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Leftism Revisited: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot [Hardcover]

Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Pub; Subsequent edition (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895265370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895265371
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 16 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,939,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Von Kuehnelt-Leddhin has a tremendous grasp of historic facts which he liberally sprinkles throughout this book. Some are very esoteric and just a little obscure. Want to know the Nazi and Communist party tallies in, say, Thuringia in the 20s and 30s? He'll tell you and it will help the scholar understand current German politics to a small degree. Was Hus the first communist? The Baron thinks so but what is Hus's relevance to the Left in this century? A doubt most lefties would know who he is. More pertinent-Was Hitler a man of the Left or of the Right? The Baron argues that Hitler was a Leftist. The dominant Leftist aristocracy of modern academia would say Hitler was of the Right. Little old me- Hitler was a blend. He was Rightist in his Nationalism and his belief in law-and-order and, yes, his tribalism, chauvanism and racism. He was Leftist in his socialist economics, his love of big government,his hatred of Christianity and his hatred of traditional society.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This encyclopedia of Leftism's arcana illustrates the "Progressive" nature, philosophical and historical roots of socialism's errors and attrocities, from the French Revolution to Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, which are laid out in exquisite detail by the recently deceased Leddihn. "Lefism" cannot be defeated by the 'non-ideology', of the Right. Hitler, the animal rights legislator,(anti-smoking} vegetarian, New Age religionist socialist competed successfully for the intelligencia of Europe and America up untill his attack on socialism's Utopian hope..Russia. Hitler's sexual progressivism as well as the French Revolution's is made clear, as well as the early "racist" and class-warfare {punishment/reward by group category rather than as individuals} thinking of socialists in the communist branch. Also, a valuable reference book of out of print classics and the American founding father's actual attitudes, constitutional safeguards and objections toward Democracy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful analyses 6 Aug 2005
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The author was that rare breed of classical European liberal, a species now all but extinct. In this masterpiece he investigates the Leftist mindset, Leftism in history and in the foreign policy of the USA. Most important, the book provides a valuable description of Real versus False Liberalism.
Kuhnelt-Liddihn's aim was to reinforce the noble Western tradition of individual freedom that has been under assault for so many decades now, from so many sides. Not an easy read, the book can be quite exhausting in places as the author puts his vast knowledge of human thought to work in support of his great insight.
Under the Leftist Mind, he discusses certain good forms and bad forms of government as they manifest in the realm of politics, e.g. monarchy versus tyranny, aristocracy vs oligarchy and republic vs a democracy. In this section he also explores some 40 odd characteristics of the Leftist mind, like hatred of freedom, secular fanaticism and materialism.
In the section titled Leftism In History, Kuhnelt-Leddihn provides an awesome analysis of Leftist history with reference to the French Revolution, the birth of the USA, and various manifestations of collectivist movements like Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Fascism and Nazism. He considers the French Revolution as the most characteristic manifestation of Leftism.
The author then examines American foreign policy under Wilson and Roosevelt, the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Here he also talks about the fanatical nature of totalitarian ideologies that fills the void left by an imploding Christianity.
The passage on Liberalism, Real and False, reveals profound truths. Under Real Liberalism, he discusses the thinkers, the timeframe, the leaders, and attitudes towards religion.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at left and right the same...... 22 May 2006
By P.K. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a truly extraordinary book by the Austrian Nobleman Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Being the recipient of an American public school education(which teaches that democracy is the only valid form of government), I was somewhat floored by the author's basic argument. This being that democracy in itself is leftist, and inevitably leads to tyranny, collectivization and war. All you hear in American politics is how superior democracy is and how it is our duty to spread "freedom" to the rest of the world. What a breath of fresh air this book is.

The author explains at length the leftist origins of National Socialism as well as Communism. He methodically dissects the leftist mindset, while tracing basically everything he views as leftist, back to the French Revolution and it's aftermath. He rails against democracy as being no different than socialism in it's impossible and harmful quest for equality. He makes no secret that he is a Christian aristocrat and supports a form of monarchy as the only true "rightist" government. He also claims that monarchy provides more personal liberty than democracy. If, like me, you blindly believed in democracy as a superior way of life, this book is a wake-up call. That being said, atheists and secularists will most likely reject this book, as K-L's entire philosophy rests on the foundation of a transcendent worldview that sees God as the ultimate authority.

