What does freedom of conscience really mean and how do you fight for it?

The internet exploded when a small town pizza joint in Indiana said they wouldn't cater a gay marriage because it violates their religious beliefs. The left insulted and threatened the owners, while conservatives raised money to support the family when they were forced to temporarily close their doors. The incident sparked an important debate over freedom of conscience, and David Barton joined the show Thursday night to discuss this news story and how people can stand up for their rights.

Glenn: Hello, America, and welcome to The Glenn Beck Program and to TheBlaze. This is the network that you are building. Tonight, we have David Barton with us and a studio audience, and we just kind of want to have a little chat about a couple of things, mainly about the defense of faith in our country and in the world.

I spent my morning—David was with me for one of the meetings—meeting with some people from overseas. I have spent a lot of time this week off air meeting with people from the Middle East who are fresh from the killing fields, and that is exactly what’s happening in the Middle East. It is a killing field of Christians and people who are not Muslim enough. I don’t think people are really connecting to what is happening. Another Holocaust has begun, and we as Americans need to wake up on that.

But we’re also seeing pushback on faith here in America. And I wanted to start with David on what’s happening in Indiana and the best way, David, to argue it and maybe give us some historic perspective. You know my feeling is the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage in the first place. I mean, one of the reasons why the federal government got involved in marriage was to make sure blacks and whites weren’t getting married. Before that, it was a local deal and a deal with your church.

So, get the federal government out of it and let the people make their own way. And then I’m not going to tell you who to marry; don’t tell me what my church has to do or not do. But I don’t think we can get along that way. The people who are calling for tolerance are not tolerant of people having another point of view.

David: This is an incompatibility thing. This is like trying to mix a spark with gasoline. It’s trying to mix vinegar and soda. There are two irreconcilable differences of viewpoints here, and they cannot coexist. There is no way for them to coexist in the current climate and the current agenda that is sought for.

Glenn: Right, but they could coexist if gay couples said look, I don’t care what your religion does, don’t tell me who I can and cannot marry, and I’m not going to get involved in your church, so I won’t tell you what the Bible has to say or what you can or cannot say or do in your church. They could if we just left each other alone.

David: The difference right now is one side is wanting the other side to participate in what they’re doing, and that’s the difference. As long as one demands participation, then it’s going to be an irreconcilable difference.

Glenn: David, isn’t that the right of conscience?

David: See, the right of conscience is what we have lost. There’s several reasons that we don’t understand that. One is historically because we don’t teach history anymore. Two is we do not understand what an inalienable right is anymore. It was the same thing that Cuomo said with the stuff going in Alabama on marriage when Cuomo said don’t say our rights come from God. We all know better than that. They come from government. As long as you think a right comes from government, it’ll regulate, define, and coerce that right.

Glenn: Then anybody can change it.

David: And so the right of conscience used to be an inalienable right. That word, inalienable, meant not to be touched by government, period. That was it. If it’s inalienable, government can’t touch it.

Glenn: Nothing can change it, except God.

David: Nothing but God. I think the best way to understand that is a jurisdictional analogy. Now I’ve got my red pickup, you’ve got a white car. I look over in your yard, I really want your card to be red, so I go over and spray paint your car red. The difference is I can spray paint anything I want red if it belongs to me, but I cannot touch anything that’s yours and spray paint it. That’s a jurisdictional line. So, the government is looking over and saying that’s an inalienable right. That belongs to us. We’re going to mark it up with our spray paint. They’ve crossed a jurisdictional line. They no longer respect private property, including the private property of conscience, the private property of faith, the private property of self-protection. That’s all private property. Government can’t touch it.

Glenn: Just like the government can’t say you can’t be a homosexual because that’s you, that’s how you practice your life, right?

David: To some degree, but government has always taken stands on behavior that undermine the government itself. That’s where morality—see, consanguinity, governments always gotten involved. You can’t marry your brother and sister. You can’t marry your first cousin. So there’s always been things that protect the moral climate of the society. If you don’t have that moral climate, then you should have no crimes of any kind because everybody will disagree on to what degree is manslaughter manslaughter and what is self-defense. So, you’ve always had standards on behavior, so there are some moral stands on behavior.

Glenn: But let me just play devil’s advocate with you. They will say that that’s all we’re doing here is just having standards on moral behavior, and you, not wanting to bake a wedding cake somehow or another is a hate crime, and it shows that you are intolerant of me because you will bake it for anybody else.

David: But this is the coercion part. The rights of conscience were established to prevent coercion of you acting against your beliefs. Let me give some background on this. Let me back up and we’ll lead into this, because when you look at what’s happened—I’m going to step over here for a second. Let’s go to some dates. Let me just take you through some early date. We’re going to start with 1640.

The rights of conscience are the first protected rights that we had in American history. So, from the beginning, from 1640, we started. These were all government documents. Now, we had rights of conscience before. When the Pilgrims got here, they protected rights, but not in written documents. We started writing it down in 1640 in Providence, the Maryland Toleration Act 1649, 1663 Charter for Rhode Island.

Glenn: What were these? Like the Maryland Toleration Act, what was that?

David: At that point, you had Catholics who were being persecuted in Protestant countries, and so they came to Maryland, and the Maryland Toleration Act said come on, you’re Catholic, you’re Protestant, you’re a Quaker.

Glenn: And that was a big deal because Catholics were not welcome here in the United States, even really up until the 1950s, but around the Civil War, still really bad persecution.

David: It would depend on the region and country, because we started accepting Catholics in a very real way. We have Catholic signers of the Declaration, Catholic signers of the Constitution. That was really novel at the time. So, we had protection, but there always residual areas of the country that didn’t like Catholics or they didn’t like blacks or they didn’t like whoever. But by law we went through and started protecting all this, and it’s because in every single one of these instances, people had been punished for what they believed and how they lived out their beliefs. So, we’re saying no, come to America, we’re not going to punish you for your beliefs.

Glenn: So what is the difference between this and a protected class?

David: Well this and a protected class, this always goes to accountability toward God. What you have right here in front of you, this is the original dictionary that was used in America. That’s Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary. He’s a Founding Father. He give us Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, second guy to call the Constitutional Convention. Let me show you the definition he uses both of conscience and of religion, and that helps understand what the clash is.

Glenn: By the way, if you homeschool, this is the dictionary you should have. This is the dictionary everybody should have.

David: Even if you’re just a citizen, you ought to have that dictionary. That’s a killer dictionary. Let’s go to religion. Let me show you the definition of religion, the definition of religion according to Noah Webster. And you have to understand that Obama and others are saying you have freedom to worship but not necessarily freedom of religion, and that’s what the Hobby Lobby case is about and some of the others. And now we’ve got courts saying whatever you believe is your religion, so they have now said that atheism is a religion and all these groups.

Here’s the definition of religion at the time that we did original intent of the Constitution. “Religion in its most comprehensive sense, includes: A. A belief in the being and perfections of God. B. A belief in the revelation of his will to man. C. In man’s obligation to obey his commands. D. In a state of reward and punishment. E. In man’s accountableness to God. F. True godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties.” So, it’s what you believe, it’s who you believe, and it’s what that belief requires you to do. It’s your moral duties.

Glenn: Who doesn’t believe that religion is that still?

