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Hitler and Marx in a First-year College Composition Classroom ` By Philip Justin Frisk Miami University, Oxford, Ohio Die

ganze Natur ist ein gewaltiges Ringen zwischen Kraft und Schwche, ein ewiger Sieg des Starken ber den Schwachen. So glaube ich heute im Sinne des allmchtigen Schpfers zu handeln: Indem ich mich des Juden erwehre, kmpfe ich fr das Werk des Herrn. -- Adolf Hitler

National Socialism is applied biology. Rudolph Hess Die Geschichte aller bisherigen Gesellschaft ist die Geschichte von Klassenkmpfen.... Der Untergang der Bourgeoisie und der Sieg des Proletariats sind gleich unvermeidlich. Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels

Not yet another article on Adolf Hitler, please! Someone might say. You cant be so foolish as to think that you can add anything new to the mountain of knowledge about Hitler and his pernicious ideology, any new knowledge to what Don DiLillo has sarcastically called in his novel White Noise Hitler Studies. The same goes with Marx.

No, this is about pedagogy, about writing instruction, about how I have used a couple of texts from Hitler and Marx in first-year college composition courses (the proverbial English 101). I have used these texts, not to teach about Hitler and Marx, then, but to teach first-year college students how to write the kind of essays required in universities, what is usually called scholarly or academic writing, or what I prefer to call research-based writing. Research-based writing is writing about other writing, its the kind of writing required when the professor assigns a research paper in a history course, or in any of the so-called humanities literature, philosophy, sociology, etc. The prototype of such writing is when you use the words and ideas of one author to comment upon or critique another. For example, heres a feminist critique of this novel; here is deconstructive critique of this essay, etc. And the most salient feature of this genrethis writing in schools is indeed critique. It must be critical. But the question still stands. Why Hitler! Of all the texts available, I should think that you could come up with something a little more edifying for your curriculum, as a colleague told me recently. I disagree. From my 37 years of experience, the use of hard right ideological texts has been the most productive. And the reason, I think, for this of is clear: I teach critical thinking and writing; and Hitler provides of course a veritable bonanza of targets for critique -- superstitious thinking, pseudo-scientific ideas, downright false statements of fact, illegitimate appeals to authority, deliberate mystification, etc., and thus provides clear and ready targets for critical theory, i.e., for ideological, rhetorical, deconstructive, and other kinds of critique. I think that I do my mostly 18-year-old, first-year college students a service in introducing them to critical theory early on in their college careers, and it is just such a text as Hitlers which gives me that opportunity.

I use a key text, specifically the 11th chapter of the first volume of Mein Kampf (1925), called Volk und Rasse, usually translated as Nation and Race. (Im using the Ralph Manheim 1943 translation). It is a key text, because it contains the essential National Socialist ideology -- Social Darwinism, scientific racism, and the racial-struggle theory of history. National Socialism itself regarded it as a key text. It is the only chapter from Mein Kampf mass-produced as a pamphlet during the Third Reich (Weikart, Richard. Hitlers ethic: the Nazi pursuit of evolutionary progress. NY: Palgrave Macmillan: 201). But why The Communist Manifesto, specifically part I Bourgeois and Proletarians? Well, first off, I did need another text or two, because, while I and my students might begin with a single text to respond to, initially with questions for discussion and, later, in writing, a semesters long writing curriculum doesnt end there. I had by then learned from David Bartholomae, from whose work I take my pedagogy of writing instruction pretty much wholesale, about the need for what he called writing assignment sequences, where one develops a series of writing assignments, based at first on a single text, then with second text and a second writing assignment, so on and so forth, usually with three or four readings in all for the work of a semester. (See Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Boston: Bedford, 2008. These theorists have done our discipline much good, by doing what no one else had done before them, namely, teach us how to teach scholarly writing). Moreover, Adolf Hitler was the worlds greatest anti-communist to be sure. The first thing he did upon assuming power in 1933 was to bust all the unions and put the social democratic leadership in concentration camps. Thus the burden of much, if not most, of Hitlers rancor is directed against Marxism. So, I thought, we can analyze his screeds against Marxism and speculate about what Marx might say in response. In other words, we can

set these quite opposite ideologies over and against each other in order to see what to make of the resulting clash, which we will try to describe, critically examine, and intervene in. Thus, heres the writing assignment sequence in crude outline: 1) What is Marx saying? 2) How does Hitler try to refute what Marx is saying? 3) How do you refute what Hitler is saying? So, we begin with Marx.
I. Marxs class struggle theory of history.

