Thursday, April 2, 2009

McArdle Clarifies What's Troubling About Hitler

If you're looking for a blog that typically praises the work of Megan McArdle, you've googled poorly. However, I believe in giving credit where it's due, and McArdle deserves praise for the good sense expressed here:

Has clarifying the distinction between fascism and socialism really added to most peoples' understanding of what the Obama administration is doing? All this does is drag the specter of Hitler into the conversation. And the problem with Hitler was not his industrial policy--I mean, okay, fine, Hitler's industrial policy bad, right, but I could forgive him for that, you know? The thing that really bothers me about Hitler was the genocide. And I'm about as sure as I can be that Obama has no plans to round up millions of people, put them in camps, and find various creative ways to torture them to death.[emphasis mine]
It's more than slightly insane that this clarification on the nature of Hitler's shortcomings needed to be pointed out, but it evidently did. To summarize it as briefly as possible: Adolph Hitler ...
  • Nationalized industries; and
  • Ordered the death of millions; and
  • Started World War II.
I purposely left off his risible mustache and middling-at-best artistic talents out of respect for the larger point, namely, that not all of his transgressions place him in the category of history's greatest monsters. Some are far worse than others, and suffice to say that while there are legitimate reasons to disagree with the nationalization of industries, it ranks well below killing millions of everyday people and fomenting wars that kill millions more.

Moreover -- and dear reader, if this all strikes you as blindingly obvious, you are very much on the right track, so please bear with me -- the photo shows the characteristic hair part of a left-handed man, which in turn suggests that Hitler, like Barack Obama, was left-handed! (Or maybe it just means the image was mirrored. Who gives a shit?) And Obama has come to the threshold of nationalizing industries, arguably even passed through it. And yet there are important differences between the two, placing them at distinctly different rungs of the moral ladder.

Along with Megan McArdle, I will gladly recant this entire post, word for word, if we discover in time that Barack Obama is now in the early stages of a larger program to kill millions.

(via Andrew Sullivan)

1 comment:

Paul said...

Perhaps even a Right-Wingnut will admit that an extraordinarily crucial difference between Obama and Hitler is that Obama doesn't part his hair as Hitler did. Then again, I'm probably being over-optimistic.