A Philosopher's Blog

The New Civility: Ja Oder Nein

Posted in Humor, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on January 24, 2011
According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunis...
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Since we are now in an era of New Civility (if by “era” we mean “a few days, maybe a month at tops”) I thought it would be fitting to address a critical dilemma.

On the one horn, the New Civility requires that we not act as volcanoes of hate. On the other horn, there are always infinitely compelling reasons to compare other people to Hitler. Steering through these horns, it seems possible to be able to nail that bull right between the eyes. The modest proposal that I am making is that comparisons to Hitler must be resolved in a civil manner and what, I asked myself, could be more civil than a game?

So as not to strain the brains of anyone, I have elected to create a simple game that I call “Hitler: ja oder nein?” In English, this is “Hitler: yes or no?” To start a game of HJON you first make a comparison between Hitler and some person. Next, you assert whether the comparison fits (ja) or does not hold (nein). If you want, you can signal a strong commitment or confidence with “!”. If you are not quite sure or are just weakly committed, use a “?”. For example “ja!” or, as another example, “nein?” In the third step, other folks make their reply to your initial ja oder nein. Be sure to keep it civil, of course.

The game continues until the players decide that they are tired of talking about people being like Hitler.

I’ll start a game by putting an entry in the comment section. To play along, post a reply to the comment with your position.

To start a new game, post a new person with your ja oder nein and get it rolling.

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8 Responses

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  1. Michael LaBossiere said, on January 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    First round: Hitler
    Position: Ja!

    Reason: Hitler is a strong contender for being like Hitler. After all, Hitler is Hitler and the relationship of identity means that the two are so much alike that they are, in fact, the same.

    • WTP said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Nein! Herr Hitler has moved beyond a mere historical figure and become the personification of Capital-E Evil. Stalin and Mao killed more. Pol Pot probably killed more by percent of his people’s population. But Hitler is considered the gold standard in Evil. Thus, since the real Hitler, as bad as he was, was not worse and there arguable were worse characters in history, ergo Hitler is obviously not Hitler. Besides, his loved his dogs and his dogs seemed to like him.

      Also consider that it is generally believed that Hitler had a Jewish ancestor. Obviously Hitler would deny this, thus even Hitler would deny being Hitler. What else you got?

  2. T. J. Babson said, on January 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I’ll bite.

    Second Round: George W. Bush

    Position: Ja!

    Reason: Bush is a Republican. Republicans are evil. Hitler was evil, too, so Bush = Hitler. Besides, some people made pictures of Bush with funny Hitler-like mustaches, and some other people called him the Bushitler, so it must be true.

    • WTP said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      Now this is the opposite problem. Not only was Bush a Republican President, but his father was also a Republican President. When you consider that Hitler’s father, whatever his failings, was chronologically disqualified from being a Nazi, Bush has a much more concentrated Evil running through his veins. When combined with the proof above, that not even Hitler was Hitler, Bush is thus more Hitler than Hitler. Ja Ja!

    • magus71 said, on January 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm

      What? I thought it was Republicans who had a monoloply on vitriol?

      It’s so ammusing to me that Dems want to “calm things down.” It reminds me of a kid who starts a fight on the playground then finds himself facedown on the pavement with his opponent on top of him. So he starts yelling: “Stop! You’re hurting me!”

      Well, Bush did do “untold damage” right?

  3. magus71 said, on January 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Keith Olbermann

    Position: Former MSNBC Hack

    Reason: Keith Olbermann has probably made more comparison’s to Hitler than anyone on television. In addition, he routinely nominated conservatives for his “Worst Person in the World” segement, while routinely ignoring numerous mass-murderers. So, I submit that since Olbermann so often compares others to Hitler and since he chooses relatively harmless people as the Worst Person in the World when there are obviously better candidates, that Olbermann himself must in fact be Hitler. This is a classic Wag the Dog case. Make everyone look like Hitler so no one notices that he’s the Fuhrer.

    Here, Olbermann plays himself and is shocked to find that when the world knew him as Hitler, it actually liked him better:


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