December 12, 2015

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Donald Trump May Be a Dangerous Buffoon, But He’s No Hitler; Americans worried about a future Hitler should oppose abusive executive power no matter who is president.

“Is this what Germany looked like in 1933?” Joe Scarborough asked on Morning Joe this week.

No. Not at all.

Though many in my family were exterminated during the Holocaust—including one of my grandfathers, who died trying to make his way home from Mauthausen after years of forced labor—I’m not completely offended by an occasional gratuitous Nazi analogy. But as much as I hate to intrude on our week of national indignation, Donald Trump’s idiotic, undoable and probably unconstitutional immigration proposal (if we can call it that) is not comparable to the genocide of 6 million Jews. Trump is not comparable to Adolf Hitler. The Art of the Deal is not Mein Kampf. You can save your histrionic riffs of Martin Niemoller, for now. Trump’s statist suggestions and nativist populism, though often reprehensible in their own special way, are not nearly so morally corrupt as the policies of National Socialism or Stalinism or even the theocracies that litter the Middle East right now.

Unless political demonstrations have been banned and something comparable to the Reichstag fire is about to go down, Trump is not going to be Führer. Marinus van der Lubbe may not have burned down the German Parliament, but Islamic terrorists actually did gun down a bunch of Americans last week. Yet storm troopers didn’t smash Muslim businesses in a fury of collective punishment; a concentration camp for political opponents of Trump was not established this year; there’s been no decree banning Muslims from practicing law and civil service jobs; and there have been no prohibitions on Islamic dietary laws. Not even Trump has claimed to want to institute any of these things—and other than a few fringy Nazi types on Twitter, I’ve never seen anyone claim to want to institute these things. All of them, of course, would be unconstitutional.

I realize that many liberals like to portray Muslims as an oppressed class, much like the Jews of prewar Germany. But this historical fearmongering is not backed by evidence. Rarely are religious hate crimes directed at Muslims. (Over 60 percent of them are still aimed at Jews, according to government statistics.) As of now, Muslims have not lost a single right as Americans (other than the ones we all lose). Calling for an end to Muslim immigration is more comparable to the Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts (though this has nothing to do with economic protectionism) than it is to the Nuremberg Laws. Muslim Americans enjoy more individual liberty in the United States than they would in any Islamic nation.


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