David: The government doesn’t believe that. When you have a freedom of religion in the First Amendment guaranteed, this is what it’s talking about. You had the freedom to believe, to believe that God has you want to do certain things, so you’re accountable to him for what you do, and that affects your behavior. Now, here’s the second part of the definition. The second part of the definition says, “It therefore comprehends theology as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety…,” how you live out your faith, “…for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.”

So, where Obama says well, you can believe that, but don’t take it into business, Hobby Lobby, don’t take it into business, Conestoga Woods, don’t take it into business, Memories Pizza, you know, you can believe that, but don’t let it come out. You can’t have religion if it doesn’t include your behavior, and that’s what they’re not willing to protect.

Glenn: Okay. That is the problem. That’s why religion, I think, in many cases, is despised, because people don’t act on their religion. They say I’m a Christian, but they don’t live anything, and so you’re like well, your religion is a sham.

David: And then if you are genuine and living out your faith, you often get nailed for it. One of the websites now is religioushostility.org. It lists 1,200 instances in the last just years of government nailing people and arresting them for living out their faith in a very genuine way. We’ve got the 67-year-old guy in Georgia who sat on a park bench and gave somebody a piece of gospel literature, spent two days in jail for doing that.

We’ve got a youth pastor in Sacramento spent nine days in jail because he went to a public park, and he put his little CD player up there. It was Christian music, and they heard him play Christian music—nine days in jail for that. We’ve got the two pastors in California that simply stood on the sidewalk reading the Bible, and DPS guy, or not DPS, California Highway Patrol, arrested them, and they got two days in jail.

We’ve got Pastor Mark Holick in Wichita, Kansas, stood on the sidewalk, gave out Gospels of John, two days in jail. He’s been arrested three times for giving out stuff on the sidewalk. See, that’s the kind of stuff that even if you’re doing it practically and very nice, you’re not being obnoxious, you’re just sharing your faith with somebody, can’t do. And so it’s become very hostile.

The other part of this is religion is what leads to conscience. What we’ve done today is separate conscience from religious belief, and so this whole debate on what people do and participate in with that, when you go to conscience, “conscience manifests itself in the feeling of obligation we experience, which precedes, attends, and follows our actions.” So, your conscience guarantees that you’re going to have certain actions.

So Memories Pizza, you know, you talk to them, they said look, we just can’t do that. Our conscience won’t let us go cater a homosexual wedding. We’re happy to serve anybody that comes in, homosexuals, but our conscience—that’s the action. Now they’re being punished for their actions, which they’re being punished for their faith, which is not guaranteeing their religion.

So, the Founding Fathers, whenever they talked about First Amendment, it was always in terms of conscience. As a matter of fact, let me take you to Thomas Jefferson for a moment. This shows you how little we get of history today. Jefferson has just a plethora of statements on conscience. He says, “It is inconsistent with the spirit of our laws and Constitution to force tender consciences.” And that’s what we’re doing today is you have to bake the cake, you have to take the photographs, you have to deliver the pizza. No, my tender conscience.

Go to the next quote on Jefferson. There’s five here in a row. “But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to God.” And that’s that aspect of conscience goes back to God—you answer to God, not government, for what you do with your behavior.

The next quote from Jefferson, 1803, “We are bound, you, I, and every one, to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience.” Even if we think they’re wrong, we’ve got to protect the right of freedom of conscience, which led to his next quote. Jefferson said, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become their own.” That’s that Martin Niemöller quote that I didn’t protect the Socialists or the trade unions because I wasn’t one, and then when the Nazis came for me, I wasn’t there.

Final quote from Jefferson: “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” That’s what they thought about conscience. That was the highest clause in the Constitution as far as they’re concerned, and that’s the one we trash today so readily. And particularly, what’s happened with homosexual kind of movement, it’s forcing participation of tender consciences.

I just spoke to a guy yesterday that was in Springfield. They had last week an election on where they recalled the sexual orientation gender identity clause which specifically, really what it does is it persecutes people who don’t—people of faith. It nails them and says we’re going to protect you, and if you don’t endorse their life and participate in it, then you’re in trouble.

And so they repealed it in Springfield, but this guy, friend of mine, was just standing behind the sign at a polling place with a sign that says “repeal.” Next to him was the Methodist minister. He’s the pastor of a church. Next to him was a Methodist pastor, and she was standing there with her sign that said “don’t repeal.” So, they’re just holding signs.as people walk in the polling booths.

And he started videoing what was happening because he just held the sign. He wasn’t talking to anybody. He said the level of profanity used against him, and he’s been in construction and a cowboy, and he’s heard it all, but not what he’d heard then. His wife was beside him. What they got called, what people threatened them with, they got in their faces and started poking around and pushing on him.

The police came to arrest him because he was creating a disturbance. The Methodist pastor looked over to the police and said I have to say it, he hasn’t done a single thing. He’s been standing here silently like a gentleman. And so the police ended up leaving, and she said today has forced me to rethink my whole belief about this because you guys have been singled out. You’ve been nailed. They’re beating up on you, and you’ve just stood here and done nothing but express your free speech. And that’s what we’re seeing across the country is it’s not permissible for you to express your free speech or to exercise your conscience. We’re going to force you to endorse what we do and participate in it.

Glenn: It’s happening not just in gay marriage; it’s happening everywhere.

David: It’s happening everywhere conscience is—you know, because here I am, I’m going to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but you know, I’ll go to the mat for the Jehovah’s Witnesses not to have to say the Pledge of Allegiance. My kids may go through 12 years of compulsory education, but I’ll go to the mat for Amish to only go through 8 years of school. And my kids are going to get vaccinated, but I’ll go to the mat for Christian scientists not to vaccinate.

Glenn: It’s the way we’re supposed to be.

David: It’s the way it’s supposed to be because the rights of conscience are the number—if you can’t protect the rights of conscience as an inalienable right, then everything below that, the government is going to regulate as well.

Glenn: Can I ask you, I think one of the reasons why this has—we’ve done it to ourselves. We’ve done it to ourselves, and here’s how, I think. I think we would all go to the mat, everybody would go to the mat for the Amish. We’d all go to the mat for the Amish. Everybody would go to the mat for the Amish because they live it. You know what I mean? We haven’t lived our faith for so long. So many in our culture just don’t live their faith. They’ll use it.

I’m going to show you some stuff that Hillary Clinton said as a Christian and then ask you really, really? And so they’ll use that as a weapon or a shield, but they don’t live it. And so people just think that it’s a parlor trick to say that I believe in this because God tells me. I cannot violate what I believe with God. I mean, go ahead, you’re going to have to punish me because the punishment here is worse for me.

David: See, that’s the accountability to God that was part of true religion. We have an accountability to God. What we have today is a—historically I’ve never seen a time like this in American history where that the difference between believers and nonbelievers—I did a book with George Barna called U-Turn, and in it we look statistically at trends. As George points out, in 70 categories of moral behavior, he can find no statistical difference between believers and nonbelievers on moral behavior. So, whether it’s adultery, actually Christians have a higher divorce rate than non-Christians.

