Today’s Opinion: Comparing Geert Wilders to Adolf HitlerPOSTED: 04/26/11 11:53 AM
Is it inappropriate and sickeningly demonizing to compare Geert Wilders with Adolf Hitler? Yep, says Wilders, that’s what I think about it.
The man who made the comparison is Michiel Blok, the former chairman of GreenLeft in Amsterdam-East. And Blok says that it is actually weird that there is apparently a taboo on comparing contemporary situations with the Second World War and with Adolf Hitler.
Blok wrote an article for Joop.nl, a web site linked to the leftwing Vara radio and TV station, wherein he compares Wilders on 37 characteristics with four other politicians – Mahatma Ghandi, Wim Kok, Adolf Hitler, and George W. Bush.
Thirty characteristics attributed to Wilders, also apply to Hitler, according to Blok. Ghandi had six hits and Wim Kok one (because both rose to power democratically), and Bush 8.
In that context, the comparison almost makes Wilders look like Hitler’s identical twin.
Joop.nl had an earlier run in with Wilders when it published a cartoon depicting him as a guard in a concentration camp.
But the comparison with Hitler is a new one. What Hitler had against the Jews, Wilders has against the Muslims, Blok’s table suggests. Both considered the targets of their criticism as dangerous, culturally inferior, and members of a global conspiracy who conspired with the political left. Both expressed themselves in insulting terms about their targets, they labeled their religion as an ideology and they had no compassion for “good” Jews or Muslims.
Other characteristics refer to the wish to ban certain publications, to limit human rights, and to achieve goals through regular politics. Both Hitler and Wilders want(ed) to protect their country against foreign influence, they criticize the establishment and their cultural expressions, they combine social policies with nationalism, constantly hammer on one subject only, use their opponent’s holy books as proof that they are evil, and avoid concrete proposals during elections. Avoiding interviews is also part of the similarities.
The list goes on and on, up to criticizing court rulings, limiting marriages, using power to muzzle opponents, the rise to power with the help of parties that do not belong to the extreme right, the threat with violence against citizens, and last but not least: the power within the political movement rests with the leader.
Wilders Freedom Party has no members, and that gives him absolute power over his own movement. Ironically, Hitler’s political symbol was the eagle; Wilders uses the less threatening looking seagull.
Blok admits that his list is not perfect. But he points out that Wilders has a remarkable number of opinions and actions in common with Hitler. “This does not mean that Wilders is capable of starting a European war or to extinguish all Muslims.”
Blok’s handiwork is certainly food for thought. Wilders is obviously not pleased, to put it mildly, and Blok’s comparison is also not admired by everyone.
Still, all he did was put what Wilders stands for in a neat table, together with what four other politicians stand for, including Adolf Hitler. Is that inappropriate? Is that sickeningly demonizing?
It is certainly a daring enterprise, but we do not think it is inappropriate. Wilders is constantly daring others with his rash positions, and now someone has fired back with a decent piece of research. Certainly, under tsar Wilder such a publication would be banned. That alone says enough about the value of Blok’s comparison. It is frightening and to Wilders’ liking it hit too close to home.