Just Don't Do It
The other day (by other day I mean some random day about six months ago) I was watching a documentary on the the clash between city bylaw officers and citizens in some random American city. At one point, a tow truck driver was hooking up the cables to begin to tow away an illegally parked car when an irate owner drunkenly stumbled out of the nearby bar.
"I can't believe this," said the drunken man (I'm paraphrasing, of course, for although my memory is remarkable, it is not that good), "this is a Nazi city we live in."
The tow truck driver just smiled and continued to do his thing.
"You hear me, you're a Nazi," he said to the tow truck driver who was black and would definitely have met a gruesome end at the hands of the Nazis. I grinded my teeth in annoyance.
Recently, Robert Mugabe stood before the U.N. and compared President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to Hitler and Mussolini. I suppose Bush would be Hitler and Blair would be Mussolini, but the comparison breaks down pretty quickly from there, considering that Hitler was devilishly smart and Bush, while earnestly sincere, is a mere puppet. Hitler was also a captivating orator while Bush can barely read his teleprompter. Most importantly, Bush, while being a slightly corrupt ideologue, is a man whose sins and shortcomings pale to insignificance when compared to the loathsome and murderous evil wrought by Hitler.
Like teeth being scraped slowly across a chalkboard, the comparison of simple every-day annoyances to one of the greatest evils of twentieth century grates on my nerves.
Was your professor slightly reticent with his marking? He's a marking Nazi. Does your boss give a lecture every time you go slightly over the alloted break time? He's a break Nazi. Did the meter maid give you a ticket? She's Hitler.
National Socialism was responsible for the outbreak of a war that killed over 50 million men, women and children. Hitler presided over one of the worst genocides in history, arguably the worst genocide of history, the deliberate killing of six million Jews. National Socialism gutted and raped Europe and its totalitarian regime brutally repressed any who objected. Hitler wanted to reshape the world according to his abominable racist vision and he would have murdered millions more if he had been given the opportunity.
Bush, while misguided, is no Hitler. I would argue that this is one clear case where it is better to have a notoriously inept and misguided leader with good intentions than a notoriously capable and wicked leader with dark and loathsome intentions. I would fight to live in a corrupt democracy any time any place rather than live under a Hitler-style dictatorship.
When you compare your stubborn landlord to Hitler or the Nazis you are, in all actuality, saying that demands for pre-authorized cheques can be morally equated with mass genocide, mass destruction, and mass repression. That isn't funny. Hitler deserves better. If you're going to compare him to anyone, compare him to, say, Chairman Mao, Iosef Stalin, Pol Pot, or even Kim Jong-Il. Let's be serious because we all know that Hitler wouldn't have just refused to cash your cheque without a photo-id at your local bank, he would have also stolen your account, all of your possessions, and would have slowly killed you, your family, and all of your pets if you dared to oppose him.
Just don't do it.