So, across the board, what we’ve seen, you know, I believe the Scriptures are really clear that you protect unborn life, so that’s a no-brainer for me. I answer to God for that. But we find right now that 72% of Protestants do not want to see Roe v. Wade ended, 65% of all abortions are performed on active Christians, and 200,000 abortions a year performed on born-again Christians. It’s Christians that keep the abortion business going. So, as long as people will not live out their faith in their morals—but the other thing we know is that about less than 10% of Christians have actually read their book, their Bible. So how do you live out your faith if you don’t even know what it says?

So, we live at a time in America where we’re the most biblically illiterate of any generation. I often put up a quote from Ben Franklin at the Constitutional Convention. I do it especially for pastors. I read 14 sentences, and I ask them, “How many Bible verses did Franklin quote?” I was on TV with a guy a couple weeks ago, mega-church, huge church, he said, “That’s easy, five verses.” I said, “No, he quoted 14,” and I showed him 14 verses Franklin quoted. Franklin, one of the least religious founders, knows more about the Bible than Christians today, Christian leaders today do. And that’s the difference in America is we’re no longer biblically literate with morals or rights and wrongs, accountability to God.

Glenn: So, how do we argue this, David?

David: You have to argue it from a freedom standpoint. Why is religious speech any different from free speech? Because now we say free speech, you say what you want unless it’s religious, and then it’s not protected. And see, this is part of what’s called poststructuralism. This started in the 60s where that we do not judge people as individuals anymore. I don’t know what I think about you until I know what group you’re from. I have to figure out whether you’re gay or straight. Are you union? Are you right-to-work? Are you a senior or are you youth? Are you Hispanic or black? And then once I know what you are—see, we do that with our tax structure. We don’t treat everybody the same. We have five categories. Oh, you’re in this category, we treat you like this. Now, if you’re in this one, we’ll treat you—and so we have gotten into poststructuralism where that literally we treat people by their group.

Glenn: I just read someplace recently and I was shocked, up until I think it was the mid-1800s, our census, it didn’t ask categories.

David: Didn’t go to categories.

Glenn: It was just people, how many people.

David: Now, they did look at slaves. They wanted to know slaves because they were trying to fight slavery, and so that helped them with that. And it was very interesting too. I’ve got immigration books that were done at the end of World War I and World War II, etc., and even the one done in 1941 as Hitler was starting to roll through Austria and Czechoslovakian and Poland, people started coming to America like crazy. So, the chief of naturalization put out this immigration book, naturalization laws, come to America, and the whole point we made is look, you’re coming here. We don’t recognize you by group or creed or geographic area. If you’re coming here, it’s because you believe in America, you believe in our spiritual realities, you believe in the things that make us great. We come here to unite, not to divide. We don’t look at superficial things. And that’s the immigration book in ’41?

You look at where we are today, and well, if you’re from Guatemala, it’s different than if you’re from Mexico, and of course if you’re from Russia, that’s different. We have to look at all the groups, and that’s not healthy, because our whole Constitution was set up under there is a God, he created you individually, and because you’re an individual, you get rights. Now today because you’re a group, you get rights, and because you’re a group, you lose rights.

Glenn: E pluribus unum has been flipped on its head.

David: In 1992, one of the cases I was involved with the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court came out with what they called the classes of religion test, and this is what they said. They said if you’re in a group that has more adherence, we’re going to give you less protection than a group that has less adherence. So what they said is we’ve got to squash you if you’re in this group and raise you up—no, we do our religion by free market. We choose the religion we want. We don’t need you to raise one up and squish one down. We don’t need classes of religion. But that’s what they do with rights.

It just ticks me when I see the Supreme Court say the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the minority from the majority. No, it’s not. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to make sure every individual has certain guaranteed inalienable rights. I get the right to free speech whether I’m in the majority or the minority. I get the right to a trial by jury whether I’m black or white or green or purple or anything else.

Glenn: Because this was happening. The minority is ruling the majority, and it’s wrong either direction.

David: With the force of law, with the force of coercion instead of individually you get stuff, and that’s a problem when you don’t recognize individuals. When we did the history standards here in Texas, the teachers just climbed all over us and said make sure when you do a hero, you tell what group they’re from. We said no, if the hero did something noteworthy, we’re going to teach the hero. We don’t care what group they’re from. And so we literally tripled the number of minorities, and it drove them crazy because we showed more distinguished folks that were minorities, but we didn’t recognize their group.

Biden part Deux: The China connection

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Last week I took you through several examples of the ways Joe Biden apparently helped his close family members secure amazing business deals while he was Vice President. One of those instances involved Joe Biden's younger brother, James, becoming an executive at a new construction company – despite having no experience in the construction industry. Then, six months after he joined the company, it scored a $1.5 billion contract to build 100,000 homes in war-torn Iraq. The company's president even admitted to investors that "…it really helps to have the brother of the vice president as a partner."

If you think it's good to be the Vice President's brother, it's even better to be his son. On Thursday's TV show, I did a major chalkboard explaining how Joe Biden's son, Hunter, came to be on the board of Ukraine's largest private natural gas company. Tonight on TV, I'm going back to the chalkboard for part two of our Joe Biden profile. As bad as the Bidens' activity in Ukraine looks, it's really just the tip of the iceberg when you see the deals that they struck in China.

RELATED: 'Creepy Uncle Joe's' diary

To give you an idea of just how much the Biden's were plugged into China, there's a separate story that we won't have time to get into tonight. Chinese oil tycoon Ye Jianming worked overtime to get meetings with top movers and shakers in the U.S. government. His efforts included things like donating $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation – which was basically a rite of passage for any foreigner wanting access to the U.S. government during the Obama years.

In 2015, Mr. Ye worked on trying to connect with the Biden family. By that point, as you'll see tonight, Hunter Biden's company was deeply involved with Chinese businesses. At first, one of Mr. Ye's top lieutenants, a guy named Patrick Ho, met with Hunter Biden in Washington DC. That led to Mr. Ye himself meeting with Hunter at a Miami hotel in 2017. At that meeting, Mr. Ye proposed partnering with Hunter Biden's firm to invest in U.S. infrastructure and energy.

Then in November 2017, Joe Biden's brother, James, was in a hotel lobby when he got a random call from Patrick Ho, Mr. Ye's top lieutenant. Ho was in deep trouble and told James Biden he was looking for a lawyer. Federal agents had arrested Ho in New York on allegations that he bribed African officials in Chad and Uganda for access to oil fields. During Ho's trial, prosecutors showed that Ye's company had a side gig as an arms dealer in conflict zones around the world. Ho was ultimately convicted of conspiracy, attempted bribery, and money laundering. His boss, Mr. Ye, is now in Chinese custody at an undisclosed location.

Probably the most disturbing aspects of these China deals are the national security implications.

Perhaps the weirdest, most cryptic part of this episode is what James Biden told The New York Times when they interviewed him about that phone call from Patrick Ho. James Biden said he was surprised by the call and believed that Ho had intended to reach Hunter Biden, so he gave him Hunter's contact information. James Biden said:

There is nothing else I have to say. I don't want to be dragged into this anymore.

Dragged into what exactly? Presumably, the deep web of Chinese business connections that Joe Biden facilitated for his son while he was Vice President. Probably the most disturbing aspects of these China deals are the national security implications. You're not going to believe the partnerships that were formed. I'll explain it all on tonight's TV show. I'll also talk with Peter Schweizer who did so much amazing research and first blew the lid off the scandal of the Bidens' activity in China. You don't want to miss it…

Joe Biden – "Lunch Bucket Joe" – likes to remind America as often as possible what a regular guy he is. But beneath his carefully crafted narrative is a familiar story of old-fashioned crony capitalism. Or, in this case, we could call it bro-ny capitalism.

