11 August 2009

Rush Limbaugh, Barack Obama, and Adolf Hitler...

I have taught a lot of advocacy classes in my time. One of the things that I teach students in those classes is to be careful using exaggerated analogies. Simply, the exaggeration ends up making the analogy sound hollow and untrue. An exaggerated analogy then serves to do nothing more than detract and undermine what may in fact be a legitimate concern.

One of the examples that I use is: "the conditions of the jail where my client is incarcerated are as bad as Auschwitz!" The reason that this is an exaggerated analogy is abundantly clear to anyone who has read anything about the concentration camps that Nazi Germany used as part of the Final Solution. It is highly unlikely, for example, that a modern day prison in Australia, the US, the UK, or even Abu Ghraib, resemble the abhorrent conditions of Auschwitz.

So, as I was reading about Rush Limbaugh comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Obama's health care policies to the policies of the Third Reich and Nazi Germany, I could not help but think that any real points that Limbaugh may have been making would be lost in the brouhaha that was going to come with the analogy equating Obama to Hitler.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper wrote a short and interesting piece on the injection of Nazi into the debate and the dangers that this poses to American democracy.

For me, the points that Limbaugh is trying to make have been lost. I am sure that there are legitimate arguments to be made for and against the Obama health plan. However, labeling Obama a Nazi and trying to equate the health care symbol as one previously favoured by the Third Reich, the Reichsadler, is absurd.

The whole idea of equating Obama to Hitler and the Obama health policy to a policy of Nazi Germany and the Third Reich reminds me of my favourite Forrest Gump quote, "stupid is as stupid does!"

No comments: