Categorized under: Just Like the Nazis

Glenn Beck compares Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust

Glenn Beck, speaking on his syndicated radio show, has compared the journalists and Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust, and indicated that Obama is like Hitler at the beginning of his reign of terror.

Kudos to Media Matters for consistently finding and pointing out the repeated Nazi references by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others.

Glenn Beck is playing with very dangerous toys here. His repeated invocation of the Holocaust is giving clear license to his listeners to believe the same. He apparently believes that Obama is another Hitler, but a Hitler of, say, 1932. Fresh off a democratic election, about to plunge headlong into unparalleled evil.

When you give people license to believe your extreme and whacked out analogies, as Beck is doing, you give them license to act on those beliefs, by any means necessary.

Glenn Beck you are scaring the living shit out of me.

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 8
Direct vs. Indirect 9
Inappropriateness 10

Total Score: 9+1=10 (bonus point for scaring me)

Categorized under: Just Like the Gestapo

LA Times writer compares Chinese Group to Gestapo

A victim of Chinese repression of the Falun Gong

A victim of Chinese repression of the Falun Gong

Yi-Yuan Chang, writing in the Los Angeles Times, tells the harrowing tale of her mother and sister’s arrest and effective disappearance into the Chinese judicial system several months ago at the hands of a secretive Chinese police force. Chang compares that force to the Gestapo.

On June 4, exactly 20 years to the day after the massacre at Tiananmen Square, my mother and sister were taken from their home in Shanghai and sent to jail for no other reason than the fact that they practice the Falun Gong faith. They still haven’t been charged with a crime or brought to trial (even if they do get a trial, it would be a farce). I searched high and low in Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million people, and I could not find one lawyer with the courage to take their case.

Their fate will be determined by the local 610 Office, a Gestapo-like organization charged with persecuting Falun Gong adherents. Source: LA Times

This is that rare situation where the analogy is absolutely 100 percent appropriate. I had honestly never heard of the 6-10 office prior to this article. But a quick perusal of several web sites shows it to be a fantastically scary organization. Comparisons to the Gestapo are entirely legitimate: Wholesale persecution of a religious minority (in this case the Falun Gong)? Check. A wide-ranging mandate to attack “enemies of the state”? Check. Repeated accusations of torture? Check.

Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese lawyer who defended persecuted members of the Falun Gong, called the 6-10 Office a “Gestapo-Like organization.” Then he went missing. No one has heard from him in two years.

You know how you can tell that your local school board, or planning commission, or parking enforcement office is NOT the Gestapo? Because you don’t disappear when you call them the Gestapo. Something to think about…

My heart goes out to Yi-Yuan Chang and her family.

A note about intent

bigstockphoto_chicken_821980-742211I was having dinner with my friend last night; she was one of the advocates that worked with me when I was the Advocacy Director of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, known as PAWS. We talked a bit about this web site and how the animal rights movement often uses the Holocaust in analogies that relate to factory farming, puppy mills, etc.

And you know what? I’ve thought about those analogies and made those comparisons myself. I see certain parallels between the inhumane treatment of chickens in egg-laying hen operations and the inhumanity that defined the Holocaust.

So does that make me a hypocrite for operating this web site?

I hope not. My intent for this site is not to attack or mock people who are exploring parallels between their favorite subject and the Holocaust or the Nazis. My intent is to attack and mock people who publicly make those analogies with the intent to influence others. In other words it is absolutely appropriate to explore parallels with the Nazi era; subjects should not be out of bounds just cuz, even Hitler.

But foisting those analogies on the general public, that’s a mockin’. The simple fact is that any analogy to Hitler or the Holocaust has an impossibly high standard to meet. So unless your talking about, say, the genocide in Rwanda, you will always be better served by coming up with a better analogy.

What I am talking about here is the effectiveness of your argument. When you make an analogy in the public sphere, you are, by definition, trying to influence others in to accepting your position. Don’t you want the most effective argument?

