Editorial: Drop usages of Nazi and Hitler

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Here is an item of discussion for the Albert Lea Human Rights Commission and just about any participants in the everlasting American dialogue:

What’s up with people comparing things to Nazi Germany or to dictator Adolph Hitler? Won’t it ever go away?

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Grown-ups do it in online web forums. Teens do it when complaining about parents or teachers. College students do it when talking about the parking enforcement.

Grown-ups get overheated over politics and make comparisons of the opposite party to Nazis. Teens in school hallways call English teachers Grammar Nazis. College students time and again have spoken the slur Parking Nazis. Someone who is perceived as too controlling at times is said to be acting like Hitler.

All of the above comparisons are exaggerations. No one deserves to be called or compared to Nazis or Hitler. Not only are they fallacies usually crafted by the kind of people who lack original thought, they are offensive to Jews, gypsies and other survivors of the Holocaust. They are even offensive to veterans of the allied forces who defeated the German military. It belittles the grave enormity through which they suffered.

In fact, there is a term called Godwin’s law. It says: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.” It has come to mean any conversation or debate, not merely Internet ones. The term is a good deterrent to making such poor comparisons.

We wish Nazi and Hitler terms were considered horrible, offensive and unacceptable universally.