Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trump analogy time: Less "Hitler" and more "pre-Hitler"

Godwin's Law, courtesy
A term that originated on Usenet, Godwin's Law states that as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin's Law has effectively forfeited the argument.

For the purposes to discussing the president-elect, Donald Trump, and/or his administration and advisors, I'm going to have to violate Godwin's Law, or simply consider it suspended for the duration.

The comparisons are too obvious to ignore.

The comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler seem to me to be both a case of overreach and being premature.  He hasn't even taken office yet.

Nope.  While it's not a perfect analogy (any analogy is an imperfect comparison between two entities), right now he looks to most closely resemble Paul von Hindenburg.

Paul von Hindenburg, courtesy

Von Hindenburg was the second president of Germany (after WWI).

He wasn't Hitler (in fact, he died in 1934, years before the Nazis' greatest evils were fully realized).

However, he was the one who welcomed Hitler into the mainstream of German politics by making him Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

Unlike Trump (who was basically a draft dodger), von Hindenburg was a former field marshal in the German army in WWI.

Like Trump, he was reluctant to accept the responsibilities of his office.

Unlike Trump, he apparently cared about the country he was charged with leading.

Like Trump (who will be 70 on Inauguration Day in January), he wasn't exactly a young man when he first took office (76 years old).

No where did I find evidence of von Hindenburg being held responsible for the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis; what he did was give them access to the levers of power in the early and middle 1930s.

Fast forward to 2016:

Trump is bringing in some utterly vile people around him, people like Mike Pence, Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, and others, all people who shouldn't be allowed near a position of public responsibility much less one of public trust.

Right now, none of them appear to be Hitler-like (though at least a couple of them look like wannabes), but when Trump leaves office over his ethical issues (of course, given his age, the term "medical issues" may serve as the preferred euphemism) look for one of them to at least try to assume dictatorial powers.

To critics:

Yes, I know this was (and is) a quick, almost superficial, look at one, very specific, part of the entire ugly situation.

Which is all that it is intended to be; in 50 years or so, historians will produce some very erudite and intellectual treatises that will use many more words to say the same thing.


Thane Eichenauer said...

I'll plus one anything that weaves history into current events.


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