After visiting Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum on April 3, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he agreed that Nazism -- the National Socialist German Worker's Party headed by Adolf Hitler -- was a left-wing movement, "there is no doubt."
Brazil's foreign minister, Ernesto Arujo, has often explained this historical fact about the National Socialists of the Third Reich. On Wednesday, as reported by the Daily Mail, reporters asked Bolsonaro if he agreed with his foreign minister and the conservative president said, "There is no doubt, right?"
Bolsonaro arrived in Israel on March 31 for a four-day visit and to help give a boost to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a tough re-election fight on April 9.
Although Brazil is not yet ready to open an embassy in Jerusalem, Bolsonaro announced that his country would open a trade office there. The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017-2018.
As not a few historians in recent years have explained, Nazism (National Socialist Germany) and Communism (the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) were two sides of the same totalitarianism dedicated to building a utopia based on an atheistic ideology.
In Nazi Germany, the state targeted people based on race -- Jews, gypsies, non-Aryans -- and in the Soviet Union the state targeted people based on class -- bourgeoise, kulaks, monarchists.
Prof. Thomas Sowell, an economist and prolific author and syndicated columnist, states, "Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg's great book Liberal Fascism cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists' consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left's embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.
"Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.
"... What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat. The left's vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends."
In his book, Intellectuals and Society: Revised and Expanded Edition, Sowell writes, "In short, the notion that Communists and Fascists were at opposite poles ideologically was not true, even in theory, much less in practice. As for similarities and differences between these two totalitarian movements and liberalism, on the one hand, or conservatism on the other, there was far more similarity between these totalitarians’ agendas and those of the left than with the agendas of most conservatives.
"For example, among the items on the agendas of the Fascists in Italy and/or the Nazis in Germany were (1) government control of wages and hours of work, (2) higher taxes on the wealthy, (3) government-set limits on profits, (4) government care for the elderly, (5) a decreased emphasis on the role of religion and the family in personal or social decisions and (6) government taking on the role of changing the nature of people, usually beginning in early childhood.
"This last and most audacious project has been part of the ideology of the left—both democratic and totalitarian—since at least the eighteenth century, when Condorcet and Godwin advocated it, and it has been advocated by innumerable intellectuals since then, as well as being put into practice in various countries, under names ranging from 're-education' to 'values clarification.'"
For more on the ideological and political similarities between National Socialism and Soviet Communism, see The Soviet Story.