It seems to be a feature of the modern political discourse to label anyone who has ideas some consider to be too strict, a Nazi. Or if someone speaks in language others think is too deliberate, unless you’re a liberal, that person must be sporting a distorted pagan symbol for good luck under their jacket.
This type of slandering is beginning to reach critical mass among the intellectually weak who seem to have found their natural environment among the anti-Bush forces.
This knee-jerk bashing isn’t limited to our side of the pond, however.
Last year an official of the German government accused President Bush of using Hitler-like scapegoat tactics in his foreign policy. Setting aside the fact that Germans are the very last people on Earth who should be slinging around the Hitler comparisons, I thought it was instructive in showing that Americans aren’t unique in their ignorance of their own history.
Last month’s publicity stunt by the super-hip, Clinton-era refugee group moveonintogeorgesoroslap.org, sponsored a contest to develop the best anti-Bush ad, with a submission being displayed on the group’s website comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler with phrases like “God told me to fight Al Qaida.”
Without rehashing the entire episode, it would seem that the super-cool, super-trendy people at moveon.org are saying that when a non-liberal politician expresses a strong religious foundation to his thinking, that such a person is secretly professing a strong faith in Nazism. Listening to these people, they’d have us all believe that the USA Patriot Act is akin to the Nuremberg Laws, with John Ashcroft as a modern day Wilhelm Stuckart, author of Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg anti-Jewish laws.
Such a comparison fits into that ignorance category I mentioned above.
The problem with rhetoric such as this is that it desensitizes us to the real Nazis, such as the ones hanging out in Westland, Michigan, the headquarters for the American Nazi Party. And yes, they’re still around.
Besides that, there are plenty of groups around that actually act like Nazis. Examine this comparison: The Nazis had a supreme leader called The Fuhrer. He gave charismatic speeches and whipped his followers up into a frenzy. Some of those followers carried his picture, wore black uniforms and committed acts of extreme violence at his bidding. Today there are people who follow a supreme leader called ihe imam, or mullah. He gives charismatic speeches and whips his followers up into a frenzy. Some of these followers carry his picture, wear a black uniform and commit acts of extreme violence at his bidding. I mean, by moveon.org’s standards that makes these jihadist Muslims just like the Nazis. Right?
Now before some of you allow your blood pressure to pop out your eyeballs, understand that I’m giving an example of absurdity by being absurd. Obviously Islam has about as much in common with Nazism as democracy does, which is to say nothing. There is absolutely nothing in the practice of true Islam that advocates anything but the absolute opposite of anything remotely related to Nazism. And of course let’s not forget that jihad as it is actually espoused in the Qur’an has been brutally distorted by those who scream it all the time, using it as a default philosophy when its original intent was as a final defense arrangement for one’s community.
One could, of course, use any number of extremist group comparisons in place of jihadist Muslims, and the point still stands – one finds whatever one is looking for.
For people like moveon.org to be so blinded by their hatred of Bush as to think that he is anything like Adolf Hitler shows exactly how ridiculous and extremist they are. Kind of like the Nazis.
Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at s.Wacholtz@umiami.edu.