What is the worst possible thing that you can say about a person? The worst possible insult is to compare someone to Hitler.
I am writing today about a news article entitled “Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler, and what we talk about when we talk about Godwin’s Law”
The following quote is from the news article:
There’s something about the Trump 2016 run that makes people cry Hitler at unprecedented levels, even for the Internet age.
In other words, Godwin’s Law is being invoked like never before. Don’t know what Godwin’s Law is? Coined by attorney Mike Godwin in 1990, it states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” In other words, Godwin’s Law means that as long as you exist as a person with an opinion not miraculously agreed upon by every single person in the world, the collective psychic cesspool that is the Internet will eventually call you Hitler.
Godwin’s Law is normally a pretty straightforward thing, in terms of whether it is being applied for (melo)dramatic effect or not. But as Trump’s campaign marches on and his base grows wider, their violence and nationalism grows louder — and Godwin’s Law loses a degree of rhetorical clarity. It’s meant for people wildly grasping at Hitler or the Nazis or the Holocaust as hyperbole, without actual factual relation. What happens when the similarities between the person being compared to Hitler and, well, Hitler are more eerily present than you’d expect?
Does Trump have any similarity to Hitler? Does he want to kill Jews? As far as I know, Trump only wants to get rid of Mexicans who are in America illegally and he is against Muslims, who tend to be terrorists.
This quote is also from the news article:
It may be helpful here to note that some of the similarities between Trump and Hitler that people are quick to point out should bother and disturb us more than others. When Trump asked supporters at a rally to pledge their loyalty by raising their right hand, it was surreal — but it didn’t necessarily mean anything. It might have been an attempt to dog-whistle white supremacists in his base, but it might also have been an act of mind-boggling ignorance. (I actually feel the same way about the Megyn Kelly “blood coming out of here wherever” remarks — not that it in any way lessens the bread-and-butter misogyny of The Donald, but I believe there’s at least a possibility he was just babbling.)
The photo above shows Trump supporters raising their hands in what looks like a Nazi salute.
The following quote is from the last paragraph in the news article:
The ethics of the whole phenomenon are murky at best. Does Trump, whose personal #brand of racism will *probably* not lead him to exterminate millions in gas chambers, deserve to be indiscriminately called Hitler? No. But is it enormously important that people be educated about the disturbing ways the two leaders created their paths to power? Absolutely. There is a world of difference between contextualizing Trump’s racist policy proposals in terms of documented history and some egg-avatared MRA dude hissing rape threats at “feminazis” on Twitter.