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For some Americans, the universe is pretty simple: Everything that they don't like...is Hitler.

An administration massaging its talking points...is Hitler.

Expanding background checks to include gun shows as well as gun stores...is Hitler.

Shoddy bureaucratic practices in the Cincinnati office of the federal tax agency by appointees of the previous administration...is Hitler.

Granted, as a rhetorical scheme, this has an admirable simplicity. It allows men and women who may be of limited imagination or historical understanding (meathead is the technical term) to appear as pundits on television for minutes at a time without simply staring blankly into the camera and drooling. But if we too often use the words "Hitler," "Nazi," and "Gestapo" as synonyms for the word "bad," we might lose a bit of the complexity of a particular issue. It could happen.

With that in mind, here are three simple ways to distinguish Nazi Germany from 21st Century America.

1. If you don't have T4 euthanasia for immigrants, the old and weak, the mentally ill...you just might not be Hitler. Example: "They want to organize health care! That's just what Hitler did!" Does the Affordable Care Act order doctors to kill institutionalized patients who don't measure up to government standards? No? Then it's not like Hitler.

2. If you don't have hyperinflation so bad that it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread...you just might not be Hitler. Example: "Ben Bernanke's quantitative easing is inflating the dollar just like the currency was inflated right before Hitler came to power!" Has quantitative easing led to a $10,000 slice of pizza? No? Then it's not like Hitler.

3. If your gun control proposal doesn't involve completely disarming groups you have MARKED FOR DEATH, while EXPANDING gun privileges for right-wing whack jobs...you just might not be Hitler. Example: "Dianne Feinstein wants to register guns purchased at gun shows! She wants to put a limit on civilian magazines! Just like Hitler!" Is Senator Feinstein planning to liquidate NRA members? No. (She doesn't have to. They die from GSWs at a much higher rate than non-gun owners.) So the Jewish Senator from California is not like Hitler.

See how easy?

And Stephen Moore - Check back here for our next installment: "How To Tell If Something Is Rape."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's an even simpler test they can use: (13+ / 0-)

    If it's not Hitler, it isn't Hitler.

    Because really, there's nothing comparable to what that man was. Not that conservatives care if they make a mockery of those who suffered as a result of the misery and destruction Adolf Hitler unleashed upon the world, when they choose to make such ridiculous comparisons.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Fri May 17, 2013 at 12:22:59 AM PDT

    •  That's the Most Dangerous Position to Take On Any (6+ / 0-)

      topic, making an evil completely incomparable.

      Best strategy in the universe for guaranteeing that a repeat can never be spotted.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:27:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're fighting it all the time here -- people (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, rb608, SilentBrook

        who just refuse to believe that Dick Cheney, for example, is irredeemably and without limit, evil. Asking whether he is "as bad as" Hitler, or for that matter "worse than" Hitler, is beside the point. Setting up Hitler as some sort of unmatchable figure of evil demands that someone answer the question, if he were really that unique, what are the odds that he would ever have gotten where he did? The answer to that question is, "0.0". The world is full of potential Hitlers. The only thing separating them from power is opportunity and competence. Of those who achieve power, the only things separating them from Holocaust-scale atrocity are opportunity and motive.

        Anyone who believes Dick Cheney wouldn't have very happily created death camps and condemned some random but useful subpopulation of Americans to suffer therein, hasn't been paying attention. The only reasons Dick Cheney didn't create death camps are:

        A. It wouldn't have advanced any of his goals.

        and

        B. He couldn't have managed it with impunity, given the remnant of constitutional government that persists in the US.

        It certainly wasn't any virtuous morality on his part -- the man would do any amount of harm to any number of people, anytime that conditions A and B do not hold.

        When people reject 9/11 "It was an inside job" trutherism on the bizarre grounds that it's simply unthinkable that American politicians would ever be that evil, I just shake my head. I reject 9/11 trutherism on the grounds that:

        1. Cheney hasn't got the guts.
        2. It couldn't have been kept a secret.

        Both 1 and 2 apply to condition B above. The attacks certainly furthered Cheney's various goals, so A is not operative. However, Cheney's essential gutlessness -- he is not a risk-taker, as far as I can tell -- combined with the high likelihood of being "caught" (whatever that might entail), mean that for him to orchestrate such an attack was simply not within his power.

