After my little plagiarism joke, I see an opportunity in the comments to refute one of the most tiresome discussions I have encountered in my years of calling attention to dictatorships.
Garry Kasparov shared on Facebook:
'Putin isn't Hitler!' 'Trump isn't Hitler!' Wow, congratulations! You have failed the most basic lesson of learning from history in order not to repeat it!
I wrote about this fallacy extensively in Winter is Coming and elsewhere, but am happy to recap it here. Of course Putin isn't Hitler, and Donald Trump isn't even Putin—no matter how much he would like to be. The point is that no one is making comparisons to the monster Adolf Hitler became in the 1940s. But in the 20s, even for most of the 30s, Hitler wasn't Hitler either! There could be no more important lesson to understand than how a race-baiting demagogue came to power in an educated and liberal country like Germany and how he transformed that nation into a fascist death machine capable of World War and unimaginable acts.
As the images attached here attest, Hitler's vile rhetoric was consistently downplayed abroad in the 1920s. Excuses were made for his populist anti-Semitism and he was considered to be no real threat. This trend continued well into the 30s, even after the Nazis has consolidated total power and the hatred Hitler had expressed so well in Mein Kampf was manifest. And of course Winston Churchill was the one who was called a warmonger for saying over and over that maybe, just maybe, Hitler didn't have peace for our time on his mind. It's far too easy to say 'well everybody knew Hitler was a murderous madman' today when he needed many years of apathy, support, and appeasement to reach that stage.
Comparing Trump (or Putin) to Hitler circa 1943 would be hyperbole, certainly. And the image of Hitler the lunatic, the genocidal monster he became, is why comparisons always seem inappropriate. I have plenty of experience with this method of ridicule often used in an attempt to defend Putin and to discredit me, even after Putin invaded and annexed a neighboring country on spurious ethnic grounds.
Mein Kampf was written while he was in prison in 1923-24, long before Hitler became Hitler. It should have been taken for a deadly serious warning about what could happen should such a man come to power. There can be no better example of failing to listen to would-be dictators before they become dictators.
Responding to clear parallels with "Putin isn't Hitler!" or "Trump isn't Hitler!" is an expression of intellectual failure and an unwillingness to learn from even the most horrific chapters in our history. That the presidential nominee of a major US party frequently expresses similar sentiments and exploits identical tactics should not be dismissed casually, or dismissed at all.
You can laugh at such people or you can listen. I say we have nothing to lose by listening very carefully and much to lose by laughing.'