Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, March 26, 2007

Argumentum ad Nazium

From Fallacy Files:
In almost every heated debate, one side or the other—often both—plays the "Hitler card", that is, criticizes their opponent's position by associating it in some way with Adolf Hitler or the Nazis in general. No one wants to be associated with Nazism because it has been so thoroughly discredited in both theory and practise, and Hitler of course was its most famous exponent. So, linking an idea with Hitler or Nazism has become a common form of argument ascribing guilt by association...

Playing the Hitler Card demonizes opponents in debate by associating them with evil, and almost always derails the discussion. People naturally resent being associated with Nazism, and are usually angered. In this way, playing the Hitler Card can be an effective distraction in a debate, causing the opponent to lose track of the argument. However, when people become convinced by guilt by association arguments that their political opponents are not just mistaken, but are as evil as Nazis, reasoned debate can give way to violence. So, playing the Hitler Card is more than just a dirty trick in debate, it is often "fighting words".
Argumentum ad Nazium is used frequently by our unimaginative and intellectually lazy Palouse liberals.

Rememeber John Streamas' rant in the Daily Evergreen last fall about the College Republicans?
It [the border fence] is a violently racist symbol, no different from Nazis carrying a swastika through a Jewish neighborhood
In today's Evergreen, they are at it again:
Recent demonstration was in poor taste


I was a little disturbed by the story about the College Republicans demonstration for English as the sole national language. Not the idea that English as the national language might be a terrible idea, but the ideology of the appeal being made. English as America’s official language is a valid debate to have, but to couch the argument in nationalist and patriotic trappings as well as jargon is sadly un-American and un-patriotic. Is there any great difference in the ideology or appeal of “One Nation, One Flag, One Language!” and “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!”? They call themselves conservatives, yet what are they trying to conserve? Some fictional stereotype of what an American is? I don’t say this to be insulting, but by definition, how is this not a fascist ideology?

Ron Hughes, alumni, 1994
There was another vague Nazi analogy in another letter by Lucas Burke:
Americans would do well to remember that stirring up nationalist ideas has only resulted in massive conflict throughout recent centuries. The archaic nationalistic tendencies of the 19th and 20th centuries, those ideologies that forced the world to suffer two horrific world wars and the Cold War, cannot continue into the 21st century if we truly wish to live in a peaceful, prosperous and democratic world.
Such arguments only demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of our local collectivists.

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