Godwin’s Law Is Dead: why comparisons of the Trump Regime to Nazis is fully justified
First, a Godwin’s Law 101 courtesy of Wikipedia:
Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s rule of Hitler analogies) is an internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1”; that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds. Promulgated by the American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990, Godwin’s law originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions. It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms, and comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles, and other rhetoric where reductio ad Hitlerum occurs.
Trump has effectively killed Godwin’s Law, because he acts like a Nazi. He coddles racists and “white nationalists.” He sells government to the highest bidder. And he demands loyalty to himslef over the US Constitution, flawed as it is.
Nothing has made that more apparent than the separation of families fleeing to the United States, only the be torn apart by proto-fascist policies enforced by ICE.
Comparisons of Donald Trump and his fascist cadre to Hitler and the Nazis are fully justified, particularly with respect to his administration’s decision to kidnap children from their parents coming to America as undocumented immigrants — in most cases , to escape the danger of death in out-of-control nations in our backyard.
Examine, if you will, Trump’s choice of words in describing these refugees:
In one tweet, he used the loaded term “infest” to reference the influx of immigrants entering the country illegally.
Social commentators pointed out that history has shown, particularly before and during the Holocaust, that “infest” — a term almost exclusively used to describe vermin — dehumanizes a population and is often a precursor to murder or genocide.
One of the most notorious anti-Semitic films produced by Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Propaganda was “Der ewige Jude” (“The Eternal Jew”), with input from propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum says that “One of the film’s most notorious sequences compares Jews to rats that carry contagion, flood the continent, and devour precious resources.”
It also does not help that members of Trump’s inner circle, including his racist, inept Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, lacks the intellectual acumen to undo comparisons of Trump’s family-smashing policy to Nazi conduct — and, in fact, admits that the conduct has parallels to Hitler’s nationalist policies.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions went on Fox News on Monday night to defend the Trump administration’s immigration policy, which has led to family separations at the border. He ended up botching Holocaust history, accidentally making the case that the Trump approach to immigration is similar to the way Nazis treated Jews.
Insider has a terrific takedown of Sessions’s idiocy that is well worth your time.
In a new essay just published in The Guardian, Yoka Verdoner writes about her experience as a victim of Nazi atrocities. Nobody can say that Trump’s vicious “take the babies” policy is even slightly beyond comparison what happened to her family:
When we were children, my two siblings and I were also taken from our parents. And the problems we’ve experienced since then portend the terrible things that many of these children are bound to suffer.
My family was Jewish, living in 1942 in the Netherlands when the country was occupied by the Nazis. We children were sent into hiding, with foster families who risked arrest and death by taking us in. They protected us, they loved us, and we were extremely lucky to have survived the war and been well cared for.
Yet the lasting damage inflicted by that separation reverberates to this day, decades hence.
Have you heard the screams and seen the panic of a three-year-old when it has lost sight of its mother in a supermarket? That scream subsides when mother reappears around the end of the aisle.
This is my brother writing in recent years. He tries to deal with his lasting pain through memoir. It’s been 76 years, yet he revisits the separation obsessively. He still writes about it in the present tense.
The entire article is well worth your time.
Trump’s authoritarian rule and actions, not limited to those related to borders and immigration, fully merit comparison with the rise of Nazism in Germany. Let us hope that Trump’s sole lasting legacy is smashing Godwin’s Law and an environment in which citizens and journalists can call out conduct that can be compared with Hitlerian evil without the media clutching their pearls and stumbling to the fainting couch while moaning, “You can’t DO that!”