        Again: Anyone who supposes that Dick Cheney is insufficiently evil to have orchestrated a false-flag attack against his own countrymen has not been paying attention.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:55:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The reason to reject the idea that Bush-Cheney (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          UntimelyRippd, rb608, SilentBrook

          orchestrated the 9-11 attacks is that they worked.

          •  well, there's that, too. (0+ / 0-)

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:26:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  BTW, whatever else I think of GWB, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb608, SilentBrook

            I do not believe he would have been morally capable of a false-flag attack on the scale of 9/11. Unlike Cheney, GWB appears to actually believe he's operating in behalf of Goodness and Truth and Light. I don't think he could ever have persuaded himself that a crime against America on the scale of 9/11 was Good and True and Lightful.

            Cheney, on the other hand, doesn't give a fuck about Goodness or Truth or Light. The little lecture near the end of 1984, where the dude explains to our poor protagonist that, no, the powers-that-be do not entertain self-justifications that their brutal exercise of power is somehow actually in the best interests of the proles, but rather their brutal exercise of power is its own justification, its own purpose: That lecture appears to match Cheney's own philosophy pretty closely.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:44:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Some guys comparable to Hitler: (0+ / 0-)

        Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Leopold II of Belgium (in the Congo Free State), and for want of a more powerful country to rule, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Nicolae Ceausescu.

        Quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

        by Sura 109 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 11:52:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

        Within reason, I suppose I should have said. I was coming at it more from the angle of Hitler's unique implementation, I guess.

        And the difference in scale when it's used to such cheapening effect by conservatives.

        That Hitler and Stalin, for example, are indeed very comparable is undeniable.

        And I agree, Hitler can and should be used as a reference for potential repeats. It's the sloppy misuse of the comparison, as noted in the diary, that would blunt its effectiveness should a situation arise that would call for its legitimate use.

        Because the reaction to such comparisons by anyone not actually making the hyperbolic comparisons themselves or buying into them, is almost reflexive: You can't play the Hitler card without it automatically being dismissed by reason of Godwin.




        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Fri May 17, 2013 at 03:14:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  ROFL, and thanks for that! (9+ / 0-)

    Oh, and this one?:

    2. If you don't have hyperinflation so bad that it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread...you just might not be Hitler. Example: "Ben Bernanke's quantitative easing is inflating the dollar just like the currency was inflated right before Hitler came to power!" Has quantitative easing led to a $10,000 slice of pizza? No? Then it's not like Hitler.
    I think you need to send this to every GOPer everywhere, plus the MSM.

    None of them seem to get it.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Fri May 17, 2013 at 12:51:09 AM PDT

  •  The inflation thing was Weimar, not Hitler! (13+ / 0-)

    Obama's real Hitler-like qualities are that he is anti-smoking and he wants to fix our infrastructure.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri May 17, 2013 at 03:32:35 AM PDT

    •  Was result of French invasion for AUSTERITY (5+ / 0-)

      French leadership chose to respond to a break in the AUSTERITY REPAYMENT BY GERMANY OF WW1 DEBTS with an occupation of the Ruhr so France would TAKE the reparations itself and therefore resulted in the sorts of economic chaos and disruption everyone had predicted.

      Poincaré decided to occupy the Ruhr on 11 January 1923 to extract the reparations himself. The real issue during the Ruhrkampf (Ruhr struggle), as the Germans labelled the battle against the French occupation, was not the German defaults on coal and timber deliveries but the sanctity of the Versailles treaty.[9] Poincaré often argued to the British that letting the Germans defy Versailles in regards to the reparations would create a precedent that would lead to the Germans dismantling the rest of the Versailles treaty.[10] Finally, Poincaré argued that once the chains that had bound Germany in Versailles were destroyed, it was inevitable that Germany would plunge the world into another world war.[10]

      Initiated by French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré, the invasion took place on 11 January 1923. Some theories state that the French aimed to occupy the centre of German coal, iron, and steel production in the Ruhr area valley simply to get the money. Some others state that France did it to ensure that the reparations were paid in goods, because the Mark was practically worthless because of hyperinflation that already existed at the end of 1922. France had the iron ore and Germany had the coal. Each state wanted free access to the resource it was short of, as together these resources had far more value than separately. (Eventually this problem was resolved in the European Coal and Steel community.)

