nuance

Several times in my life, I’ve found people seemingly agreeing with me when I don’t at all agree with them.

This is probably a typical experience for people who attempt to introduce principled arguments rather than “taking sides”.

So I shouldn’t be surprised if anyone takes my latest LRC article as support for inane Hitler comparisons.

Mr. Marcus:

I am an educator who read your article in Defense of Referencing Hitler. I engaged an MSN member on the topic of education. A recent statement called for the destruction of government schools.

To me, that call is offensive and aligned with Hitler on a smaller, but none the less, equally significant scale. That comparison is justified because the poster wrote;

“government schools must be destroyed.”

Schools are people. Teachers, students, parents, support staff, an elected school board and administration. Schools are not buildings. They are ideas of thought. First and foremost, they are the people involved with that thought.

“government schooled children are like potted greenhouse plants.”

“Government schooled children are caged animals in a zoo.”

“Government schooled children are herded about like sheep to the sound of Pavlov’s dogs. They are all the same size, generally uniform in race, and economic and class.

Government schooled children are like diseases. Parents, protect your children from these diseases by removing your children immediately from government schools and consider home schooling.”

Calling for the the destruction of a specific targeted group of people in order to justify and advance an agenda is exactly what Hitler did. The only difference is he mislead a nation. In a largely ignorant and uneducated society, one might be able to gather enough support to lead a cause. Not at this time, in this nation, and comparison with Hitler serves as a reminder of that. Great horrendous endings began as small rants that few took seriously.

Children who attend public schools were dehumanized as plants, animals and disease. Exactly what did Hitler did to the Jews in order to rally German hatred of them to the degree that their destruction was seen as a disagreable but necessary action. Mein Kampf contains some of the same language about Jewish people as written about government schools above.

I stand by my conviction and assessment. Comparison with Hitler can be relevant, even though extreme.

I’ve decided to reply here, rather than in email:

government schooled children are like potted greenhouse plants [...] are caged animals in a zoo [...] are herded about like sheep to the sound of Pavlov’s dogs. [...] Parents, protect your children from these diseases [...]

I would agree with you that the dehumanization of the victims has disturbing parallels to Hitler’s modus operandi, but I don’t think you’d agree with me that these government-schooled children count as victims. Rather, it seems you are comparing a modern call for the end of coercion to one of history’s most infamous calls for its increase.

government schools must be destroyed.

Schools are people. Teachers, students, parents, support staff, an elected school board and administration. Schools are not buildings. They are ideas of thought. First and foremost, they are the people involved with that thought.

And if your opponent were advocating the literal destruction of people — as opposed to the the roles they play under a system of involuntary funding and compulsory attendance — I’d be far more inclined to endorse your comparison. As it is, I think you have things backwards.

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