It is often claimed by leftists that conservative and nationalist dissidents are in fact ‘Nazis’.
Because the left is so indiscriminate with the term, this brings about something of a shared plight among all those individuals so afflicted. Meaning, that traditional conservatives have more in common with legitimate National Socialists, than progressives bent on imposing an agenda of wholesale inversion.
Notwithstanding this shared ground, these worldviews have differences carrying serious ramifications. As considered in detail below, these differences stem from the Darwinian view taken by National Socialism towards society.
Defining traditional conservatism and social Darwinism
In short, traditional conservatism stresses our limited nature, holding that man can only be free when things are directed towards their appropriate end and reason rules over passion. Traditional conservatives do not see our history or civilisational development in evolutionary terms–a theory with scant explanatory value as it applies to humans.
As for social Darwinism, this encompasses those White Nationalists and National Socialists who postulate the advancement of genetic outcomes to be the primary end in life. This view is justified as follows: if the race is not advanced, man will steadily recede in evolutionary terms prior to becoming extinct. Consequently, morality is dictated by what is seen to advance the race.
As claimed by the most famous of social Darwinists, Adolf Hitler,
If we did not respect the law of nature, imposing our will by the right of the stronger, a day would come when the wild animals would again devour us–then the insects would eat the wild animals, and finally nothing would exist except the microbes. By means of the struggle the elites are constantly renewed. The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle by allowing the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature.
Traditional conservatism and social Darwinism on abortion
The most critical issue in which the above philosophical distinctions manifest, is abortion.
The traditional conservative holds that abortion is gravely immoral for many reasons, but especially as it constitutes a violent interference with the inherent directedness of pregnancy: procreation.
The social Darwinist, however, has a more calculated approach when it comes to abortion. As with all other issues, abortion is considered through a cost/benefit analysis by reference to what advances the race.
By way of example, Adolf Hitler passed anti-abortion policies as Chancellor, making it a capital offence from 1943 to provide a woman with the procedure. Significantly, this opposition did not come from an intrinsic objection to abortion; rather, abortion was opposed as it reduced the National Socialist goal of having more ‘Aryan’ children–thus harming the race.
For many living social Darwinists, modern circumstances are such as to warrant abortion. Consider the following comments from Richard Spencer, a prominent White Nationalist, in defence of abortion in the United States:
I think when we think about abortion we often think about these careerist women who otherwise would be part of families but are instead having abortion out of pure selfishness and greed. The fact is that it isn’t like that. Those highly intelligent career women will have abortions on occasion, but to be honest they’re using contraception and they’re avoiding pregnancy, is what they’re doing…The people who are having abortions are generally very often black or hispanic or [people] from very poor circumstances, to be honest.
In other words, as abortion primarily involves black, hispanic or very poor circumstance unborn children, it should remain legal. Which makes sense for a social Darwinist, again, so long as morality is assessed through the lenses of what advances the race.
Prediction: if the dissident right were ever to triumph on the political and cultural front, conflict would break out between those two leading factions: traditional conservatism and social Darwinism. Because while they are many things, at heart, those that employ Darwinian arguments to justify racialist politics rely on a progressive, often utopian vision.