As Peter Suderman noted earlier, Ben Carson is gone from the GOP race. What is not gone, however—and what is, in many ways, exemplified by the person currently sitting ugly at the top of the Republican Party's presidential scrum—is the enduring attraction inside one of our two major parties for total outsiders who spout inane, hyperbolic, ahistorical bullshit.
I know, I know, if Ben Carson wasn't busy taking a nap he would be frowning at my lack of "civility." But let us count up the number of modern American phenomena that the accomplished and inspirational neurosurgeon has compared to Nazi-era Germany since becoming a national conservative darling in February 2013:
1) The "secular progressive movement" (January 2014): "There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany….Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened….And if you believe that same thing can't happen again, you're very wrong."
2) The Internal Revenue Service (February 2014): "You know, we live in a Gestapo age, people don't realize it. But what I say is the Congress has to, at some point, step up to the plate. The reason we have divided government is if one branch of the government gets out of control, starts thinking they're too big for their britches, you need to be able to have control."
3) Political correctness (March 2014): "I mean, very much like Nazi Germany—and I know you're not supposed to say Nazi Germany, but I don't care about political correctness—you know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."
4) A Bernie Sanders-style democratic socialism: (April 2014): "But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises 'security' for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn't this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform—a country in which government guarantees security and 'equality' in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?"
5) Support for Barack Obama (August 2014): "You can't dance around it. If people look at what I said and were not political about it, they'd have to agree. Most people in Germany didn't agree with what Hitler was doing…. Exactly the same thing can happen in this country if we are not willing to stand up for what we believe in."
6) Citizen apathy, pt. I (September 2014): "I've talked in the past about how the people in Nazi Germany did not agree with Hitler. A lot of them didn't. But did they stand up? Did they say anything? No, they kept their mouths shut and look at the atrocities that occurred. And some people think something like that can't happen here but think again. Look at the world and all those examples of tyranny. It can happen here."
7) Citizen apathy, pt. II (September 2014): "If people don't speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. Hitler changed things there, and nobody protested. Nobody provided any opposition to him, and that's what facilitated his rise."
8) Planned Parenthood (August 2015): "I certainly see a connection in the sense that Margaret Sanger, their founder, and people like Adolf Hitler…felt there were certain people who were superior and certain people who were inferior. And the way that you strengthen the society was to enhance superior ones and eliminate the inferior ones."
9) Gun control (October 2015): "The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."
Let's be clear, if obvious, here: It is not "civil" to compare 21st century public policy annoyances to the Nazis, the Gestapo, and/or Hitler. That's because it is first of all not remotely accurate. Try as you might, forcing your American political antagonist into the position of genocidal, border-redrawing mass murderer triggers a laugh track, not a useful discussion or even temporally effective act of point-scoring.
Ben Carson is worried about secret Muslims running for president. He wants to "seal our borders—but not just the southern border, the northern border, the Pacific border, the Atlantic border, every border." He has said that "Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." And between mid-August of 2015 and mid-November, he never polled lower than second in the national GOP race. That is a withering indictment of the sorry intellectual and moral level of the modern Republican Party.