Friday, January 25, 2013

When can you compare political opponents to Hitler?

This is Fox 'News,' so you know how they decide this question:
If you have been watching Fox News in recent weeks, you will have heard a lot of discussion about Hitler. Guests have been lining up to equate the gun legislation proposed by President Obama with Hitler, Nazis and 1930s Germany in general.

Since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, Fox guests have been among the loudest voices saying that any new restrictions will decimate the Second Amendment and lead to government oppression not seen since Hitler, Mao or Stalin. ...

Then stepped up Bob Schieffer.

Speaking on a special Jan. 16 edition of CBS News, the host said this of the obstacles to passing legislation: “Surely passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do, and before that, surely defeating the Nazis was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby.”

Heads on Fox started to fizz. When Hannity played the clip on his show, he followed it up with a clip from Rush Limbaugh, who asked: “Is there room for that in our discourse today?” Limbaugh called it “over-the-top defamation.”

Heh, heh. Get that? Rush Limbaugh called a comment by someone else "over-the-top defamation." Sometimes, I have to wonder if he's not just deliberately trying to be funny. If it were anyone but Rush Limbaugh, I'd think he was slyly poking fun at himself.

And if Schieffer's comment compared the gun lobby to Hitler, it was just indirectly. Read that again: "Surely passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do, and before that, surely defeating the Nazis was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." That's what's got their knickers in a twist?

But the right-wing's capacity for oblivious, one-way outrage never ceases to amaze me. Don't any Fox 'News' viewers recognize this? What would it take to embarrass them, if things like this don't do it?


Jim Harris said...

I can't stand it when people compare things to Hitler, Nazis or fascism. Either these people haven't a clue about history, or any supposed evil they see in the world is all of one magnitude.

If the U.S. government used Nazi like tactics towards gun owners they would be dead on in concentration camps.

It's sad that we have to regulate anything, but the reality is we do. Regulating guns is no more evil than regulating cars or airplanes.

I'm reading a book, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, who compares life today with how humans have lived for millions of years. It's mostly about anthropology, but it does explain why we have complex laws and regulations.

Wanting a social system that's not regulated is like wanting to live in a hunting and gathering society. It only works if we have very low population densities.

Jeff said...


The people who play the Hitler/Nazi card haven't heard of Godwin's Law.

It is too bad we have to have a lot of regulations. A line a co-worker laid on me a few years ago: "If you can't make it work, make more rules."

WCG said...

We've always had rules, because we've always been a social animal. We live in groups. We survive, or not, in groups. We thrive, or not, in groups.

And yes, the more people we've got, the more rules we need. We wouldn't need to worry about global warming if there were only a million people on the planet. We wouldn't need to worry much about pollution, either. We could just dump our waste in a river and let nature take care of it.

But it's the 21st Century, and there are seven billion people on the planet. There's probably little you can do that won't affect your neighbor. Our economies are interconnected, too.

Right-wingers want to return to the 19th Century - or even earlier - but what are we going to do with those billions of extra people? (We have at least seven times as many people on the planet as we had at the start of the 19th Century.)

I see no way things are going to get simpler, because, absent complete disaster, we're never going to have any fewer people. The best we can hope for is that population growth will slow enough to stop, someday. But by then, it's likely to be too late.

It might be too late already (not just because of global warming, but because we're mining our oceans, mining our topsoil, mining our underground water, rather than using them sustainably).

Jeff said...


A Cree proverb I found the other day:

"Only after the last tree has been cut down,

Only after the last river has been poisoned,

Only after the last fish has been caught,

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

WCG said...

Jeff, that's why I've always been in favor of making money out of bacon.

Of course, if that were the case, I'd always be broke...