Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I like this whole carelessly-compare-things-to-Nazism trend

There's a new brand of tough rhetoric taking shape in two of the nation's most respected bastions of quality rhetoric. Do I even need to say what they are? Okay, well for the record, that's The White House and the National Football League. The nature of this new rhetorical tool, you ask? Well, it basically involves comparing anyone who disagrees with you to Hitler and the Nazis, or invoking Hitler or the Nazis in order to make some larger point.

From the Aug. 31 Washington Post:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, citing passivity toward Nazi Germany before World War II, said that "many have still not learned history's lessons" and "believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."
From the Sept. 6 Washington Post:
"Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?"
And of course, who could forget the stinging words of spurned NFL running back Kevan Barlow, who after being traded made THIS scathing statement about his coach, former Redskins Ineptitude Coordinator Mike Nolan:
He has too much power as a first-time head coach. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler. People are scared of him. If it ain't Nolan's way, it's the highway."
I don't know about you, but I'm certainly a student of good rhetoric (I read my Plato early). And as such, I'm getting in on the ground floor with this one.

Here's an example of how this rhetoric can be used: "Hey, buddy! Not supporting the troops? Sounds like Nazi talk to me!" See what happened in that example? It's an airtight argument! I have completely neutralized my opponent's argument. There is absolutely nothing he or she can say.

And it works in so many ways. Don't like me peeing on your car? Go to hell, Hitler! You want my work completed "on deadline?" Fire up the Wermacht, Gestapo! You call this kosher pastrami? Suck it...Hitler!

See, the power of this argument is that six million people were killed by the Nazis. That's why it carries so much weight, and makes anything you compare to it seem that much stronger. This is going to revolutionize debate as we know it. Don't say you weren't warned. Because, you know, that's what the Nazis would say.

Bush Warns of Enduring Terror Threat [Washington Post]
Bush Team Casts Foes as Defeatist [Washington Post]
Barlow lashes out at Nolan [Contra Costa Times]

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Gary Aiken said...

12 million people were killed in prison or death camps by the Nazis, 6 million of them were Jews. Stalin and his cronies killed many millions more than even that (the actual number is unknown). Bad men. Bad. I think the comparison between how bad they were (because they got power) and how bad Bin Laden, or Ahmedinijad (spelling?) if they got real power and used it would be fair. Saddam definitely fell within that camp, same with Milosovich. But, there is a major difference between the Saddams, Miloseviches, Stalins, and Hitlers of the world and Ahmedinijad and Bin Ladin - the latter are driven by religious ideology, whereas the former were driven by ideologuing themselves.


MSH said...

My thoughts are that, if an orange became red and crunchy, it would be fair to call it an apple.