Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Talk to a Jew About Nazis: Simple Tips

Recently I was at a party (which on the whole was a lovely, gala affair) where I had the opportunity to lurk in a conversation in which a wealthy, older white professional began to draw some comparisons between President Obama and Hitler. Since such a comparison is completely ridiculous and pathological, it has naturally become a favored talking point among the conservative radio pundit crowd and their rabid, drooling fan base. Should these discussions happen to trickle down to you and you wish to impress your friends and wow your neighbors by pulling them out at a party, you may become discouraged if your host has made the gauche decision to invite a bunch of Jews. Thus, for your convenience, I have prepared some tips for you in this eventuality.

1. Do Not Tell Me About How Hitler was a Socialist, or that the Nazi Party was a Socialist Party

I am well aware that "Nazi"is a rough abbreviation for "National Socialist." However, for one, labelling something doesn't make it so. In fact, often quite the opposite is the case (witness FOX "Fair and Balanced" News, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals {guess what? Humans are also animals!} or the Bill-of-Rights-busting "Patriot Act").

For another, Hitler was a rabid anti-communist and was anti-lower class, not exactly traditional socialist positions.

Finally, the type of socialist policies that were popular among the Nazis were of the "legislating social morality" type that Conservatives like, not the "giving cheap medicine to poor, brutally sick children whose unemployed crack-addicted mother was taught abortion was a sin" type that Conservatives fear.

2. Do Not Tell Me About How "What People Don't Remember Is that Hitler Was a Great Leader"

First of all, if you want to whip out this gem at all, tell me that Hitler was an "effective" leader, a "charismatic" leader or a "popular" leader. Yes, Hitler was able to mobilize a nation that was ravaged by economic crisis and a loss of national identity (don't get excited, Obama-Haters, the comparisons end there). He also was impossibly insecure, a hate monger, and, oh yeah, murdered millions of people. To describe someone like that as "great" makes you sound like a moron.

Secondly, if you do decide to go with one of the options offered, don't say it with smug self satisfaction like you've just delivered some high level piece of political science wizardry. One, you don't know shit about Hitler's leadership other than that he drew big crowds and he made the trains run on time (and you don't even know that, because that was Mussolini, and it's not even true). Two, your insight that to lead an entire nation to imperialism and mass murder requires you have an ability to endgender some cooperation is not a mind-numbing revelation.

3. You Can Try to Compare Obama to Hitler, or You Can Say Hitler Was a Great Leader, but not Both

This is just a logic issue. Clearly when comparing Obama to Hitler you are not trying to cast the President in a favorable light, so going on to talk about how great and effective Hitler was doesn't even make any sense. Unless you are trying to imply that the big Obama purge of all white people is just around the corner. If you are, you are at best a bigot and at worst a complete idiot.

OK! Now you know everything you need to know to chat with Jews about Hitler and Nazism. Let's party!


James said...

I guess, "So you're saying Obama is a great leader," would be a pretty nifty comeback to anyone who violates number three. Just watching their heads explode would make it worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, but you left out a bunch of things. Adolf was probably also crappy at bowling. And, a loose translation of "mein kampf" is "the audacity of hope".

I wonder what your party-going friends would think of the much more legitimate comparisons between Bush and Hitler, such as the ones at http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles3/Jayne_Hitler-Bush.htm