Posts Tagged “appeal to the third reich”
The compound train-wreck which is the Apricot Wonder’s presidential administration just keeps piling up more wreckage. White House press secretary Sean Spicer — who already faces a monumental credibility gap, having begun his tenure by angrily (not to mention brazenly) lying about the size of the Groper-in-Chief’s inauguration crowd (WebCite cached article), just outdid himself in asinine stupidity. At today’s press conference, as the New York Times explains, he not only went off the rails, he polevaulted over them and sailed half a mile beyond (cached):
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, set off an intense backlash on Tuesday when he suggested that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler and said incorrectly that Hitler had not used chemical weapons during World War II or against his own people.
Mr. Spicer was attempting to lend gravity to the actions of Mr. Assad, who United States officials believe used sarin gas, a lethal chemical weapon, in an attack on a rebel-held area of Idlib Province last week that killed dozens.
Hitler oversaw a network of extermination camps where gas chambers were used to kill millions of Jews and others deemed to be harmful to the German state.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Mr. Spicer said.…
Asked to clarify his remarks, Mr. Spicer acknowledged that Hitler used chemical agents, but maintained that there was a difference.
CNN offers video of Spicer’s cringeworthy debacle:
I can’t even describe the inanity and idiocy of comparing al-Assad to Hitler. There are just no words. I mean … seriously!? … what the fuck is wrong with Spicer? As a rule, Hitler comparisons are always a bad idea. This one is many times worse, because as it turns out, the Nazis definitely gassed Jews and others in concentration camps — in horrifically large numbers, at that. Spicer’s comparison is pure lunacy! It’s indefensible … period, end of story, full stop.
I expect, though, that Spicer and the rest of the Groper’s minions will continue — in spite of the obvious absurdity of doing so — defending this insane comparison. Moreover, their fanbois will join in the defense, and rail against any members of the media who lambaste Spicer over his buffoonish comparison. They’ll do so largely because of their allegiance to the Groper-in-Chief, whom they think can do no wrong, and because some of the Democrats they so vehemently despise have demanded Spicer’s resignation over the matter (cached). Democrats’ vilification of Spicer means — in the eyes of militant Rightists — that he must be correct.
This is a lesson in my principle (described above) that Third Reich comparisons are usually a bad idea, just by their very nature. I blogged about this, not only because of how tremendously crazy Spicer’s comparison is, but because as a rule, Hitler comparisons are altogether too common. The Right flung them at Barack Obama and the Democrats for the last 8 years, and they’re now being heaved at the Right from the opposite direction. It needs to fucking stop already. Time for everyone to grow up, fercryinoutloud, and put the Nazi comparisons away.
Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on proverb.
Tags: adolf hitler
, appeal to the third reich
, appeal to third reich
, bashar al-assad
, chemical weapons
, idlib province
, khan sheikhoun
, khan sheikhoun attack
, sean spicer
, syrian civil war
, third reich
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I’ve blogged before about how quick ideologues are to leap on the emotionally-charged reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy. It seems there is no letup in this phenomenon, in spite of how obviously invalid it is. The latest example that’s come to my attention is the following column by militant Rightist Thomas Sowell, courtesy of Jewish World Review (WebCite cached article), which opens as follows:
When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics. Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.
It’s curious that Sowell is complaining about “activating” people who haven’t previously been politically active … especially since his own fellow Right-wingers in the “Tea Party” could also be described this way. Oh well. You have to just accept a certain amount of brazen hypocrisy from a guy like that.
At any rate, while Sowell does not actually state in this column that “Obama is a Nazi” or “the Democrats are the Nazi Party,” his opening the column with the above paragraph cannot have any intention other than to make just this comparison. The reductio ad Hitlerum here is implied, rather than stated outright. It’s a clever move, I admit, but it’s also transparent.
In any event, allow me to address several points about this:
Among the first things Hitler and his Nazi party did, once he became Chancellor in January 1933, was to outlaw other political parties, beginning with the Communists, then the Social Democrats, then the (Weimar) Democrats, the People’s party, the Centrists etc., eventually banning all parties other than their own. I’m not aware that Obama or the Democrats have even begun to make any moves along the lines of abolishing any other political parties.
Hitler and the Nazis nationalized the country, dismissing the elected governments of Germany’s various states, and appointing Nazi operatives to run them. To my knowledge, neither Obama nor the Democrats have absconded with any of the 50 state governments; their elected governors and legislators remain in place.
Prior to their seizure of power, Hitler and the Nazis had a freecorps or militia working for them, the Sturmabteilung (aka the S.A., Brownshirts, or storm troopers), who intimidated the Nazis’ opponents and rivals in the years leading to Hitler’s appointment, and which became their privately-run enforcement arm afterward (eventually spawning the dreaded Schutzstaffel, aka the S.S.). I haven’t heard that Obama or the Democrats have any such militia, at the moment.
Hitler and the Nazis also took control of higher education in Germany, installing loyal Nazis to run the universities and expelling many professors (particularly Jewish) they deemed harmful to the regime or to Nazi ideology. But I haven’t heard that Obama or the Democrats have changed the management or faculty of any university or college.
The Nazis also abolished all labor unions, forcing workers to join, instead, a nationalized agency, known as the German Labor Front (aka the D.A.F.) which essentially placed Germans at the whim of their employers. Not one union, on the other hand, has been outlawed since Obama took office … that I’m aware of, anyway.
The people in charge of organizations that the Nazis abolished — such as rival political parties, the trade unions, etc. — were exiled and/or placed in concentration camps. These imprisonments numbered in the thousands, in the early years of the Nazi regime. I’m not aware that Obama or the Democrats have even come close to doing anything like this.
This is just a small selection. The truth is that the Nazi regime, in its early years, did many things the current administration hasn’t even dreamed about doing, much less attempted to do.
Really, details matter. If you’re going to call Obama and his administration “Nazis” — or as Sowell does, merely imply that they’re Nazis — then there have to be some details in common. I see no comparison, however. Obama hasn’t even come close to doing any of these things which were early hallmarks of the Nazi regime.
Granted, this is not a phenomenon solely found in the Right. It’s something I’ve seen coming from the Left, during the George W. Bush administration; Bush and Cheney were also compared to Hitler and the Nazis, in their time. However, I’ve found this rhetoric to be more frequent, at the moment, wielded by the Right.
For the most part, when someone compares Obama — or any other person or group — to Hitler and/or the Nazis, it’s not because there’s a discernible and objective resemblance. It’s merely because the accuser happens not to like them. Basically, then, it’s nothing more than name-calling. It’s childish, and therefore not acceptable behavior in grown adults. People like Sowell are much too old to be engaging in behavior this juvenile … yet they do so, nonetheless. One wonders why … ?
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Tags: adolph hitler
, appeal to hitler
, appeal to the third reich
, argumentum ad hitlerum
, reductio ad hitlerum
, third reich
, thomas sowell
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