For Your “Trump is Hitler!” Relatives, a Dose of Reality

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Has he reinstituted the draft for all able-bodied, military-aged people? No? Then he’s not Hitler.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Has Donald Trump forbidden public demonstrations against his administration, policies or personal authority? No? Then he is not Hitler, not by a mile.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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  1. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Scott Adams’ prediction is that by summer the Hitler claim will fade away and instead the drumbeat will be Trump’s incompetence (I’ve already seen a few examples of this shift)

    By late fall the drumbeat will be that he’s competent, but they don’t like what he’s doing.

    As for me? I have about $1,000 in bets out there. $100 even money with anyone who makes a ridiculous claim of what Trump will do.

    Legal immigrants who think they’re going to be deported, gays who think their marriage will be desolved etc. I don’t have any bets with my Jewish friends – they are all nervous but can’t articulate why

    You’re a better negotiator than I.  I challenged a bunch of hysterical, apoplectic folks in the weeks after the election to tell me what end-of-the-world scenario they foresee from the Trump administration.  I told them we’d each put up a hundred bucks, and if their prediction comes true by Election Day 2020 they could take my money.  If not, I take theirs.

    No one would play.  Friggin’ dishonest, infantile snowflakes, every one of them.

    • #31
  2. ToryWarWriter Reagan
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    I find comparisons of Trump to Hitler holocaust denialism and am more than willing to call people who say it Holocaust Denialists.

    • #32
  3. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Good post, Hartmann! Those who throw around the term Nazi are sloppy, ridiculous and hateful. Yup, that about covers it. As you point out, most of them don’t even know what Hitler did. Pathetic.

    THIS. We all have family/friends who, outside of politics, are good people. However, it has become painful to watch them vomit all over social media like the evil spawn of Sarah Silverman and Michael Moore.

    It’s been said before but the greatest FB invention is the “unfollow’ button. Saving relationships one click at a time.

    Dave,

    Here is someone who is anything but a right-winger comparing Trump to Charles Martel. Mark Langfan is no fool. I think he makes a very good case.

    Donald Trump and Charles “The Hammer” Martel

    It’s over a thousand years since Charles Martel understood what he was up against and did what had to be done. It has happened again.

    Dave, send Mark an email and interview him. Skype would probably work.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #33
  4. profdlp Inactive
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    CM (View Comment):
    Now the reincarnated Henry VIII, on the other hand…

    He’d need to have musical and poetic talents which are clearly not in evidence.

    And 3 more wives.

    I’m not sure I’d wish that on anyone, including Hitler.

    • #34
  5. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Good post, Hartmann! Those who throw around the term Nazi are sloppy, ridiculous and hateful. Yup, that about covers it. As you point out, most of them don’t even know what Hitler did. Pathetic.

    THIS. We all have family/friends who, outside of politics, are good people. However, it has become painful to watch them vomit all over social media like the evil spawn of Sarah Silverman and Michael Moore.

    It’s been said before but the greatest FB invention is the “unfollow’ button. Saving relationships one click at a time.

    Dave,

    Here is someone who is anything but a right-winger comparing Trump to Charles Martel. Mark Langfan is no fool. I think he makes a very good case.

    Donald Trump and Charles “The Hammer” Martel

    It’s over a thousand years since Charles Martel understood what he was up against and did what had to be done. It has happened again.

    Dave, send Mark an email and interview him. Skype would probably work.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim, thanks! I will check it out.

    • #35
  6. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Extrapolating fascism from a political opponent’s positions or actions is a sign of perspicacious foresight. Calling them a Communist is a sign of unhinged paranoia. Odd how that works.

    Anyway, wake me when Hollywood feels compelled to do a Trump version of this, which they did in 1933 in “Footlight Parade.”

    Nope, nothing remotely fascist ’bout that. 

    • #36
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Donald Trump and Charles “The Hammer” Martel

    It’s over a thousand years since Charles Martel understood what he was up against and did what had to be done. It has happened again.

