We’re all fascists now.
Now we get to what is maybe an actually half-interesting point. There are two reasons why ad hitlerem arguments tend to be rude and crude. (Everyone knows Godwin’s Law is law. Here’s why, more or less.) First, the Holocaust. It’s pretty obvious how always dragging that in is not necessarily clarifying of every little dispute. Second, a little less obviously, ad hitlerem arguments are invariably arguments by moral analogy. Person A espouses value B. But the Nazis approved B. Not that person A is necessarily a Nazi but there must be something morally perilous about B, if espousing it is consistent with turning all Nazi. The trouble is: with few exceptions, the Nazis had all our values â€“ at least nominally. They approved of life, liberty, justice, happiness, property, motherhood, society, culture, art, science, church, duty, devotion, loyalty, courage, fidelity, prudence, boldness, vision, veneration for tradition, respect for reason. They didn’t reject all that; they perverted it; preached but didn’t practice, or practiced horribly. Which goes to show there is pretty much no value immune from being paid mere lip-service; nominally maintained but substantively subverted. Which, come to think of it, isn’t surprising. How could a list of â€˜success’ words guarantee success, after all? [bold face added]