Friday, February 03, 2006

Anyone else tired of bad historical analogies...

Anyone else growing tired of bad historical analogies? Today, in stories by AP writers, both Venezuelan and American governmental officials are calling the respective leaders of both countries "Hitler." Rumsfield, for instance, equated Chavez's legal electoral victories, consolidation of power to Hitler, and association with both Fidel Castro (Cuba) and Evo Morales (Bolivia); the Venezuelan government fired back by calling Bush the North American version of Hitler...

This of course, is nothing new. The Democrats have employed similar historical analogies to the Iraq War, calling upon our memory of Vietnam, and President Bush often employs imagery from World War II to justify his vision in the Middle East...

Of course, some of these events have parallels, but at the same time, many very important particulars are left aside. Using history, or the philosophy of history, to justify political or moral outcomes is nothing new; many Marxist thinkers in the early Twentieth Century (e.g., Georg Lukacs) used the jump from historical materialism to speculative philosophy of history (e.g., Revolution of the Proletariat) to justify their political tactics. This is merely one such example...

The difference, of course, is the rigor of such uses. These new uses, by both democrats and republicans, and other governments' officials, just seem over the top...

3 Comments:

Blogger baelmon said...

I agree. One wishes that politicians would simply drop all "Hitler" comparisons, as their excessive and inappropriate use has drained such analogies of all meaning. The unfortunate result is that any legitimate comparisons are also dismissed.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Nick Z. said...

I agree. Does this frighten you at all? For me it does; it seems more likely that horrific events can repeat themselves if the meaning or significance of an event is drained...

Thanks for the comment, Toby.

1:50 PM  
Blogger baelmon said...

I think it is cause for concern. Whenever past atrocities are cheapened like this, we run the risk of superficializing the atrocities themselves. This certainly distorts any appropriate historical sense that one might otherwise have. This in turn makes it somewhat more difficult to see that similar atrocities are on the horizon.

5:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home