Hitler did it – – – so what?

It has become fashionable to make fun of anyone who uses Hitler references in debate. The suggestion seems to be that such historical references were somehow made illegitimate merely due to the rarely paralleled depths of depravity to which Hitler’s “ethics” sank.

The fact that Hitler did something, anything, should make that thing suspect. He, and other tyrants, past and present, have forced kids to march in support of their causes. The state education system is now forcing kids to march in support of gun control. Any reasonable person would find that similarity worrying – certainly worrying enough to consider the implications within their historical context.

There’s a pattern here with this fashionable anti-anti-Hitler non-argument. Intelligence has been described in terms of pattern recognition. Higher intelligence not only recognizes a pattern but can extrapolate from that pattern to predict future behaviour – more cause for concern.

Entire books have been written on the things Hitler did, comparing them with things that states are doing now. Are these cautionary historical analysis somehow illegitimate because Hitler was such an archetypal tyrant? If he had been just a little evil then it would be ok to study his past in order to avoid making similar mistakes but because he was so evil we are to be castigated for drawing comparisons? Isn’t the study of history intended to be a means of avoiding past mistakes and repeating past success? By what principle would one then exclude history’s most egregious villains from among the mistakes to be avoided – unless of course one secretly admired much of what they did?

Talk about being stupid, simple, and intellectually lazy! I can’t think of a worse example of intellectual sloth than to NOT consider things done by evil people in the past and where those things lead. If you see a fire in a building we’re in, tell me, I want to know. If you see people acting like Hitler, tell me, I want to know that even more.

Comments

comments