From the early days of the internet as global discussion and debate between far-flung groups of ordinary people became possible and even routine, attorney Mike Godwin made a trenchant observation:
As a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
This has become known as Godwin's Law. It means that if you argue over something long enough, sooner or later Hitler is going to put in an appearance in the chain of argument. A further tradition has evolved: whoever first invokes a Hitler comparison loses the argument.
Alas, this law isn't enforced in our politics; if it were, the loony lefties who fulminated about Chimpy McBushitler for the last eight years would have been studiously ignored.
Apparently, the corollary to Godwin's Law only applies to comparing Hitler and his National Socialist (Na-Zi, the abbreviation in German) Party to the statist and socialist policies of the left. While comparing leftists to Hitler is out of bounds, comparisons to policies and politicians on the right are ruled fair game.
Then there's Islamofascism, about as politically incorrect a word as can be found anywhere. Are fundamentalist Muslims on the political right, since they are violently aggressive? Are they instead leftists, as their governance tends to be both socialist and totalitarian? Or are they something else?
So, let's compare them to Hitler! And when you do, you discover something shocking: Islamofascism has come up with a psychological weapon against the United States that, had Hitler had the imagination and chutzpah to use, would have made it much, much harder for America to defeat his evil philosophy: Islam is a religion, and under the First Amendment, can't be banned.
Nazism is a philosophy but never claimed to be a religion. Not being a religion made it legally possible to ban Nazism for the duration of our war against them.
It's easily forgotten today, but during the unprecedented Great Depression of the 1930s, a great many highly respected thinkers thought that the day of democracy was over. The free nations of the world had fallen into a financial hole from which no amount of wriggling seemed able to extricate them.
On the other hand, nations which were ruled by authoritarian strongmen seemed able to end the breadlines, put everyone back to work, enforce order, and Get Somewhere. Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Tojo's Japan, and Stalin's Russia seemed, at least on the surface, to have licked their economic problems.
Dictatorships spread far beyond the famous four in those days. There were also Franco in Spain, Peron in Argentina, and no shortage of smaller-scale tinpot rulers throughout South America in the classic banana republics.
Africa, India, and Southeast Asia were mostly under the control of European colonial powers and were effectively dictatorships from the point of view of the people. China was torn apart by civil war between two authoritarian sides, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists and Mao's Communists, not to mention foreign invasion by totalitarian Japan.
Look for a liberal democracy, and you pretty much had the U.S., the British Empire, and a few other wobbly countries in Continental Europe. Everyone else, well... today we'd say "they suffered under the heel of dictators," but that wasn't how things looked at the time.
The democracies were flat on their faces in the mud, wracked by political wrangling and division. The dictatorships, under the iron grip of one man each, were standing up and marching in lockstep.
Was a strongman just the medicine needed to cure Depression? In England, Sir Oswald Mosley prescribed himself for that role, supported by uniformed paramilitary Blackshirts and stirring oratory just as Hitler had been. In America, international hero Charles Lindbergh argued that we should find common cause with Germany, not conflict. President Roosevelt was advised to seek dictatorial powers to resolve the banking crisis of 1933:
The approving headline FOR DICTATORSHIP IF NECESSARY ran in the New York Herald-Tribune on March 5 , with similar notes stuck in the Inauguration coverage of other major papers.
Documents show that Roosevelt seriously considered doing just that, although to the relief of history and all of us, he decided not to. It was a close-run thing, however: in a crisis, human nature is to look for a Savior and sacrificing essential liberties for the illusion of peace and security is all too tempting.
What we all know as the evil of Nazism began to be apparent, but only very slowly. Even before the war in Europe began, Roosevelt ordered J. Edgar Hoover's FBI to keep tabs on Nazi and Communist sympathizers; FDR saw which way the winds were blowing sooner than most of his peers.
When Germany finally declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor, the FBI pretty much already knew who they needed to arrest for "subversive activities." Hitler's hoped-for Fifth Column in the United States never really got off the ground.
The primary reason it didn't is because there was a far more effective melting pot in America of the early 20th century than we have today. Immigrants were expected to become Americans; for the most part, that's exactly what they did. Only the very most recent German immigrants had much loyalty to Germany, and of course, no few recent German immigrants were fleeing from Hitler and were not the least bit inclined to help him out.
Still, America had a First Amendment in those days just as we have now and Americans had every right to argue in favor of a strongman and being friends with Hitler. America did not, however, have an ACLU arguing that the government cannot keep an eye on things; the FBI carefully implanted snoops within the ranks of German sympathizers and took careful notes.
As soon as war was declared, suddenly what previously was free speech was now an act of treason. Singing the praises of Nazism and shouting "Heil Hitler!" was obviously "giving aid and comfort to the enemy;" off to prison with the lot of them.
Things are a bit different today. Modern Neo-Nazis have the freedom to hold rallies and marches; but they're heavily infiltrated by law enforcement, and the moment they step past the boundary of inciting violence, off they're whisked to prison.
As a result, unless you are exceptionally unlucky and find yourself in very much the wrong place at the wrong time, you will never be the victim of Nazi violence. Nazi gathering places are few and far between, generally known only to the initiate, and not really growing in number.
And then... you have Islam. According to President Barack Obama,
If you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.
Mr. Obama's no better at counting people than he is at fixing economies. Considering that there are only 5 million or so Muslims in America out of a world Islamic population of well over a billion, we're not nearly "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."
Still, there are almost certainly a lot more Muslims here than Neo-Nazis. Mosques are visibly growing in number and splendor; the call of the muezzin rings louder than "Seig Heil!" ever did from Deutscher-Bund beer halls.
