Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Question Six: Why Do We Throw Words Around Like 'Hitler' and 'Un-Patriotic'?

Question six in our ongoing debate series about the War on Terror and the Iraq War is a two part question that specifically addresses the extremes. In a way, it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s question.

Why do such a vocal minority believe Bush is evil or as bad as Hitler? Why do some seem to feel it is un-American to harshly criticize Bush or say the Iraq war was a mistake?

Question One: Why did we invade Iraq?

Question Two: Has the Iraq war set any precedents?

Question Three: Are we safer?

Question Four: Why do some think America is the enemy?

Question Five: Why are we so divided?


At 10:47 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I hate when anyone uses Hitler as a point of referrence. Calling someone Hitler just diminishes the real evil that was Hitler. Opponents of Bush often call the President Hitler for reasons I really don't grasp. By using ridiculous language do they think they'll convince the rest of us that they're right? Or do they really have no sense of history or context? My guess is they want to make a point that Bush is not just extreme but diabolical as well. Crying "hitler" makes that point quickly but it also makes the accuser seem ignorant and unhinghed.

I also hate cries of "un-patriotic" or "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" that some ont he right toss around at every critic of the war that uses harsh language. I think some people equate patriotism with conformity. But patriotism is a lot broader than that. You can love your country but hate a specific action by your country. But some seem to think that wars are lost by dissenters on the homefront. In fact, the Vietnam protestors are often accused of having caused us to lose Vietnam. That's wrong. Dissent doesn't lose wars and dissent doesn't equal a lack of patriotism. Those who think it does simply fail to understand how robust American patriotism actually is.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

While I don't compare Bush to Hitler, I am very afraid for the future of our democracy. I see the conservatives taking control of the press, rigging elections, curbing civil liberties, weakening standards for human rights, and misleading the American people about life-and-death issues. I see religious conservatives thinking of themselves as moral authorities, shutting out disenting voices, and holding faith in the Bush administration with the same vigor with which they hold faith in God and the Bible. When you put all of this together, you have the lead-up to a potentially horrific situation.

Honestly, I'm trying to figure out whether to keep my family in this country to fight for our democracy and possibly face the horrors of a Nazi-like future or get out of here while we still can.

Okay -- I used the word Nazi. I do not think that Bush can be compared to Hitler, and I do not think that he is evil. I do see an alarming lack of interest in the lives of people who are different from him. And I do believe that he is too easily influenced by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. I think those two will be as evil as this world will let them be.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...


I believe this is simply a manifestation of a fundamental human desire:

Everybody wants to be the good guy.

Well, most people do anyway. The easiest way to feel like the good guy is to demonize your opponent. The easiest way to keep yourself from falling into the trap of actually thinking about the opposing side's arguments is to build up a portrait of them as clinically unreasonable and evil. Once that is accomplished, it becomes a whole lot easier to simply dismiss opposing points of view as a matter of course.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

I take offense to ANYONE comparing ANYBODY to Hitler. While Stalin and Pol Pot come close, Addie takes the trophy for most atrocities in the 20th Century.

This also includes people who say Bush is like Hitler because they both believed God chose them to lead their nations. But one trait does not a Fuhrer make. I have a mustache and brown hair (well it's grey now) so I share a trait with Hitler too.

I dislike the comparisons whether from the left or from the right (Rick Santorum anyone?).

As for why it happens (Hitler or un-patriotic), we may have to look at why we're such a divided country again. People get angry and they lash out. Sometime they think they're being clever when they're not (I'm guilty of that quite frequently). And some people are just downright mean and intolerant, and that goes for both sides.

We need to find common ground and work together instead of continually excavating this un-grand canyon that divides us.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

I think a big reason accusation such as "hitler" and "un-patriotic" get thrown around is because of the very simplistic way that so many people think of all political issues lately.

Take something as like taxes. If a person thinks the government should cut taxes, they often lump all people who oppose this view as "fiscally-irresponsible, tax and spend liberals". If another person doesn't agree witht he tax cut, they lump all of their opponents into a group that "just wants to take from the poor and give to the rich". Most of the discussion you hear does not ever mention the fact that both sides make good points and have valid concerns, they just characterize their opponents as extremists.

Now, look at a situation where emotions run much higher than they do when discussing a tax cut, like the war in Iraq. Both sides are doing the same thing, only now we are talking about things like defending your country and the loss of civilian life (both American and Iraqi). When you make extreme characterizations in this situation, those extremes are comparable to Hitler (does't care about the loss of life) or to a traitor (opposing your country).

So, I think that the fact that poeple do it all the time with other issues has almost desensitized them to fact that these characterizations are completely wrong and obsurd.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Some real good answers from everyone and I for one can not think of anything else to add. Well maybe that for the first time Robert and I agree on something 100%. Your answers were well put Robert... Thanks for sharing them.......


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