By Joel A Hess –
Want to win a debate? Call your opponent either Hitler or a Nazi. During Obama’s reign, many called his policies fascist as he pushed to restrict free speech and expression, let alone when he promoted programs also popular in the Nazi era such as euthanasia and abortion. Now during Trump’s short stint, many accuse him of Hitler-like tendencies due to his blunt personality, his views on immigration, and his annoying tendency of calling his critics his enemies. Will the real Hitler please come forward? Actually, if you want to know the true heirs of Nazi Germany, take a look at Gene Edward Veith’s wonderful tome, Modern Fascism.
Calling our enemies Nazis is nothing new. A couple of years ago, Leo Strauss coined the phrase reductio ad Hitlerum, playing off the real logical category reductio ad absurdum. After World War II, Strauss observed an increasing tendency among politicians and cultural critics to close debate by raising the “Nazi” or “Fascist” flag against their opponent. Unfortunately, Reductio ad Hitlerum essentially serves as an ad hominem attack as opposed to a legitimate argument. In other words, you gotta do better than that! Labeling your opponent Nazi has lost its power because it’s done so often that it’s meaningless. The same might be said of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. I thought for sure that the Obama Administration was fulfilling 1984, but now I’m told it’s Trump!
People go nuclear in their argument by accusing their opponent of being Hitler because we can’t imagine anything worse. Everyone knows what Hitler did. Everyone fears that a new Hitler will rise again. He is the monster of monsters and quite frankly scares the hell out of humanity. So if we can call our opponent Hitler, we will turn him into a pariah!
Hitler has achieved a power and influence greater than he ever could have accomplished alive. Most people believe he was an enigma. We have made him into a unique evil alien. Yet, psychologists and others have studied the funny-mustached Austrian dictator from head to toe, and they can’t find any obvious cause of his madness. Nearly all conclude that He was not mad at all.
While we are busy figuring out where Hitler is hiding, he’s been right in front of us all along. He’s us! We are all Hitler. I am Hitler. The king of evil, master of destruction, usurper of God’s throne dwells in my heart and yours. The author of genocide, the paranoid tyrant, the power-hungry madman who wanted to control everything springs from your mind!
If you knew my heart or watched me for a day, you may very well see glimpses of him. Often times we say that Jesus died for everyone, even Hitler. We say that as if Hitler is the extreme. Hitler is the norm!
The sooner we see the atrocity of our sin, the more we see the ridiculousness of God’s love in Christ! Christ did not die for people who go 75 in a 55. He died for monsters, whether caged or let loose. He died for murderers, thieves, godless maniacs, porn addicts, child molesters, and devil worshipers. He died for you. You are that creep Barabbas whom Jesus replaced.
The devil likes to convince you both that you aren’t that bad and also that you are a freak who shouldn’t tell anyone your sins because they would despise you.
Well, stop hiding. Stop pretending. Do not be afraid, little Hitlers. I have some good news for you.