Starting in November 2010, Joe Biden's younger brother, James Biden, was named executive vice president of HillStone, the housing subsidiary of a company called Hill International. Hill International owned 51% of HillStone. A group of partners, including James Biden, owned the other 49%.

RELATED: THIS could derail the Biden 2020 train before it even starts

James Biden had no documented work history in the construction industry, but six months after he joined HillStone, the company scored a $1.5 billion construction contract from the U.S. government to build 100,000 homes in war-torn Iraq. The minority partners in HillStone would pocket around $735 million of that contract. Which means, minus expenses for the actual construction work, James Biden and the rest of his minority partners would stand to pocket millions of dollars.

Analysts were puzzled how HillStone, which was a brand new construction business created in 2010, got such a sweet contract. In a meeting with investors, the president of HillStone's parent company, David Richter, reportedly told them that "…it really helps to have the brother of the vice president as a partner."

Other lucrative government deals materialized for Hill International, including in 2012, a $22 million contract to manage the construction of State Department offices.

James Biden wasn't HillStone's only connection to Vice President Biden. HillStone's president, Kevin Justice, grew up in Delaware and was a close friend of Joe Biden's sons, Beau and Hunter.

You can never accuse him of failing to take care of his own.

However, by the beginning of 2012, Kevin Justice claimed that James Biden and David Richter (who was president of Hill International) were trying to dilute Justice's ownership stake in the $1.5 billion Iraq project deal and control all the money. Kevin Justice left the company in February 2012.

As you'll see on the show tonight, crony capitalism absolutely thrived under Joe Biden. You can never accuse him of failing to take care of his own. He's an expert at keeping things in the family. That is Joe Biden's biggest political achievement.

Joe Biden always likes to remind people just how much of a regular Joe he is. For almost half a century he's worked hard to craft this "Lunch Bucket Joe" persona. He's Mr. Amtrak, commuting every day between Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, DC when he was a Senator. They even named the Wilmington Amtrak station after him in 2011. He liked to remind Americans over the years that he has little wealth to show for his long career in government, even after becoming Vice President. Except, he hasn't exactly been skipping meals and sleeping in his car either.

In 1977 before he'd even finished his first term as a U.S. Senator, his speaking fee was one of the highest in the Senate at $22,596 per speech. By 1979, Biden was one of the Senate's top 25 earners of outside income – along with 22 others on that list, he voted against a bill to limit such earnings. Today he gets between $100,000 – $200,000 per speech.

RELATED: 'Creepy Uncle Joe's' diary

Don't cry for poor ol' Joe. He's scraping by okay.

One thing you could never accuse Joe Biden of is failing take care of his own. When his second son, Hunter Biden, graduated from Yale law school in 1996, Hunter was hired as a lobbyist with MBNA, which is a major credit card company based in Delaware. As a reminder, Joe Biden was a Delaware Senator for 36 years before he became Vice President.

Between 1989 and 2008, MBNA was Joe's largest corporate donor. In the Senate, Joe voted against a bill that would require credit card companies to warn consumers of the consequences of making only minimum payments. He also voted four times for a bankruptcy bill – supported by the credit card industry – that made it harder for financially strained borrowers to get protection from creditors. But I'm sure that had nothing to do with his donor relationship with MBNA – just like he insists he had nothing to do with MBNA hiring Hunter twice, the first time straight out of law school, and again from 2001 to 2005 as a consultant.

When he ran for president in 2008, Joe paid over $2 million in campaign cash to his family members and their businesses. $1.8 million of that went to Joe Slade White & Company for "media consulting" fees. A top executive at that company was Valerie Biden Owens – Joe Biden's sister and longtime campaign manager.

One thing you could never accuse Joe Biden of is failing take care of his own.

Biden's campaign also paid $150,000 for legal work to a lobbying and law firm in Washington DC co-owned by his son, Hunter Biden. Joe Biden's campaign spokesman insisted that Hunter didn't receive a dime of that money because another lawyer at the firm did the actual legal work for the campaign.

A 2008 report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ranked Biden among the top five senators for amount of money paid to family members over the three election cycles from 2002 to 2006. He was also in the top five for payments to a family business.

According to the Federal Election Commission, a campaign can hire family members and their companies if the work is legitimate and charged at market rates. But as you'll see in the show Thursday night, the phrase "just because you could doesn't mean you should" means nothing to Joe Biden.

Yes, Virginia: Hitler really was a socialist

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Much hay has been made of late regarding a decades-old debate as to whether Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

On the face of it, the argument may seem ridiculous. … After all, the name of the party was National Socialist German Workers' Party. For some, it should be as simple as that. They called themselves socialists, so they were socialists.

However, proponents of the idea that Hitler and the Nazis were diametrically opposed to socialism point out numerous reasons that this simple explanation is, by itself, insufficient, and in fact can point out several facts, which clearly demonstrate that the Nazis were socialist in name only, but not in ideology.

As is generally (and gloriously) true, the truth behind this debate is extremely nuanced and takes effort to discover. But it is very clearly there.

RELATED: Hitler's Quest for the Holy Grail? New Book Explores Nazi Obsession With the Occult

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, for the simple reasons that they were staunchly anti-capitalist and believed that the means of production in their society should be controlled by a centralized state power. That is very clear from their writings, their words and their actions. Done and done.

Much hay has been made of late regarding a decades-old debate as to whether Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

On the face of it, the argument may seem ridiculous. … After all, the name of the party was National Socialist German Workers' Party. For some, it should be as simple as that. They called themselves socialists, so they were socialists.

However, proponents of the idea that Hitler and the Nazis were diametrically opposed to socialism point out numerous reasons that this simple explanation is, by itself, insufficient, and in fact can point out several facts, which clearly demonstrate that the Nazis were socialist in name only, but not in ideology.

As is generally (and gloriously) true, the truth behind this debate is extremely nuanced and takes effort to discover. But it is very clearly there.

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, for the simple reasons that they were staunchly anti-capitalist and believed that the means of production in their society should be controlled by a centralized state power. That is very clear from their writings, their words and their actions. Done and done.

Now, for those of you looking for a more complete and nuanced analysis of the topic, please consider the following thoughts:

With a recent article in Vox as case-in-point, those who believe that Hitler and the Nazis were not socialists will generally put forward some version of the following arguments:

  • 1. The Nazis did not preach or practice pure, "classical" socialism, so they weren't socialists.
  • 2. The Nazis were not the true Socialist party in Germany — there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany — when they adopted the term "socialism."
  • 3. The Nazis were fascists, not socialists. Everyone knows fascism is right wing, socialism is left wing.
  • 4. The Nazis only adopted the title of "socialist" for political reasons, not ideological ones.
  • 5. The Nazis were staunchly anti-communist and anti-Marxist, therefore they couldn't have been socialists.
  • 6. The Nazis were racists and nationalists, so they couldn't have been socialists.
  • 7. The Nazis did not seize all private property and money, so they weren't socialists.
  • 8. Hitler was only interested in power, in being a dictator, not in socialist principals of peace and love and equality…

I'll address each of these in turn, but the above arguments and themes all miss a central and critical reality … and demonstrates a lack of critical thinking as well.

