Godwin’s law is an Internet adage that asserts “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches one.”
And as this is now my 20th post, I suppose my time has come…only I am not about to compare Trump to Hitler.
No, sir, I won’t do that. And it’s not because I like either of these guys. Nope, I just don’t think that would be a fair competition. You see, Adolf Hitler served his country during a time of war. Young Corporal Hitler fought with courage and determination in the trenches of World War I, and received the Iron Cross for bravery twice. Trump dodged the Vietnam War, claiming heal spurs and spent his entire life as far from danger as possible. Therefore, although I find them both to be loathsome individuals, I will at least embrace enough honesty to say that Hitler had guts thus drawing a sharp contrast with The Donald.
So, what’s up with Hitler? What point am I trying to make here?
Simply this, the right wing refuses to own Hitler and that is a big, big problem for America. Let me explain why….
If you’re in any argument with a conservative for long enough, Godwin’s Law invariably gets proven correct. However, in my experience, it’s often the liberal that gets accused of being the Nazi and the right winger expects the liberal to own Hitler. Of course, we don’t own Hitler, because he isn’t one of ours. We own Mao and Stalin perhaps, but Hitler and the Nazi movement belong on the far right of the spectrum as a matter of historical and political fact. Unfortunately, the modern American conservative has been programmed not to believe this.
Why is that a problem? Because…and hear me out…it’s bad for the right!
When we talk about left wing politics, names like Jefferson and Franklin may come up to put us in a good light and Mao and Stalin to put us in a bad one. And this is important because we need to acknowledge that liberal politics can go, and have gone, too far. Do you find those pesky Koch brothers annoying? Have you ever fantasized about sending Chuck and David off to a gulag in Alaska? Well, perhaps I have too, but the fact is we both know that would be wrong.
We Americans have always cherished our rights, and among those rights is due process and equal treatment under the law. Locking up the Kochs without trial may sound great, but as democratically inclined liberals we work to strengthen those principals of fair treatment, not undermine them. And when we start indulging in such far-left fantasies, we have folks like Mao and Stalin to show us that there is such a thing as going too far, and that always ends badly.
But the American conservative will not admit to the existence of any such historical figure to warn him when he goes too far. In a pathological need to be correct all the time, the right wing media outlets (Fox News, Info Wars, ect.) refuse to acknowledge the most patently evil conservative of all time; Adolf Hitler!
They have brainwashed their masses into believing that Hitler was—now get this—a socialist, because his party called itself the Nationalist Socialist Party. Never mind that the word “socialist” was added to the party’s name in February of 1920 as a PR move (socialist was a popular term in Germany at the time). And never mind that the only socialist thing Hitler ever did was the creation of the Volkswagen company (which is commonly NOT one of the complaints leveled against him). To the average American conservative, the Nazi party was called “socialist,” and therefore Hitler must have been a liberal–end of story.
And get this, conservatives can even go beyond the Nazi party’s name. They will tell you the red in the Nazi flag was for socialism (it wasn’t), and that Hitler favored gun control (he did but Germany never had a Second Amendment to begin with). All of this is, of course, smoke screen to hide the fact that, like all conservatives, Hitler imagined that the golden age of his country was in the past. Therefore, he promised to “make Germany great again” by returning to old fashioned Aryan values, and he demonized anything that was new or foreign. Art that challenged established standards was declared “decadent” by Adolf, and any talk of new political ideas such as communism or democratic socialism were repressed.
Now, it is quite a stretch to say that American conservatism is the same as Nazism, and I am not making that claim (yet). However, if taken too far that is where American conservatism can take us, just as an overdose of socialism can take us to dictatorial-communism. We liberals MUST own our baggage so that we may heed the sign that reads; “Warning: do not go too far.”The scary thing is that American conservatives have so successfully lied to themselves, that they are convinced that there is no such sign for them to read at all.
The scary thing is that American conservatives have so successfully lied to themselves, that they are convinced that there is no such sign for them to read at all.
Thus, to be a part of the modern American conservative movement is like being on a train with no breaks. And they have already crashed through a huge safety barrier when they allowed a fascist like Trump to win them. Now the train is headed for the cliff, and I wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t dragging my caboose with it!
Therefore, conservatives must own Hitler before it’s too late for all of us.
So, please, tell your friends.
By Clayton J. Callahan