By way of preparing us to write about Marx (and by Marx, I mean both Marx and Engels), I needed a question for discussion and for writing: One might say that Marx has two theses statements, the first sentence and the last. What do you understand by each? In other words, what is his theory of history and of revolution? How does he get from the first to the second thesis? How does Marx try to convince you of the validity of both? Reread the text and prepare for class discussion your answers to these questions. In answer I was aiming for, first in discussion and then in writing, is something like the following: The first sentence of Bourgeois and Proletarians famously reads: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle [Klassenkmpfen]. The rest of Marxs entire essay is taken up with his description of this general historical struggle between the haves and the have-nots, between oppressor and oppressed [Unterdrcker und Unterdrckte]. From there on, he provides a description of his understanding of the course of the economic development of world history from the slavocracies of

Greece and Rome, through the feudalism of the middle ages (with its lords and serfs), the colonization of the New World, and the birth of capitalism (i.e., industrial manufacturing), a new class of capitalists emerging from feudalisms guild masters, and the corresponding emergence of the working class of wage-earners of the modern era, resulting in a society today (1948, date of publication) which has split into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other bourgeoisie and proletariat. Over which stands the Nation-State with its executive branch being, according to Marx, nothing more than a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. Although he doesnt use these terms here, and I would have to explain them to students, Marx theory of history is both materialist and dialectical: materialist in the sense that its an economic theorywhich is to say, Marx begins with physical beings in a physical world, whose basic necessities are food, clothing, shelter, etc., and from there concerns itself with how these and other commodities are produced and distributed and who profits therefrom. And its a dialectical theory, nowhere better illustrated than in Marxs dynamic representation of the emergence of a manufacturing-based economy out of an agrarian one, his representation of the change-over from Feudalism to Capitalism. I might choose to illustrate the concept of dialectics through an example of a negative dialectic, in which, for example, a negation is also an affirmation, although an alienated one. No in thunder is a kind of yes. The opposite of negation and/or affirmation is the silence of indifference. Someone once characterized the difference between formal and dialectical logic as the difference between a snapshot and a moving picture in that the latter includes time and therefore is capable of representing historical change and transformation: the historical changes between the early stages of capitalism, its heroic and revolutionary overthrow of the ancien regimes in

England, America, and France, and then its progressive heyday of a century or more, followed by the beginning of its eventual decline over the span of a century, to its more recent toxic stage where its ruling class, because of systemic economic crises of overproduction (among other things), proves itself unfit to govern, despite its desperate attempt to bolster its essential but precarious rate of profit through intensified exploitation of its working class (through, for example, mechanization, what today we might call computerization and robotization, plus the turn toward finance capital and speculation) and thus to the inevitability of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat or working class (just as previously the bourgeois class overthrew agrarian feudalism with its exploited serfs, and a ruling class based on the coercive might of the aristocracy or monarchy and the legitimizing authority of the Catholic Church). This then is Marxs second thesis, the last sentence of the chapter, The fall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable (unvermeidlich). And, once again, our acceptance, depends only upon the authorative power of his description of what he sees as this historical dynamic. That so many have ranked these few pages among the classics of world literature is a tribute to this power. II. Understanding Hitler: Social Darwinism, racism, nationalism The next or second writing assignment concerns Hitlers attempted refutation of Marx, and by way of preparing us, I propose the following questions for discussion. Note that at this stage, I am not looking necessarily to elicit criticism of Hitler. I am seeking only to find bases of comparison/contrast between him and Marx. For example, we might contrast them on the basis of ideology, of theories of history, of their respective means of establishing their own authority and of their respective appeals to authority, on the basis of what deconstruction refers to as the paired-