What's missing from the simple question of "Was Hitler a socialist?" is this: When do you mean?

It's a vital component of any coherent discussion, for two reasons.

First, because when examined over a timeline it becomes perfectly clear that yes, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party was an extremely, very clearly socialist-aligned organization at the time of their founding. One could argue that over time the specific manifestation of Nazi-socialism did drift away from what is today viewed as "classical"' or archetypal socialism (also a misnomer, which I'll cover shortly) and toward a nationalistic, "Germanified" socialism. During the build-up to war, it then morphed further into economic-statist policies of fascism and eventually a fascist-dictatorship.

Second, it's vital to note the shift and migration "from" socialism "to" a dictatorship because this is almost always what ends up happening when socialism, communism and/or Marxism implemented in any country (as evidenced by Germany's Hitler, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, China's Mao Zedong, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, etc).

Marxist-collectivist systems devolving into brutal dictatorship with some elements of Marxist-philosophy remaining is the norm, not the exception. I'll leave what that says about Marxism to your own judgment.

So, with that said, let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start), and review the historical record:

1. The Nazis did not preach or practice pure, "classical" socialism, so they weren't socialists.

Statements like this one are generally followed with quotes from Hitler or some other Nazi leader saying something negative about socialism, or examples of a policy like leaving most manufacturing in private hands as proof that the Nazi Party wasn't a socialist organization. But generally, those quotes and those policies were from much later in the Nazi-Germany saga.

What is conveniently ignored is the fact that Hitler joined the German Workers' Party in 1919, when he was 30 years old. Six years before he wrote "Mein Kampf," and 14 years before he was appointed chancellor of Germany.

So, at the time the political party was formed, what did it espouse and believe? And what did Hitler espouse and believe?

History is abundantly clear on this. As we know from "The Coming of the Third Reich"by Richard J. Evans, we know because Hitler joined the German Workers' Party, a party he'd initially been ordered to spy on and join by his Germany Army Intelligence handlers. It's key to note that the original name of the group was the German Socialist Worker's Party (italics mine), but party-supporter and journalist Karl Herrer recommended against including the word "socialist" because it might be confused with another local political party (the Social Democratic Party of Germany) and might make it more challenging to gain the support of his middle-class newspaper subscribers. Subsequently, the name was shortened to German Workers' Party. Author F.L. Carlsten makes that clear in his book, "The Rise of Fascism."

Hitler joined the party and within a few months had risen to a level of authority. Having spoken publicly for the first time at a party meeting just weeks after joining, by early 1920 he was appointed chief of propaganda, a period of party history covered in excellent detail in "The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany" by T.L. Jarman.

As the party grew in prominence, Hitler believed they needed a public manifesto that clearly articulated the party's political beliefs and platform. He, along with party founders Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Anton Drexler, wrote a manifesto titled, The National Socialist Program. As explained in William Shirer's seminal, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"(a work every American should read), on that same day, the German Workers' Party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Hitler arranged a public meeting at a large Beer-Hall and personally read the manifesto aloud to more than 2,000 attendees, receiving ever increasing applause as he continued.

You can review the entire 25-point plan here, and yes, it is a platform that is filled with anti-Semitic and nationalist themes, but a review of several of the key points of the manifesto are important to understand their political beliefs as they orient around socialist and Marxist philosophy.

"…We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens…"

"…The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work, mentally or physically..."

"…The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality [the state], but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all..." [italics mine]

"…We demand the Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery…"

"…In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits…"

"…We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries..." [italics mine]

"…We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries…"

"…We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare…"

"…We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation…"

"…We demand the immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality…"

"…We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death…" [italics mine]

"…We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the [existing] Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order…"

"…The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education…"

"…The comprehension of the concept of the state must be striven for by the school as early as the beginning of understanding…"

"…We demand the education at the expense of the state of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession…"

"…The state is to care for the national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young…"

"…We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press… Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden… We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands…"

"…a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: "THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY BEFORE THE GOOD OF THE INDIVIDUAL." [All CAPS theirs in the original document]

"…For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power… Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general…"

"…The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration…"

I apologize for the length here, but this was their "Declaration of Independence", and the length to which they spoke of these beliefs is strong evidence of how important these ideals were to them and their platform. That Hitler would dedicate the bulk of his written manifesto for his party to these indicates they were more than just a convenient political tool.

It's also worth noting that according to the US Holocaust Museum, the National Socialist Program remained the platform of the Nazi Party until Hitler's suicide in 1945, although clearly some of the specific tenets were ignored as the Third Reich matured and entered its "war" phase. In fact, we know from Big Business & Hitler, in 1924, party co-founder Gottfried Feder proposed an expanded 39-point plan that would include accommodation for Industrialists and large landowners with the National Socialists, but at the 1925 Bamburg Conference, then party leader Hitler refused to make any changes, stating that the manifesto was "inviolable" and would never be changed. Even after coming to power and declaring himself Dictator for Life, Hitler never modified a single word.

The point is that the original German Workers' Party as well as the National Socialist German Workers' Party, from its earliest roots, absolutely believed in and ran on many traditionally "Socialist" ideals, such as subordinating the individual to the "common good" and "the State."

Arguments as to whether the Nazi Party was "right wing" or "left wing" is what confuses most modern pundits and scholars.

Arguments as to whether the Nazi Party was "right wing" or "left wing" is what confuses most modern pundits and scholars. They clearly were nationalists, socialists, anti-capitalists and statists. Placing them on modern "right vs. left" political spectrum is an entirely different debate, and largely a semantic one. Whether they have more in common with the modern U.S. "right" or "left" is in the eye of the beholder.

2. The Nazis were not the true socialist party in Germany, there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany when they adopted the term "socialism."

It's completely true that there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany. Socialist parties had sprung up and gained popularity in Europe both before and during World War I. Russia had collapsed into a communist revolution during World War I, and there were communist political parties and organizations throughout Germany and Austria who had proven, friendly ties to the Russian communist parties responsible for the Russian revolution.

But the presence of other parties does not in any way indicate that Hitler's party wasn't also socialist. Just as today in America there are democratic socialists, socialist, Green Party and Communist parties, does not mean that I couldn't start up a new flavor of socialist political party tomorrow.

What is clear is that the founders of the Nazi Party did want a very different type of political party, one that was highly nationalist and one that sought an ethno-German racial ideal. In fact, as detailed in the already cited "The Rise and Fall of Fascism," the reason that Anton Drexler and others founded the National Socialist German Workers' Party in the first place was their rejection of the existing Social-Democratic Party and Communist Party's lack of nationalism. Hitler's flavor of socialism was staunchly anti-Bolshevik and anti-Semitic and he spoke against "Jewish-Marxism" and communism, as did key party leaders Alfred Rosenberg and Rudolph Hess. Existing socialist and Marxist parties were too globalist for them – they were after a purely ethno-German socialism.

3. The Nazis were fascists, not socialists. Everyone knows fascism is right wing, socialism is left wing.

Without turning this into a purely semantic debate, applying the modern "U.S.-centric" idea of the right vs. left political spectrum to political, economic and social philosophies such as socialism or fascism is truly an apples vs. Legos idea.

