Reductio ad Hitlerum: Townhall Edition

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Writing at Townhall.com, Kevin McCullough, in a piece inventively titled "Obama as Hitler," argues that the president is exterminating babies like Der Fuehrer and that his opposition to a recent Bush administration decision allowing doctors to refuse to participate in abortions is the "equivalent of forcing those who believed slavery to be immoral and never even owned slaves, to begin purchasing them, beating them, raping them, and exploiting them." President Obama, the Nazi slave rapist!

According to the Washington Post, the "debate centers on a Bush administration regulation, enacted in December, that cuts off federal funding for thousands of state and local governments, hospitals, health plans, clinics and other entities if they do not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other employees who refuse to participate in care they feel violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs." Enacted in December? So does that mean that, for seven-plus years, Bush too was acting Hitlerian?

More reasoned argument from McCullough:

This week President Obama exercised for the first time a policy decision that shares a trait held in common with Adolf Hitler…In the 1930's and 40's as Hitler wished to use his captive "lesser-humans" for "experiments" in his final solution. He too forced doctors to do things they did not wish to do. Everything from injecting living humans with horrible chemicals to see the effect, to trying differing grades of poisonous gases in what eventually became death chambers…In today's scenario Obama wants doctors to exterminate "lesser humans" for the purpose of immediate solutions to his social experiment.

It's not worth engaging such nonsense, but it is perhaps necessary to correct McCullough's presumption that doctors in Nazi Germany were forced to euthanize people, perform abortions, and/or experiment on prisoners. McCullough is unconsciously aping the Nuremberg defense here: If I didn't follow orders, I would have risked being tossing into a concentration camp myself. In the context of the German military, this myth has been conclusively debunked by scholars like Christopher Browning. As it relates to the medical profession, there are a number of instances when doctors refused to participate in immoral experiments during the Third Reich, as cataloged by Robert Lifton in his book Nazi Doctors, and were not punished as a result.

Previous "Reductio ad Hitlerum" nominees here and here

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  1. Jesus H Christ taking a shower.
    I swear, no matter how far the loony left goes, the wing-nut right has to prove they’re twice as stupid.

  2. I wish more columnists would invoke Godwin’s law in their headline as opposed to making you slog through it. It would save so much time!

  3. Cue Mad Max, H&Rs fearless blastocyst defender.

  4. That video is racist.

  5. Stuff like this is part of why I can’t bring myself to associate with Republicans. It’s really sad, because some sort of libertarian-Republican coalition seems necessary if there’s to be any hope of reining in Obama’s spending.

    But, damn if I don’t find them completely obnoxious, culturally. For example, one of my Facebook friends is an ultra-Republican who constantly posts stuff urging the extermination of Muslims.

    So, I put my personal efforts into building up the libertarian movement as a separate political force which will eventually eclipse what passes for the conservative movement these days. On some days, I even manage to convince myself that we’re making progress.

  6. the “debate centers on a Bush administration regulation, enacted in December, that cuts off federal funding for thousands of state and local governments, hospitals, health plans, clinics and other entities if they do not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other employees who refuse to participate in care they feel violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs.”

    Indeed, McCullough suffers from what is called in argumentation as Missing the Point. What’s the issue here, allowing doctors to act according to their beliefs, or what’s RIGHT in front of his NOSE: Federal Funding of ANYTHING?

    Instead of concentrating on the obvious, that receiving Federal funding is like signing your soul to the Devil, McCullough resorts to bad argumentation to fight an issue that misses the whole point entirely.

    Yes, the right-wing loonies are just as bad as the left wing loonies, only because they point their guns at the wrong target, assuming that whatever the State does is GOOD as long as it is for things they like. In fact, nothing the State does can be called “good” if is done with stolen money and used to extort results from people or organizations.

  7. The only ones being forced into anything are taxpayers being forced to support activities they believe are immoral.

    It does such, but hey, join the club….

  8. I found McCulloch’s implication that the Bush reg would actually result in thousands of providers losing their federal funding to be utterly ridiculous.

    As someone who has worked in healthcare regulation for over a dozen years, I can tell you that employers in this field do all kinds of things to accomodate employees who object to a given course of treatment. It happens all the time. You work around it. In case you haven’t noticed, we have a massive shortage of nurses, techs, pharmacists, and most of the kinds of doctors this would apply to.

