Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“I was a National Socialist before Mr Hitler was born. I hope we shall emulate his great achievements in that direction,” the famous socialist writer whose statue smilingly stands in a fountain in Niagara-on-the-Lake behind the Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar wrote.
The statue is part of the local shtick which includes the Shaw literary festival.
The festival may perform Shaw’s On the Rocks, but it doesn’t include his preface to the play, where he argued that, “extermination must be put on a scientific basis if it is ever to be carried out humanely and apologetically as well as thoroughly” and holds up the Soviet Union as an ideal example where the “essential questions: ‘are you pulling your weight in the social boat? are you giving more trouble than you are worth?’” were answered by the Cheka who would “‘liquidate’ persons who could not answer them satisfactorily” to meet the “urgency of how to dispose of people who would not or could not fit themselves into the new order of things.”
While Niagara-on-the-Lake may have a statue of Shaw, the famous socialist writer kept a portrait of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, on his wall.
The statue of George Bernard Shaw, one of many, including outside the National Gallery of Ireland (sculpted by Paolo Troubetzkoy, who fled the Communists and was harassed to death by the Nazis: two regimes that Shaw enthusiastically supported), has rarely been questioned.
In a time when Isaac Newton has been accused of profiting from colonialism and his name scrubbed from science, Edinburgh University removes David Hume’s name, and the University of Liverpool purges Gladstone because even though he opposed slavery, his father owned a plantation, a socialist much closer to our time who headlined an article, “Heil Hitler” still stands.
Certainly the London School of Economics, probably the most pernicious institution in the country, hasn’t cut ties with its genocidal and murderous founder. And the Fabian Window, depicting the founders of the socialist cult, including Shaw, still hangs in LSE’s Shaw Library.
An Irish Independent article last year inquired,”Should the Irish Tolerate a Memorial to a Nazi Sympathiser.” No such question seems to have been asked of the most prestigious leftist educational institution in the UK which still venerates a monster who supported Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin not because he didn’t believe they were killers, but because he did.
“Mussolini, Kemal, Pilsudski, Hitler and the rest can all depend on me to judge them by their ability to deliver the goods,” he wrote. “Stalin has delivered the goods to an extent that seemed impossible ten years ago… Jesus Christ [Stalin] has come to Earth. He is no longer an idol. People are gaining some sort of idea of what would happen if He lived now.”
While most still think of Pygmalion or My Fair Lady when they think of Shaw (if they think of him at all), his views on eugenics, socialism, and genocide were never secret. Audrey Hepburn singing, “The Rain in Spain” is a long way from Shaw writing that, “If we desire a certain type of civilization and culture we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it.”
That included the Jews of whom Shaw wrote, “I think we ought to tackle the Jewish Question by admitting the right of the State to make eugenic experiments by weeding out any strains they think undesirable”, but as a committed eugenicist he was hardly going to stop there, writing that, “the majority of men at present in Europe have no business to be alive.”
“Appeal to the chemists to discover a humane gas that will kill instantly and painlessly,” he wrote. “We shall find a use for it at home.” Who was it to be used against? Everyone.
“I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly-appointed board, just as they might come before the income tax commissioner, and say every five years, or every seven years, just put them there, and say, ‘Sir, or madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence?’ If you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the big organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.”
“The ungovernables, the ferocious, the conscienceless, the idiots, the self-centered myops and morons, what of them? Do not punish them. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill them,” he raved in one essay.
Aside from conventional biological eugenics, the “ungovernables” were enemies of the state.
“The essential justification for extermination,” Shaw argued, “is always incorrigible social incompatibility and nothing else” in a paragraph defending Soviet purges.
Shaw wrote that WW2 was “a war between inbreeding and cross breeding, between mongrels and pedigrees; and Hitler has the courage of his convictions to a sublime height which has nerved him to stake a world war on it. Altogether a very remarkable fellow, this Hitler.”
None of this is a secret though Shaw apologists in literature and the media insist that he was just adopting a persona and issuing hyperbolic statements to provoke the public. But that doesn’t explain his private expressions of support for the Communists and the Nazis.
“I have got into hot water with the Liberals for defending Mussolini,” he bragged in one letter. “Tell Colonel [Hermann] Göring with my compliments that I have backed his regime in England to the point of making myself unpopular, and still continue to do so on all matters on which he and Hitler stand for permanent truths and genuine Realpolitik,” he urged in another letter.
“I have seen all the ‘terrors’ and I was terribly pleased by them,” he quipped after a Soviet trip.
“If this great communist experiment spreads over the whole world, we shall have a new era
in history,” Shaw anticipated. But he was not especially picky about which sort of totalitarian regime took over the planet as long as it was “absolute, automatic, and totalitarian.”
Shaw proved useful to both Hitler and Stalin. Hitler ordered Goebbels to protect Shaw’s writings as useful to the Nazi cause and Stalin met with the famed playwright. It was easy to see why when even as late as 1944, Shaw wrote that, “we claim to be fighting for democracy; and Adolf Hitler retorts unanswerably that British democracy is nothing but Anglo-Semitic plutocracy”.
The socialist playwright made little effort to hide the noxiousness of his views. If they’re obscure it’s only because generations of leftists have worked to keep them so. When Glenn Beck briefly made them a focus of his show, the experts rushed in to explain why it was a non-issue.
And yet now, as statues are being toppled and institutions renamed, it’s still a non-issue.
What plausible grounds are there for purging Newton and Gladstone, but maintaining a library named after a Nazi and Communist sympathizer who openly advocated mass murder?
Why have so many statues fallen while Shaw’s statues still stand comfortably in their places?
The answer is as revealing about Shaw as it is about the whole murderous cultural revolution that is upending our societies. The toppling and the renaming is a project to deconstruct our civilization by attacking those men who played key roles in constructing and upholding it.
Shaw’s statues, like Marx’s statues, despite his racism, will stay where they are because both men represent the exact principle for which so many statues are being toppled to begin with.
Only the statues of creators are being toppled, while the statues of destroyers are preserved.
If Shaw stood for anything it was a militant contempt for the existing order, for elections, freedom, and individual rights. He did not especially care who would topple it, Stalin or Hitler, Mussolini or Lenin, or why, only that some human force of history would go out and do it.
Preferably while killing as many of the people as possible whom Shaw wanted exterminated.
Shaw would have cheered the Black Lives Matter vandals if he were alive today, not because he agreed with their black supremacist ideology, which he would have mocked as he did Hitler’s Aryan pretensions, but because they had the nerve and energy to tear down society and envision replacing it with some utopian totalitarian scheme of their own imagining.
That’s also why his statues and his stained glass window have been left alone.
Shaw’s brand of casual racism and committed totalitarianism is shared by Black Lives Matter and its political allies who trace their political line of descent to Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam which allied with the KKK the way that Shaw turned to Hitler and the Nazis.
Some men become radicals and extremists because they dream of a better world. Others only talk of a better world because they hate the real world and have nothing but contempt for most of the people who occupy it. They dream of a revolution that will spill the blood of those whom they, like Shaw, deem useless, and replace the prosaic routines of daily life with a cult of personality and a forced commitment to a set of impossible ideals no matter what they are.
And so the Shaw statues will stand even as the political terror of the cultural revolution goes on.