Monday, October 26, 2009

Bush was the new Hitler

If you bring him up in an argument it means you lost. Obama has taken up the mantle now.

Or to generalize it, just because someone bad did something doesn't mean it is also bad. Bush did some good stuff. I can't think of much off the top of my head, but it's pretty dumb to pretend "Bush did it" is an accurate test for if something is a bad idea.

To take it even further, it's a bad idea to take some words or ideas to be innately bad. A few things are. I can't think of any good circumstances for torturing infants. But words get thrown around too much. People call Obama a socialist, as if that is a bad word, when it's not even a particularly descriptive word. Or people called Bush a fascist (other say the same about Obama, and pretty much every president ever). Was that an accurate label? Nope. But it's something that we take to be innately evil. We associate it with the Holocaust and mass murder. But is fascism innately evil? Did Italians in the 30s and 40s rally around evil? This isn't a fantasy universe where death cults have political parties.

Now Obama is the new Hitler. People are being Hitlerized constantly these days. It's a useful tactic for crushing someone, but for productive debate? It's useless.

Once Obama is Hitler you can't reason with him anymore; who would try to reason with Hitler? But he's still President. It's not as if he vanishes once he's had a mustache photoshopped onto his upper lip. The only result is the disabling of government and the inability to make any progress.

I wish we could have a time when bringing up Hitler wasn't an automatic loss. Imagine if we said things like "This seems like a good idea, but it does have some fascist tendencies, so we should be very cautious in how we apply it." That would be good. We should do that more often: look at worst case scenarios and take steps to avoid them. But this doesn't happen. Instead the slightest step in any unwanted direction is thrown to the extreme and debate is made impossible.

I tried to explain this to the LaRouchians last week. They didn't seem to understand. I explained that the mustache isn't easy to take off once its been put on. I don't think they cared.

The irony is that Hitlerizing wrecks democracy, it wrecks freedom of expression, it shoots down any dissenting opinion. Hitlerizing is something Hitler would do. Oh damn, I just did it too.


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