      Following France's decision to invade the Ruhr,[11] the Inter-Allied Mission for Control of Factories and Mines (MICUM)[12] was set up as a means of ensuring coal repayments from Germany.[13]

      The occupation was initially greeted by a campaign of passive resistance. Approximately 130 German civilians were killed by the French occupation army during the events. Some theories assert that to pay for "passive resistance" in the Ruhr, the German government began the hyper-inflation that destroyed the German economy in 1923.[9] Others state that the road to hyperinflation was well established before with the reparation payments that started on November 1921.[14] (see 1920s German inflation) In the face of economic collapse, with huge unemployment and hyperinflation, the strikes were eventually called off in September 1923 by the new Gustav Stresemann coalition government, which was followed by a state of emergency. Despite this, civil unrest grew into riots and coup attempts targeted at the government of the Weimar Republic, including the Beer Hall Putsch. The Rhenish Republic was proclaimed at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in October 1923.

      Though the French did succeed in making their occupation of the Ruhr pay, the Germans through their "passive resistance" in the Ruhr and the hyperinflation that wrecked their economy, won the world's sympathy, and under heavy Anglo-American financial pressure (the simultaneous decline in the value of the franc made the French very open to pressure from Wall Street and the City), the French were forced to agree to the Dawes Plan of April 1924, which substantially lowered German reparations payments.[15] Under the Dawes Plan, Germany paid only 1 billion marks in 1924, and then increasing amounts for the next three years, until the total rose to 2.25 billion marks by 1927.[16]

      But national elites never ever ever ever learn, so today's European elites -- Germany -- are all stiffly demanding that the people of the periphery -- Greece -- suffer so that their bankers' obligations to Germany's bankers are honored.

      And what bad could come of that?

  •  Where's Mel Brooks When You Need Him? nt (5+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:28:18 AM PDT

  •  Hitler did do one good thing for the world: (6+ / 0-)

    He killed Hitler.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:45:27 AM PDT

  •  Hey! What about the mustache? (0+ / 0-)

    For example, the only way I know that Thomas Friedman is not Hitler is because he's totally got the wrong mustache!

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:28:20 AM PDT

  •  One more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, GAS

    Do you have

    (a) a comprehensive network of beautiful, well maintained highways where cars and motorbikes can largely go as fast as they like and are capable of;

    or

    (b) crappy badly surfaced highways full of potholes, cracks, ripples and mile long scars where a dumbass trailer goof dragged the trailer with a leg down ploughing a furrow in the road surface. These are patrolled by arrogant rude anally retentive jackbooted thugs in black who ticket you for going slightly faster than the ridiculously low speed limit.

    cos if the answer aint A.... you aint Hitler.

  •  The Hitler motif has been around for a while. (0+ / 0-)

    The re-written of Hitler as a socialst/liberal has been going on for awhile now.  The most recent is Jonah Goldberg's grede school piece equating modern liberals with Hitler/Nazism (Hitler was a vegetarian, and vegatarism is liberal, therefore, liberals are Hitlers.)

    The first I heard the "liberals are Hitlers, at my ex-inlaws Pentecostal born-again church way back when.  Seemed rather bizarre at the time.  But there is "research" that points our comparisons between the Nazis and liberals/socialism that proves Hitler is the source of modern liberalism.  

    Right wing Christians in particular have become obsessed with "de-Christianizing the Nazis", arguing they were in fact godless socialists because in particular, their religious beliefs stem from Nietzsche.  This theme was used in debates Hitchens would have over his book on the evils of religion.  (Hitchens would point out the Holocaust was the direct result of a 1,000 years of Europen Christian anti-Semitism.)

    Nazis give Christians a bad name, so they must be rewritten as godless liberal/socialists.  The theme has become an easy, ready to use, rheotical billclub to use on any issue--it is now more a dog whistle to the faithful.  It is in a sense for them, not just a convienent, nor a spur of the moment argument, but a proven assertion that Nazism is a liberal idealogy, and all you of dailyos miscreants are part of the movement.

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