Beware the False Hitler Comparisons – They are Morally Reprehensible (Pt. 2)

Empathy, when divorced from reality, can lead to moral confusion.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on a Reddit discussion forum that criticized comparisons of Nazis and the Holocaust to President Trump and the Crisis at the Southern Border.

An individual replied with this comment: "The comparison is not in how the Holocaust ended, but in how it began. I see lots of similarities.”

I wrote a lengthy rebuttal to their comment, which is the content of "Pt. 1."

About a week later, the same individual replied to another post of mine, where I copy/pasted my rebuttal to their argument as a reply to another party's comment, which echoed the same sentiment of the original individual's comment. The following comments are how I responded to this second exchange. I italicize all of the individual's responses to differentiate them from mine.

PART 2

INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSE TO MY COPY/PASTED REBUTTAL.

“this does not change the fact that children are dying and suffering. They are filthy because they are so unimportant that they don’t deserve soap, toothbrushes, or diapers. There may not be an equivalency to the Holocaust, but the first step in exterminating people is when people are treated as if they are not people. No moral society, no moral country treats children as if they were animals.”

“I am not interested in debate that calls people names. I am not a “Leftist” if I am more liberal than you. I may disagree with your beliefs, but I choose not to assign you a title dripping with contempt.”

“And read the article linked above. What Trump said he would do and what he is doing are light years apart.”

Here is the article that the individual is referring to:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661

MY REPLY:

Your “moral” argument is anchored in nothing but sentimental intuitions. I sympathize with these emotions, but the mere presence of suffering does not produce a moral imperative for any entity with surplus resources to intervene on behalf of those that suffer. More fundamentally, the presence of an emotion (particularly empathy), which favors a certain action, in an individual is NOT proof that a moral imperative exists AT ALL. Sentimentalism has been decried by philosophers and scientists, alike, as an extremely unreliable tool for judging moral rightness and wrongness, with respect to moral epistemology. You have an emotional intuition that you FEEL is true. And you need to prove that it is true, but the zeal of your well-intentioned compassion cannot provide the logical and factual infrastructure that is necessary for an argument to combat rational criticism. 

I’ve noticed a habit of yours. It’s a habit that many people, whom are incapable of divorcing themselves from the obligatory dictates of their ideologies, share. As evidence is presented to you, you narrow the scope of your original position/comment so that the factual elements of your position become more aligned with reality, which allows the revised position to stay true to the nature of the original position’s sentiment. Your original statement (in a previous post where I made the claim that comparisons of the Trump/Southern border situation to the Holocaust were morally reprehensible) was that:

“The comparison is not in how the Holocaust ended, but in how it began. I see lots of similarities.”

I then gave a lengthy rebuttal (I copied and pasted that message in reply to the gentleman above) that provided evidence for my claim that comparing the Trump/Southern border situation to the Holocaust was morally reprehensible Then you retreated from your original position and said:

“My comparison is ONLY to the kind of manic, xenophobic adoration of Trump as millions of his followers chant along as he vilifies and demonizes people who are desperate for safety and a better life. That is chilling. And familiar.”

Instead of admitting that your original claim was neutered by the historical facts or attempting to counter that claims of my rebuttal, you opted to shrink the domain of your position so that the facts would be on your side and you’d still maintain the original position’s spirit. The scope of your claim narrowed from “lots of similarities” between the Trump/Southern border situation and the Holocaust to “My comparison is ONLY to the…” 

Retreats that masquerade as “statement clarifications” are cowardly rhetorical tactics. It’s hard to even formulate your argument in good faith because it changes like the wind. This is a symptom of beliefs that are grounded in sentimentalism instead of empiricism. Nevertheless, I’ll try to “strong-man” it for argument’s sake. Because you’ve now conceded that the crisis at the border is NOT (or at least MAY NOT BE) equivalent to the Holocaust, I’ll only address your reply to this post. 

Here’s your statement above (Reddit would not let me reply to it):

“this does not change the fact that children are dying and suffering. They are filthy because they are so unimportant that they don’t deserve soap, toothbrushes, or diapers. There may not be an equivalency to the Holocaust, but the first step in exterminating people is when people are treated as if they are not people. No moral society, no moral country treats children as if they were animals.”

When formulated in argument form, it looks like this (I have to include implicit premises in order for the argument to be logically valid):

Premise 1) The suffering of children is a moral problem.

Premise 2) If a country or people has the means to alleviate the suffering of children, it (or they) is compelled to intervene to stop the children’s’ suffering to fix the moral problem. 

Premise 3) The United States has the means to (at the very least) alleviate the suffering of children at the U.S. southern border.

Premise 4) If a country or people that has the means to alleviate the suffering of children and does not intervene to stop the children’s suffering, the society of that country is NOT a moral one because it refuses to solve a moral problem. 

Premise 5) The United States has not stopped the suffering of the children at the Southern border.

Conclusion: The United States is not a moral country and it is bound by a moral imperative to stop the suffering of the children at the southern border. 

Premises 1, 2 and 4 are merely moral intuitions that are simply stated by some as “self-evident,” which they are not. Premise 3 greatly simplifies the issue since the Democrats in Congress are refusing to allocate more funding to help deal with the massive increases in immigration. It’s true that America’s GDP surpasses the dollar figure necessary to effectively deal with the Crisis, but Congress controls the purse strings and the funds have to be appropriated. How do you suggest that the Department of Homeland Security secure funds for an unprecedented migrant crisis when Congress won’t budge? 