opposites (or binary pairs) of Nature/Culture, for example, and of formal and dialectical logic, etc. (1) Theories of history: We have seen Marxs class-struggle theory of history, historys iron laws, so to speak. What is Hitlers theory of history? And here we might note that Hitler seems to have two: 1) the Great Man Theory of History (and by extension something of the role of the individual personality in history) and (2) the Racial struggle Theory of History

The construction of the writers authority. We have seen how the construction of Marxs authority rests on his performance, what appeals then to authority does Hitler use? Such as Nature and the scientific understanding of Nature, namely, Darwinian evolution


Materialism vs Idealism (in the philosophic sense): Hitlers biologically based materialism as well as his idea of what he calls Providence or the eternal Creator (idealism).


Rhetorical style and tone: we might consider any contrast in tone between the two pieces, variation between the toneless tone of science and any examples of rhetorical exuberance, setting side by side passages of soaring rhetoric, such as Hitlers paean to his Promethean Aryan vs the following example from Marx toward the end of his essay: All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the selfconscious, independent movement of the immense majority [ungeheure Mehrheit ], in the interest of the immense majority.


Apocalyptic thinking: what elements of apocalyptic thinking do we find in both. For Marx its the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, which

it could be said, puts an end to history or what Marx elsewhere has called the pre-history of man. What the communist International calls the final battle, which has to do with the fact that its a revolution of the vast majority in the interests of the vast majority. As such, it harks back to Marxs early observation that when class struggle reaches its culminating hour, the result is either the victory of one or other of the contending classes or else the common ruination of both which is to say, barbarism. For Hitler, its an all or nothing struggle to the death between Aryan and Jew, resulting either in the Millennium, the Thousand Year Reich (forever) or the end of human life on earth. [Dunkelheit wird vielleicht schon nach wenigen Jahrtausenden sich abermals auf die Erde senken, die menschliche Kultur wrde vergehen und die Welt verden]. A thorough in-class discussion of these questions and others prepares the student to write the second essay and the third as well, which calls for a critique of Hitler. III. Refuting Hitler.

Hitlers two theories of History. In the very first paragraph, which I will quote, Hitler establishes himself as a proponent of the Great Man Theory of History. There are some truths which are so obvious that for this very reason they are not seen or at least not recognized by ordinary people. They sometimes pass by such truisms as though blind and are most astonished when someone discovers what everyone really ought to know. Columbuss eggs lie around by the hundreds of thousands, but Columbuses are met with less frequently.

He speaks of die Eier des Kolombus, usually translated into English as Kolumbuss eggs, which makes no sense, unless one knows that the expression is a German idiom, meaning something like a flash of inspiration, a stroke of genius, a brilliant insight. The idiom derives from the popular notion that Christopher Columbus first conceived of the world as round and therefore circumnavigatable, upon gazing at the hardboiled egg he was about to eat for breakfast. (In a recording of a public reading by Helmut Qualtinger of this passage, I was surprised by the audiences laughter at the phrase Es liegen die Eier des Kolumbus zu Hunderttausenden herum, until I realized that in slang Eier means testicles). Hitler wants to prepare us for his introduction of another eureka moment, when he speaks of the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on this earth [innern Abgeschlossenheit [self-containededness -- pjf] der Arten smtlicher Lebewesen dieser Erde. (We will return to this biological law shortly). Hitler sets up a binary opposition (the first of several) between the clueless masses and the great man of discovery (Columbus and, by implication, Hitler himself). Great men are rare but necessary for the great discoveries, the great leaps in human understanding. As Alexander Pope put it: Nature and nature's laws lay hid at night; God said, "Let Newton be," and all was light. In other words, everything goes on as it always has before, then suddenly the man of genius appears and changes everything. In the same vein, a modern wag writes: It could not last: the devil howling, Ho Let EINSTEIN be!' restored the status quo.

