There are so many references to Nazis these days that it sounds like we’re in the middle of a remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. This latest declaration is every bit as historically illiterate as all of the others, which seems to certify that American public education does a lousy job of teaching even recent history. Bob Burns is seen here in this video presented by 24th State (via Dan Riehl and Jim Hoft) holding forth as Senator Claire McCaskill’s field representative on the commonalities between the Tea Party and the Nazi brownshirts, which seem to begin and end with the fact that both held assemblies:
McCaskill wasted no time in apologizing for her historically-illiterate staff:
The comments, caught on video supplied by the site 24th State, were made by McCaskill field representative Bob Burns.
Though the date of the video is unclear, Burns is apparently talking to a room full of health care supporters about Tea Party, or Tea Party-like, activists.
“Someone said ‘brownshirts’…People got offended with that,” Burns said. “But if you look at history, when Hitler took over Germany, he did it just that way: disrupting meetings, screaming — and then it got violent. But they were always a minority.”
On Friday, a day after the video was posted on 24th State, McCaskill’s office e-mailed an apology to the blog author, which was also posted.
Maybe Burns should look again at history, and this time try paying attention. He can start with American history, and learn about town halls, where people often spoke in opposition to the policies of elected officials (and still do, for that matter). Public dissent has a long and storied tradition here in the United States, which is treasured by the people and feared by fools in power.
Let’s not pretend that it’s the Left making all of the Nazi analogies, though. They make plenty of them in regards to the Tea Party, but a few people on the Right haven’t been shy about drawing analogies between Barack Obama and the Nazis, either. As St. Louis Today remarks, the analogies wind up proving not that we’re on the verge of Nazification but that the speaker is on the verge of exposing himself as an historical illiterate. Instead of learning about what the Nazis really were, it seems that most people just stick with the Raiders of the Lost Ark version. Before making any Nazi analogies, people should try reading William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, still the seminal history of the era.
Until then, let’s just proclaim a blanket application of Godwin’s Law and stick to the facts at hand.