The crocodile tears over my use of the term “leftist” were particularly amusing. I don’t see how “leftist” is any worse than “right-wing,” “conservative,” “left-wing,” “pro-life,” “pro-choice,” or “liberal.” The term, “leftist,” generally refers to people who are VERY liberal, and by the nature of your comments, I don’t consider that to be a risky prediction. I find it quite ironic that you bristle at the term “leftist” (which has a decent amount of utility, as an adjective that denotes a political ideology), yet you were fine with the cavalier Nazi/Hitler/Death camp comparisons. I wouldn’t claim victory over the moral high ground when you’re exploiting the memory of the genocide of 6 million people to prove a political point. You also implicitly characterize anyone that disagrees with you on the immigration issue as promoting “hate” or lacking a sound moral constitution. You stated above: 

“…but the first step in exterminating people is when people are treated as if they are not people. No moral society, no moral country treats children as if they were animals.”

You’re implying that anyone that disagrees with you on immigration policy is immoral. Furthermore, you’re claiming that anyone who –

(a) opposes illegal immigration,

(b) believes that the United States should prioritize the needs of ITS CITIZENS over the needs of OTHER NATIONS’ CITIZENS,

(c) wishes for their home nation to have control over its own sovereignty, and

(d) advocates for sound border control

–  (i) is interested in, (ii) or are implicitly supporting, (iii) or are explicitly supporting the ’extermination’ of ‘people.’ This is a far more incendiary statement than my use of the term “leftist.” 

Children are dying and suffering because their parents, cousins or other adults exploited them in an effort to circumvent the United States’ immigration laws. Actions (and sins) have consequences. Donald Trump did not order the migrants to exploit their children (migrants that bring a child can only be detained for a maximum of 20 days – heavy incentive). Donald Trump did not create the policy of familial separation. I don’t blame the migrants and I’m not saying that they aren’t fleeing bad circumstances, but it is not a sustainable position to ALWAYS accept refugees merely because it’s possible. Europe learned this the hard way. The Republicans have repeatedly asked for more funding to secure larger, more comfortable, better staffed and more appropriate facilities to process the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants that are attempting to enter the country illegally. You are blaming a humanitarian crisis on a government that did NOT cause it.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (graph attached) website @

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/sw-border-migration

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security - U.S. Customs & Border Protection (2019)

For FY 2018, 396,579 individuals were apprehended at the Southwest border. 

For January of 2019, 58,288 individuals were apprehended at the Southwest border.

For February of 2019, 76,533 individuals were apprehended at the Southwest border.

For March of 2019, 103,729 individuals were apprehended at the Southwest border. 

For April of 2019, 109,474 individuals were apprehended at the border.

For May of 2019, 144,278 people were apprehended at the border.

That means, from January to May of this year, 888,881 individuals were apprehended at the Southwest border. If things keep up at this rate, over 1.5 million people will be apprehended at the Southwest border by the end of the year. The Dept. of Homeland Security, ICE and border patrol are not staffed to handle this massive influx of people, so the ACTUAL number is surely higher. Once again, the United States government, including President Trump, DID NOT CAUSE THIS HUMANITARIAN DISASTER. How was the Trump administration supposed to plan, in advance, for what’s shaping up to be a migrant increase of OVER 450% since last year? 

The reason that better facilities and resources aren’t available to these children is that the United States government did not allocate money for millions of migrants to rush the border. Democrats and liberal activist cynically shame the Dept. of Homeland Security for failing to achieve a task that they’re in no way equipped to do. If you want to shame someone into action, lobby Democratic congressman to increase funding for Homeland Security so that conditions can be approved for the migrants. 

British Journalist Douglas Murray, wrote the celebrated book, “The Strange Death of Europe,” which documented the deterioration of Europe due to the European Union’s arrogant and naive decision to ignore the wishes of its peoples and approve unlimited immigration from the Middle East and Africa. The majority of these migrants were not young women or children – they were men in search of economic opportunity and generous welfare states. Because the EU gave priority to Syrian refugees, migrants threw their papers away and told officials that they were from Syria and they were automatically let in. Crime has run rampant. FGM is practiced all across Europe. Paris is overrun by migrants. Border nations, such as Greece, were hit the hardest and started ignoring protocols and began allowing migrants to flood into interior nations to avoid having to service them further. The Government of Finland collapsed, largely due to the weight of scores of migrants that consumed government benefits but did not pay taxes. Social services across Europe suffered from gridlock because they were not staffed or funded for the influx of millions of migrants. Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary and others defied Angela Merkel and said that they needed to care for THEIR CITIZENS first. After decades of irresponsible immigration policy that mocked the will of Europe’s native peoples’, Germany, France and other Western European countries started to try to close the migrant floodgates. But it was too late. 

You don’t like seeing innocent children suffer, so you want to blame the opposition and slander their motives with accusations of Nazism. While the migrants from the Southern border lack much of the cultural malignancies that Middle Eastern migrants brought with them, we should still learn from the European crisis. IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE for a country to open its gates to ALL simply because there is suffering in the world. Life is suffering. There will always be suffering. Border towns are being overrun by migrants so badly that Democratic Mayors are damning Congress for its inaction. The United States is not obligated to solve all of the world’s problems. Sometimes the factual and moral realities of history are not palatable, but we are damned if we do not learn from them. I understand that children’s’ suffering represents a terrible tragedy. But by pressing the “easy” button and opening the floodgates and saving THESE children and by teaching other countries that they don’t have to solve their own problems, we damn FUTURE children to the same fate. There’s more to the brain than just the amygdala. We need to engage the rest of it if we’re going to find sustainable solutions to complex problems.



Individual's Response to this post:

“If you think I equate current circumstances with death camps, then I suggest you go back and read what I said again. My only comparison was to the atmosphere that created a Hitler. I have a difficult time understanding how one cannot see the similarities in the rallies, the lies, the blind acceptance of a chilling rhetoric.” 

What do you think?

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