Just in time for the most surprising presidential election that America has ever seen, author Horace Bloom brings us the book Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler: Making A Serious Comparison.
People who disapprove of comparisons of present-day politicians to Adolf Hitler refer to something they call “Godwin’s Law”. They speak as if Godwin’s Law were an actual law, an indisputable formula describing concrete physical reality, or at least a cultural principle that is generally understood and accepted. However, there’s never been any general cultural consensus around Godwin’s Law, much less any formal establishment of the idea as an enforceable code. The premise that people who bring up comparisons of current political ideologies to the Nazis automatically lose an argument has never been agreed upon or substantiated with any empirical research.
Responding to these efforts at censorship, journalist Glenn Greenwald writes, “The very notion that a major 20th Century event like German aggression is off-limits in political discussions is both arbitrary and anti-intellectual in the extreme. There simply are instances where such comparisons uniquely illuminate important truths.” Greenwald argues that the principles derived from the Nuremberg Trials were intended to be applied in the future, not “shrouded with a code of silence.”
Recently, Mike Godwin himself has spoken out against the way that Godwin’s Law is being used to try to stop comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. “If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician,” he wrote.
Godwin’s Law was concocted by lawyer Mike Godwin a generation ago, but a few weeks ago, Godwin himself spoke out against the way that his idea is being used to try to stop comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. “If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician,” he wrote.
Godwin advised his fans that “The best way to prevent future holocausts, I believe, is not to forbear from Holocaust comparisons; instead, it’s to make sure that those comparisons are meaningful and substantive.”
As its title suggests, Horace Bloom’s new book seeks to respond to Godwin’s suggestion, to provide a substantive and meaningful comparison of the biography, cultural context, and political ideas Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, as an alternative to the juvenile and petty trade of insults that has dominated the 2016 presidential election so far.
Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, whether you supported Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Jill Stein, Marco Rubio, or even Donald Trump himself, Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler: Making A Serious Comparison will serve as a sobering guide as you make plans to adjust to the strange new reality after Trump’s victory, calming down the hyperbole, and entering the controversies of these politically remarkable times with the seriousness that they deserve.