Some notable ideas include:

Contrary to popular belief, fascism is a leftist movement. Enforced uniformity and the exaltation of the state above all else is a leftist invention that has the same origins as communism. Mussolini was an ex-socialist. The Nazi's saw all German communists as potential recruits. They were also anti-aristocrat, anti-tradition, and anti-capitalist.

The right rules by authority, the left rules by coercion. There's a difference.

Materialism, egalitarianism, racism, extreme nationalism, and totalitarianism are all leftist.

Many of America's founding fathers loathed democracy. That's why we are a constitutional republic.

America's anti-monarchial bias in foreign policy has wrought destruction in Europe.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of political analyses 6 Aug 2005
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The author was that rare breed of classical European liberal, a species now all but extinct. In this masterpiece he investigates the Leftist mindset, Leftism in history and in the foreign policy of the USA. Most important, the book provides a valuable description of Real versus False Liberalism.

Kuhnelt-Liddihn's aim was to reinforce the noble Western tradition of individual freedom that has been under assault for so many decades now, from so many sides. Not an easy read, the book can be quite exhausting in places as the author puts his vast knowledge of human thought to work in support of his great insight.

Under the Leftist Mind, he discusses certain good forms and bad forms of government as they manifest in the realm of politics, e.g. monarchy versus tyranny, aristocracy vs oligarchy and republic vs a democracy. In this section he also explores some 40 odd characteristics of the Leftist mind, like hatred of freedom, secular fanaticism and materialism.

In the section titled Leftism In History, Kuhnelt-Leddihn provides an awesome analysis of Leftist history with reference to the French Revolution, the birth of the USA, and various manifestations of collectivist movements like Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Fascism and Nazism. He considers the French Revolution as the most characteristic manifestation of Leftism.

The author then examines American foreign policy under Wilson and Roosevelt, the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Here he also talks about the fanatical nature of totalitarian ideologies that fills the void left by an imploding Christianity.

The passage on Liberalism, Real and False, reveals profound truths. Under Real Liberalism, he discusses the thinkers, the timeframe, the leaders, and attitudes towards religion. Adam Smith, de Tocqueville, Burke, Mises, Hayek, Lloyd George and Churchill are some of the names mentioned here.

Then he discusses False Liberalism, which is modern Leftism in the USA. He asks why the meaning of Liberal has undergone such a total inversion so that it now represents illiberal statism, and provides the answer. Leftists laid claim to the future, to terms like Progressive, whilst Conservatives tended to adhere to the status quo. He calls America's current version of liberalism "a boring mixture of modernity, mediocrity, mimicry and naivete."

