We’ve probably all heard or seen comparisons of George W. Bush to Hitler. Unfortunately, such comparisons were all too common back when Mr. Bush was President. More recently, we are also hearing comparisons of Barack Obama to Hitler, now that Mr. Obama is President. Of course, there were (and are) problems with both of these comparisons because neither of these individuals is Hitler. Thank God there was only one of him.
However, it is not beyond reason to compare the policies of one leader with the policies of another to ascertain a similarity or dissimilarity in governance with regards to those specific policies. Yesterday, a panel at the University of South Dakota was asked “Is Obama another Hitler?” Personally, I believe that the better question would have been “Does Obama Support Policies which Hitler Also Supported?” but then again, I was not part of the discussion. I get the idea that the title of the discussion was meant to be blunt to engender strong negative reactions on the part of the audience. But, enough of my thoughts, let’s go to the panel itself:
Benno Wymar, a retired USD economics professor, moderated Wednesday’s forum and brought a unique insight. A native German, he moved to the United States in 1954.
Though there were panelists (Mike Meyers and Greg Huckabee), Wymar’s remarks take up most of the rest of the article.
Wymar tries to draw some parallels:
Obama’s critics attack him as “socialist” for proposing an increased government role in the economy and health care, Wymar said.
In that respect, Obama seems to be treated differently than President Dwight Eisenhower, who built the nation’s interstate highway system based on the German autobahn, or President Lyndon Johnson, who introduced the nation’s Medicare system, Wymar said.
Wymar seems to ignore the fact that the interstate highway system was built to ensure the rapid deployment of troops and materiel on the mainland in the event that the cold war grew hot. One can make a strong argument that the implementation of such a system is supported by the federal government’s constitutional duty of protection against foreign invaders.
Further, Lyndon Johnson was indeed considered a socialist by many when he pushed through Medicare. His Great Society initiative was unashamedly socialist in its goals: government spending massive amounts of taxpayers monies to increase the wealth of designated disadvantaged groups. Of course, we didn’t exactly have the interwebs back in LBJ’s day, so many things were accomplished before the average citizen ever heard the other side of the story.
On to health care, then:
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a universal health care system, Wymar said. If Obama is compared to Hitler because he favors universal health coverage, that would make the leader of nearly every other leading nation also like Hitler, Wymar said.
“Are they all Hitlers?” Wymar asked. “Maybe they should have a conference of Hitlers.”
I hope that this had more explicit context than what was shown. Otherwise, it is an absurdity which misses the point.
Now, let’s get into Hitler’s head and see how he thought:
“Hitler had a mindset. He had a view of how the world works, and how to bring it about,” the professor said. “He had a significant refusal to compromise. He ideology was victory, not consensus. Win, not lose.”
Hitler’s politics had a sense of absoluteness, filled with hatred, intolerance and inflexibility, Pryce said.
“In contrast, Obama seeks bipartisanship, cooperation and global understanding,” the professor said. “Unlike Hitler, genocide is not part of Obama’s goal.”
On this portion, I must respectfully submit that Wymar is wrong/misinformed/incorrect. Our President has shown a remarkable inflexibility with regards to his view of national policy. His “I won” statement comes to mind as one example. I won’t go into the rest of the comparison here, but I find the final sentence, in particular, to be remarkably off-base. I find the good professor’s claim of “bipartisanship, cooperation and global understanding” to be laughable. Here are the President’s definitions of those terms (as shown by his actions to date):
- Bipartisanship: Everyone in this country realizing that I’m doing the right thing and getting behind me. Now.
- Cooperation: Working hand-in-hand with countries/groups who are not friends of the United States.
- Global Understanding: We can all agree that the United States is the cause of most of the world’s problems. Right?
Oh, and the “genocide” reference? That’s way off the other end of the scale from “bipartisanship.” One does not necessarily advocate genocide because one is not sufficiently bipartisan.
As noted previously, I agree fully with Wymar that Obama is not Hitler. Nonetheless, I am hardly convinced by Wymar’s comments that a) Obama does not share a desire for the state to be what a citizen looks to for help and b) that Obama’s personality is not unlike Hitler’s when it comes to an apparent desire for increasing personal political power, regardless of laws which might exist to the contrary.
In an aside, it sure doesn’t help that people keep putting stuff together like this, because of their regard for the President.