Of course J.C. Squires ironic couplet still reproduces the idea of the great man of genius changing everything. Now, I want my students to be able to critique the great man theory of history, To this purpose, I often have them perform the following exercise. I ask the class to make a list of the ten most important figures in American history, and we debate and negotiate who gets on the list; we then categorize them as politicians, inventors, athletes, entertainers, etc. Next, we read a poem by Bertolt Brecht A Worker Reads History. The poem is in effect a refutation of the great man theory of history, ironically asking if all these famous personalities from history books achieved everything by themselves: He alone? Wasnt there at least a cook among them? I then ask who has been left off our list and out of the picture, viz., the figure of the worker. I then ask them to write a poem, putting Brechts poem into their own words. I use this omission of the working class from history as a way of defining mystification, an important concept in ideology-critique. Here I follow Jon Bergers definition of mystification in his Ways of Seeing (Penguin, 1977) as that which makes what is obvious a lot harder to see. In Bergers example, he argues that the kind of jargon comprising most art criticism of, say, a Franz Hals painting has mystified the obvious fact that Hals has painted one of the sitters Regents of an Alms House--in a late (1664) oil painting in a state of inebriation. Berger claims that the art historian displaces this evidence of our eyes with a set of words designed to obscuremake go awaythis evidence of our own eyes. From this, I take my definition of mystification as that which makes the visible a harder to see. The great man theory of history mystifies history by making the working class go away.

Further, we might deconstruct Hitlers theory as follows: the great man is only great to the extent that he is set side by side with the common man for purposes of contrast. The great man is great to the extent that the common man not, is denigrated. (Of course Hitler is no original thinker and its not he alone who subscribes to the great man theory and to the denigration of the masses. An important book The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride And Prejudice Among The Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939 (Carey, John.
Chicago : Academy, 2002) argues that in general this is the position of nearly

all modern literary intellectuals, from Joyce to Lawrence, etc. Modernist art (in its difficulty and complexity) can only be understood by a privileged few, to whom the modernist artist addresses himself exclusively. Joyce once said that because he had spent a lifetime writing Finnegans Wake, he expected his ideal reader to spend a lifetime reading it. Marx of course never mentions a single Great Man. For him, history is measured in terms of economic class, thus is measured in the millions. But Hitler has another theory of history, which, like Marxs centers itself around struggle; for Hitler its an existential struggle between Aryan and Jew, in other words, its racial struggle. Now, there are problems with these concepts to be sure, and I will return to them later, but, for now, we need to recognize that Hitlers theorynot that Hitler himself invented itis also a kind of pseudo materialist theory of history in that Hitler conceives of these pure essences Aryan and Jewas having a materialist form, that is, a biological basis for their existence. Now, while Hitler quite correctly points out, for example, that man exists before ideas, that, in other words, the human brain has had to evolve and to develop sufficiently before it is capable of forming concepts (this is materialism), he also claimsas a biological deterministthat certain ideas such as what Hitler calls the pacifist-humane idea [die pazifistisch-humane

