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1 HappyWarrior  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 12:50:20pm

This is so idiotic. You can criticize Paul Ryan and his moronic ideas without comparing him to Joseph Goebells. Moron.

2 SanFranciscoZionist  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 12:52:06pm

Well, John Burton has never been known for keeping his mouth shut, but WOW.

3 researchok  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 1:05:50pm

I was going to add remarks similar to Locker's.

No point. He's on the money.

4 celticdragon  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 1:40:57pm

Gonna disagree here. Ryan is using the "Big Lie" that was coined by Goebells et al and I do not think that this is a Godwin violation. When a political figure can lie...and lie about highly consequential matters and continue to do so without fear after he has been repeatedly debunked, then you have a similar problem to what was experienced in the Weimar Republic. I do think we are in significant danger of an authoritarian populist movement taking power in this country, and arguments to the effect that it "can't happen here" are dangerously naive. Ryan's co-travellers want to highly restrict voting rights, permit the state to interfere in private sexual conduct and reproduction, declare Islam and other minority religions as illegal and not covered under the 1st amendment, and ossify the class barriers already in place. That is just for starters.

These people are radicals. They are Jacobins who want to tear down 100 years of social and political gain and make this a "Christian Republic" that will force their views on the rest of us at gun point. They are not fooling around. They have a wildly different notion of what it means to be an American and what our history is then anything you or I may have learned in school, and they think anybody without an "R" in the political party description is almost certainly a communist and a traitor. God knows they have a library from Ann Coulter, Glen Beck and a dozen others telling them that is a fact.

While bringing out a Nazi analogy may be tactically unsound...it actually does fit from time to time.

5 Locker  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 1:43:21pm

It doesn't fit from time to time. No one considers it a valid argument even if you can analyze it to make it a valid comparison.

Additionally I don't think anyone is using it to illustrate a point. They are using it for shock value and to dehumanize their opponent rather than talk about an idea or an issue.

6 celticdragon  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 1:56:54pm

re: #5 Locker

No one considers it a valid argument even if you can analyze it to make it a valid comparison.

If the comparison is valid, then you defeat the first part of the statement. I will agree that it is not helpful to make that connection in this case, but the "Big Lie" is actually being used with effect at this moment and the Calif Dem Chair is actually not the first person to point this out. I suspect he will not be the last either. The fact that it is being used successfully is frankly terrifying because it demonstrates that tribalism and magical thinking are trumping actual empirical facts that should be self evident.

When a polity can be manipulated in this way, bad things happen.

7 Dark_Falcon  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 2:42:16pm

re: #6 celticdragon

The problem is that John Burton didn't just talk about the Big Lie, if he had left it at that his words would have been normal political rhetoric about which one either agrees or disagrees. But the Nazi cause Goebbels propagandized for was of such superlative evil that when someone compares anything to something done by the Nazis it is that evil and the deeds it instigated that first comes into people's minds. And comparing either Paul Ryan or Joe Biden to that sort of evil is utterly unfair.

'Nazi' connotes virtually limitless evil, and that is not a description that applies to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, nor their VP candidates. Does that sometimes inhibit analogies, forcing speakers to pick other, less familiar examples? Yes. But more important than giving speeches punch is making them at resemble the person they are talking about. And to compare a person to Joseph Goebbels is to call them a defender of the worst sort of evil. As such, it is unacceptable in political discourse.

8 Locker  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 2:48:48pm

re: #6 celticdragon

If the comparison is valid, then you defeat the first part of the statement. I will agree that it is not helpful to make that connection in this case, but the "Big Lie" is actually being used with effect at this moment and the Calif Dem Chair is actually not the first person to point this out. I suspect he will not be the last either. The fact that it is being used successfully is frankly terrifying because it demonstrates that tribalism and magical thinking are trumping actual empirical facts that should be self evident.

When a polity can be manipulated in this way, bad things happen.

A said if you can analyze it... people aren't analyzing what is being said when "Nazi" is invoked. It produced a specific reaction. You know it. He knows it. We all know it.

Find a better way to express yourself and demonstrate an idea than calling someone a Nazi.

9 Cap'n Magic  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 3:05:01pm

re: #4 celticdragon

Although disputed, outsourced to Orwell:

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

10 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 3:50:33pm

Except of course that the whole BIG LIE was exactly how the Nazis had so many brainwashed Germans.

re: #8 Locker


Except of course when it is a perfectly valid and accurate comparison. And it is.

11 Locker  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 5:34:25pm

re: #10 Zionist Lord of Remulak

Except of course that the whole BIG LIE was exactly how the Nazis had so many brainwashed Germans.

Except of course when it is a perfectly valid and accurate comparison. And it is.

And if you were to ask the people who read that statement I'm sure they'd agree in a nice and mild way that you've stated that it's a perfectly valid and accurate comparison. Paul Ryan is Joseph Goebbels. Right.

I see that use an overhand brushstroke with your watercolors. Just like John Wayne Gacey!

See, it's easy to make bullshit associations and then pretend they are valid.

12 Shiplord Kirel  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 6:22:30pm

I agree with Locker, this is inexcusable.

Ryan is a liar and a reactionary tool, but he is not a Nazi. Goebbels did not invent the Big Lie in any case, though he was an expert practitioner and he did popularize the term. The technique had been known to politicians, religious leaders, and free-lance con-artists since ancient, probably prehistoric, times.

13 hambone  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 7:24:19pm

I don't believe John Burton needed to keep mentioning Goebbels. Once about The big lie and how that works would have been enough. The Locker response was to fly off the handle. Burton never called Ryan a Nazi or mentioned the Holocaust. To end his his comment with the elequent Fuck off seems to be more of something you would see on a Fox news blog. "Every single time you do this, no matter who you are, no matter what your party or point…. your argument and your reputation turn to shit."also works for profanity.

