Sunday, September 8, 2013

living above the godwin's law

John Kerry is right about one thing. Assad is like Hitler. It's a solid comparison. One was a murdery sociopath power-hungry torturer. The other is as well. Now if you want to compare details and say one killed millions, as opposed to thousands, go ahead, but it's not an ethical comparison. It's a comparison of circumstances and strategy. It may or may not be the case that Assad, in Hitler's shoes (a mostly nonsensical hypothetical), would have destroyed just as many human lives as Hitler did. Who knows? But you're just making stuff up if you imagine that he wouldn't have and this because he's less evil, or would have shown restraint, or some other thingsweassociatewithpeoplewelike type bullshit. What we do know is that both belong to the category "murdery sociopath power-hungry torturer," and that's far more important than any differences you might find between them.

Kerry's mistake, if you can call it that, is in failing to mention that he, Kerry, and his buddy Obama, are also murdery sociopath power-hungry torturers. Monsters, more than anyone, misunderstand themselves, for good reason.

I've had the same back-and-forth with an Obama apologist several times. Obama is, uh, kinda like Hitler, I say, in my Larry David voice, but not really because I type it. You're just being dramatic, rhetorical sleight of hand, whatever, he says. Well we can go with Pol Pot or Stalin, if you'd like, I say, as long as it's someone you recognize as a murdery sociopath power-hungry torture lover. But I'm not letting you off the hook with Churchill or Theodore Roosevelt because, in spite of the fact that they were every bit the murdery sociopath power-hungry torturers as your recognized evildoers, you have them filed away under us/family/good guys with all criticisms passing over "what kind of person does this sort of thing?" as if it weren't there and proceeding directly to "the imperfections of good guys." If I let you compare Obama to Churchill, you're in your apologist comfort zone. You don't even mind, because you really don't understand that Churchill was know. You're gonna use a bullshit interpretation of history as a frame of reference to justify contemporary bullshit. "Oh, Obama is like that good guy with flaws? OK, maybe I can see that, convince me," he wants to say. No, my point is that Obama is like a guy whose every day revolves around destroying lives. Who wakes up, has his coffee, pats his ladyfriend lovingly on the head, and destroys lives. Like, for example, Hitler.

My point is that you're making a massive category error, again and again, and Hitler is the corrective. If you actually understood the very available facts of Churchill's life, I'd simply make that comparison, though I wouldn't need to, because you'd already have understood. But you don't, so in spite of the too frequent rhetorical abuse of "Hitler!" in contemporary political discussions by people like John Kerry, and with due caveats for specific historical circumstantial differences (Obama was elected! So was Hitler! He was? What? Who cares?), I am very much above Godwin's law.


Anonymous said...

The patently insane, drug-addicted Hitler was NEVER elected to anything, except of his squad of killer goons. He never received more than 35%(+/-)3% of his electorate (by claiming he was a religious savior; Berlin rejected him outright, earning his fervent hatred of Berliners) and he forced the intimidated and purged Reichstag and the threatened, ancient, doddering honorific President to select him as Chancellor, whereupon he illegally abolished the authority of the Reichstag and its Constitution and dictatorily appointed himself the new title of Fuehrer, just as Napoleon seized the crown from the Pope and crowned himself Emperor.

Devin Lenda said...

Was Hitler elected? Who cares? I briefly considered whether maybe there was some technical sense in which he was, considered researching, then decided instead to make light of the difference. The post itself is about how supposed dictators and supposed democratic leaders belong in the same category.

I provided two examples of elected officials responsible for mass killing -- Churchill and Roosevelt. What does their electedness have to do with their crimes?

One of the main impacts of elections is the illusion of popular sovereignty it provides. People who want to paint certain official enemies as uniquely evil use this illusion as a wedge to drive between good Roosevelt and bad Hitler, good Obama and bad Assad. "Our guy was elected." Who cares?

Regarding that issue, empirically, the democratic U.S. has destroyed more lives than the dictatorial Syria. And did legality (Hitler's power grab was "illegal," you say) and a Reichstag prevent Germany from WWI bloodbath involvement? Was WWII more evil or destructive than WWI because Hitler was involved? Who murdered those civilians in Dresden, Vietnam, Hiroshima, Nagasaki? Were they not sent on their missions by elected officials?

So tell me again why it matters if Hitler seized power "illegally" or not.