Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Ellis Washington has written another of those bizarre, rambling, utterly illogical columns, this time declaring, quite literally, that since Hitler was a vegetarian, and vegetarians are liberals (huh?), all liberals are Nazis. You just have to shake your head at claims like this:

Historically, German fascism was born out of a 19th century Romantic revolt against industrialization that philosophically mirrored aspects of Thoreau’s transcendentalism. The distinction is that while Thoreau sought to separate himself from modernity, eco-fanatics like Al Gore and the Sierra Club seeks to translate their Romantic animosity against modernity into a totalizing government program that will control and dominate every aspect of our lives. Think: carbon credits, ethanol, micro cars and remote-controlled thermostats.

Liberal environmentalism is fascist to the core. The most tangible fascist aspects is that it is an invaluable “crisis mechanism.” Recall the progressive motto, “Never allow a good crisis to go to waste.” Al Gore constantly insists that global warming is the defining crisis of our time. Skeptics are called traitors, Holocaust deniers, tools of the “carbon interests.”

Riiiight. Because right wingers would never use a historical crisis as a pretext to push their pre-existing agenda. Just ask all those Republican governors using the budget problems at the state level to crush collective bargaining rights. And ask George W. Bush, who used 9/11 as a pretext for invading Iraq, something his advisers had wanted to do for years. Politics, on both sides, is endlessly pragmatic — partisans will use any means at their disposal to justify the agenda they are being paid to push.

German historicism had championed the organic conception of society and state bound together. Hitler often claimed his vegetarianism was inspired by Richard Wagner, his favorite composer and demigod to Nazi German nationalism and anti-Semitism, who argued in an 1891 essay that meat-eating and race-mixing were the twin causes of man’s alienation from the natural world. Wagner demanded a “true and hearty fellowship with the vegetarians, the protectors of animals, and the friends of temperance.”

That’s it. That’s the entire section on vegetarianism. If you’re looking for an actual argument linking vegetarianism to fascism in a causal way, you won’t find it here. Hitler and Wagner were vegetarians, vegetarians were Nazis, that’s all you get. Silly rational thinker, causal connections are for liberals.