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. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Zafar (View Comment):
    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.

    To say that a certain civilization practiced, successfully, universal values does not make them particular.  Perhaps there are certain humans that would not benefit from freedom of association or freedom of religious or freedom of speech.  I am not prepared to say that is true and the claim that I believe is that all people would benefit from such things.

    It is true their parts of the world that have operated very successfully without the growth or even the intellectual thread that individual rights are so important and individual needs and values should nearly always be superseded by the need of the group.  But we have seen in many areas of the East South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore all leap to mind were these universal values have take root to the benefit of the people who practiced them.  It is true that the countries I mention do not practice these values exactly the way they are practiced in the West, Western countries practice them in different degrees too.  However I think it is clear that Korea, Japan, et al have become more Western not more Eastern in the modern age and it has been to their benefit.  So I think the jury should still be out whether or not Western values are universal or not.  I think it can be said that a kind of middle kingdom rule in the West would not work but I don’t think we can say that a more Western orientated China with greater respect for individual rights would not work.  Hong Kong and Taiwan is great evidence that a such a reformed China could work, I think.

    • #61
  2. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    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.

    To say that a certain civilization practiced, successfully, universal values does not make them particular. Perhaps there are certain humans that would not benefit from freedom of association or freedom of religious or freedom of speech. I am not prepared to say that is true and the claim that I believe is that all people would benefit from such things.

    I absolutely agree with you.

    But I also think it is important what we call things.

    Calling freedom a “Western value”, just for example:

    1. Ignores a lot of Western history;
    2. Ignores how most of the rest of the world experienced the West (well post-Enlightenment, during the colonial era) and often still experiences the West (use local allies as a measure of support for freedom); and most relevantly
    3. Implies that to be free is to be Western.

    .

    None of which, I’m sure, is the intention.

    Freedom is an excellent thing for people and civilisations.

    The West has prospered immensely from increasing freedom – more than any other place in the world –  and other places in the world would benefit from following this example.

    It is glorious for Westerners to be able to say (mostly truthfully) that to be a Westerner today is to be free.

    • #62
  3. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Calling freedom a “Western value”, just for example:

    Well I thought your objection was to the fact that we were calling these values universal and you in turn claimed that they were Western.  Perhaps I confused your intentions.

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Ignores how most of the rest of the world experienced the West (well post-Enlightenment, during the colonial era) and often still experiences the West (use local allies as a measure of support for freedom); and most relevantly

    This point would make an excellent post I would love for you to develop and explore this theme.

    • #63
  4. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Zafar (View Comment):
    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.

    I was unclear.  What I meant by “universal” is that they are values accessible to anyone of any race or ethnicity.  Judeo-Christian just refers, imprecisely, to their origin.

    • #64
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