And no I’m not talking about Donald J and his address to boy scouts with jibes at his predecessor Obama or the media. I’m talking about Michael Moore and yet another, in a long line of ludicrous political posts. Let me begin by saying that I don’t agree with political leaders using youth rallies to score cheap political points. We want the youth of tomorrow to think for themselves and not swear loyalty to one man as leader, as Trump possibly alluded to. However, I think the media are doing enough of a job of tackling why this is an issue, from what I have seen so far, and so I don’t think me piling on the opprobrium is necessary, I thought I’d turn my attention to a response from a public figure that borders on the hysteric.
Michael Moore has done everything he can to paint Trump as the direct descendant of Adolf Hitler. Why this gains any traction, I’ll spend a bit of time on. Hitler is the ultimate evil in the eyes of modern Westerners. His expansionist vision for Germany engulfed the world in a second war that took the lives of somewhere between 50 and 85 million people. Let that sink in, that’s essentially the population of the entirety of Britain wiped off the face of the earth. He also conducted the genocide that killed millions of Jews. His leadership of Germany brought Europe to its knees, only to be resuscitated in the aftermath through American loans. The nations of Europe may have recovered on the surface, but the impact on their societies has had reverberations that affect us today. Just to the give two examples. Firstly, the loss of millions of people who could have gone on to benefit society in any number of ways. Secondly the evaporation of generations of men leaving the workforce of Europe depleted and necessitating policies of immigration that have irreversibly changed the fabric of our societies, not necessarily negatively, but altered dramatically nonetheless.
Hitler has become the real-life version of the bogeyman. Because of the devastation he wrought it is easy to understand why people are afraid of anything similar re-occurring. As a consequence, the far right has effectively been a political non-entity over the last seventy years in terms of its cultural impact on society. To be openly far right is to be a social pariah of the worst order. The result has cast a shadow over the entirety of the right as an offshoot, not just its most radical elements. Racism is directly linked to the Nazi regime and to Hitler himself, therefore racism is as Hitler is, evil. The political left knows this and elements within it use it mercilessly and immorally to portray influential figures amongst the political right as racists in order to de-legitimise their arguments and effectively silence them, when they know full well that they aren’t racists. This is part of the reason why we can’t have an honest discussion on immigration and why so many on the political right feel as though they cannot speak openly in a democratic society about their beliefs, however sensible, for fear of being labelled a bigot and put in league with the bogeyman. It is essentially the social tyranny that John Stuart Mill rallied against in his work On Liberty.
The result is that the political left, although it may lose at the ballot box more often than not, has gained a disproportionate control over the educational and cultural environment in the West. The Overton window of public political discourse has been dragged leftwards, which perhaps sheds a tiny inch of light on why the more radical elements of the far left, who are as equally nefarious as the far right, have managed to impact the mainstream and its culture more effectively in the post war world.
And so, this brings us to Michael Moore, a man who is doing everything he can to whip up his 2 million Facebook followers into an anti-Trump frenzy, by finding anything he can, however loosely it fits, to frame an orange tanned, reality TV star business mogul as the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Never mind that Trump isn’t threatening to invade other countries in his vision to grab living space for the pure white American people, never mind that he doesn’t pathologically hate the Jews, homosexuals or the disabled. Never mind that he lives within a political system that has probably the best democratic safeguards in the world, in the form of the division of power between Congress, the Presidency and the Judiciary. Never mind that, that system doesn’t have the direct equivalent of article 48 that existed in the German constitution, giving the chancellor emergency powers to curb habeas corpus, free expression of opinion, freedom of the press, rights of assembly, and the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. The article that ultimately allowed Hitler the opportunity to seize power and instil a dictatorship over Germany 30 days after coming to power.
What matters to Moore is not anything more than superficial comparisons that he can manipulate. Purely because he knows that it drives fear and that fear is what keeps him relevant. One could argue that his career has been earmarked by sensationalist, fear driving claims to whip his supporters up into a frenzy and sell his books and DVDs. This is the art of the public figure. This is why I have written this piece. Consider for a moment the impact that you could have, by claiming that the acting President is the next Hitler, given what Hitler is to the West. All it takes is for one crazed individual to get wrapped up in the conspiracy to try and take matters into his own hands and make an attempt on Trump’s life. People like Moore harp on about the consequences of speech and the responsibility that comes with it. Where is his responsibility, as a public figure with a wide reach, not to fear monger a mob into pitchfork like proportions? And when you think about that you have to ask yourself, is someone who is willing to so lightly invoke a Hitler comparison fit to talk about the character flaws and morals of the sitting President?