This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Reductio ad Hitlerum

This fallacy was named by conservative thinker Leo Strauss and once you become aware of it, it seems so wickedly silly when anyone uses it. Yet it gets results.

It involves “playing the Hitler card,” by claiming that this or that policy is similar to, the same as, or would lead to, a policy supported by Hitler and the Nazis. It tries to trick us into the following fallacious thought process:

Hitler was evil. Hitler supported policy X. Candidate A also supports policy X. Therefore: Candidate A is like Hitler.

The errors are obvious. Similarity in one respect does not imply similarity in all respects. Furthermore, just because Hitler held a certain opinion or policy, it does not logically follow that the opinion is wrong or evil or that the policy is not a good one. Maybe he liked cats. Does this mean that any cat-loving candidate today should be shunned, on the assumption that their preference for cats also implies Nazi-level anti-Semitism? Of course not—and yet we could assemble hours of television footage showing comparisons between some candidate and Hitler. The American Right says Obamacare, abortion, etc., are things Hitler would have done, that support for abortion is equivalent to Nazi genocide. The Left says the same about those who oppose same-sex marriage, that they’d like to round up all homosexuals and execute them.

And it goes on and on, but the underlying principle is simply this: anyone I don’t like is Hitler.

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