Friday, February 19, 2016

The Left’s Double Standard on the Hitler Germany Analogy

In a recent Politico piece, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. In fact, she went even further, saying “It is no longer a stretch to compare Donald Trump, and some of the other current Republican candidates for president, to some of the worst dictators in history.” She goes on:

Trump especially is employing the kind of hateful rhetoric and exploiting the insecurities of this nation, in much the same way that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power in the lead-up to World War II. The parallels are chilling. In pre-WWII Germany, the economy was in ruins, people were scared, and they wanted someone to blame. Today we find ourselves with a nation of people who feel under attack both physically and economically and are fearful. The middle class has never fully recovered economically from the Great Recession. Income disparity is growing, but demonizing with a broad-brush all “immigrants,” forgetting that nearly all of our ancestors were exactly that at one point in the past 400 years, is both dangerous and contrary to all this nation stands for. After Paris and San Bernardino, attacking Muslims, the vast majority of whom are peaceful adherents to their faith, has become fashionable.

Whitman’s reference to “income disparity” is interesting, as it points to a bridge between her attack on Trump and another party and another demagogue in the presidential race. When two “1%ers” made similars analogies, the Left pounced all over them.

But not this time, at least for one “liberal.” Quoting Whitman, Left-leaning Tom Moran of the Left-leaning NJ Star-Ledger approvingly seized on Whitman’s charge in an article titled Whitman compares Trump to Hitler.

I left these comments on the Moran piece, edited for clarity:

If “It is no longer a stretch to compare Donald Trump . . . to some of the worst dictators in history,” then the same goes at least as much for the hard Democrat Left.

Every advancing dictatorship needs a scapegoat—some group upon whom all of the country’s ills came be blamed. For the Bolsheviks who created the USSR, it was the bourgeoisie. For the Nazis, it was the Jews. The Democrat Left’s demonization of “the 1%,” led today by Bernie Sanders, mirrors at least as much as Trump the Bolsheviks and the Nazis. At least there are voices on the Republican side loudly challenging and denouncing Trump. Who on the Democrat side is prominently rising to condemn the bigoted, broad-brush fear-mongering attack on “the rich,” whose only “crime,” for most of them, is to create great businesses, great products, and millions of jobs—and profit handsomely from these accomplishments?

And if it can be said of Whitman that she “rightfully draws parallels between Donald Trump and fascist dictators like Adolf Hitler,” then why can’t the same be said of venture capitalist Tom Perkins and Home Depot founder Ken Langone for drawing the same historical parallels regarding the hardcore Democrat Left? If “[Trump] and Hitler have a lot in common,” then the same goes, in the same respects, for Leftist demagogues.

I don't believe Trump is a bigot. But his call to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country is bigoted, nonetheless. Worse, it is a dangerous precedent. Setting a religious test for who can enter and live in the U.S. is tantamount to setting an ideological test. Religion belongs to the broader category of ideas. If the government ever got the power to determine which ideas are acceptable and which aren’t, it would be the end of one of America’s Founding principles—intellectual freedom. We should not take comfort by the fact that Trump’s policy refers only to non-Americans living abroad. Once the precedent is set, can anyone confidently say that the same test would never be applied to Americans in some way by some future Congress, court, or president? The erosion of intellectual freedom, once it starts, is the path to a fascist America.

Both Langone and Perkins retracted their Hitler comparisons under withering criticism, especially from the Left. But I don’t think such analogies are always out-of-bounds. In any event, if we’re going to draw lessons from history to head off a fascist America—and it’s appropriate to do so—we should dispense with double standards.

Related Reading:

Bernie Sanders the Demagogue Enters the Democratic Presidential Race

Trump’s Ban-All-Muslims Policy Undermines the Fight Against Islamic Jihad


Steve Jackson said...

I don't see what is wrong about and ideological test for entry and immigration.

1. Any screening process for entry will have to be based on someone's ideas. Does a person have a criminal record? Has he stated publicly that he supports Jihad (even if he has never engaged in such acts)?

2. Take the case of Islam. The Islamic religion teaches that it is legitimate to rape infidel women. Since there is no way to screen out Muslims who believe this from those who don't, there is good reason to keep out all Muslims. Just look at what's happening in Sweden and Germany.

