Thursday, August 10, 2006

From the "do as I say" files, or "our principles don't apply to us, volume 142"...

Back in May, the Conservative blogosphere went crazy when Bob Rae make a poorly chosen analogy that compared the Harper government’s softwood sellout to Neville Chamberlin’s appeasement of Nazi Germany.

And I agreed with them. Bob was out of line. The Nazi card is a cheap, lazy political smear that should be avoided at all costs. It’s also a loaded and inflammatory term that, because of it’s history and all that can be read into it, should be avoided at all costs. Particularly within the context of the current conflict in the Middle East.

That’s why I was disappointed, and surprised, to read this on the blog of a Conservative Member of Parliament:

Would this have been a great idea to try, say, in 1939 when Hitler was still the darling of the North American academic set? Why are these MPs accepting a trip provided for by the Canadian group that obviously wishes them to come back with only half the story?

Now that one of their own - no, one of our own elected MPs- is making a direct comparison that seems to compare all Arabs to Nazis, where is the outcry? I surely trust that's not the comparison the MP intended to make.

My position hasn't changed on this. It is still way over the line. I hope the remark will be withdrawn. But it seems to be another case of Our Principles Don't Apply to Us.

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Olaf said...

I hate to say it, but again, you're out to lunch on this one. He was by no means comparing "all Arabs to Nazis". Not even close. He was making the point that you cannot get a fair and balanced view of a conflict from only one side of that conflict.

For example, by only touring Arab states whose leadership often subtely (or, sometimes, not-so-subtely) question the wisdom of Israel's very existence, you're necessarily getting a biased understanding of the conflict. As it would be, say, if you toured Germany after their invasion of Poland in order to get a nuanced view of the conflict.

Turner did not equate these Arab states with Nazi Germany, or their leadership with Hitler, but compared them with the Nazi's only insofar as they are one side of a conflict, and not necessarily unbiased.

Crescent Canuck said...

And did Bob Rae compare Conservatives to Nazis? No, I don't think he did - but the comparison was bad. Here too, the comparison is a bad one and should be withdrawn.

s.b. said...

He's not comparing all arabs to Nazi's. HOwever the current leader of Iran and Hexbollah are islamo fascists. It is a very accurate analogy whereas softwood lumber is not and is insulting to the victims of the Holocaust. Fighting Hezbollah ensures the Holocaust will never happen again, because Hezbollah's goal is to kill all Jews, then continue from there to Christians other Muslims etc.

Last time I spoke with a pine tree, it didn't really care that I was a Jew. It actually had trouble telling humans apart, because it said we all look alike.

s.b. said...

I should tell you though to be fair, Spruce trees are much better at telling humans apart and Fir trees can even distinguish between different accents and skin colours. Not all soft wood is alike. None of them, however, understand human religious differences or land disputes and they actually find it quite odd. You grow where you grow. You believe what you like, if you are a softwood lumber tree. There are no softwood fascists.

A BCer in Toronto said...

I agree with the bulk of the piece, the one sided view that would seem to be offered by this trip is not useful. But that's beside the point.

I also don't think the post meant to compare all Arabs to Nazis. At least, I surely hope not. My point was that, by using the Nazi card for his anology, that's the impression that can be left, even if unintended.

With all the possible ways of making an otherwise valid point, why bring the Nazis into it? It's imflamatory, and unnecessary.

And in Rae's anology it wasn't the Cons that were Nazis, or the trees, but the Bush administration.

Saskboy said...

I don't like how the "Nazi card" has become useless. Remember, even in the early 1930s, the Nazis hadn't YET killed millions. Were people saying "You shouldn't imply the Nazis are bad by playing the German WWI card."? They were in some circles apparently.

Anonymous said...

nazis this, nazis that, whats the big deal, one wants to compare to them I say go ahead, comparison to others has been going on since the dawn of monkee man, the cro magnon probably said to the other,"ur acting like a neantherthall". The nazis are gone, they belong to history and history belongs to everyone, as Napoleon, Khan, Atila, Alexander, and henry the 8, with his visible cock sock....(no pictures of him below the waist). they are weird people, violent, and vicious, just like the repeat of history thats going on now, the diference is, some can see it, some canot. The comparison is fine, it belongs to the people to judge the coment, and to believe it or not. Remeber the nazis invaded poland,with a militaristic government, who was hard on its people, americans did the same with Iraq, israel deported the palestinians by the millions, and destroyed their villages, just like the nazis. I got up this morning on the right side of my bed, just like million of nazis did in those years. The point here is, most have been conditioned all these years to refer to the nazis, only in a certain way, complient to the views of certain people, after all, was'nt it hitler and stalin who invaded poland, history is not even sure who killed more people between these two nuts, one of which was our ally....we are always gonna repeat history, comparison might have the power to prevent that, if we take the time to listen to the message.

Olaf said...

BCinTO Quote from post: "Now that one of their own - no, one of our own elected MPs- is making a direct comparison that seems to compare all Arabs to Nazis"

BCinTO Quote from comment: "I also don't think the post meant to compare all Arabs to Nazis."

Is this weird?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Try reading everything in context Olaf rather that selectivly quoting lines to bolster your, shall we say, Potemkin Village? I have been consistent throughout.

The post SEEMS to make that comparison. You quoted that word too. I don't think he MEANT to make that comparison though. What's inconsistent about that? I disn't mean to spill that milk but opps, I knocked the glass over.

My whole point all along has been that, while I don't believe that's the impression he WANTED to make, that's the impression that IS left. That's why the Nazi anology is a poor one to make, and why I dislike seeing it used.

Moreover, I was wondering why the conservative blogsphere want ape over Rae but has been silent here. And I think I have my answer. Rae is a Liberal.

I don't know how much simpler or clearer I can make that.

Olaf said...

BCer - Fair enough, just keeping things honest around here.

Potemkin village is a beauty phrase eh? It's very useful in the blogosphere where this type of argument - 'this is my interpretation of what they said or meant or thought and now I will critique that interpretation' - is used excessively. Anyways, I enjoy your blog, and I'm sure you'll hear from me soon.

s.b. said...

I knew that Bobbie wasn't referring to the trees. I was just being funny while making a point, that being softwood trees or deals about softwood trees really have absolutely nothing to do with Chamberlain or Nazi's or anything to do with WWII.