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August 19, 2009

Your mainstream media mavens: It's kind of extreme to link Nazis and health insurance

Mark Silva writes on the Chicago Tribune's blog, "The attempted equation of a health-care overhaul with Nazism, fascism or any such oppressive political mechanism probably defines the outer boundaries of the debate."

Great, Silva thinks that Nazi analogies are the "outer boundary" of debate. I.e., a fringe and minority view, but still part of the debate.

It's not. It's demagoguery trivializing the Holocaust. If Sarah Palin and the Republican establishment weren't encouraging the Nazi talk, Silva wouldn't set up the following video as a "debate" between Jewish Rep. Barney Frank's and a protester who accused him of supporting Nazism:


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"It's demagoguery trivializing the Holocaust."

Exactly so. The likes of Limbaugh have been doing that going on decades now. Did he coin the insult he uses to refer to feminists? I don't know, but it insults the Nazis' victims. Would it be surprising that angry white RWers who feel themselves mortally threatened by a public heathcare option (!) might also secretly despise the human beings who were rendered into ashes, paperweights, and soap?

Frank did this just right, relegating her outside the limits of public deliberation -- and without according her undue respect.

It's not. It's demagoguery trivializing the Holocaust.

This argument would be stronger if "fascist" hadn't years ago become a synonym for "bad" for many on the left.

This argument would be stronger if "fascist" hadn't years ago become a synonym for "bad" for many on the left.

I'm not so sure about that. After all, fascism (which is actually the ideology espoused by Mussolini) is distinct from Nazism, even though the two are often confused because of their authoritarian nature and the alliance between Italy and Germany.

Now, I agree that fascism shouldn't be used as a generic insult. That said, it's not quite the same as an insult-by-accusation of Nazism.

Italian fascism and Nazism aren't that distinct. The practices of Mussolini and Hitler sometimes differed - for one, Mussolini wasn't a racist in the same way Hitler was (though he did believe in forced assimilation) - but they were still more similar than different. The Nazi Party never called itself fascist, but it certainly was, in the same way Mao was a Marxist-Leninist despite differing from Soviet government practice.

On another note: Nazi analogies in the Bush era were less common than fascist analogies, but they were still there. A lot of people - myself included - drew parallels between the way Bush handled 9/11 and the way Hitler handled the Reichstag fire.

There were many, many comparisons of Bush to Hitler from 2003-2008

But as far as I know, nobody called Bush Hitler because of his crappy prescription drug plan or his failed immigration reform bills.

They called him Hitler because he invaded Poland (er Iraq).

If people want to call Obama Hitler because he's sending V-1 (er drones) into "Afpak" and murdering civilians, go for it.

Can't we just agree to stop the Hitler analogies because they're inane and totally inappropriate? Hitler killed 6,000,000 people because he thought they were vermin, and was bent on total world domination. Obama is trying to pass a health care bill. Where's the similarity?

Also, speaking as someone with Jewish heritage, I find it totally offensive.

"Hitler killed 6,000,000 people because he thought they were vermin,... "

10 million actually MollyBrown. 6 million Jews, and 4 million homosexuals, communists, socialists, union leaders and others.

TB, I believe my 1st year pol sci textbook put his death toll at 30-something million, including all the people killed in WW2 in Europe. The Holocaust was just the systematized part of the killing; his mass murders of Russian civilians were as barbaric, but less commented on because they didn't involve high-tech gadgets like gas chambers.

TB and Alon, you're both more accurate than I was...I stand corrected.
It just makes the Hitler analogies even more absurd.

It's nice to know how national health care discussion reaches Godwin law so quickly. Must be some kind of record.

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