Tuesday, June 14, 2005

We're all Nazis now, and every dang thing is a Holocaust.

What the US is doing in Iraq "is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed", says New York's Democratic Congressman from Harlem, Charles Rangel, who explains, "I am saying that people's silence when they know things terrible are happening is the same thing as the Holocaust." [NY Daily News]

Well, if the issue really is the silence of people who know that terrible things are going on, then I'd think a closer parallel to the Holocaust might be the silence kept by so many good people as Saddam went about gassing his own population, filling mass graves, running a police state overtly modeled after Stalin's ... but enough of that.

The thought here is about all this glib "fascist", "Holocaust" name calling. Hey, look who's been called "Hitler" lately. It may be getting harder to find people who haven't than who have.

Not so long ago the New York Times Arts Section even did a very Times Arts Sectionish story on this phenomenon, interviewing all kinds of serious experts.

One is tempted to say "Shame on our generation, for defining down great human tragedies and evils for the sake of petty name calling."

But it's hardly just our generation...
“The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.”
That was George Orwell writing in March, 1944 -- while the fascists were still holding Europe and operating death camps and gas chambers.

Face it, we humans just plain suck.