Thursday, June 21, 2007

Inappropriate Nazi comparisons -- December, 1944

An adage among Internet users -- incorrectly, I believe, confused with Godwin's Law -- is that if you bring in an inappropriate analogy between some evil and Nazism, you lose your argument.

Allen Drury's Senate Journal (discussed below) cites (pp. 320-1) an early and somewhat shocking example from December 24, 1944.

US Senator Alexander Wiley (Wisconsin) released to the press a statement accusing New Deal Democrats of maintaining "a perpetual scarcity in natural foods [like butter] and accustom American palates to synthetics such as oleomargarine."

Drury quotes Wiley as saying "Is the New Deal, with Nazi-like stealth, planning to complete such destruction of the home market, by employing high-sounding but wretched excuses now and after the war?"

What's noteworthy about this is that as the statement was being made, the Allied (and mainly American) forces in Europe were in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge.

Image: A US tax stamp, one of the 19th and 20th century efforts to restrict that evil oleomargerine.

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