10 Reasons Why Trump Is Not Hitler And Countless Reasons We Should Still Be Worried
Hysterics called Obama “Hitler” for pushing through the Affordable Care Act. The “death panel” humbug wasn’t even the supposed justification. It is a common fallacy (Association Fallacy, reductio ad Hitlerum) to call one person or thing by the name of another to discredit it. To further illustrate the point: Hitler built a highway system; Eisenhower built a highway system. Therefore, Eisenhower is Hitler. No.
Likewise, avoiding war is “Munich.” A current inanity is “Trump is Hitler.” Trump is an existential threat. This is addressed below. But first, let’s take a look at how Trump is not Hitler, easily demonstrated by the following 10 points:
1. Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) was born in Austria and lived most of his life in Germany. He was married one time for 2 days. Hitler sought to serve in the Bavarian army in WWI. (The Bavarian army was militarily sovereign, distinct from other German forces at that time.) Donald Trump was born in 1946 in the United States. He’s been married three times. Trump sought not to serve in the US military during the Viet Nam War. Clearly, based on these biographical details, Trump is not Hitler.
2. Hitler himself dictated to his aide Rudolph Hess a self-serving megalomaniacal autobiographical political work, Mein Kampf. A ghostwriter wrote The Art of the Broken Deal, Trump’s self-serving megalomaniacal autobiographical business book. Different. (The book was published as Trump: The Art of the Deal, in error.)
3. In Mein Kampf, Hitler claims that some people are sub-human and can have no place in the German reich, and implies genocide. Trump, of course, wants only to expel 11 million undocumented immigrants from the US — not all minorities — and forbid Muslims from entering until we “can figure out what the hell is going on.” This is obviously different.
4. Hitler used the electoral process to stage a hostile takeover of the German Weimer Republic. Trump competed in primaries and convinced the Republican Party that it was not a hostile takeover. It was not — was it?
5. Hitler channeled popular angst over Germany’s World War I defeat, Great Depression economic collapse and high unemployment, and scapegoated “enemies” to mobilize the masses: to restore Germany’s pride and power. He intended to expel “inferior races” to the east. Trump blames bad trade deals for lost manufacturing. His call to “Make America Great Again” includes expelling unwanted people south — a totally different direction!
6. As Hitler rose to power, he dressed thugs up in uniforms to provide a fist behind his rhetoric. Trump had no such uniformed gangs, and the hotheads whom he encouraged to attacked protestors at Trump rallies were not organized.
7. Scholars have demonstrated that Mein Kampf was a hodgepodge of recycled politics, race hatred, baseless claims, etc., with little to no originality, but propelled by great personal force. Some people claim that Trump is recycling baseless claims, scapegoating, and hyping fear based on what he hears on Fox News. Perhaps future scholars will shed light on Trump’s information sources.
8. Hitler had more than 20 Fuhrer headquarters he lived in and worked from, including the Berghof, and the Wolf’s Lair. Trump likes his comfort. As a candidate he returned to his nest high above Manhattan almost nightly from the campaign trail, and as President vacations constantly at his Trump resorts, so only a few places he finds comfortable. He would never create danger for the US that might result in spending a lot of his time in a bomb shelter, even a gold-plated one.
10. Hitler (a fascist) glorified war. He did not see power as a way to avoid war, but as the way clearing the path to another war with a greater adversary and therefore greater rewards: glory, land for the master race, and purification. Though Trump has questioned why we cannot use our nuclear weapons and threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he does not seek war like a Hitler. He would rather abandon our old alliances while Hitler sought alliances (Italy, Japan, and vassal regimes) for domination. Trump may share a fetish for military parades, hardware, and uniforms but does not claim war is just cool. Hitler worshipped the process of war and was willing to bet the house on being the victor. Trump worships the process of Trump, and bets the house on his winning. Different, yes?
Hopefully, this makes it absolutely clear that Trump is not Hitler. Likewise, it can be as easily demonstrated that Trump is not Mussolini, even if they do share some striking mannerisms. On the other hand, it would take a different set of arguments to demonstrate that Trump is not the anti-Christ. Many people claimed Barack Obama was the anti-Christ. Can there be more than one? Not saying Trump is, of course.
Postscript. This article plays with association fallacy. The ten reasons to not accept the association fallacy of Trump = Hitler are, here, ten reasons to find some similarity, so with irony, it is still association fallacy. (But this article is not an example of Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1,” as this discussion starts with the comparison rather than ending with it. That’s economy of language.)
Many have warned of Trump = Hitler including former N.J. Republican Governor Christie Whitman, Eminem, Glenn Beck, Fatah, the Anne Frank Centre. Traits cited as common to both of them have included narcissism, “lying press” strategy, use of decrees/executive orders, hateful rhetoric, creating own media, exploiting youth at rallies, endorsing police brutality, demeaning people, manipulating weak political allies, etc. To be fair, Trump has played the Nazi card too, for example, comparing US intelligence services to Nazi Germany.
Trump is not Hitler. Nothing Trump has ever done or said indicates that evil. Hitler sought war, world domination, war crimes, industrialized genocide, totalitarian control.
Trump is Trump. That is threat enough. He’s not a decent man. Donald Trump’s arrogance, ignorance, lack of respect for other leaders both friend and adversary, risk-taking, disdain for laws and norms, self-centered calculations, lack of intellectual curiosity, vengefulness towards perceived adversaries, and belief in his own hype could result in death, destruction and decline: accidental or intentional war, accelerating climate change devastation, economic injustice and assault on the social fabric of society — vastly greater than before.
Trump does not have Hitler’s intentional evil. But he has nukes and the awesome power of the greatest economic and military power in history. For this reason, the risk is greater. We should not trivialize the enormity of Hitler’s crimes through the Trump comparison. However, dare we fail to name the danger Trump poses?
Resistance and opposition is: running for office and campaigning for others; writing and reporting; law suits, demonstrations and boycotts; holding elected representatives accountable; civil disobedience; volunteering and standing with and for civil society; protecting decency and humane values; respecting debate, reason, science, democratic practice; subscribing and donating; humor, satire and ridicule. Trump is Trump — and that is perilous.