Compassion is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and feeling sympathy. It does not require affection. One might feel compassion for Hitler, Stalin or Saddam on learning about their appalling childhoods (like most famous dictators, they lost a parent before the age of 14), or even for George Bush (who had a beastly time), but still hate them for what they did.
Evidently, Oliver forgot the atrocities of National Socialism and international Communism in the 20th century. Or as Jonah Goldberg wrote in January of 2004, during Moveon.org’s “Bush=Hitler” ads, the first big salvo in what’s becoming a now seemingly endless cycle of moral equivalence by the left:
I don’t say this because I feel a passionate need to defend George Bush. I would make the exact same points if Al Gore were president. I would make the exact same points if anybody running for the Democratic nomination were president. This has nothing to do with partisanship. It has to do with the fact that such comparisons are slanderous to the United States and historical truth and amount to Holocaust denial. When you say that anything George Bush has done is akin to what Hitler did, you make the Holocaust into nothing more than an example of partisan excess. Tax cuts are not genocide, as so many Democrats have suggested over the years. (For example,. during the Contract with America debate, Charles Rangel complained that “Hitler wasn’t even talking about doing these things” that were in the Contract with America. In other words, the Contract with America was in some way worse than what Hitler did. At the end of the day, that is Holocaust denial.)
“Darn those Republicans” does not equal “Darn those Nazis.” The Patriot Act is not the final solution. The handful of men in Guantanamo may not all be guilty of terrorism, but it’s more than reasonable to assume they are. And no matter how you try to contort it, Gitmo is not the same thing as Auschwitz or Dachau. There are no children there. You don’t get carted off to Cuba and gassed if you criticize the president or if you are one-quarter Muslim. And, inversely, there was no reasonable justification for throwing the Jews and the Gypsies and all the others into the death camps. The Jews weren’t terrorists or members of a terrorist organization. To say that the men in Guantanamo