    Dave, send Mark an email and interview him. Skype would probably work.

    You are going to run into some good historians who say Charles Martel did not “understand what he was up against” in the way we mean it, but was just fighting a local conflict that was later interpreted to be a watermark event in a larger conflict. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is correct at some level, though I am always suspicious of interpretations of big events that say, “this was just a local squabble, not a grand event.” Many of the big, armed conflicts that change the course of history have their local, personal squabbles in them. Those who are fighting do not always see the big picture, even though there is one.

    By the way, I like to keep historical dates in my head to the degree possible for someone who has such a poor memory like mine. A memory aid I’ve used ever since I was a little tyke and my father told me about Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours is:

    732 – Battle of Tours

    1732 – Birth of George Washington

    And more recently:

    1732 – Last big battle of the Fox wars (plus two)

    1832 – Black Hawk War

    Lots of 32s there, except for that one date that didn’t quite cooperate.

    • #37
  8. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Brian McMenomy (View Comment):
    active 7 hours, 42 minutes ago

    The Death Star was the Nixon war machine and the Emperor was Nixon in the mind of George Lucas so yeah this kind of thing goes way back to FDR declaring Republicans of being fascists.

    • #38
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Okay so Trump isn’t Hitler and people who support Trump aren’t Nazis.

    So what’s freaking the rest of the population out?

    Are people supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler?

    Is that what’s making the rest of the country (the ones who don’t support Trump) so nervous?

    • #39
  10. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Okay so Trump isn’t Hitler and people who support Trump aren’t Nazis.

    So what’s freaking the rest of the population out?

    Are people supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler?

    Is that what’s making the rest of the country (the ones who don’t support Trump) so nervous?

    What’s freaking people out? Hillary was supposed to win and she didn’t. That’s it. Everything else is noise and vitriol that would appall them if it were directed at their own party. See especially the freak-out over the mendaciously mischaracterized “Muslim ban”. If, as another commenter above noted, the left really believed DJT harbored Hitlerian intentions toward Muslims as a class of persons, the last thing they would want to do would be to invite more Muslims into the country.

    • #40
  11. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Okay so Trump isn’t Hitler and people who support Trump aren’t Nazis.

    So what’s freaking the rest of the population out?

    Are people supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler?

    Is that what’s making the rest of the country (the ones who don’t support Trump) so nervous?

    I believe that many liberals did not see it as simply a political rebuke or a failure of a candidate (Clinton) but it was a cultural rebuke as well.  The arc history may not be bending that way, their culturally ascendancy has been delayed and could even be stopped.  They legitimately see Trump as at the very least unqualified to be president while being blind to how corrupt and off putting Hillary really was.  The shock of all this causes extreme and emotional reactions that they then seek to justify, by putting Trump in an extremely evil light.

    • #41
  12. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):
    Has anyone told @richardepstein ?

    Exactly the first thought that came into my mind. But in order to tell him somebody would have to climb down to the bottom of the cliff RE jumped off last weak.

    • #42
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    profdlp (View Comment):

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    CM (View Comment):
    Now the reincarnated Henry VIII, on the other hand…

    He’d need to have musical and poetic talents which are clearly not in evidence.

    And 3 more wives.

    I’m not sure I’d wish that on anyone, including Hitler.

    reminds me of a joke:

    Q:  What’s the penalty for Bigamy?

    A:  Two wives.

    • #43
  14. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Okay so Trump isn’t Hitler and people who support Trump aren’t Nazis.

    So what’s freaking the rest of the population out?

    Are people supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler?

    Is that what’s making the rest of the country (the ones who don’t support Trump) so nervous?

    It seems to me there’s a certain amount of psychological projection going on, in particular the fear Trump would do to them what they really do want to do to us.  That is, crush us until we grovel at their feet and admit how evil — so, so evil — our worldview was.

