“Trump is just like Hitler,” proclaimed an amateur politico on a social media site the other day.
I thought that was overblown and said so. Donald Trump is sometimes a buffoon (and sometimes not). But Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler the way Dan Quail is Jack Kennedy — not at all.
The person who posted the Hitler comparison replied to me by listing policies of Trump that he didn’t like. I told him that I shared his dislike for some of those policies but not others. I noted that in any event, these policies fell short of sending people to the gas chambers.
His contention that Trump was just like Hitler, I told him, seemed to just be another way of saying he didn’t like Trump. Fine, but his dislike for Trump does not make him Hitler.
Then I told him that comparing Trump to Hitler is worse than a mere exaggeration. It constitutes a demonization of a person merely for disagreeing politically — a tactic to which Hitler himself was prone. Finally, it trivializes the monstrosity of Hitler and the plight of his victims.
At that, he exploded. He said he could not carry on a discussion with a person like me, who disagrees with him, and implied that I was just like Hitler, too.
Then I remembered Godwin’s Law. That’s the principle enunciated by a social media addict named Mike Godwin that says, “If an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler.”
There is a corollary to Godwin’s Law. “Once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned Hitler has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.”
So I posted another reply that contained nothing but a Wikipedia link explaining Godwin’s Law. I never heard from the man again.
Since we’re making comparisons, here’s another one. Some years ago, there was a populist candidate for president. He was a gun-toting, animal-hunting, pot-bellied, loud-mouthed, Porsche-driving (OK, I made that one up) phoney cowboy with a bad moustache and a weak chin who not only wanted to deport Latin Americans but went abroad to kill some. This insecure egomaniac called himself a “rough rider” (ahem) and started a third party that he called “The Bull Moose Party” (double ahem).
History gave him a place on Mount Rushmore alongside Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.
Now if you think my point is that Trump is just like Teddy Roosevelt, then I haven’t been clear. My point is that Trump, like everyone else, deserves to be judged on his own good and bad (and there’s plenty of both in this guy) and not on who he happens to remind you of.
So next time you’re tempted to declare that so-and-so is “just like Hitler,” bear in mind that what your listener hears you saying is, “I’m an idiot.” Because no one is just like Hitler.
Except Hillary, of course. In fact, “Hillary” is only a few typos away from actually being “Hitler.”
But an old crank named Bernie might stop Hillary and her pink pant-suited panzers before she annexes Poland and Pennsylvania Avenue. Lovable old Bernie looks like a character out of “Sesame Street.” Indeed, like the “Sesame Street” characters and all others on government television, he’s a life-long socialist. So he’ll be generous with the money he takes from us.
And he just might save us from the awkwardness of a president in an orange jump/pant suit giving press conferences in the prison cafeteria.
But wait, maybe he’s not really so lovable. Those who attended history class will recall that the full name of Hitler’s Nazi Party was the “National Socialist German Workers Party.”
There’s that word, “socialist.” Just like Bernie.
So, you ask, does that make Bernie just like Hitler? No, it doesn’t. You won’t ensnare me in Godwin’s Law.
But it might make Bernie just like some other socialists to whom Godwin’s Law has not been applied. You see, the difference between Hillary and Bernie is that while she loves her money, he loves yours.
That means Bernie is just like the socialist named Joseph Stalin but without the Red Army. He’s just like the socialist named Mao Zedong but without the jacket. He’s just like the socialist named Pol Pot but without the Pol.
Ask yourself this: When Bernie raises taxes on everyone making more than the person asking him whom he will raise taxes on and they refuse to pay, how do you think he’ll get their money?
He’ll send the Red Army after them, that’s how. Just as Stalin did. And we’ll all wind up so poor that we’ll be wearing Mao jackets even though they fell out of fashion in 1972 when Bernie was, oh, about 67 years old. And then Bernie will anesthetize us with pot and relight Pol’s crematoriums.
Because Bernie is just like that.
(Published Feb. 7, 2016 in the Aspen Times at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/20485160-113/beaton-is-trump-just-like-hitler)