It is ironic that many, if not most, people who invoke the Holocaust or Nazi analogy think they are making the strongest and therefore the most effective argument. In reality they are invoking the weakest of all arguments because their audience finds it ridiculous. This isn’t to say that the person making the argument is ridiculous, or even that the analogy is ridiculous; simply that the general audience hearing the analogy is going to find it ridiculous.

So sometimes I will use this site to readily mock people who’ve made The Analogy That Cannot be Topped. If you find yourself on the receiving end of said mocking, please consider that I am actually addressing your actions, not your beliefs. If you can accept me despite my seeing parallels between chickens and the Nazi era, I can accept that you see parallels between the Hitler Youth and a group of schoolchildren singing about Barack Obama. Just don’t expect sympathy if you express those thoughts publicly with the intent to influence others.

Louisiana blogger invokes Hitler and brownshirts

Lousiana blogger Michael Connelly has compared the Obama administrations efforts to pass health care reform to Nazi efforts to quell dissent, as well as compared the SEIU labor union  to Nazi brownshirts.

The concept is not new. It was successfully practiced by the Nazi Party in Germany and the Communist revolutionists in Russia, China, and Cuba. The idea is to demonize the opposition and to shut them down by establishing complete control over the news media, and any other methods of free communication of thought. Of course, the vast majority of Americans believe that this type of control can never happen in our country. Unfortunately, it is already happening and there are efforts in the works to make it happen faster.

While Americans of every political persuasion try to voice their concerns at town hall meetings, members of Congress run for cover by cancelling events or limiting entry only to those who will agree with their positions. The President himself conducts town hall meetings that are so carefully orchestrated that questions and answers are prepared beforehand. The voices of dissent at many of these meetings are locked out and even assaulted by a squad of carefully selected goons from the SEIU, a so-called labor union that is becoming more and more like the brown shirts of Nazi Party every day.

When Hitler or any of his Nazi Party cohorts were speaking at public functions the platform they used was surrounded by brown shirts to “protect them”. Their actual job was to station themselves both outside and inside of the place where the function was being held. They denied entry to those that might not be true believers and if anyone did make it inside they were quickly and violently removed if they failed to follow the party line. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Source: Connelly Blog

I find myself categorizing various people who invoke The Analogy That Cannot Be Topped into two camps. You have the people that don’t think through the analogy at all; they are simply throwing it out there to create maximum immediate impact. Then you have the folks that clearly have thought it through; they are not making the comparison glibly and they tend to back up their analogy with descriptive examples to prove their case. It’s the latter category that is the most disturbing because nine times out of ten their history is selectively chosen and their description of modern events is myopic at best.

Mr. Connelly falls into the latter category. According to Huffman’s Hitler Hypothesis, anything can be reduced to an analogy with Hitler or the Nazis. You are not necessarily going to win your argument simply because you’ve found what you believe to be a parallel between your subject matter and the Nazis. And you are likely to turn off a significant portion of your audience who react negatively every single time the Nazi analogy is invoked, regardless of how strong your “case” may be.

It is rational and prudent as an American to be concerned over any efforts at quelling dissent and free discourse. The most shameful and obvious recent example is the suppression of dissenting voices and facts in the lead up to the Iraq war. George Bush also notoriously stage managed his town hall appearances to ensure only positive voices were heard. At the time there was a drumbeat among the left that this was a wholesale mimicry of Nazi Germany.

Well it wasn’t. And it was insane to say so. The suppression of alternate voices was shameful and awful, but it wasn’t a return to Nazi Germany.

After many of the town hall meetings between congressmen and congresswomen and their constituents devolved into one-way screaming matches, many in congress pulled back and began to take steps to limit but not eliminate opposing voices.

I personally find this a weak-assed tactic. I think that congresspeople should regularly hold town hall meetings and if their constituents want to yell at them, so be it. But if a congressman decides to structure to the forum to ensure other voices also get heard I’m not going to assume it is the second coming of Hitler.