    • #44
  15. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    The type of TDS that expresses itself as “Trump is Hitler” doesn’t bother me that much, because I know that most of the people who are saying it don’t really believe it, just like none of the people who said they would leave the country if Trump won actually left the country.

    The more troubling type of TDS is the one that expresses itself as: “I hate Trump.  I hate everyone he appoints.  I hate everything he does.  I hate everything he wants to do, including things that my own Democratic Party has also wanted to do.  I hate everyone who attended his inauguration.  I hate everyone who didn’t denounce everyone who attended his inauguration.  I hate his family.  I hate his 11 year old son.  I hate his daughter.  I hate his daughter’s clothing line.  I hate anyone who wears any clothing from his daughter’s clothing line.  I hate everyone who voted for him.  If someone who voted for him owns a store, I hate everyone who shops at that store.  If someone who voted for him works at a store, I hate everyone who shops at that store.  Etc.”

    The second type of TDS is the one that really bothers me, because those people really mean every word of it, and they really are filled with that much hate.

    • #45
  16. Pugshot Member
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    Just point them to Godwin’s Law (“if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler”) and to its corollary (“once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned Hitler has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress”). And it always helps to point out that their comparison only shows how truly ignorant they are about Nazism (or Fascism).

    • #46
  17. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    The ignorance on this “issue” is astounding. The Democrat Party/MSM are stirring people up into a frenzy with this nonsense. My own sister texted me a few days after the election imploring me to make sure our passports were up to date in case we need to make a quick exit before the Nazi calamity begins. I replied that I hadn’t seen any brownshirts while out and about. She replied, “What are brownshirts?” I was dumbfounded. And she is a college graduate.

    • #47
  18. Stephen Hall Inactive
    Stephen Hall
    @StephenHall

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):
    Has anyone told @richardepstein ?

    Did Professor Epstein compare President Trump to Hitler? I must have missed that.

    • #48
  19. Eb Snider Inactive
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    In aviation (and other industries) there is a check list process. One must go through to find defects, errors, and follow a systematic procedure so that one may safely proceed and not screw up. You have essentially come up with a logical check list process for finding defects in the person affected by Trump-is-Hitler Derangement Syndrome. I say you should now have this process peer reviewed and then published in Physiological Treatment Journals.

    • #49
  20. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    I’ve started keeping a list of the people who are making the Hitlerish accusations, because I know that, in a couple of years, they’re going to be denying it, or pretending it was a “joke.”

    “You were ranting, practically screaming at me, insisting that Trump was basically a Nazi, and now you’re going to claim it was humor? Riiiight.”

     

    • #50
  21. Stephen Hall Inactive
    Stephen Hall
    @StephenHall

    Zafar (View Comment):
     

    Are people supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler?

    Is that what’s making the rest of the country (the ones who don’t support Trump) so nervous?

    I’m not sure of your meaning.

    I imagine that many Germans in the 1930s voted for the National Socialist Party because they wanted to see unemployment reduced, an end to high levels of inflation, more economic equality, an end to street violence, and a renegotiation or termination of the crippling indemnity payments for Word War I.

    Probably a much smaller number of others voted for the Nazis because they wanted to persecute the Jews, seize the territory of other countries, and impose an aryan racial domination on Europe and the world.

    Yet some others would have shared both sets of motivations.

    Why do you think that ‘people [are] supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler’?

     

    • #51
  22. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Comparisons to Hitler, or for that matter even declarations of “worst president ever”, are almost without exception, ahistorical.

    Thanks for the post.

    • #52
  23. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    You are going to run into some good historians who say Charles Martel did not “understand what he was up against” in the way we mean it, but was just fighting a local conflict that was later interpreted to be a watermark event in a larger conflict. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is correct at some level, though I am always suspicious of interpretations of big events that say, “this was just a local squabble, not a grand event.”

