American Samizdat

Friday, October 25, 2002. *
Matthew Engel is a writer for the Guardian
Enough with the Hitler Analogies

Round here, we are not very keen on the notion of banning words of any kind. The time has come to make an exception. The following words should be banned henceforth from political discourse: "Hitler" and "Nazi."

This would not apply to discussion of German history in the years up to 1945. That is not the problem. The problem is the incessant appearance of the words as a resort to winning arguments about modern politics. Their use (along with that of "fascist") has always been a ploy of the intellectually dishonest. At rock-bottom they are tools for inductive reasoning: "I like dogs." "Hitler liked dogs. You're a Nazi, then!" Since the Iraq dispute began, mild overuse has turned to plague, and both sides have been as bad as each other.

Let's be clear about this. Saddam Hussein is not Hitler, as hysterical Americans keep claiming. The charges of external violence are 12 years old. There is no coherent evidence that he had any plans (at least before the US began goading him) for more adventures, merely that he is obsessed with stockpiling weaponry, a charge that applies equally to the Pentagon. Far from seeking global or regional domination, he only dominates portions of Iraq.


via Fallacy Files Weblog for further information on weak analogies and guilt by association
posted by Norm at 11:55 PM
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