A while back I observed that one of the consequences of Adolf Hitler’s stain on history is that his reign of evil was so horrific and pervasive that he forever rendered it impossible to use any policy of Nazi Germany’s government as a cautionary example. You may invoke Nazi gun control policy when defending the right to bear arms. Doing so only leads to hysteria as people suddenly act as if you just equated gun control with genocide.
As with most political ground rules though, this only governs those on the right. While sensible and limited comparisons to less atrocious acts of the Hitler regime are off limits for conservatives, the left remains free to make the most unhinged and outlandish analogies between the current administration and Nazi Germany’s most evil deeds, with no fear of being called to account by the media who mostly share their unhinged and outlandish opinions.
Most are familiar with what has become known as Godwin’s law.
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1“; that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds.
There are many corollaries to Godwin’s law, some considered more canonical (by being adopted by Godwin himself) than others. For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that, when a Hitler comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever made the comparison loses whatever debate is in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin’s law.
The above corollary clearly does not apply to political debates among elected officials and mainstream media talking heads—at least not to those who occupy the political left. As we’ve seen this week with regard to the so-called crisis at the border where parents being prosecuted for illegal entry into the United States are being separated from their children.
I’ve grown cynical about the immigration issue because I think most politicians only use it as a wedge issue with no intent to find solutions, and I’ve always been cynical about the current administration, or at least about many of its supporters who often devolve into jingoism. I think the exchange between political hatchet-men Corey Lewandowsky and Zack Petkanas represents the current state of the debate on the issue. It is mostly (if not totally) about playing to the crowd, feigning outrage, and or scoring political zingers.
you sitting down?
here’s Corey Lewandowski mockingly saying “womp womp” to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was separated from her mother at the border.
— j.d. durkin (@jiveDurkey) June 20, 2018
The inanity of Twitter trolling has bled into every layer of public discourse. A vestigial sense of shame forces some to keep their rage-monkey posturing behind the internet wall of anonymity, but many have clearly decided that not being a complete jerk is a weakness. Those people have no qualms about performing their childish antics on live television and the infotainment cable networks are all too happy to exploit it as pure spectacle. Both the left and the right share this problem.
However, the comparisons people on the left are making to actual Nazi concentration camps take the debate out of the gutter and into the sewer. The Nazis exterminated millions of Jews along with no small number of other groups who didn’t fit the Nazi definition of “human.” Apart from there being a group of people housed in one place by a government authority there is no similarity between what is happening at the border and the internment of citizens into camps where they were forced into slave labor, denied food and basic comforts, experimented upon, and ultimately exterminated. Anyone suggesting a similarity should be ashamed.
Still, many are making that comparison apparently without even a twinge of guilt. It’s tempting to dismiss it as hyperbole but I honestly think people on the left believe it to be literally true.
Here’s a bit of idiocy I saw floating around on Facebook.
But as I said before, this sort of lunacy is no longer relegated to the interwebz. It occurs in our entertainment where it gets cheered by a live studio audience. Jimmy Kimmel, for example compared it to mothers choosing which of their children would die.
“Some people are comparing the situation to the movie ‘Sophie’s Choice.’ I don’t know that that’s fair. In ‘Sophie’s Choice’ the Nazis only made Meryl Streep give up one of her kids.”
The crowd groaned at the joke, and Kimmel turned and pointed at his house band, prompting a rimshot from the drummer. “Thank you,” Kimmel said.
In case you aren’t familiar with “Sophie’s Choice,” the titular choice comes when Sophie, played by Meryl Streep, and her two children, a boy and a girl, are taken to the concentration camp at Auschwitz — the Nazis demand she choose one of her children to be taken to the gas chamber and the other would go with her into the work camp.
It’s made all the more ridiculous when you realize Kimmel speaks for a party that literally supports the idea of mothers deciding their children should die. Humor requires a kernel of truth, but most late night comics these days are making do with DNC talking points.
Known nitwit Joe Scarborough on MSNBC compared immigrant children getting bathed to marching them to Nazi gas chambers.
“I know children are being marched away to showers, marched away to showers, being told they are—just like the Nazis said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back,” Scarborough said.
A certain amount of this buffoonery would be tolerable if it remained within the media, but elected officials are rattling off Nazi comparisons as well, Senator Diane Feinstein and Rep. Luis Guttierez, for example.
The left has always lacked a sense of proportion or a grasp of history that extends beyond whatever can be used for emotionally charged rhetoric, but their Trump hatred has enflamed them to new extremes. Discourse has largely gotten out of control and I still think it falls to conservatives to be the adults in the room, or else when the left gets back in power they’re going to be worse than Obama ever was or worse than we ever imagined Hillary would be.