Every single thing can be reduced to an analogy about Hitler. EVERY SINGLE THING. But does that mean it’s appropriate to do so? There is, well, baggage associated with Hitler. Do you really want to have that baggage as part of your case? Because it’s quite unavoidable.

If you are planning on making an argument that will invoke a Hitler analogy, please ask yourself first: “What makes my argument so correct compared to the people who compare abortion to the Holocaust, or the people who think their planning commission is the Gestapo, or their school board is a modern day Nazi movement, or the hordes of people who thought Eisenhower, then Kennedy, then Johnson, then Nixon, then Ford, then Carter, then Reagan (especially Reagan), then Bush, then Clinton, and then the second Bush were clearly establishing a Nazi state? If they were wrong, what make you so sure you’re correct?

Time to bone up on my primer.

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 4
Direct vs. Indirect 9
Inappropriateness 9

Total Score: 7

Categorized under: Just Like Goebbels

RedState editor compares Obama official to Goebbels

Step one, get everyone covered through health care reform. Step two, kill all the Jews.

Step one, get everyone covered through health care reform. Step two, kill all the Jews.

Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative RedState.com site, has compared White House Spokesperson Linda Douglass to Joseph Goebbels on his Twitter account.

Here’s another link where Erickson mentions the analogy.

Kudos to Talking Points Memo for catching this, and for outlining exactly who Goebbels was and why this particular analogy is offensive.

C’mon, Mr. Erickson. You are smarter than this. I know you are limited to a 140 character limit. But did those 140 characters have to equate this woman with the man who helped sell the antisemitic beliefs that led to the deaths of 6 million Jews?

Here’s an alternate Twitter: “Erick Erickson really is the Jughead of the Conservative movement.”

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 4
Direct vs. Indirect 9
Inappropriateness 9

Total Score: 7

Why won’t FemaCamp doc producers speak with me?

The producers of a new documentary exposing what the producers believe is a vast conspiracy the Obama administration to build concentration camps through the auspices of FEMA have accepted, then declined, my request for an interview about their extensive comparisons of Hitler Youth imagery in their documentary. Since they are apparently unwilling to discuss the issue with me directly, I’m posting the questions I was going to ask them below; you can decide for yourself if they had any reason to avoid me.

The film in question is called Camp Fema: American Lockdown. It appears to be an omnibus case for a generalized conspiracy to created a national police force and to establish a network of concentration camps throughout the United States. The producers, William Lewis and Gary Franchi, have posted a particularly provocative clip on youtube drawing a parallel between Obama’s supporters and various statements from him and the administration suggesting some form of a national service, and the Hitler Youth.

Yesterday I contacted the producer and director’s media relations outlet, proposing an interview. I made it clear that I was from a website that focuses on people drawing The Analogy That Cannot Be Topped and that I am no fan of people who use this analogy.  I explained that despite my antipathy that I am a good listener and was genuinely interested in hearing about their thought process. Debbie, their media representative, e-mailed me this morning offering to set up an interview with me, wondering whether I’d like to talk to both of the producers together, or separately. I indicated that I’d be happy to talk to one or both, but it would be best to just do one interview, and I would be completely accommodating to their schedule.  By this evening, I received a second e-mail from Debbie explaining that their schedule is too busy to accommodate me.

So no interview.

Of course now I’m stuck with all these questions here. Let me know in the comments if there are additional questions that I missed:

