The face of Fascism

Stephen D’Abreau

Stephen D'Abreau

How many times have you heard Donald Trump likened to Adolf Hitler? Have you read it on social media, heard it in conversations on college campuses or seen it through a cable news outlet? The answer is probably yes.

This comparison is actually unhelpful and lazy. Logically speaking, you could categorize it as a false equivalency — the compared elements are not alike — but it is actually more bizarre than that.

Let’s talk about the comparison three ways: How Trump is not like the Nazi dictator, how Hillary Clinton could be compared to Hitler– a topic the will very much help frame my last point, and how the Hitler comparison is stifling political discussion.

First, whatever you may believe about Trump as being a bellicose, nationalistic racist, he is still very dissimilar to Hitler.

In foreign policy, Hitler was an expansionist. Trump has been fiercely criticized as being too isolationist. For example he made comments about not defending NATO member states.

Trump has a hatred for Muslim terrorists and illegal Mexican immigrants. But racist as these views may be perceived, they do not even remotely match the anti-semitism Hitler employed to gain power.

Even though Trump’s comments can be combative and extreme, the U.S. has already been at war with groups like ISIS for 15 years; Hitler came into power during German peacetime.

Second, Hitler’s policies actually align in many ways with Clinton’s policies. Hitler rejected both communism and capitalism. His Nazi Party instead favored national socialism.

The Nazi socialist policy included a huge expansion of the German public sector. This included state-provided healthcare, increased welfare, youth programs and more. To pay for his policies, Hitler increased taxes, especially for the rich.

Hitler also was an avid fan of gun control, with implementation aimed at reducing crime rates. This gradually disarmed the populace until virtually only Nazis and Nazi supporters had weapons.

Also, Hitler was pro-abortion, seeing it as a method to help curb the population of the undesirable races – much like how Margret Sanger, the prominent American figure Clinton has praised, wanted to spread contraceptives to keep the “lesser” races from reproducing.

From social welfare to gun control and taxes to abortion, Hitler would find more in common with Clinton.

Does this comparison to Clinton seem far-fetched? Depending on your political persuasion you may feel so. Inversely, you may feel it’s spot on.

This brings me to the final point: comparing a politician to Hitler is virtually always useless.

If we could point to a policy that was clearly inspired by Nazism, perhaps we could make that case. But the vast majority of comparisons to Hitler are only useless hyperboles that stifle political discourse because we attack people on largely baseless claims, distracting from actual ideas and policies.

It is easy to dismiss a policy combating ISIS or a gun control bill if you paint it as a Nazi policy or the candidate that proposes it as Hitler. But this does no good for anyone.

Steering clear of Hitler comparisons is an easy way to improve our national political conversation.

If there is one thing we certainly need less of, it’s pointless, exaggerated, partisan rhetoric. We need more discussion of ideas and actual policy instead.

Stephen D’Abreau is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].