Idee] owe their existence to certain brains, certain types of racial brain which differ from other types of racial brain, according to their biology or biological race. [Bestimmte Ideen sind sogar an bestimmte Menschen gebunden]. Thus, Hitler claims that the idea Mans role is to overcome Nature! [Der Mensch berwindet eben die Natur!] arises out of the Jewish brain. (Incidentally, more than one student of mine has ignored the quotation marks around this sentence, and denounced Hitler for asserting it). Hitlers Social Darwinism depends upon the negation of this so-called Jewish proposition. Otherwise, he must admit that his analogies between his examples of Darwinian nature red in tooth and claw and social nature are without merit. Hitler is a thorough-going Social Darwinist. This is the intellectual underpinning of his thought. He believes that the law of the survival of the fittest (not Darwins phrase, rather that of the British Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer) applies in human culture just as much as natural selection does in the world of pure nature. Note the vehemence with which Hitler denounces this idea. He calls it the objection of the modern pacifist, as truly Jewish in its effrontery as it is stupid! [der echt judenhaft freche, aber abenso dumme Einwand des modernen Pazifisten]. Note the rage against what Hitler calls this Jewish impudence: Hier freilich kommt der echt judenhaft freche, aber ebenso dumme Einwand des modernen Pazifisten: "Der Mensch berwindet eben die Natur!" Millionen plappern diesen jdischen Unsinn gedankenlos nach und bilden sich am Ende wirklich ein, selbst eine Art von Naturberwindern darzustellen; wobei ihnen jedoch als Waffe nichts weiter als eine Idee zur Verfgung steht, noch dazu aber eine so miserable, da sich nach ihr wirklich keine Welt vorstellen liee.

Hitler cannot accept the idea of man overcoming nature, because it undercuts the basis for his social Darwinism. Hitler needs the law of the junglenature red in tooth and claw he needs it to apply to human social nature and culture. Hitler wants to privilege Darwinian Nature over and against human culture (culture in the anthropological sense), because if indeed there exists a qualitative difference between Nature and Culture; then in a sense man has indeed overcome nature by deliberately and consciously setting aside natural selection. Without culture in the form of modern medicine, I would have been permanently crippled as the result of a skiing accident I suffered some 40 years ago and if it had happened under the most primitive circumstances (in the state of Darwinian Nature), the chances of my survival to my present ripe old age would have been severely limited. According to Hitlers absurd morality, I ought to have died. But here he commits what David Hume called the naturalistic fallacy of presuming that an is weakness and infirmity entails an ought, the weak ought to die out. And only the born weakling would protest this iron law of Mother Nature. Thus there is a qualitative difference between Nature and Culture and homo sapiens lives in both. The difference between mankind and the animals is that we can plan; thus while the social organization of ants and bees in the construction of their complex and intricate architecture puts to shame the achievement of our human architects, the difference is that the human architect is able to imagine the completed structure in his mind, before even the first stone is laid, which is to say that what distinguishes man from the animals is the degree of the development of his consciousness, which is so great that it results in a difference in kind between us and animals living in nature. Animals live on the level of sensory-motor activity alone, behaving instinctually, while man can consciously direct his activity, setting aside or overcoming instinctual behavior, performing what we call work and

through work, man changes his environment, and in changing his environment, changes himself and in changing himself, creates culture. Hitler, the Social Darwinist will have none of this. Allein ganz abgesehen davon, da der Mensch die Natur noch in keiner Sache berwunden hat, sondern hchstens das eine oder andere Zipfelchen ihres ungeheuren, riesenhaften Schleiers von ewigen Rtseln und Geheimnissen erwischt und emporzuheben versuchte, da er in Wahrheit nichts erfindet, sondern alles nur entdeckt, da er nicht die Natur beherrscht, sondern nur auf Grund der Kenntnis einzelner Naturgesetze und Geheimnisse zum Herrn derjenigen anderen Lebewesen aufgestiegen ist, denen dieses Wissen eben fehlt - also ganz abgesehen davon, kann eine Idee nicht die Voraussetzungen zum Werden und Sein der Menschheit [315 Mensch und Idee] berwinden, da die Idee selber ja nur vom Menschen abhngt. Ohne Menschen gibt es keine menschliche Idee auf dieser Welt, mithin ist die Idee als solche doch immer bedingt durch das Vorhandensein der Menschen und damit all der Gesetze, die zu diesem Dasein die Voraussetzung schufen. Here, then, is Hitlers history: a struggle to the death between races (as well as struggle and competition within the races for woman, positions of power and influence, etc). This struggle for survival is the same as that found in Nature and is therefore sanctioned by Natures eternal Creator [Willen des ewigen Schpfers]. Further, this struggle between what Hitler calls the races, races which he also categorizes as superior and inferior, higher and lower, Kultur-creator and destroyer, Aryan and Jew is Gods will and to rebel against is sin. And ultimately therefore to persecute and even murder other races is to do gods will. So glaube ich heute im Sinne des allmchtigen Schpfers zu handeln: Indem ich mich des Juden erwehre, kmpfe ich fr das Werk des Herrn. Its almost too pat.