    Nobody was going to get fired because they refused to perform a procedure. At the absolute worst, you might get a few folks working for pharmacies who lose their jobs.

  9. R C,

    I heard that HIPAA got simulated by the stimulus bill. How bad is it?

  10. “But, damn if I don’t find them completely obnoxious, culturally. For example, one of my Facebook friends is an ultra-Republican who constantly posts stuff urging the extermination of Muslims.”

    you should probably stop being friends 2.0 with crazy people.

    just throwing that one out there.

  11. “debate centers on a Bush administration regulation, enacted in December, that cuts off federal funding…”

    I’ll wait to hear everyone who thinks that salary caps on Wall Street execs who accept bailout money loudly raise their voices and say “Piper and Tune, my Friends”.

    Like I said, I’ll wait. Doubt I’ll hear anything though.

    This is why it’s dangerous to attach riders and regulations to government money.

  12. “you should probably stop being friends 2.0 with crazy people.”

    I never really got this. I meet a lot of people’s definition of “crazy” and I don’t think I’m such a bad guy.

    I used to have lots conversations at school with an older black guy who was a black separatist advocate. Wanted to colonize other planets so that blacks and whites could be separated for their own good. I told him I thought he was nuts, and he just laughed. Nice guy, and he was extremely nice to me. I suppose I would have considered him a “friend.”

    Some folks out there just bring the big-time “loony.” If they’re not dangerous, I don’t see a problem with hanging out with them.

  13. Perhaps future mass murderers will be compared to abortionists, and will protest against the unfairness of the comparison.

  14. “First they came for the Nazi slave rapists, but I said nothing, because I was only a Fascist sexual harrasser…”

  15. I didn’t kill innocent unborn babies on Tarsus IV.

  16. “Some folks out there just bring the big-time “loony.” If they’re not dangerous, I don’t see a problem with hanging out with them.”

    You mean, the same guy who is supposedly preaching the extermination of Muslims? These are your words.

    I agree with a portion of what you said, but you really need to set some standards, in terms of who you associate with. As it stands, you don’t seem to have any.

    Truly crazy people are often harmless. It’s the mildly educated, and even the well educated that make “crazy” a dangerous thing to be

  17. This is why it’s dangerous to attach riders and regulations to government money.

    Hell, I raise my hand as a charter member of the piper and tune crowd.

    You take government money you follow the government rules.

    These rules may change depending on who’s in charge.

    That’s why it’s risky (I wouldn’t go so far as dangerous in most cases) to take government money. Addtional provisos are a feature not a bug – it further discourages people to take the money.

    It’s why I respect Ford and Hillsdale college, although with some excepetions I’m not impressed by either one’s products.

  18. “You mean, the same guy who is supposedly preaching the extermination of Muslims? These are your words.”

    Actually they weren’t, I was just a third party commenting on the discussion. Crazy people are often more tolerant of other points of view, since that’s pretty much everybody else.

    I just think life’s more interesting when you try and get along with everybody, even the nutjobs. It’s different when they start running for office…

  19. ‘That’s why it’s risky (I wouldn’t go so far as dangerous in most cases) to take government money.’

    One of the requirements of taking govt money is that hospitals and similar institutions have to respect the consciences of doctors, nurses, etc. who refuse to perform abortions.

    This remains true whether the last-minute Bush regulations are repealed or not. The regulations are supposedly designed to implement various statutes like the Church Amendments, which protect conscience rights of those who work in federally-supported health-care facilities.

    The dispute over the Bush regulations is whether they go too far, by going unreasonably beyond what the Church Amendments and other laws require. Critics say that the Bush regulations would apply to procedures which don’t involve abortion (such is the allegation), and that they would interfere with various state laws. For instance, some states declare that if a doctor, nurse, etc. fails to file a *written* declaration about her conscientious opposition to abortion, that person is conclusively presumed to have no objections. That sort of thing.

    For more information, go here and click on one of the cases (Connecticut v. United States, NFPRHA v. Leavitt, or Planned Parenthood v. Leavitt) for legal documents from both sides in the dispute over the regulations.

  20. Plenty of leftists called Bush Hitler.

  21. You mean, the same guy who is supposedly preaching the extermination of Muslims?

    My experience is that a huge number of GOP supporters are like this. I’m aware of a handful of remaining old-school conservatives, but it seems that they are outnumbered or outshouted by the ones who say “Barack Hussein Obama” and want to kill all Muslims.