This thought-provoking book remains a classic and has grown in stature since it was first published.
50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demagogues can choose the class, the race or any other flag 17 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Did the Nazis describe themselves as rightists or leftists?" In 1998 I submitted this question to Professor von Kuehnelt-Leddihn himself. (Incidentally, when he was among us, a person fond of titles would have called him Knight better than Baron, though this kind of titles have been forbidden in Austria since the end of the First World War.) Kuehnelt-Leddihn answered my question by quoting an article in "Der Angriff" (The attack) of Dec 6th, 1931 in which Goebbels declared: "The NSDAP is the German Left. We despise bourgeois nationalism". As to Hitler and Rudolf Hess, they always stressed the "democratic" character of the NSDAP, but they also claimed to be "rightist" and "liberal". This is what Kuehnelt-Leddihn told me. Hitler was anyway a genius of deception and tried to draw votes by promising something to everybody. Though the keenest observers, like Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, Otto von Habsburg, the future cardinal von Galen and Kuehnelt-Leddihn himself had no doubts from the beginning, many were deceived by his apparent "democraticism". Kuehnelt-Leddihn reminds us in his book that Lloyd George, asked why he was sympathetic to Hitler while disliking Franco, said: "I always line up on the side against the priests". Never forget that the acronym NSDAP means: "National Socialist Party of German Workers". The Nazis themselves adopted the shortened form "Nazi-sozi", while the term nazi prevailed only after the war and helped to overlook the reference to socialism. Today the distinction between the extreme left and the extreme right is usually based on the kind of "identity" which is considered more significant: left wingers - it is said - choose the class, right wingers the race or the national identity. Obviously only somebody they can identify with can captivate the masses. This is why a revolutionary demagogue has to insist on some sort of identity, be it social, racial, national, linguistic, ethnic or religious. This approach to the masses by the "identity", common to all the revolutionaries, is more significant than the kind of identity selected by every single demagogue. Kuehnelt-Leddihn describes Hitler as an "identitarian" with a proletarian turn of mind, and it is precisely his demagogic approach, on the ground of a racial identity, that justifies the author's inclusion of Hitler in the wide group of left-wing revolutionaries. (Obviously, if "history is bunk", as many Americans continue to believe, the book of Kuehnelt-Leddihn is of no use).
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LEFTISM DISSECTED 3 Dec 2004
By Albion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is rivaled perhaps only by the other title of the author: Liberty or Equality. This is a brilliant, erudite, and explosive explanation of how liberalism basically became its opposite: illiberal utopian statism, more akin to national socialism or international socialism than its own roots. That is, historically, how the cause of freedom became tragically attached and confused with a concurrent political shift toward democracy, the two intertwining in the history of the American nation. He is dispassionate, objective, and fair, even to Luther, whom he once disliked intensely. His footnotes alone are worth the price of the book. His basic argument devolves around the idea that leftism is motivated by envy and greed (of which they are fond of slurring their victims), perpetuated by ignorance and ambition (of which they are fond of accusing their opponents), and inevitably bound to end in massive chaos and bloodletting, as well wanton cruelty and sadism, of which the glorious Marquis de Sade is typical. Ironically, history shows (and he demonstrates) that the moderate and concessionary conservatives that replace each choatic revolution and are hailed as heroes, end up being hauled to the chopping block by a new, more degraded and ignoble mob than the last. Most impressive of all, the author is not a pessimist, and reading this book gives you hope that all is not lost in this modern sea of relativism, where "without God, anything is permitted".
68 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DEMOCRACY IS TYRANNY 31 Dec 2000
By Scott D. Rocca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ignore the shallow reviews. One writes that Hitler was a Right-winger in his chauvinism and racism. Did the writer even read this book? Racism and chauvinism are leftist, as Kuehnelt-Leddihin documents.
WHAT LEDDIHN SAYS
The Leftist Mind
The drive toward identity is a mere animal herd instinct. It is uniquely human to also desire diversity. Thus men are attracted to the new and exotic. Leftists desire base identity. They fail to grasp that equality can exist without the herd. Two qaurters equal a fifty cent piece, but are not identical to it.
Men, in fact, are not equal - not even before God, the law or opportunity. Each man is individual, a fact ignored by leftist democracy, which gives one vote to the 18 year old prostitute - and one vote to the 65 year old injured veteran tax-payer.
Democracy is a form of government, but leftists mistake it for an ideology or social value. In reality, the majority can choose Facism, Marxism or any other ideology. Hermann Melville wrote: "Better to be secure under one king, than exposed to violence from twenty millions of monarchs, though oneself be one of them."
