This past weekend, I took the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum while I was in Washington, DC. As I recall, one of the earliest exhibits was devoted to the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. The Nazis’ repeated use of antisemitic propaganda eventually gained a foothold in a nation recently shamed and defeated in World War I. But to say the very least, there are no words, no reasonable justification for the unspeakable and horrid evils that the Nazis perpetrated upon the Jews, the handicapped, homosexuals, and various other groups in the Holocaust.  If anyone has the chance to see this museum, I would highly recommend it. One of many benefits of visiting a place like this is having a chance to put our current state of affairs in perspective.

As a conservative, it has always bothered me when someone on the left evokes Hitler or the Nazi party in comparison to someone on the right. Since such a tactic has been employed by some on the left, I suppose I might have even used it as well. But rarely is this ever truly justified, and if I have used this type of rhetoric in a trivial manner, I readily apologize,.for by employing such a comparison, either the legacy of history is distorted or the most hateful of insults is being delivered.

To accuse someone, of either political persuasion, of being similar to Adolf Hitler or the Nazi party is to diminish the nature of what actually happened. When Ward Churchill refers to those in the twin towers on 9/11 as “little Eichmanns,” he erodes the legacy of Adolf Eichmann. When anyone refers to tea party demonstrators as “brown shirts,” they essentially belittle what the “brown shirts” actually were. And yes, even when Ann Coulter compares Obama to Hitler, Hitler is trivialized. But also, when Ann Coulter is compared to Hitler, Hitler is trivialized once more. As much as it may upset my friends on the right, when Obama is given a Hitler mustache, we are no better than those who put said mustache on George W. Bush. Neither makes a valid point. Both accusations make the bearer of such a message into a discredited fool.

Have we watered down the nature of this history so much or are these comparisons truly sincere? If someone is well aware of what happened in Nazi Germany, and they proceed with such an accusation, it had better be founded with reasonable facts or it is nothing more than a rude and hateful insult. Certainly, it is the rightful nature of our free republic to allow such speech. The right of those to employ this type of rhetoric is without question. But the imprudence of this misuse of history cannot be denied.

However, if there are reasonable and factual comparisons to be drawn with Hitler or the Nazi party, they should be done with the utmost care, if not avoided altogether. We are to learn from our history in order to avoid the mistakes of the past. If we demean the truth of our history, we begin to dissolve the severity of these mistakes. This is something we cannot afford.

So, instead of employing self-destructive comparisons and emotional distractions, we should debate issues on the grounds of fact and merit. Otherwise, neither we nor those with whom we disagree will benefit.

Article first published as The Imprudence of Comparing to Hitler on Blogcritics.

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Comments
  1. anotheroklahomarose says:

    I am a Jewess. I am also the great-niece and great-granddaughter of individuals who served honorably in WWII. American gave sanctuary to over 200,000 of Hitler’s elite in exchange for “technology” which included but was not limited to the plans and scientists who developed the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American forces. This development and testing polluted for all time half the states of New Mexico and Nevada, which the US Government knew in advance. There were no less than 300 American corporations who founded, funded, and profited from the Holocaust and aided in putting Adolf Hitler in power. Among these were Prescott Bush, IBM and the Hollerith Machine, Ford Motor Company, Texaco, The Carnagie Foundations, The Rockefellar Institute, Anheuser-Busch, and the United States government, including President Roosevelt. All this is documented. I am impressed with your post. Your are right, however, many of these comparisons are on target for the ties to the past, the culpability, for allowing the atrocities and for profitting from those atrocities. Obama is tied to numerous terrorist organizations and is now planning to sell billions of dollars in US military equipment to Saudi Arabia, from whence half the 9/11 Attackers originated, were trained, were funded, and operate openly out of ARAMCO in Houston. I reported one cell out of OKC back in 1981 wrapped around an individual I dated for 6 weeks who then, and yet, stalked, broke into my home, committed vicious rape, stalked my son, and was – with his relatives – involved in the Bojinka Plot leading up to the OKC Murrah Bombing, involved in 9/11, and involved in the trafficking of narcotics, and of children. I reported all this to every state and local investigative agency and nothing was done. Not one thing. This creep still runs free, in Oklahoma, along with all his cronies, living as they please, while my life — 30 years later — and that of my only child, has been made a living hell. There are numerous justifications for the comparisons. All highly accurate. If you take the time to research the companies and their employees targeted in the 9/11 Attacks, you will find all tied directly or indirectly to political corruption, WWII and the Holocaust, and to the banking scandals tied to Hamas and Hezbollah which erupted a few years before 9/11 and involved the Bush Clan, numerous heavy corporations, numerous World Powers, and nearly all the still functioning corporations tied to the rise of Adolf Hitler and eugenics, which American was involved in prior to WWI.

    Shalom!
    Linda Knoll writing as AnotherOklahomaRose at WordPress.com. Sites included:
    Red Flight Through Memory
    Tears of the Rose
    Rose in the Storm
    To Love, Honor, and Obey
    Tears and Tickle Socks

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