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April 3, 2008 8:46 AM

Distorting Nazi history to attack environmentalists

Posted by David Postman

Before you read this post please read the article on page 8 of the March issue of Building Insight, the newsletter of the Building Industry Association of Washington. It is titled:

Hitler's Nazi party: They were eco extremists

The article is written by Mark Musser, the storm-water field representative for the BIAW. He claims that Nazis “expressed many of the ecological refrains we hear today” and that “Nazis were the vanguard of conservationism.”

Musser wrote the piece to follow-up something he had written the month before that had drawn a less clear - and really less serious - parallel between Adolph Hitler and today’s environmental movement and the state Department of Ecology, or DOE.

Knowing my parallel would illicit screams of protest — how politically incorrect of me to mention Hitler and Nazis in the same breath as DOE or the environmental lobby —I explored the actual connection between environmental extremism and Hitler’s Nazi party.

Musser writes that “maintaining harmony with the natural landscape” was a tenet of Nazism, and says, for example, “the autobahn freeway in Germany was designed by Nazis with the utmost ecological care in mind and presented as a way to bring Germans closer to nature.”

Nazis were the vanguard of conservationism - they sought to remedy the increasing alienation of people from the natural world, deforestation, urban sprawl, the destruction of ecosystem balance, the extinction of species and the indiscriminate slaughter of animals.

… Of course, this Nazi environmental zealotry was insanely tied to German nationalism (racism) which relied heavily on the ideals of social Darwinism, a doctrine which some environmentalists have kept alive in spite of its evil reputation.

Musser claims a clear connection between Hitler’s Nazis and today’s environmentalists. Not all of them, but “some environmentalists.” And you can see in that last line above that he goes so far as to claim some of today’s environmentalists profess even the most evil doctrine of the Third Reich.

This is a misreading of history. And even a little research would have made that clear. The sources the BIAW cites for the work refute Musser’s theory - either in the past when others have attempted to misuse their scholarship or in response to my questions this week.

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