Of course, the origins of "right" vs. "left" political spectrum likely dates to the French Revolution and had to do with which side of the King's throne courtiers and lords were seated. At that time, those Loyal to the King were on the "right" and those who favored the people's independence and Democracy would be on the "left" …but clearly today's modern conservatives and libertarians would not support rule by a monarch or dictator, whether his name was Louis, Washington or Trump.

This is a key part of why there is so much cognitive dissonance for today's self-avowed socialists when someone dares to point out that Nazis were socialists and did support many socialist ideals. Nazis were also nationalists, were anti-immigration, often xenophobic and pro-militarism. Those are traits they associate with today's modern far-right.

As Jane Carlson points out in her recent Vox article, trying to put German-Nazis of 1930 on our modern U.S. political spectrum is a troublesome exercise. For our purposes, we'll simply note that the policies and platform of the early Nazi Party clearly aligned to socialist theory of the time, simply modified to fit the Volkish German tastes of the time.

Furthermore, claims that Hitler and the Nazis were fascists, not socialists, is again an inherently anachronistic view of events. It also clouds the issue of fascism and socialism, painting them as polar opposites on the political spectrum, when, in fact, they were close bedfellows in the 1920s.

Fascism didn't come to the Nazi Party and Germany until late in the 1920s or even early 1930s. Certainly there are no contemporary media references to the National Socialist German Workers' Party as "fascists" during the era of the party's founding in 1919, at the time Hitler wrote and presented the National Socialist Program in 1920, leading up to the Beer-Hall Putsch in late 1923, during Hitler's incarceration in 1924 and even leading up to the elections of 1928 and 1930.

During that entire era, no paper, across all of Germany, Italy, England or America can be found that refers to Hitler or to the National Socialist party of Germany as a "fascist" party. They were referred to as the national socialists or Nazis, a name meant to be a pejorative. It's also noteworthy that in his book, "Mein Kampf," Hitler did not refer to himself as a fascist or even use the word a single time.

It wasn't truly until the elections of 1932 that "fascism" could truly be applied to the policies espoused by Hitler and other Nazi politicians who held seats in the German Parliament. By then, it had been nearly a decade since Benito Mussolini, the publisher of a Socialist newspaper for more than six years, founded his own version of a violent nationalist-socialist party within Italy: fascism.

Fascist political ideology was the brainchild of another Marxist, a man named Giovanni Gentile. Gentile was an Italian intellectual and student of Marx, but whose criticism of the standard socialist model was based on the idea that the human mind was insufficiently pure to make communal socialism practical for industrial countries. As such, he advocated for a hybrid of a strong-centralized government with total authority (lead by intellectuals and experts) but leaving direct ownership of industrial production in the hands of the business elite. A Socialist-Corporate state.

Mussolini had seen in World War I, his countrymen were no longer fighting for some grand, socialist utopia as they had been toward the outset of the war. By the end of the war, they were fighting for their country. Under the tutelage of Gentile, he morphed that nationalist passion into fascism, but it was not a far-right movement. Mussolini referred to himself as a socialist in his own diary just 12 days before his capture, and it's worth noting that the party he was head of at the time of his capture was called the Italian Social Republic.

By the time Hitler had been named chancellor in 1933 and dictator in 1934, it would have been fair to start thinking of Nazis as having fascist ideas.

Hitler, seeing the success of Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s and wishing to curry favor with the Italian leader to help reinforce his southern flank, developed a warm and open relationship with him. By the time Hitler had been named chancellor in 1933 and dictator in 1934, it would have been fair to start thinking of Nazis as having fascist ideas. But even as late as 1937, Winston Churchill was still making speeches and writing essays about the "two" great "creeds of the Devil" in socialism and fascism, as threats faced by Britain.

The real difference between communists, national socialists and fascists is simply this: Communists are the international workers party and fascists are the national workers party.

In the end, it's reasonable to look at Hitler's adoption of some tenets of the fascist political-economic system of an authoritarian-central government but leaving private ownership of some industries as an indication that Hitler was not, in the end, a "perfect" socialist. But, as you'll learn below, that notion is itself, nonsense.

4. The Nazis only adopted the title of "socialist" for political reasons, not ideological ones.

As we have already cited from Carlsten's "The Rise of Fascism," the opposite is actually true. Anton Drexler had originally wanted to include socialist in the party's title, but its primary "publicist" at the time, Karl Herrer, had objected — not because they were opposed to socialist ideas, but because it would make it difficult to stand apart from the already existent Social-Democratic Party, and because it would make it more difficult to appeal to middle class readers of his newspaper.

In fact, as author Robert Spector covers thoroughly in his book, "A World Without Civilization," Drexler and others went out of their way to publish articles clearly delineating between Marxist-socialism and the German-socialism they intended to create, which would be a massive social-welfare state that would provide aid only to true ethno-Aryan Germans.

The ideals of the Nazi leadership were absolutely and significantly focused on German nationalism, anti-Semitism, racial purity, etc. It's also fair to say that Hitler's personal ideology and goals were built around German-idealized delusions of grandeur, and less around the philosophical tenets of socialism.

But a fair assessment of the progression of Nazi Party socialist doctrine cannot start in 1933 when Hitler became chancellor or 1938 when he invaded Poland. A more fair assessment might to be say that Hitler and the Nazis wanted to create a 1,000-year German Reich and a pure ethno-German race, and they were also socialists. More pure socialists when they started in 1919 than when they finished in 1945? Yes, certainly if our goal here is to measure Hitler against some 'perfect socialist' yardstick, then it might be fair to suggest that, by the end, he was less of a socialist than he was at the beginning.

But as I've already pointed out, the same could be said for virtually every socialist leader of all time. They all started with grand socialist ideals, tried them out, found that they didn't seem to work to achieve any practical real-world goals, so instead they became a tyrannical dictator wielding violence, torture and autocratic rule to maintain their vision. Ask Mao, ask Stalin, ask Maduro, Ask Xi, ask Castro, ask Che, ask Minh, ask Lenin…Hitler was just a me-too.

5. The Nazis were staunchly anti-Communist and anti-Marxist, therefore they couldn't have been socialists.

The idea that being anti-communist or anti-Marxist indicates one couldn't be a socialist is an anachronism, especially for post-Great War Germany. Let's not forget that Russia and Germany had fought ferociously during the war, including clashes before and after the communist revolution. Many Germans strongly blamed Germany's surrender at the end of World War I on communist sympathizers and/or spies within Germany, especially Marxist-Jewish political leaders, intellectuals and writers.

Leaders of the early Nazi Party, in particular, viewed the Treaty of Versailles not so much as a surrender to Western powers but as a surrender to international "Jewry", both the capitalist-Jews from America and England as well as the communist Jews from Russia. As Shirer points out in "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," Hitler and other Nazi leaders frequently referred to being "stabbed in the back" by communist-Jewish elements in Germany and Austria.

As such, as we learned from Roger Griffin's epic work "Fascism," the anti-Marxism present in the early Nazi Party was strongly anti-Bolshevik, or, said more plainly, it was "anti-Jewish Russians and Germans who betrayed at the end of World War I and who profited from the war."

