June 29, 2004
SPOONS THINKS I was too easy on Judge Guido Calabresi’s comparison of Bush to Mussolini and Hitler. It’s just that the statement was so out of character for him that it’s easy for me to believe he didn’t mean for it to come out that way. Of course, as Joel Engel notes, the Mussolini comparison would better fit someone besides Bush:
Mussolini stood on street corners and shouted that Italy’s war with Turkey and its 1911 invasion of Libya were an imperial grab meant to distract the people from their hunger. He organized and led protests, some of them violent, and was jailed. That made him a martyr and, when he was released, a hero of the left. As a reward, Avanti, the newspaper of Italy’s socialist party, named him editor. This was where he earned a national reputation, for his nasty editorials against the government. He was a socialist, not an anarchist, but he also showed contempt for democracy, believing that most people were too stupid to know what was in their own best interests and that they were anyway too ignorant to choose their own best leaders.
Hmm. That doesn’t sound much like Bush.
UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has posted the text of Calabresi’s apology letter.