May 20, 2005

Hitlers Everywhere!

Hm, so both Sens. Robert Byrd and Rick Santorum have compared their opponents to Hitler. But weighing the evidence, I'm going to have to say that breaking Senate rules to abolish the filibuster is a little more like Hitler than using filibusters. On the other hand, I've heard that our very own Barbara Boxer is a vegetarian, so that makes her most like Hitler.

Really, though, I don't understand why Hitler analogies are so beyond the pale. Yes, yes, not everyone wants to murder millions and millions of Jews. Not Bill Frist, not Nancy Pelosi. And yes, the Holocaust was a horrible thing, a uniquely horrible thing, even. But not all Hitler comparisons need to take the form, "If you do X, it will lead to World War II and mass genocide," to be valid. Politicians around the world can take all sorts of initial steps and abuses of power that resemble the sort of thing Hitler did in the early days. That ought to be pointed out! Billmon often makes sharp (and sometimes not-so-sharp) analogies between Germany in the 1930s and our present situation, and while no one thinks we're actually going to descend into full-blown Nazism, it's a perfectly sound reminder of the type of thing that can happen when these sorts of abuses and power grabs are allowed to slide unchecked. Even halfway to Hitler is still too much Hitler. Now Rick Santorum's problem was that his analogy was stupid, not that he made the analogy in the first place.
-- Brad Plumer 1:32 PM || ||