Yet Islam's attitude towards Jews is almost identical to that of Nazis. In fact, the similarities between the Koran and Mein Kampf are striking; the Koran spends proportionately more time denigrating the Jews even than Hitler did in his book!
So where are the police infiltrations of mosques, to protect American citizens from an evil, anti-American ideology? In England, an independent documentary team infiltrated several prominent London mosques and recorded imams preaching appalling hatred and violence. Dutch politician Geert Wilders has called for the Koran to be banned, just as Mein Kampf is banned in many European countries who directly suffered from Hitler's depravity:
The root of the problem is fascist Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as laid down in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran. In this regard, the texts from the Koran speak for themselves.
In various suras Muslims are summoned to oppress, prosecute or kill Jews, Christians, renegades and non-believers, to beat and rape women and to establish a worldwide Islamic state through violence.
We can't very well ban the Koran here in the United States; even during World War 2, possessing a copy of Mein Kampf was not a crime and should not have been. The best response to evil speech is a good thorough debunking, not suppression.
When you consider that virtually all the world's terrorists are Muslims, though, simple prudence would dictate an active approach to infiltration, just as J. Edgar Hoover did with Hitler's Nazis and we still do with their successors today.
So, where are we with that? Not nearly where we need to be - because Islam is not just an evil, totalitarian, fascist ideology. It's an evil, totalitarian, fascist religion - and, it would seem, can only be touched with kid gloves no matter what depravity it preaches.
Thus we find that Islam, far from receiving a totally justified suspicion, is awarded every accommodation with your tax dollars instead. The Wall Street Journal reported:
At the University of Michigan's local campus, administrators have recently refitted several school bathrooms to include small footbaths in the corner--an accommodation for Muslim students who must perform ritual washing as part of their daily observance.
It would be a frosty day in Hell before an American public university would allow a Protestant minister or Catholic priest to use an empty classroom for religious services - yet here we find a public entity spending taxpayer cash on religious facilities for a belief sworn to destroy our way of life! A belief, indeed, whose leaders have proclaimed war on us. Ah, the joys of that noble name of "religion!"
In Hitler's Germany, the Fuhrer's word was law. He held power of life and death over all. He wields influence beyond the grave over the Neo-Nazis of today.
For all practical purposes, Nazis worship Hitler as god, but he forgot to claim to be god, and that was his big mistake. Had he done so, shazzam! Instead of being an ordinary national enemy, Nazism would be a religion and thus unassailable.
Of course, that's ridiculous, as the ACLU, CAIR, and other liberal suspects know very well, but that doesn't stop them from pressing ridiculous claims in court using lawyers who're funded by tax-exempt money.
Human sacrifice has a long tradition throughout history and is an essential part of major historical religions - particularly the Mayans, whose removal from the scene is the source of daily slander from the left against half-millennium-dead Spanish conquistadors. You'd think ending human sacrifices would be a noble blow for human rights, but no, halting the Mayan sacrificial system is now defined as cultural imperialism.
Nevertheless, try to sacrifice a human here in the U.S., and even calling yourself a religion will not protect you from a very long prison term no matter how religious you claim to be.
We also frown on cannibalism, despite that being a well-known feature of the indigenous religions of both Africa and the Pacific Islands, both also oppressed by Western colonialism and thus usually given a free pass to violate modern mores.
Apparently, cannibalism and human sacrifice are a bit too far, but only just a bit.
What, then, is the Islamic suicide bomber, if not human sacrifice? In what way are the ritual beheadings of David Pearl and countless other Westerners captured by Islamic terrorists different from what the Mayans did atop their pyramids?
Why is it OK to stop witch doctors from popping missionaries into the cookpot, but not OK to speak out against a religion that openly calls for stuffing Western women into funereal shrouds and locked-up harems? At least the missionaries were invading the territory of the cannibals; today, the barbarians are coming here, and we kowtow to them in our own land.
No, if Hitler had claimed to be god, J. Edgar Hoover would not have done one single thing differently. The Nazis in America would have been locked up just as quickly, and, one imagines, Mr. Hoover would hardly have quailed from flushing a Mein Kampf down the crapper had it occurred to him.
The difference is that, back then, we know which side was good and which side was evil.
After 9-11, after the London and Madrid bombings, after countless videotapes depicting all manner of debauchery, after the trivial ease of reading the dozens of violent and anti-Semitic passages in the Koran, how can there be any doubt as to which side is good and which evil today?
The only way there can be any doubt at all is if our leaders have completely given up on the idea that some ideas are better than others, that some customs, some societies, nay, even some religions are better than others. Our elites have given up on any kind of faith in God, or even the thought that America has produced wealth through hard work and not by exploiting the downtrodden of other lands.
Their economic ideas are bad enough, but it's this moral relativism, it's their inability to tell good from evil that represents to real danger posed by our leaders' ideas.
Is there any hope? Maybe, just maybe, reality will force its way in. The Wall Street Journal gives us hope:
The African-American leader of a Detroit mosque was fatally shot Wednesday during a Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on what authorities called a criminal gang run by U.S. converts to Islam. Mr. Abdullah was imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque and was connected to a group known as "Ummah," a brotherhood that seeks to establish a separate state within the U.S. that would be ruled by strict Islamic or Sharia law, the U.S. attorney's office said. Authorities do not believe he has ties to such international terrorist groups as al Qaeda. [emphasis added]
Has he not? He has one very great and powerful tie to terrorism: the Koran.
Of course, the federal PR people will deny all international ties, but maybe somebody in authority has finally realized what Islam means. Alas, it comes too late for the victims at Ft. Hood gunned down by a Muslim psychologist (!) who was known to his superiors to be trying to convert wounded soldiers, attended a mosque, and publicly made statements condemning our country's presence in the Muslim world.
How many more to go until we are safe again?