Last weekend I discussed the idea of Islam, particularly radical Islam, as a virus within our cultural information systems. It provoked this response from a commenter:
You got it! If you replace “radical Islam” with “Jews” — you’ll find, that it’s literal the same comment, that was held in the NAZI propaganda film “Die Juden sind unser Unglueck”- where the Jews were compared with rats and needed to be completely erradicated. REALPUNDIT understood it well: He demanded a stronger chemo or even nuclear medicine.
I am an average german citizen and I understand it well either: This BLOG is intellectual propaganda for MASS MURDER.
Ooookay… so we’re propagandizing mass murder here. I’m glad to find that out. Gates of Vienna = Nazis; it’s not the first time we’ve encountered this particular equivalence.
The Nazi comparison is used to foreclose any further argument, to shut down any additional discussion. Tar your opponent with the Hitler brush so that his rhetorical feet will be stuck to the sidewalk, and he’ll be unable to defend his position effectively. Or so you hope.
The Nazis pioneered the Autobahn, so the Interstate highway system should never have been built, right?
The Nazis were big on hygiene, so I guess we should go back to outhouses and chamber pots.
I refuse to cave to this species of argument. If radical Islam does not resemble a particularly virulent virus, tell me where the analogy breaks down. If combating the Islamofascists in the world of ideas with informational antibodies is not a good idea, then tell me why. But don’t call me a Nazi.
First of all, any argument the Nazis used was about race, but I am arguing about culture and ideas; race has nothing to do with it.
And notice that my argument, which held that an immunological response within our communication systems was in order, is made equivalent to mass murder. That is:
Proposing a war of ideas = Killing millions of people
Now that’s the same argument that the Islamists use. They say that publishing a cartoon in a newspaper is equivalent to murdering Muslims. They maintain that insulting the Prophet is equivalent to terrorism. That cutting off someone’s head is equivalent to saying something bad about Islam.
Perhaps without realizing it, our commenter has accepted the idea that an expression of opinion is the same as an act of violence. That’s why the Left habitually segues so readily from arguing with its opponents to torching cars, looting Starbucks, and punching people with whom they disagree. Those people are Nazis, after all, so it’s all right to hurt them.
Human cultures are living information systems, and the ideas which spring up and spread are like DNA mutating and replicating within the cultural templates we all carry in our heads. Nothing I say here is new; it’s all made up of nucleotide fragments I’ve picked up here and there in my reading. They may mutate a little bit before they replicate, but they’re not new.
A healthy and well-functioning system of ideas is like a complex organism that is well adapted to its environment. It has lots of chromosomes, complex and highly-evolved interdependent systems, and a stable relationship with its surroundings.
But dangerous and destructive ideas — like Fascism, Communism, and Islamism — are like virulent pathogens. They may not last long, but before they are wiped out by their hosts’ immune systems they can wreak immense havoc and suffering.
I guess that makes me a Nazi.
And now, after reading this, you want to go out and kill millions of people, don’t you?