So how materialist is it? Well, what seems to be based on material, physical existence, viz., the biological-genetic make-up of men as precursor, predecessor, precondition for the production of Kultur or in the case of the Jew the destruction and dissolution of Kultur turns out to be completely idealistic (in the philosophical sense). The spirit of the Eternal Law-Giver precedes all existence. Thus, its a religious concept at its heart, believing in sin and its punishment. Its a belief system with God-given value judgments of higher and lower, superior and inferior, etc. Nature and Natures Lawgiver punish deviations from her eternal will as sin, making the mule sterile, for example, subjecting other form of crossbreeding between speciesalthough I dont know what other animals Hitler has in mind herewith weakness and susceptibility to disease. In other words, the Aryans are the Chosen people and the Germans are the closest thing to it today, and history is the story of the Aryan races struggle for survival against Gods enemy the Jew (and other inferior races). Hitlers appeal to the ultimate authority of God and Nature turn out, as do most all such appeals, to be illegitimate. And Hitlers conception of the Aryan, the prototype for which is Prometheusfrom whose bright forehead the divine spark of genius at all times, forever kindling anew that fire of knowledge which illumined the night of silent mysteries and thus caused man to climb the path to mastery over the other beings of this earth turn out to be religious-mythical thinking, as does his equally absurd concept of the Jew. In fact, according to the dialectic of paired-opposites, its only the image of the Jew as satanic subhuman which allows the image of the Aryan to rise so high and to shine so brightly. If the Jew did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him. Hitlers Jew is pure invention. Very little of what Hitler says has any basis in the science of biology, despite his efforts to present himself as a scientific thinker, constructing a scientific

racism. His attempt to analogize interbreeding between animals of different species with human miscegenation is pure bunk. The very definition of species means the capacity for successful interbreeding. Jews are not of course a separate species. In fact there is no biological basis whatsoever for the concept of race. Even Jewish people who claim to be members of a shared, biological essence or biological race are mistaken. There is more genetic diversity between people of the same so-called race than there is between those of different races. The concept of race itself is scientifically bogus. And yet we may legitimately speak of racism and of racists, and Hitler was a murderous one to the core. Hitlers racism trumps even his nationalism. Hitler then rejects class struggle in favor of racial struggle in history, what he sees as the historical struggle between the races for dominance. Thus, Hitlers idea of history is something like the following: The Aryan race was once supreme; Gods chosen people, as it were. Their vigor and cultural achievement were first manifested in the Teutonic tribes which defeated and then merged themselves with and thus reinvigorated the civilization of Rome (See Trevor-Roper 1953, cited in Gonen, Jay Y. The Roots of Nazi

Psychology: Hitlers Utopian Barbarism. Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2000: 183); these Germanic elements pass on to Europe, Scandinavia and
in England. Later, North America becomes the continent to receive them and begins to flourish and prosper under their domination, while in Central and South America we see the result of racial mixing between the Latin Colonialists and the darker indigenous people and African slaves. Here is Hitler: Die geschichtliche Erfahrung bietet hierfr zahllose Belege. Sie Zeigt in erschreckender Deutlichkeit, da bei jeder Bluts-vermengung des Ariers mit niedrigeren Vlkern als Ergebnis das Ende des Kulturtrgers herauskam. Nordamerika, dessen Bevlkerung zum weitaus grten Teile aus germanischen Elementen besteht, die sich nur sehr wenig mit niedrigeren farbigen Vlkern vermischten, zeigt eine andere

