Bouphonia on Hitler’s Reading Habits

Since we’re on the subject of the controversial Austrian statesman, let’s turn to the shamefully underpublicized Bouphonia.  One of Bouphonia’s specialties is lively dissections of the flaccid and/or mendacious double-talk excreted by certain kinds of (American-style) conservative ideologues.  Here, Bouphonia’s anonymous author examines the notion that there’s something suspicious about evolution because "the Nazis did indeed take Darwinian science as inspiration":

Hitler did indeed take certain useful elements of his era’s "Darwinian science" as inspiration, when he wasn’t being equally inspired by Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Fichte, Hans Horbiger, Henry Ford, Karl May, Napoleon, occultism, Christianity, mythology, and anything else that appealed to his magpie mind. In Mein Kampf, he sets forth his method quite clearly:

A man who possesses the art of correct reading will, in studying any book, magazine, or pamphlet, instinctively and immediately perceive everything which in his opinion is worth permanently remembering, either because it is suited to his purpose or generally worth knowing….

What’s "generally worth knowing," from the standpoint of a power-hungry ideologue, is precisely that which serves the purpose of gaining and maintaining power. It’s immaterial whether Jesus died on the cross or not, so long as you can score political points by blaming the Jews for it.

If he were alive today, Hitler might well embrace Intelligent Design; it’s by no means incompatible with pseudoscientific racism, it’s vague enough to leave room for Odin as well as YHWH, and it’s prone to a type of wishful thinking and paranoia that could easily have resonated with his own (if we weren’t intended by some supernatural intelligence to discriminate against the Jews, how come they were designed to look Jewish?).

Current scientific thinking on race wouldn’t be any more suited to Hitler’s purpose than it is to, say, Charles Murray’s; as manufactured anti-elitist causes go, ID would probably have been at least as useful as Horbiger’s Welteislehre was in its day. This idle speculation aside, it’s clear enough that Hitler had little interest in any scientific theory (or historical account, or philosophy, or religious dogma, or art) that he couldn’t use to prop up opinions he’d already formed.