Liberals often call conservatives “Nazis” or “Hitler.” “O’Reilly+Hitler” yields 5,430,000 results on Google, while “Limbaugh+Hitler” yields 2,780,000, and “Ann Coulter+Hitler” yields 1,160,000. A UN official compared author Bjørn Lomborg to Hitler for doubting that global warming will cause a catastrophe. “Hitler” has become merely an insult for anyone with whom liberals disagree.
This slur reveals profound historical ignorance and moral confusion. As a result, many people use “Hitler” as a handy insult – but even worse, they fail to recognize a real Hitler when they see him:
1. Hitler was a megalomaniac. He believed he had the intelligence to understand the world, and the will to rule it. He was wrong in the first belief, but correct in the second. He told anyone who would listen his plans for world conquest.
2. He avidly sought power and the weapons with which to increase it.
3. He overflowed with hate, which filled an entire nation and spilled over into neighboring nations. If he hadn’t been stopped by military force, his hate would have filled the planet.
4. He blamed all the problems of his nation and the world on “them.” In his case, “they” were the Jews. He diverted supplies and transport from the war effort to the death camps. When forced to choose, he chose genocide over victory.
5. He was utterly ruthless. He tried to exterminate whole peoples, and he dealt savagely with dissidents.
6. He saw other nations and races as inferior “subhumans” who were to be enslaved − or exterminated − by his “supermen.” His enemies were dehumanized in an attempt to justify genocide.
7. He had an unlimited capacity to deceive himself and others. Even as Germany was collapsing and Allied armies were closing in, he feverishly planned new attacks by nonexistent troops. He believed he was destined to rule.
8. He was willing to see nations, even his own, devastated if it served his purposes. At the end, he flooded the Berlin subways, drowning thousands of Germans hiding there, to delay enemy troops a few hours.
9. He was a black hole in human form. Millions of human beings and entire nations disappeared in his vain attempt to fill the emptiness at his center. What he built was short-lived, but what he destroyed was gone forever.
10. He claimed to be peaceful, but he ran a militaristic, totalitarian state in which his whims were enforced by vast apparatus of terror.
11. He produced poison gas and used it on minorities. He produced missiles and used them, and was trying to produce nuclear weapons when the war ended. Until we occupied Germany, we were uncertain how far he had progressed.
12. He laid out his genocidal plans clearly in his book and speeches, but only his followers listened, while others dozed.
13. He was defended in America and Europe by people who should have known better. They protested only after the Holocaust had been carried out. They never heard Churchill’s definition of an appeaser: One who feeds the crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
All this gives a useful picture of Hitler’s essential characteristics. And the more of these characteristics we see, the more urgent the situation becomes. For example, take Ahmadinejad:
1. He is a megalomaniac who proclaims vast plans for the world, while his own people’s freedoms are taken away.
2. He avidly seeks power and the weapons with which to increase it.
3. His policies are based on hatred – of Jews, of Americans, of “infidels.” He works to spread this hatred as widely as possible.
4. He blames Iran’s and the world’s problems on Americans and Jews.
6. He declares that Israel should be wiped off the map, and goes on to imagine a world without America. Hezbollah, the terrorist organization he sponsors, wants to kill every Jew on Earth. He believes his group should rule all others.
7. He ignores his nation’s economic and social problems, blaming the problems on Jews and Americans.
8. He ignores the danger to his own people. He is willing to see Iran a smoking ruin if Israel is destroyed. He prefers genocide to victory.
9. He is less interested in building than in destroying. German mythology called it Götterdämmerung. He calls it the coming of the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, but the idea is similar. As a prelude to the end of days there will be chaos. Then the Mahdi, whom Ahmadinejad believes he talks to, will return to Earth and cause Islam to rule the world. Who can doubt Ahmadinejad would use biologic, chemical, and nuclear weapons if he could?
10. He claims to be peaceful, but he runs a militaristic, totalitarian state in which edicts are enforced by a vast apparatus of terror.
11. He attempted to obtain chemical weapons. He produced missiles and is perfecting them. He is attempting to produce nuclear weapons. In the absence of inspections, we cannot be sure how far he has progressed – until the weapons are used.
12. He lays out his genocidal plans clearly in his speeches, while his followers listen but liberals doze.
13. He is defended by people in America and Europe who should know better. No doubt they will protest after Holocaust 2, just as they did after Holocaust 1. They still hope to appease the crocodile by feeding it, not realizing that its appetite will only be whetted.
There are close parallels between Hitler and Ahmadinejad. The question is why some people are unable to recognize these parallels. Is it because they are in denial and remain unwilling to see the evil that confronts them? Is it because liberal politics so distorts their perception that they will never vote for a Republican candidate?
Or is it because some people cannot call Ahmadinejad evil because they are able to recognize a person as evil only after he is dead, when their insight is totally irrelevant − and totally safe. Similarly, they were unable to recognize communism as evil until after it collapsed. Recognizing dead people or dead ideologies as evil requires no moral or physical courage. We need not combat dead evils, so we can feel good without doing anything. Feeling good without doing good is characteristic of liberalism.
On the contrary, recognizing living evil makes us feel bad. It requires hard choices, sometimes dangerous ones. It conflicts with the bogus philosophy of “Peace for our time” and “Can’t we just get along?” But for a role model, Winston Churchill is far preferable to Neville Chamberlain or Rodney King.
Hitler could have been recognized for what he was and stopped easily when he began enlarging the German armed forces and occupied the Rhineland. He could have been stopped with greater difficulty when he seized Czechoslovakia. But by the time he attacked Poland and then France, he was so strong that it took a world war and over 40 million deaths before he was stopped.
Young people complain that they accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt for four years in a prestigious university, but what they learned does not enable them to get a job. This is sad. The world went through five years of horrible suffering in World War II and accumulated tens of millions of corpses, but learned nothing at all. This is inexpressibly tragic – and unforgivable.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.