    Remember during last year’s presidential race, when people were yelling all sorts of uneducated, insane stuff at McCain rallies – almost to the point of violence? My town is crawling with people like that. I loathe the idea of being associated with them.

    My point: there’s too much of that baggage in the GOP. Instead of trying to rebuild libertarian-Republican fusion, can we please just focus on building up our own separate movement? If there are any free-market types who want to defect and join US, let ’em. That will leave the GOP to collapse of its own lunacy and anti-intellectualism.

  22. My experience is that a huge number of GOP supporters are like this. I’m aware of a handful of remaining old-school conservatives, but it seems that they are outnumbered or outshouted by the ones who say “Barack Hussein Obama” and want to kill all Muslims.

    Yeah but the few Democrats who are concerned with the well being of the working class are far outnumbered by those wanting mandatory eugenics and the abolishment of private property.

    So what are you going to do?

  23. So what are you going to do?

    I suppose I’ll just drink.

  24. What’s wrong with saying “Barack Hussein Obama”? That really is his name. That “Steve” thing was just a joke.

  25. What’s wrong with saying “Barack Hussein Obama”?

    Dunno . . . I mean, you’re right: That’s Il Duce’s name.

    Maybe it’s kind of embarrassing for the Beltway Intelligentsia that his middle name is Hussein . . .

  26. Despite being a much-maligned blasto defender myself, I have no problem with this change in policy. Private interests should have every right to fire employees for even stupid and evil motives.

    Of course, that’s NOT why liberals want to do this, as is evidenced by their support for laws forcing Catholic pharmacists to dispense contraceptives and abortifacients. They’re perfectly happy to boss around medical providers when it’s to ensure that THEIR side of the issue is helped.

  27. You take government money you follow the government rules.

    Ideally that would be a good philosophy, but when half of our economy is filtered through the government, not so much. If you’re a hospital or a university and you refuse all government money (including Medicare payments and student loans, which really aren’t grants from the govt but still come with the rules thereof) you’re going to be at a severe competitive disadvantage if you’re even able to stay in business at all.

  28. So Genghis Khan was one of history’s villians and should only be considered a villian? I don’t think there’s any leader from that period in history whose standard operating procedures did not include things that we would consider atrocities.

    On the other hand, the Mongols were capable of and performed some rather impressive atrocities, just on the mass scale.

  29. “What’s wrong with saying ‘Barack Hussein Obama’? That really is his name.”

    Nothing. But since you are adding an extra word, and going out of your way to add something you find to be relevant, I have to ask what that relevance is? Just because I have a middle name doesn’t mean that people use it. And when they use it, it generally means something. Did you refer to Bush II as “George Walker Bush”? Did you refer to Reagan as Ronald Wilson Reagan? If not, then ask yourself why you say “Barack Hussein Obama”. Sure, it’s his name, so go ahead and use it. Just don’t pretend that its normal.

  30. this is just the same as every outgoingp President: enact a bunch of rules during the last month that they never could have gotten away with, knowing full well the new president will be forced to reverse them and make them look bad in the press.

    It was never intended to last or even be implemented, it was intended to force Obama to repeal it.

    Clinton did the same thing with many last minute environmental regulations.

  31. Something tells me there’s a difference between a guy who wants to move all black people off the planet, and another guy who simply wants to bomb everyone of a different religion. I know a guy who was verging on black seperatism (hell he was my business partner at one point! 🙂 ) and very angry, but never preached violence, though he carried a gun.

  32. I’m aware of a handful of remaining old-school conservatives, but it seems that they are outnumbered or outshouted by the ones who say “Barack Hussein Obama” and want to kill all Muslims.

    Oddly, I know a number of pretty hard-core conservatives, and I can’t recall a single one of them saying they want to kill all Muslims.

    I smell straw, Derrick.

    Did you refer to Bush II as “George Walker Bush”?

    Good point. I suppose it would be fine, then, to refer to Obama as “H”?

  33. “Good point. I suppose it would be fine, then, to refer to Obama as “H”?”

    Does Obama refer to himself as “H” in order to distinguish himself from his father? Or are you calling him “H” to distinguish him from non-Muslim sounding Americans?

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I only see contempt when people use Obama’s middle name. Sure, it’s the guy’s name. Go ahead and use it. Just don’t expect me to believe the claim that you call everybody by their middle name for no reason at all.

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