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So, as many other Ricochetti, I have occasional interactions with family members and friends who are on the other side of the aisle politically and a discouragingly large number of these folks are afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome in one degree and form or another. One common form is TiH-mania, “Trump is Hitler”- mania. This is a particular form of psychotic break from reality in which the victim earnestly believes that Donald Trump is in no way to be distinguished from Adolf Hitler.
If you encounter such a person and you think the case is mild enough that the person in question may still be capable of rational thought and may still have contact with objective reality, you should ask that person these questions:
- Has Trump ordered the Majority Leaders of the House and Senate to dissolve Congress and replace it with an “Imperial Government of the People”? No? Then he’s not Hitler.
- Has he reinstituted the draft for all able-bodied, military-aged people? No? Then he’s not Hitler.
- Has he ordered the expansion of American “Lebensraum”- say, into Mexico or Quebec- and the “merciless” Americanisation of the native populaces there? No? Then he’s not Hitler.
- Has he placed all press and broadcast media directly under a censorship authority controlled by his party (not the federal government per se, but his party in fact and practical effect)? Has he effectively subjected all public comment on his administration to the veto of his agents? That is, has he placed the editors of the New York Times, the Nation, Slate, Salon, NBC, CBS, PBS, ABC and CNN directly under the authority of a law that will be enforced by Steve Bannon? No? Then he’s not Hitler.
- Has Donald Trump forbidden public demonstrations against his administration, policies or personal authority? No? Then he is not Hitler, not by a mile.
- Has he recruited 50,000 military aged men to serve as the backbone of an internal police force that will be tasked with beating, assaulting and terrorizing his political enemies in order to insure obedience to the state? No? Then Donald J. Trump is definitely not Adolf Hitler and for that matter he’s not even a minor-league Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or Nicholas Maduro.
- Has Donald Trump secretly ordered his agents to set the Capitol building on fire and then blamed the Democrats for it? No? Then he’s not even an amateurish Hitler wanna-be.
- Has he ordered the Bill of Rights to be suspended? No? Has he even suggested that, as some Democrats were suggesting just last year (and the year before that … and the year before that), that the First Amendment in that Bill of Rights should be “re-examined” to allow laws making it illegal to criticize say, the lifestyles of certain politically protected classes of persons or certain politically fashionable ideas? Did his party even advance legislation to bring this about? No? Then he’s not Hitler. For that matter, he’s not even Harry Reid or Hillary Clinton.
- Has he dissolved the senates or other deliberative bodies of the several states and placed those state governments directly under the control of his administration? No? Then Donald Trump is most assuredly not Adolf Hitler.
- Has he set up anywhere any sort of concentration camp or mass-incarceration prison, say in Madison, Wisconsin, for the express purpose of imprisoning his political enemies? No? Then, good grief, the man is not even an Pol Pot, much less and Adolf Hitler!
I’m stopping the list here only because it covers the defining actions of Adolf Hitler in the first four to six weeks of assuming power. We will be a month into the Trump administration next week, and sane, rational people see nothing even faintly resembling these actions. “But he’s going after illegals!”, said an online interlocutor. “You mean like self-named “Deporter in Chief” Barack Obama?” was my reply. Like Jonah Goldberg, I find plenty to criticize in President Trump but at this time in his first term, I found plenty to criticize about George W. Bush as well. Does anybody else here remember that badly-handled incident with North Korea? In any case, comparing Trump to Hitler or any of the major or minor dictators of recent vintage- is about as thoroughly irrational as a political comparisons get.