Menschheit und Kultur als Zentral- und Sdamerika, in dem die hauptschlich romanischen Einwanderer sich in manchmal groem Umfange mit den Ureinwohnern vermengt hatten. An diesem einen Beispiele schon vermag man die Wirkung der Rassenvermischung klar und deutlich zu erkennen. Der rassisch reine und unvermischter gebliebene Germane des amerikanischen Kontinents ist zum Herrn desselben aufgestiegen; er wird der Herr so lange bleiben, so lange nicht auch er der Blutschande zum Opfer fllt. IV. Coda By way of conclusion, I want to take the opportunity to extend my critique of Hitler, the research for which require more than I could expect from firstyear college students working under the time constraints of a single semester. By way of criticism of his Darwinism (not to speak of his Social Darwinism), I want to note that Hitler seems to have thought there was a guiding hand (Natures eternal creator) and therefore a teleology, which is to say, an inherent guided development from lower to higher forms of life, in other words that the course of evolution teaches us that the struggle of the strong against the weak, Hitlers version of natural selection, is all for the good, because it leads to higher development, by which he means, one assumes, greater complexity and greater intelligence, etc. If this law did not prevail, he claims, any conceivable higher development (Hoherentwicklung) of organic living beings would be unthinkable." He thinks that this has led to an increased complexity, culminating in its highest formAryan Man. But as Stephen Jay Gould reminds us, there is no such operant teleology in nature, nothing guiding and leading evolution from the simplest life forms to the most complex, and accidents, as it were, such as the series of mass extinctions, including the one which some 600 millions of

years ago wiped out the dinosaurs, that cleared space in which mammals could develop and flourish. There is no unbroken line of ascent in evolution, even if it made sense to speak of ascent to higher forms from the perspective of natural selection. Gould has also called attention to a 1902 study by P. Kropotkin, a Russian naturalist, who in his Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, claims that cooperation is as much an operant factor in natural selection as is competition. Marx himself was of two minds about Darwins theory. On the one hand, Marx and Engels endorsed Darwinism, because it provided a unified, naturalistic, materialist account of nature, life and human nature, but they also saw it, on the other, as a prime example of the penetration of ideology into knowledge (Young, Robert. Evolution, Biology and Psychology from a Marxist Point of View. <http://human>). This ambivalence perhaps reflects an unresolved tension between historical and dialectical materialism, the latter postulating a dialectics of nature (Engels phrase), existing independently of mans consciousness and unaffected by mans perception of it. (Steven Jay Gould claims to see this dialectic of nature in what he calls punctuated equilibrium, where very slow and gradual evolutionary changes are at times interrupted by rapid and massive changes.) Historical materialism, a marxist humanist perspective, by contrast, insists that the ideas of the ruling class always prevail, as, for example, in the case of Darwin whose theory has a great deal of the ideology of British laissezfaire economy in it. Engels wrote, Darwin did not know what a bitter satire he wrote on mankind, and especially on his countrymen, when he showed that free competition, the struggle for existence, which the economists celebrate as the highest historical achievement, is the normal state of the

animal kingdom. He added that only conscious organization of social production could lift humankind above the animal world (cited in Young above). Finally, I do not wish to conclude without mentioning the recent attempt by creationists and proponents of intelligent design to conflate Social Darwinism with evolutionary biology (scientific Darwinism). See Ben Steins pseudodocumentary Expelled, for example. Their aim is easy to discern, Use Hitlers hideous Social Darwinism and its ideological links to the cause of the Holocaust to discredit Darwinism proper and thus slip the god hypothesis back in, the very hypothesis which Darwin said he could do without. This is why Darwin has driven theists up the wall ever since. (See, for example, Hitler used Evolutionary Theory to Justify the Holocaust.

I first encountered this creationist and/or intelligent-design ploy when I was dealing with the subject of Hitlers social Darwinism in a university in Connecticut. As is my practice, I encourage students to bring in copies of articles which they deem germane to the subject under study, which I then may xerox for distribution, providing my students with additional sources to use in their essays. One student brought in one of these Darwinismledtothe-Holocaust articles, his way of subtly witnessing for his Christian creationism.