    Ret,

    It would be extremely hard to imagine this to be true about Martel. Islam had been winning by brutal conquest for over a century. It was a massive Islamic Army moving into France. Martel must have known this. As is so often the case a very good battle field commander is not necessarily also a grand political figure. Charlemagne filled that role. It is much more likely that Martel has been underrated than overrated.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #53
  24. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Stephen Hall (View Comment):

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):
    Has anyone told @richardepstein ?

    Did Professor Epstein compare President Trump to Hitler? I must have missed that.

    It was an attempt at a joke.  Guess I should have added sarc tags.

    • #54
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Stephen Hall (View Comment):
     

    Why do you think that ‘people [are] supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler’?

    Arguably, here are some similarities:

    Make Germany/America Great Again.

    Safeguard the Aryan Race/Judaeo-Christian Civilization

    Part of this is a focus on who and what is/are not a part of/not compatible with the Aryan Race/JCC.

    Belief in a fifth column.

    Belief in a past golden age. Antipathy towards social evolution away from this perceived norm.

    Immense focus on a Leader.

    .

    I am not convinced, but I don’t think their fears are completely unrelated to reality either.

    • #55
  26. Arjay Member
    Arjay
    @

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Stephen Hall (View Comment):

    Why do you think that ‘people [are] supporting Trump for some of the same reasons that Germans (not monsters) initially voted for Hitler’?

    Arguably, here are some similarities:

    Make Germany/America Great Again.

    Safeguard the Aryan Race/Judaeo-Christian Civilization

    Part of this is a focus on who and what is/are not a part of/not compatible with the Aryan Race/JCC.

    Belief in a fifth column.

    Belief in a past golden age. Antipathy towards social evolution away from this perceived norm.

    Immense focus on a Leader.

    .

    I am not convinced, but I don’t think their fears are completely unrelated to reality either.

    No. Their fears are, in fact, unrelated to reality.  Their ‘fears’ are actually theater to scare people.

    • #56
  27. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Safeguard the Aryan Race/Judaeo-Christian Civilization

    Part of this is a focus on who and what is/are not a part of/not compatible with the Aryan Race/JCC.

    I think it’s really a stretch to liken universal Western cultural values to a blood-and-soil theory of racial supremacy.

    • #57
  28. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    The two answers you will get:

    1. Not yet. Give him time.
    2. Not that we know of.
    • #58
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    It would be extremely hard to imagine this to be true about Martel. Islam had been winning by brutal conquest for over a century. It was a massive Islamic Army moving into France. Martel must have known this. As is so often the case a very good battle field commander is not necessarily also a grand political figure. Charlemagne filled that role. It is much more likely that Martel has been underrated than overrated.

    Victor Davis Hanson (not my favorite person) seems sensible on this topic as quoted on the Wikipedia page about the battle (and the controversy):

    Recent scholars have suggested Poitiers, so poorly recorded in contemporary sources, was a mere raid and thus a construct of western myth-making or that a Muslim victory might have been preferable to continued Frankish dominance. What is clear is that Poitiers marked a general continuance of the successful defense of Europe (from the Muslims). Flush from the victory at Tours, Charles Martel went on to clear southern France from Islamic attackers for decades, unify the warring kingdoms into the foundations of the Carolingian Empire, and ensure ready and reliable troops from local estates.

    • #59
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Safeguard the Aryan Race/Judaeo-Christian Civilization

    Part of this is a focus on who and what is/are not a part of/not compatible with the Aryan Race/JCC.

    I think it’s really a stretch to liken universal Western cultural values to a blood-and-soil theory of racial supremacy.

    One is a theory of racial superiority, resulting in  cultural superiority, resulting in world dominance (proof of the pudding).

    The other is a theory of cultural superiority resulting in world dominance.

    The arguments have some similarity – especially when you are present but designated “not of”.

    And Judaeo-Christian civilization’s values are specific to JC Civ. Just as a western values are specific to the West, ergo not the East.

    Imho it robs these terms of meaning to argue that they are not specific but rather universal.  Certainly they’re defended to some degree tribally.

    • #60
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