the feeling that we are a great Volk that only once forgot itself, a Volk that, led astray by insane ideals, robbed itself of its own power and has now once more awakened from this insane dream."
For Chamberlain, as it was for the Nazis, Jewish identity contained implications far beyond biology.
"The term Jew rather denotes a special way of thinking and feeling," he wrote. "A man can very soon become a Jew without being an Israelite; often it needs only to have frequent intercourse with Jews, to read Jewish newspapers, to accustom himself to Jewish philosophy, literature and art.
"Not only the Jew, but also all that is derived from the Jewish mind corrodes and disintegrates what is best in us."
Chamberlain's views not only permeated the Nazis' attitude toward modern art and music, capitalism, socialism, and Communism, all allegedly having Jewish roots. They even claimed his work as "the gospel of the Nazi movement," as the party newspaper proclaimed in 1925. Hitler briefly mentioned him in Mein Kampf. Chamberlain wrote to Hitler in 1923 and met him and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels four years later, just before his death.
The Nazis intended every area of German society, especially education, to reflect their anti-Semitic ideology. As C.A. Hoberg, a Nazi educational bureaucrat, wrote:
"National Socialist scholarship must organize itself across all disciplines into a new totality that will inform policymaking on the Jewish Question."
So what does all this have to do with Americans today?
Compare that bureaucrat's statement with this one from Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine: “There is no priority in medical education that is more important than addressing and eliminating racism and bias.”
Or this assertion from UC Berkeley's College of Engineering that "excellence in advancing equity and inclusion must be considered on par with excellence in research and teaching."
Or the California Community Colleges' demand for faculty to create course content that "promotes a race-conscious and intersectional lens" and to evaluate those same faculty, as well as administrators and staff members, based on "competencies" in "diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility."
Just like the Nazis, the "woke" ideologues who promote "diversity, equity and inclusion" are dedicated racists. Granted, their racism reflects different ideological roots, neo-Marxist critical race theory, and ostensibly benefits and opposes different groups than the Nazis' brand. But by making race the fundamental intellectual and moral criterion -- and by systematically segregating anyone outside of their criteria -- those "woke" ideologues fit the classical definition of racism.
Compare Chamberlain's words about Jewish identity as "a special way of thinking and feeling," along with his sense of racial victimization, with these from the Smithsonian Institution:
"Whiteness and white racialized identity refer to the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups are compared. Whiteness is also at the core of understanding race in America. Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout America's history have created a culture where non-white persons are seen as inferior or abnormal.”
"Whiteness (and its accepted normality) also exist as everyday microaggressions toward people of color. Acts of microaggressions include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages." (Parentheses in original)
Just like the Nazis, the "woke" want to infuse their ideology throughout every aspect of society, especially education. Just as the Nazis promoted courses and majors in racial studies and racial hygiene, the "woke" do the same with courses in their ideological trinity. Undergraduates at Georgetown, Davidson and Northern Arizona must take courses in "diversity, equity and inclusion." Bentley University in Massachusetts and Penn's Wharton School even made the subject it's own major.
Just as Nazi academics rejected Einstein as "Jewish physics" and tried to shoehorn disciplines into their ideology, so do "woke" academics reject the foundations of Western culture as "white supremacy" and try to redefine even the physical sciences in ideological terms.
In September, UC Berkeley reorganized 10 major courses in the departments of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM); Integrative Biology, and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology "to better incorporate inclusive and anti-racist approaches to course design and teaching practices," a university release stated.
The courses emphasize such subjects as fish, freshwater, and wildlife ecology; evolution's role in ecology and "plant diversity," and even "climate justice."
The new requirements reflect the guidelines of a resource called Advancing Inclusion and Anti-Racism in the College Classroom, designed to “orient curricular materials explicitly toward social justice.” Specifically, instructors must "focus curricular materials toward anti-colonialism," "make curricular materials anti-racist," and "include Indigenous perspectives."
Just as the Nazis used education to try to impose their agenda on the greater society, so do the "woke." In preparation for its All-Star Game in suburban Miami, the NHL promoted a job fair with this now-deleted tweet: "Participants must be 18 years of age or older, based in the U.S., and identify as female, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or a person with a disability. Veterans are also welcome and encouraged to attend."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued this response: "Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic.”
The NHL capitulated.
But would demographics that the "woke" consider politically unpopular become targets for extermination, as the Jews became under the Nazis? Consider the following:
"The future of life on the planet depends on bringing the 500-year rampage of the white man to a halt. For five centuries his ever more destructive weaponry has become far too common. His widespread and better systems of exploiting other humans and nature dominate the globe," wrote Frank Joyce, a white left-wing activist who contributes to Salon and calls former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson -- an African-American -- a "white supremacist."
"Whiteness is not humxness. In fact, white skin is sub-human. All phenotypes exist within the black family and white ppl are a genetic defect of blackness," wrote Yusra Khogali, who founded the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter.
"Why do white people have a right to affirm their life? Why does white life have value? Why should I care about your life, anyway? Your life ain't worth affirming," said an African-American debate student from the University of West Georgia to a white opponent in a debate at Harvard. The teams were supposed to debate renewable energy but West Georgia’s all-minority team arbitrarily changed the subject to exterminating whites.
"...how we are going to exterminate white people because that, in my estimation, is the only conclusion I have come to. We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem," said Kamau Kambon, an African-American professor from North Carolina State.
The Nazis said and did the exact same things with people they viewed as undesirable.
"History's most savage ideologies have been those that called for the extremely rapid and radical transformation of society," political scientist Benjamin Valentino wrote. "Such transformations have almost always come about at great cost in human life."
Make no mistake. Despite their constant cries of being "inclusive," "anti-racist," and "anti-fascist," today's "woke" promoters of "diversity, equity, and inclusion" are the Nazis' true moral and spiritual descendants.
Joseph D'Hippolito is a freelance writer who has covered politics, current events, religion, and sports. His commentaries on politics and religion have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, National Post (Canada), American Spectator, and American Greatness, among others. His sports coverage has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Guardian, among other outlets.