3. A country to a large extent is what it is based on the ideas its citizens hold. If you allow immigration of people with different ideas, you change the country. California has become a one-party Democratic state thanks to mass immigration. Unless you want that to happen to all of the US (or also, say turn Europe and Israel Islamic) then an ideological screening is absolutely necessary.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

It’s true that a country is shaped by its culture’s dominant ideas. So while I don’t believe there should be an ideological test for immigration, there should be one for citizenship. You can kick out an undesirable immigrant, but not a citizen. A person seeking citizenship should have to learn, understand, and pledge allegiance to (pledge to respect and live by) the principles of individual rights and republican constitutional government before he can be allowed to participate in shaping the political direction of America. We should be very selective about who we grant citizenship to, and this goes for all immigrants, not just Muslims. Of course, many non-Muslim Americans have to a large extent forgotten or rejected those principles, which is why we’re traveling a path to socialism, which is arguably worse than religious statism. So we who advocate fundamental Founding principles have our work cut out for us.

Anonymous said...

Yes but immigrants can do an awful lot of harm before they get thrown out. They are starting to make life miserable for Jews in Europe and women in some parts of Europe.

And how does one kick out Syrians?

Do you believe that we could allow in large numbers of Muslims, even if properly screened, and the worst elements of Islamic culture would not reassert itself? The Fort Hood shooter was born in the US. Many of the French terrorists were born in France, in some cases also their parents.

This pattern also occurs to a lesser extent with Hispanics. The third generation have more problems than the first in terms of crime, welfare dependency, etc.

Do any of the findings of social science affect your view of immigration?


Michael A. LaFerrara said...

SJ, are you saying that because it's impossible to screen out all threats, that America should close its borders to every aspiring immigrant? That would be immoral. And experience shows it to be impossible. Better in my view to have a rational, rights-repecting, tightly controlled immigration policy that allows us to know who's here and what they're up to, than to be flooded with anonymous illegal aliens.

Anonymous said...

Not to every immigrant, but certain groups (such as Muslims) should not be permitted entry into the US.

Are you aware of what's going on in Germany and Sweden?


Michael A. LaFerrara said...

Yes. Looks like an example of how not to handle immigration.

Anonymous said...

I mention it because it shows, to my mind, the need for some religious/ideological test. Since there is no way to screen the peaceful from the violent Muslims (a criminal background check from Syria, MENA, Pakistan, etc. isn't worth the paper it's printed on) then there is good reason to exclude most Muslims simply by virtue of their religion.

And based on the European experience it is clear that Muslims aren't assimilating and are in fact un-assimilating so to speak.

Interesting, Eastern Europe isn't allowing in Muslims. They do have an experience with a large group that hasn't been able to assimilate: the Roma (Gypsies). Indeed there are certain similairites in that Muslims and Roma tend to favor first cousin marriage which has been bad for their IQ and mental health.


Mike Kevitt said...

Well, gee whiz. How'd they handle it on Ellis Island in the early 20th. Cen., when professionals were educated? They vetted lots of suspicious sorts back to where they came from. How? By establishing that they had known, documented, criminal records, at least by the standards of U.S. law as it was then. If you're a crook, you go back. If you only think wrong but haven't done nothing wrong, you're in, under watch. At the 1st. wrong move, you're subject to deportation, after a due period of incarceration. If you become a citizen, then you're treated like any other citizen, like a citizen.

The identity of a country (what it 'is') has 2 aspects: form and fact. If the form(in writing) is individual rights, the fact should be congruent, how people ACT, regardless of what anybody, including immigrants, think. If the form (in writing) at all varies from individual rights, the fact, how people act, should still be congruent with individual rights.

Any joker who hasn't done nothing wrong should be accepted as an immigrant, as long as he does nothing wrong. To become a citizen, he must renounce crime, meaning initiatory force. All other pertinent requirements stem from that, the meeting of which will come easy. That's the only ideology involved. Then he's a citizen, treated as such, under law, even without regard to what he actually thinks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kevitt,

The immigrants who came through Elis Island were Europeans and, because of the cost of travel, were most middle or lower middle class. So there really wasn't so much of a concern that they would be hard to screen.

The difference with the immigrants that we are getting are non-Europeans and often Muslims. Islam is a rape based culture unlike the cultures of Europe, so are inability to screen them is of paramount importance. And, because when Muslims come here in large numbers, they will reestablish their rape based culture here. So we should not have Muslim immigrants.

Steve J.