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You’re reading something worse than Hitler

You should avert your eyes. Oh really, you’re not going to? What are you, some Hitler fan? Because you’re worse than him if you’re reading this.

My brother-in-law and his friends had a rule in college that the argument had been lost as soon as someone mentioned Hitler. As in, if you think the Red Sox have a chance in Hell this year you’re worse than Hitler! That was it–end of discussion. It was sort of like yelling gin.

I mention this because I think we live in a world run-amok with metaphors and similes. We compare everything to everything else, even when their basic principles are about as similar as oil and water. See, there I go! It has become cliché to say this is like that, and like any good cliché it’s a sign of lazy thinking.

We were told George W. Bush was like Hitler when he was in office, but now many echo similar sentiments about Obama. Is it possible we have two presidents in a row with divergent beliefs who are both like Hitler? If they’re different, wouldn’t one of them at least have to be different from Hitler? Or is Bush like one half of Hitler and Obama the other? Bush would be the bottom half.

In the end this kind of babble leads to thoughtless discourse. We cast aspersions on the opposite side making them seem like the worst thing since, well, Hitler. We close up and shut down. We stop listening, and in turn we stop thinking. In truth, we become exactly the kind of people that allow Hitler to rise to power by manipulating us. But trust me, it’ll be way worse than him next time.