Recall as well that communism is merely one manifestation of Marxist political philosophy … one that could progress out of a Socialist foundation. Even today, communists and socialists can have lively debates on the topic, one rejecting or point out logical flaws in the "purity" of the other on the scale of Karl Marx's idea of "perfect" socialism. (Marx never really had such an ideal, see below).

The point is, the fact that Hitler was feverishly and passionately anti-Marxist (because he was massively anti-Semitic) and anti-communist doesn't indicate he wasn't some form of socialist.

6. The Nazis were racists and nationalists, so they couldn't have been socialists.

I would have hoped I didn't have to go too deeply into this topic, but many people seem to make some form of this argument.

The disconnect here is that most people today associate left-leaning or socialist-aligned politics to be also "globalist," for open borders and pro-immigration. On the other hand, many people associate right-leaning and even "conservative" groups with anti-illegal-immigration and "America-first" policies.

Again, let's not start a semantic debate about modern policies of those on the right vs. those on the left and whether one or the other group is more or less racist than the other (let's do that on Twitter instead!); for our purposes here, what is key to point out is that Marx himself was a fairly racist bloke, who wrote an essay in 1844 titled, "The Jewish Question" (wonder where Hitler got that?):

" What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange…The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general."— Karl Marx, The Jewish Question, 1844

In a letter to co-creator of Socialist doctrine, Friedrich Engels, Marx wrote:

"It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses' exodus from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a n—–. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product." — Karl Marx, Letter to Friedrich Engels, 1856

Many seem to believe that today's democratic socialism is inherently and not racist universally (unless perhaps, you happen to be a Jew … or maybe a white male, at least in some of the more vehement circles), so the fact of Nazi racism demonstrates simply that they could not have been socialists. But the socialism of the Nazi era was generally not-free of the every-day racism that was pervasive throughout that era.

To be sure, the Nazis were perhaps the most racist, anti-Semitic socialists who ever existed, but their racism, just like their nationalism, doesn't erase their socialism.

Furthermore, while socialism is not inherently racist, socialism and racism have been happy bedfellows numerous times.

One of the key and so-often-present-it-seems-to-be-required components of socialist movements is the presence of a bogeyman. An enemy of the people, or, in the case of Germany, the "volk."

In today's Americanized version of socialism, the bogeyman is the Gordon Gekko from "Wall Street,"Oh, wait, we have a more modern caricature of the same profile: Donald Trump. A self-made, unapologetic billionaire capitalist, flaunting both his wealth and ego across every TV screen and Twitter-feed 24/7.

For today's democratic socialist, that is the bogeyman. The rich (generally white) capitalist male who has more than his neighbor and doesn't feel bad about that.

Anti-Semitism and versions of socialism have often gone together because of the anti-capitalist and anti-wealthy-person ethos at the heart of Marxist ideology.

Hitler's bogeyman was also a banker — the Jew. Anti-Semitism and versions of socialism have often gone together because of the anti-capitalist and anti-wealthy-person ethos at the heart of Marxist ideology. Because Jews have tended to be industrious and have accumulated wealth, the Jewish people have been hated by many socialist and fascist groups throughout history. Socialist and totalitarian regimes in the Middle East also hated Jews, long before the founding of Israel after World War II.

In fact, after meeting with Hitler in the 1940s, Muslim regimes in Turkey and Syria planned on building Polish-styled death camps in the Middle East. During the war, Hitler also invited the creation of an entire Muslim division of Waffen-SS, such was the alliance between Islamic-Marxism and the National Socialists, all oriented around the anti-Capitalism and anti-Semitic ideals of Marxism.

As Richard Pipes detailed in "Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime,"Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin also implemented anti-Jewish (themed as anti-capitalist) programs in Russia and the USSR after the Communist revolution. Lenin ordered the Jews to be sent to the front lines of combat in battle, and ordered that no Jew should be given high-ranking administrative positions in government, as was detailed in "Time of Darkness: Moscow"by the great Russian political reformer and historian, Alexander Nikolayevich Yakovlev.

The argument that it is fascism that was the birth of Hitler's anti-Semitism also fails to hold water. Mussolini founded the fascist movement in Italy and had seized control of the Italian government well before Hitler's SS had started harassing Jews, but Mussolini protected Jews in Italy from persecution (as long as they swore political loyalty to him), until much later after his country was under Allied attack and he had to beg Hitler for German troops to fight off the Allied advance.

To this day, even in America, democratic socialists struggle with elements of anti-Semitism in their own ranks, because Jews are still being accused of hypnotizing the world via money by democratic socialist members of the U.S. Congress.

No, socialism is not inherently and always racist. But neither is socialism free from racist ideology, if that racist ideology serves as a bogeyman, any enemy of "the people" who is preventing the utopia of equality. Hitler's enemy of the "volk" was the capitalist, banker Jew, sucking the life out of his precious Fatherland. For freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), it's the un-woke white male, driving an SUV and drinking single-malt while hunting deer from a tree stand, making the world unsafe for women, children and minorities. Both were self-ascribed socialists. Both racist, too.

Racism isn't always about "race" either. The point is about dehumanization as a means to classify the enemies of "The People." In addition to murdering six million Jews, the Nazis killed additional millions of gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, Christians and Slovaks. Hitler and the Nazis used dehumanizing language to describe all of them… . Jews just happened to be his favorite target. But the techniques used by socialist were universal. Marx referred to capitalists or the bourgeoisie as "parasites" over 120 times in books, essays and speeches.

As recently as this past year, National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to Jews as "termites"… although luckily Chelsea Clinton was kind enough to write an article for the online progressive magazine,"Forward," politely correcting him and implying, emphatically, she'd never met a Jewish termite.

Today's democratic socialists are using the same techniques. How many times have Trump supporters been called "sub-human" or a "Basket of Deplorables"? Marxism requires an enemy of the people, but when push comes to shove, people don't like to kill other people. So, the enemies must be made sub-human in order to justify the "purging" and "liquidation" that must necessarily follow. What will Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez do when wealthy, white males won't go along with their gun and SUV confiscation schemes required under their green-collectivist state? The Weather Underground boldly let us know back in the 1970s, when they issued a news releaseclaiming that in order to bring justice to the U.S., up to 25 million white people would have to die.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party is rounding up Christians, Muslims and Uigars, placing them in concentration camps and re-education camps. More than 35 percent of the current Chinese population has been relegated to digital and travel-restricted ghettos, because their social-trust score is below Communist Party standards. Hitler had to go through the trouble of rounding Jews up and moving them into ghettos. Today, Chinese leader Xi Jinping does it with the help of Facebook and Google.

All part of creating the socialist utopia Marx dreamed would destroy the unfair inequality of capitalism.

Dozens of classical stars of the socialist firmament were ardent racists. Margaret Sanger, socialist and anti-black advocate…sorry, pro-black-abortion advocate. Bernard Shaw, famous socialist, was first to dream up and write about using gas chambers to 'gently, humanely' remove those societies that was determined to no longer have a productive use. " Sir or madame, please kindly justify your existence." Both Shaw and Sanger are still widely studied and celebrated by socialists today.

