Nazi way to make a point
At the risk of sounding like a language Nazi—to use the daft and offensive term which almost should be banned—it’s time for a voluntary worldwide moratorium on using Nazism as an analogy for anything other than Nazism itself.
A couple of bizarre examples follow from the past week. In the Vatican, a senior member of the clergy has tastelessly likened the (valid) scrutiny of the Catholic Church over child sexual abuse to the persecution of the Jews.
Given the vexed history between Judaism and Catholicism - not to mention the totally non-historical nature of the comparison - the Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa should really spend less time nosing through the Bible and more time glancing at the history books.
Then there’s Naomi Wolf, the author who enjoyed global star status with her attacks on female objectification, penning the bestseller The Beauty Myth.
A prominent leader of what is described as ``third-wave feminism’‘, Wolf has written that women should have ``the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being punished by an ideology that is using attitudes, economic pressure, and even legal judgments regarding women’s appearance to undermine us psychologically and politically’‘.
A great many people would agree. Hers is a well-argued position.
But I’m not sure that the same people would agree with this, though—Wolf on President Barack Obama’s policies towards terrorist suspects.
``Obama has done things like Hitler did,’’ Wolf said last week. ``Let me be very careful here. The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has.
``It isn’t a question of what has been done that Hitler did. It’s what every dictator does, on the Left or the Right, that is being done here and now.’‘
The proviso ``let me be very careful here’’ is quite hilarious given Wolf goes on to confuse a bunch of murderous hate-filled fanatics who believed in the complete genocide of the Jewish race and a 1000-year Aryan world domination with a liberal-democrat operating in accordance with one of the world’s most enlightened constitutions.
In this age of overstatement and historical indifference—which manifests itself, as one example, with critics of the Federal Government’s net filter likening Australia to China—the Nazi analogy is really in a league of its own for pure offensiveness.
But it’s now entered everyday use, where the Health Minister Nicola Roxon can be called a ``food Nazi’’ for campaigning against junk food, or the people who put child-proof lids on Paracetamol labelled ``safety Nazis’‘.
It’s both a devaluing and a distortion of what actually happened some 70 years ago for anyone to make such a blase analogy, even in jest, and it shows a total lack of interest both in history and taste.
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