The Right is from Latin dexter; it corresponds to the Sheep at Christ's Judgement seat. The Left is "sinister", the goats, perverse distruction of individuality. Leftism is materialistic.
History of Leftism
Leftism has origins in Athenian democracy, Platonic socialism and Anabaptist communism. By contrast, the Reformers and Puritans were conservative and anti-egalitarian.
The New England Puritan colonies, U.S. Founding Fathers and original Constitution were not at all democratic.
The French Revolution was the fault of aristocrats and clergy who embraced the "Enlightenment". The materialism of Rousseau and de Sade led the way to totalitarian terror.
The democratic ideal of equality produces a desire for "secular monasticism". Early socialists were insane dreamers with utopian hopes.
This sci-fi-style socialism was followed by the cold, "scientific" theory of Marxism. Marx himself was hateful and anti-semitic.
Russian Bolshevism, like French Revolutionism, was a sadistic movement of intellectuals. Russians are characteristically anarchistic, not communal. Pre-revolutionary Russia was actually a democratic republic with reds in the Duma. The revolt was not against the Czar.
Mussolini was an ex-Marxist who stole support from the socialist parties. Italian and world Communists praised his reign.
Naziism was sadistic, leftist, socialist and anti-traditional. National Socialism and Communism were rivals, not enemies.
Liberalism
Real liberalism was a free market, libertarian movement. Classical liberals were suspicious of democracy.
False "liberalism" arose in the United States when statists claimed progress and old liberals were afraid to look passe. True liberals took the name libertarian. Foriegn Policy
WWI was a leftist fiasco motivated by hatred of the Hapsburg monarchy. Woodrow Wilson was a southern racist and niave idealist.
Between the World Wars, the Paris Conference oppressed Germany and Nazis rose in power. The Great Depression shook faith in capitolism, and many Americans praised the U.S.S.R. Chamberlain had no choice but to compromise with Hitler, because Britain had been disarmed. Churchill initially praised Hitler.
WWII was started when Stalin broke faith with Hitler. Leftist America praised the Soviets and pretend that plebian Hitler represented aristocracy and tradition.
Post-war agreements put socialists in power accross Europe. Allied troops helped Soviets deport Russian refugees back to the U.S.S.R. Irrational leftism, combined with decline in religion and new technology produced the concept of total war.
(Don Quixote was impractical but idealist & honorable; Sancho Panza was practical but without honor. Leftists, however, lack both realism and honor!)
Colonialism was a positive and civilizing force on world heathenism. Currently, anti-colonial "foriegn aid" retards the development of nations.
Outlook
1. Leftists remain irrationally optomistic about the future.
2. The rule of illiterate masses is an evil.
3. Monarchy was stable; now foriegn policy changes with each election.
4. Men are fallen (sinful). In democracy, they prefer corrupt leaders like themselves to great men.
5. In practice, democracy is simply party-rule. Partisans attack each other, not the common social needs.
6. Democracy has been rendered obsolete by the atomic bomb, which makes the U.S. President (and others) master of earth. (A good man will not be corrupted even by absolute power.)
7. Conservatives reject ideology as leftist utopianism. However, the only alternative to a consistent world-view is rule by slogans and progress by animal trial and error. Men need a vision to guide their development.
8. Places like Russia and South America will never work as liberal democracies; new ideology is needed.
9. An attempt at a Rightist ideology was made in the Portland Declaration.
10. It takes courage to stand against irrational mobs of stupid voters.
11. The Roman Catholic Church is in disarray, invaded by Liberation theology.
12. Nice moderates are really leftists and will justify human sin as good men tricked by "conspiracies". Law needs transcendant authority (God) behind it.
13. Men like Alexis de Tocqueville predicted the totalitarian-democratic nature of the 20th century.
14. Crises loom in Russia and China. A return to monarchy would be best.
15. Democracy is inadequate to defeat leftism. New axioms and political structures are needed.
CRITICISM OF LEDDIHN
This is a watershed book, controversial because it explodes the propaganda of American public school/government "history". One may disagree with Leddihn, but his well-documented claims will not be refuted by leftist bluster.
He drops the ball in explaining the continuity of U.S. Democratic Party lefists. Slavery was replaced by the welfare state. Leftism evolved, it did not come from outside and force its way in.
As a Roman Catholic, Leddihn sees little evil in the Papal Church. He claims that it was most corrupt in the tenth century, when it had minimal political power; certainly the Borgias papacy against which Luther protested was more so.
However, Leddihn is insightful in classifying the Reformation as a reactionary movement. Luther and Calvin were Medieval Christians, not progressives. The Faith they expounded came from the ancient Bible, and is the only ideology that can trump humanism in all its forms.
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