14 Randall Gross  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:12:58pm

re: #12 Shiplord Kirel

Yes, it originally came from Mein Kampf, and it really means something other than what people think it does. Hitler proposed that the big lie came from the Jews, and he used it as a way to campaign for German victim hood at the hands of the Jews, when we all know who he intended the victims to be.

The etymology and multiple meanings and uses of the term itself is so muddied that it's valueless as a descriptive unless you intend to leverage the Godwinian smear.

15 Gus  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:13:09pm

This bullshit rhetoric belongs with the fringe. If John Burton wants to use this logical fallacy he can leave the Democratic Party and go join Rosanne Barr with the Green Party.

16 Sophia77  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:16:45pm

Dissent here, Locker: Goebbels use of "the big lie" is exactly what the Republicans are repeatedly doing.

Ditto, their propaganda outlets, including Faux News - this has historical precedence and you cannot deny it.

Similarly, the coded and overt racism that's been so obvious since Obama's election wasn't limited to the US with our tragic history of slavery and its still unsettled aftermath. It was a key and core component of Nazi Germany's philosophy. The Shoah, the murder of millions of Jews, Roma, gay people, dissidents, etc, was all based on fear and lies that were instilled into people already predisposed to hate and fear of the other, particularly Jews and Roma since both groups have had long uncomfortable histories in Europe - in the case of Jews, with the additional issue of being "Christ-killers." Nevertheless in modern western Europe, Jew-hatred was no longer a matter of legal segregation and discrimination, it remained sub-rosa to a large extent.

BUT, under the Nazi regime, their endless lies and demonization easily blew up into the Shoah.

I think the lying is very, very dangerous and we are wise to recall historical precedence.

I am sorry if you are offended. But the right wing in the US has crossed many lines lately. Some of us are really frightened by what we're witnessing and it's not only right but responsible to mention the past in the context of Republican tactics.

Another aspect of this is the kinder/kutsch vision of women, and their willingness to submit us to real torment and discrimination. There's nothing subtle about vaginal probes, gentlemen, nor discussing rape as if it's "just another form of conception," another Ryanism.

17 Sophia77  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:26:15pm

I'd like to mention one other awful period in American history: McCarthyism.

We still don't have decent medical care in the US, affordable, universal care, and our existing safety nets are under attacks precisely because socialism was demonized by right wingers. Indeed the whole "better Dead than Red" meme was not only all pervasive, it was pernicious and the US has been living with the issue since the 1930's, indeed as soon as Roosevelt managed to create the New Deal the Right began trying to dismantle it.

To this day anything to do with communitarian principles of sharing, the common good, social safety nets, are slandered as "socialist," as though that is a bad thing. Obama is a "socialist."

If only!

This is another lie - confusing socialism with totalitarianism, when in fact socialism easily coexists with democracy - indeed, communism itself is often represented in democratic states - and lying about this is a tool of fascists and has been since before WWII.

It's a tool, not so incidentally, which has resulted in a terribly skewed economic and power situation. Particularly since Reagan, the American working people, the 99%, have not made any progress economically and the fortunes and power of the 1% have absolutely skyrocketed.

That is antithetical to a democratic state, to a truly free people, since it takes power out of the people's hands and puts in those who own all the money and hence the power. Citizen's United, attacks on unions, attacks on women, voter suppression, all this is a not too subtle attack on the power and freedom of ordinary American people as well as on our pockets.

Think about it and tell me we're not dealing with something pernicious.

18 Obdicut  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:41:08pm

re: #17 Sophia77

The Nazi party was very good at using propaganda, including deliberate lies. So have a wide, wide, wide variety of other governments. The "big lie" is not a defining feature of the Nazis, nor of Goebbels. That whole being Nazis is.

We are dealing with something pernicious, but it is demonstrably different from Nazism in all kinds of ways and should be dealt with on its own terms.

19 Gus  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 8:45:45pm

Hitlers Henchmen
Series 1, Episode 1
Joseph Goebbels

Watch Goebbels when he speaks. I have a feeling that a few people here have no clue about what Goebbels did. And lying politicians isn't new. Otherwise in short, people are making argumentum ad Goebbels logical fallacies.

20 aagcobb  Mon, Sep 3, 2012 11:22:12pm

I say leave comparing people to fascists and communists to the Right; they do it all the time. Just point out they are lying and call them liars. Paul Ryan is a liar, but he's not a Nazi, and it doesn't help to compare him to one.

21 lawhawk  Tue, Sep 4, 2012 8:30:39am

Words have meaning and taking a word out of its meaning and context redefines it. Comparing a person to Nazis is far too easy and it demeans and degrades the meaning and usage of the word Nazi when it used in the appropriate context (such as discussing WWII, genocide, Holocaust, etc.).

Nazi is shorthand for pure evil. It stands for those Germans who committed genocide - the purposeful mass murder of entire populations. It's leaders signed off on a Holocaust.

This Congressman may have said or done stupid stuff that you might find reprehensible or bad, but he's not a Nazi. He's not even in the same league or universe. It was wrong to call him a Nazi plain and simple.

Moreover, by using words like genocide or Nazi out of context, you rob those terms of their weight and meaning when you describe what Nazis actually did before and during WWII - when they were responsible for the conflagration that set Europe aflame with tens of millions dead and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, to say nothing of the Holocaust of Jews, gays, Roma and other undesirables that killed more than 6 million Jews alone.

22 NJDhockeyfan  Tue, Sep 4, 2012 10:51:14am

And next we have Pat Lehman...

“It’s like Hitler said, if you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big lie, and if you tell it often enough and say it in a loud enough voice, some people are going to believe you,”

~ Dem Pat Lehman


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