Darrow Miller and Friends

Nazis, 20th Century Postmoderns

  1. Book Burning: Nazi Version of Safe Spaces
  2. Nazis, 20th Century Postmoderns
  3. The Power of Ideas for Good or Bad

Before there were postmoderns, there were Nazis. The 21st century phenomenon of postmodernism—in the streets, on university campuses, in legislatures and in the courts of law—has been a long time coming. It was the product of Jewish intellectuals, born as Cultural Marxism in the Frankfurt School between two World Wars. Ironically, those who laid the foundation for today’s postmodern thought were Jewish scholars who fled Germany to escape Hitler’s earlier manifestation of postmodernism, i.e. National Socialism.

Nietzsche and the NazisI recently read R.C. Hicks, Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2006, 2010). In many ways, Hitler’s paramilitary storm troopers were the precursors of today’s Antifa intimidation and violence. As I wrote in part one of this series, the current antiliberal safe spaces on university campuses are the progeny of book burning by German university students almost a hundred years ago. In this post, I mean to show the family resemblance between today’s postmodernist and yesterday’s Nazi. Our 21st century intersectional thinking, and its abandonment of reason, found similar expression in Germany in the 1930s, in at least two dimensions.

First, those in today’s intersectional groups of the oppressed have exchanged their own identity for that of their aggrieved community. Individuals are reduced to mere mouthpieces of the powerbrokers behind them. This is nothing new. As Hicks writes, in Nazi Germany,

Individuals were defined by their group identity, and individuals were seen only as vehicles by which the groups achieved their interests. The Nazis rejected the Western liberal idea that individuals are ends in themselves: to the Nazis individuals were merely servants of the groups to which they belong.[1]

Individual lives mean nothing

Hicks goes on to point out that individuals were nothing more than pieces of the whole, that is, instruments of the state:

Even within their own group, the Nazis did not see Aryan/Germans fundamentally as individuals. They saw them as members of the Volk, the German people, the group to which they owed service, obedience, and even their lives.

A second parallel between the Nazis and postmoderns is escape from reason. Postmodernism denies reason and reality. Emotions reign supreme, imagination replaces reality.

I always thought the Nazis were driven by rationalism, with little emotion. Those assumptions were completely wrong. The Nazis thought the world’s problems were generated by individuals thinking for themselves. Free thinkers must be silenced. Their books, the written legacy of their thoughts, must be burned. Reason must be crushed by passion.

What Germany required was passion, a storm of emotion arising from deeply rooted instincts and drives: [quoting Hitler] “Only a storm of glowing passion can turn the destinies of nations, but this passion can only be roused by a man who carries it within himself.” Consequently, German training and propaganda were not directed toward presenting facts and arguments but rather to arousing the passions of the masses. Reason, logic, and objectivity were beside the point.

Hicks notes that the German philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche begat many of the Nazis’ ideas.

Both [Nietzsche and the Nazis] are fundamentally irrationalists—they do not think much of the power of reason, and they urge themselves and others to let their strongest passions and instincts well up within them and be released upon the world.

Emotions trump truth

Like their predecessors the Nazis, postmodernists elevate feelings and instincts over reason. When the Judeo-Christian concept of objective truth and moral structure is denied, what is left is the will to power.

If you want to understand the ideas behind Hitler and the Third Reich, read Hicks’ book. There you will see many of the ideas fueling postmodern culture today.

As Solomon noted, there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Darrow Miller

[1] All quotations from Nietzsche and the Nazis by Stephen R.C. Hicks, (Kindle Locations 1651-1659). Ockham’s Razor. Kindle Edition.

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. Jose Curiel

    October 15, 2018 - 9:26 am

    Excellent thoughts Darrow. That is exactly what is happening to our cultures today. The church seems to flowing with it unaware of the danger.

    • admin

      October 16, 2018 - 7:16 am

      Thanks Jose
      It is the “in thing” for much of the church in the USA today.