Perhaps a final lesson here can be learned by examining the ideology of Richard Spencer, self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist, and therefore branded by the media and political elite as a right-wing extremist. However, Spencer also rejects the U.S. Constitution, is pro-universal health care and pro-free (segregated) college education, and in favor of government-funded abortions. Most of the National Socialist program themes Hitler wrote about, he'd embrace in total. And he's a right-wing extremist? Take away just his virulent racism, he'd be a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, espousing purely leftist ideologies.

Hopefully you are getting the wider picture. Socialism doesn't guarantee racism, but neither does it offer any sort of protection from it. To claim otherwise is willful blindness to history.

7. The Nazis did not seize all private property and money, so they weren't socialists.

Again, it's vital to review the overall timeline of Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party from the early and perhaps idealistic days of 1919 all the way through the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. For most of the 1920s, Hitler and the Nazis held little by way of political power through which they could have seized anybody's property, but that doesn't mean they didn't advocate for doing so, first in their National Socialists program cited extensively above, but numerous times after that. They did, after all, seize substantial privately owned property in Germany as well as conquered lands, including thousands of businesses, farms and bank accounts.

The fact that they focused first on Jewish businesses is irrelevant to the fact that private property was seized and transferred to the ownership of the state. The fact that Jewish property was at the top of the list of whom to target doesn't make it less Marxist or socialist to do, any more than it would be less socialist to target rich white males, as is currently being proposed by Bernie Sanders and others on the far left. Who you're targeting for confiscation schemes should be a moot point.

It's key to recall who Hitler and the Nazis were. They were socialists by way of economic policies, but staunchly nationalist and staunchly anti-Semitic racists who believed in a German super-race that could only be realized by way of physically purging inferior peoples and blood and by "reclaiming" lands stolen from their rightful Aryan-ancestors. Eric Kurlander powerfully and skillfully provided that history in "Hitler's Monsters," another book every American should read to fully understand the Nazi era.

It is true that once the Nazis came to power and started down their twin paths of political dominance within Germany and military conflict with external forces, Hitler's pragmatic side certainly overwhelmed any traditional or "classic" socialist ideals he may have once held. Surely after the powerful success he'd seen Mussolini seemingly achieve in Italy under fascism, the idea of communal socialism wouldn't have seemed the most efficient way for him to achieve his vision of a blood-pure and massive German super-state.

Note that the Nazis did nationalize dozens of industries and, by law, did have total centralized-control over the means of production … business owners and manufacturers had ownership of their property and factories in name only once the Waffen-SS and stormtroopers were fully in power. So, in his own way, Hitler did achieve Karl Marx-vision of control over the means of production by an all-powerful state. For Hitler, that state was simply imbued in him, instead of in a democratically elected central committee. Hitler's rejection of the authorities of labor unions or of workers' councils shouldn't, then, be viewed as anti-socialist. … Hitler was not in favor of giving any other person or group any authority over his own. Coincidentally, President Xi of China just recently declared himself dictator for life. History seems to love to recycle these themes, no?

Hitler was a pragmatist. He saw the favor of the German aristocracy and wealthy manufacturers (if they were not Jewish) as key to achieving his vision for the Third Reich.

Hitler was a pragmatist. He saw the favor of the German aristocracy and wealthy manufacturers (if they were not Jewish) as key to achieving his vision for the Third Reich. The fact that this meant not being a "perfect" socialist may have occurred to some, but certainly not to him.

8. Hitler was only interested in power, in being a dictator, not in socialist principals of peace and love and equality.

Before I dispense with the peace and love and equality BS … look, a study of Marx is a study about inequality! Marx was a racist, class-warfare-monger whom the average democratic socialist in America today would wholly reject from their social circles and political party.

So, I won't argue this last one, it's just beyond discussion. Socialism isn't nice and peaceful and filled with love and equality. Just stop it. Please pick up a history book and get back to me when you're ready to have a real conversation.

Yet, one final point should be made:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT "MARXIST" SOCIALISM!!

From the time Marx wrote "The Communist Manifesto" in the 1850s until his death in 1883, Marx never once espoused any version of "perfect" Socialism. As socialist professor Philip Gasper pointed out quite correctly in his 2005 book, "The Communist Manifesto: A Roadmap to the World's Most Important Political Document":

"Marx and Engels never speculated on the detailed organization of a future socialist or communist society. The key task for them was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. If and when that movement was successful, it would be up to the members of the new society to decide democratically how it was to be organized, in the concrete historical circumstances in which they found themselves."

So, for Karl Marx, the "father" of socialism, there is no thing as perfect, idealized, "do it this way or you're not a socialist" socialism.

The primary goal was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. In that Hitler and the Nazis viewed Jewry as capitalistic (as did Marx), it's very likely that Marx would have found them to be wonderfully and perfectly socialist. He did exactly what Marx advised: Take what you got and organize your own brand of socialism against the "concrete historical circumstances" in which they found themselves.

The very statement that "Hitler was not a socialist" by some imaginary perfect socialist checklist is itself a ludicrous notion. Marx never created one, it's only via the magic of a modern veil of anachronistic imagination that one can create such a yardstick by which to make such a claim. And so, we're back where we started, according to Marx himself: The Nazis, including Adolf Hitler, called themselves Socialists. The claimed an all-powerful centralized state power as having authority over the means of production. As such, they were socialists, by Marx' own definition.

In the end, the story follows the Occam's Razor theorem to the "T"…

A younger and idealistic Hitler returning from the Great War believed in and espoused many socialist ideas and political ideals and got together with a bunch of other young people also espousing socialist ideas. As he grew older and gained more political power, he found that those socialist ideas weren't much use when it was time to actually accomplish anything in the real world, so he did what all socialist rulers eventually do — he claimed power by force and used violence to try to achieve his political ends, killing millions of people along the way, all the while still calling himself a socialist. And Marx slept soundly in his grave.

Socialism is the building block that undergirds all forms of modern totalitarianism. But it should never be confused with a large welfare-state safety net. Charity and safety nets can be and should be created for those who cannot fully take care of themselves. As individuals, we have a responsibility to take care of and protect the weakest among us. If we fail to do this we revert back to the laws of the jungle, that leaves its weakest behind for the good of the "pride." Safety nets when done right are uniquely human and humane as still look to help individual.

The human "pride" knows that what ennobles man is that we refuse to leave the weakest behind to be eaten and we certainly could not call ourselves a noble species if our stated goal was to not only leave the weak behind, but to set out to purposely kill any group deemed "inferior" or slowing the pack down. A true safety net empowers anyone that has been kicked to the ground to stand back up. It gives them a hand up as an individual — while they regain their footing.

Socialism at its root is and always must be about the collective. Collective "injustice" in all of its forms. In opposition to a "safety net" for individuals, socialism looks for "groups" of victims and groups of villains. Socialism is at its heart a system that dismisses rights of the one for the gain of the many. Once those the in-group deems vermin, cockroaches, greedy, privileged or problems — anything is justifiable to provide "social justice" to the collective.

In western society, traditional western liberalism stand against the collective mob and as a protector of the individual. Once one understands why socialism is defined as a "stepping stone," you will begin to understand why the story usually ends in mass graves of enemies or starvation. Create a collective at the expense of the individual and it becomes a playground for those who seek power and riches at any cost, justifying every evil they commit in the name of the collective they are supposedly defending.

So yes, Virginia, Hitler really was a socialist. Tragically, a very successful one.