  • In the film clip posted on Youtube, called Obama Youth Army?, you draw a detailed and direct comparison between current suggestions of the Obama Administration concerning a national service and the Hitler Youth. Do you think this a conscious effort on the Obama Administration to emulate the Hitler Youth?
  • What is your knowledge of the Hitler Youth, the historical circumstances that led to their development, how the organization developed, and the structure of German society that allowed a Hitler Youth to thrive?
  • You are overtly comparing Obama to Hitler in this clip. Since my blog is called “Worse than Hitler,” do you think it’s possible that Obama is actually worse than Hitler? Or has the capability of being Worse that Hitler?
  • Every presidential election cycle presidential candidates propose some form of national service. The proposals never seems to get brought up after the elections (other than in small ways). And we haven’t even had a military draft for almost 40 years. Why is Obama different than every other time national service has been brought up?
  • Of course the Hitler Youth was inextricably entwined with antisemitism; children were taught how the Jews were responsible for all of Germany’s woes, and membership for “Aryan” children was mandatory. Do you see similar antisemitic elements in Obama’s plans? If not, was there a consideration in the editing bay on how to handle the seemingly unavoidable antisemitic angle?
  • On my website I find literally hundreds of ways that people make analogies to Hitler. In many of these cases, these people have put a lot of thought into their analogy; be it comparing abortion to the Holocaust, their local planning commission to the Gestapo, or their local newspaper editor to book-burning Nazis for canceling the Alley Oop comic. How should we parse out yours and these analogies and decide whether is is appropriate or not?
  • People have been comparing president after president to Hitler seemingly since 1945. I remember distinctly Reagan and Clinton being compared to Hitler, and the amount of “Bush=Hitler” vitriol was remarkable. What makes Obama=Hitler any different than these other comparisons to Hitler in the past?
  • I call comparisons to Hitler and the Nazi era “The Analogy that Cannot Be Topped” because it can’t be bested once invoked. Can you imagine an analogy that you could have made that is actually worse than comparing Obama to Hitler?
  • Wouldn’t it have been possible to build an argument about your beliefs that Obama is indoctrinating youth without invoking the Hitler Youth and the baggage that goes along with it?

Do you have more questions? Put them in the comments!

Categorized under: Just Like the Hitler Youth

Singing schoolchildren “Just Like the Hitler Youth” says unemployed man

Chris Concannon, an unemployed New Jersey man, says that a youtube video showing area schoolchildren singing about Barack Obama is directly comparable to the Hitler Youth.

Gibson said that while parents had different views about how problematic the song may have been, one thing was unanimous: They don’t like having television trucks and reporters camped out on the streets near the school.

Friday afternoon, there were two police cars posted outside the building.

There wasn’t much protest, though. One man, Chris Concannon, from nearby Magnolia, was outside hoping to speak with school officials about what happened.

“It’s just like the Hitler Youth all over again,” said Concannon, an unemployed 26-year-old former National Guardsman. “They should be learning history, but instead they’re being taught to worship the president.” Source: NY Post

Yes, Mr. Concannon is correct. A group of kindergartners singing a song once about Obama is clear evidence of an American Hitler Youth.

Is there a disorder that causes some people to jump immediately to the most extreme analogy? Let’s say you really believe that a group of 20 odd kids singing a song for a few minutes is evidence of something. Should you really immediately says that it’s just like an organization that indoctrinated as many as 5 million children with a virulently antisemitic philosophy? An organization that developed a dense cell structure and infiltrated all aspects of German society?

OK granted, you might be completely nuts, and you might think that this is going to happen in American under Adolf Obama. But can we all agree that it hasn’t happened yet? And because of this, invoking the Hitler Youth, and the antisemitic baggage that goes along with it is perhaps a bit premature?

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 7
Direct vs. Indirect 8
Inappropriateness 9
Final Score 8

Categorized under: Just Like Hitler

Obama is Worse than Hitler; proof is on Youtube

President Barack Obama is Worse than Hitler, according to a youtube video produced shortly after Obama’s election. The video equates Obama’s rhetorical skill and his ability to inspire children to the power of Hitler.

I’ve often thought I should have called my blog “Just Like Hitler” because it’s just so rare that someone actually says that Obama/Bush/The Local Planning Commission/the Police is/are WORSE than Hitler. That’s why this youtube video is so wonderful and perfect. The creator simply does not know or care that he is violating the final rhetorical taboo. While it is apparently OK to say that someone is just like Adolf Hitler, saying that same person is worse than Hitler is just plain wrong, apparently. Personally I find it hard to find a distinction between the two comparisons, but maybe that’s just me.

I was made aware of this video through the alt.politics Google newsgroup. User “Tater Gumfries” linked to this video after his own missive titled “Obama WORSE than Hitler:

More and more people are coming to this realization. Nothing could be more clear — how can anyone not in league with this genocidal madman and his minions not see it? Hitler never attacked his own people, yet Obama is killing millions a day with his death panels and HMO extermination camps. Source: Google Groups

It takes a special kind of racist to look back at the millions of Jewish Germans and not even consider them part of the German people.

*EDITS* I’ve corrected some dumb spelling errors thanks to this pretty funny thread pointing them out. Ironically when I was writing the initial post yesterday, I was also engaging in an e-mail thread with my niece castigating her for spelling categories as “catagorys” (she’s 16 for God’s sake). Her response was “who cares about spelling in 2009.” Picture me lowering my head and slowly shaking it side to side.

Outrage-O-Meter Notes: I am lumping these two instances together. Necessarily the Audience Reach metric is small; less than 10,000 people have viewed the video, for instance, on youtube. But the sentiment in both the video and the comment above that was inspired by the video are so God damned awful that I am adding some bonus points for spite.

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 2
Direct vs. Indirect 10
Inappropriateness 10
Final Score 7+3=10

Categorized under: Just Like Hitler

Sheriff Arpaio compares himself to Hitler

Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Do these make me look fat?"

Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Do these make me look fat?"

Controversial Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio joked at a recent luncheon that he is often compared to racists and Adolf Hitler, despite what he believes are his progressive attitudes towards other races.

“All these people that come over, they could come with disease. [says Arpaio]. There’s no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables. How come they don’t check people? No one talks about that! They’re all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in — the baby diapers and all that. Where’s everybody who wants to preserve the desert?”

Ironically, some of this is what they used to say about Italian immigrants of Joe’s parents’ generation when they come to this country. But it gets worse. Check out this comment made by Arpaio to the Biltmore Ladies Lunch Group, shortly before terrorizing a Hispanic-looking waitress by making her think he was going to ask for her papers, all to the delight of the ofay bluehairs in attendance:

“My daughter has adopted children of various ethnicities . . . I got a black, a Mexican with Down syndrome even. And yet I’m the racist, I’m the fascist, I’m the Hitler!” Source: Phoenix New Times

This man absolutely exudes class.

Sheriff Arpaio is that rare person who seems genuinely happy to have been compared to Hitler. He obviously doesn’t agree with the sentiment behind the comparison, but he seems to love how the comparison burnishes his reputation.

Which is, of course, pathetic.

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 5
Direct vs. Indirect 6
Inappropriateness 6
Final Score 6

Gore Vidal equates Republicans with Hitler Youth

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

Noted author and public intellectual Gore Vidal has equated the modern Republican Party with the Hitler Youth in a lengthy interview with the Independent.

The United States is a madhouse. The country should be put away – and we’re being told to go away. Nothing makes any sense.” The President “wants to be liked by everybody, and he thought all he had to do was talk reason. But remember – the Republican Party is not a political party. It’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth. It’s full of hatred. You’re not going to get them aboard. Don’t even try. The only way to handle them is to terrify them. He’s too delicate for that. Source: The Independent

Gore Vidal hasn’t seemed this angry since he almost got into a fistfight with Norman Mailer on the Dick Cavett show.

I’m inclined to temper my Outrage-O-Meter score just a bit, because Mr. Vidal fairly clearly indicates he’s describing the mindset that infested the Hitler Youth, and compared THAT to the Republican Party. Of course he’s still invoking Hitler, sort of, and that’s rarely a good thing. But in the context of his entire scorched earth interview, the Hitler Youth comment doesn’t seem to stand out.

Outrage-O-Meter
Audience Reach 8
Direct vs. Indirect 6
Inappropriateness 6
Final Score 7

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