Before you scream that there’s a crypto-Nazi under your bed, let me reassure you that my overall view of Hitler is no different from yours or any other decent person’s.
But ‘overall’ is the operative word. Not everything a monster says or does should be dismissed out of hand just because a monster says or does it.
Hence we shouldn’t be expected to hate dogs just because Hitler loved them, detest classical music just because he was a keen listener or shun galleries just because he was a painter of sorts.
Nor should we all light up just because Hitler abhorred smoking. In fact, it was Nazi scientists who first established a link between smoking and lung cancer. As a result, women were banned from smoking (a similar ban on men would have hurt their fighting morale). The ban had a lasting effect: for the next generation, Germany had less incidence of lung cancer than any other European country.
That was the thrust of my argument with a famous Remainer journalist a few months ago. Unable to find a sensible argument against Brexit (for the simple reason that none exists), he accused me of being a Putin acolyte because Putin also detests the European Union.
The implied syllogism is simple, and inane in its simplicity. Thesis: I support Brexit. Antithesis: Putin supports Brexit. Synthesis: I support Putin.
If this logic were anything other than a silly solecism, one wouldn’t be able to hold any views at all – it would always be possible to cite a monster who felt the same way. This I pointed out to my interlocutor and, since the conversation was liberally lubricated with wine, in words whose choice I now regret.
But the point remains: it’s intellectually dishonest to use Hitler’s name as an argument clincher, especially in a context that has nothing to do specifically with Nazism.
Alas, intellectual dishonesty is the stock in trade of today’s press, a point The Times goes out of its way to prove in every issue.
Hence its short article on a German doctor fined for advertising abortions manages to find room for three (!) references to “restrictive abortion laws that date back to the Nazi era”.
The implication is that such laws are as evil as the Nazis were, while those who campaign for abortion on demand are courageous fighters against tyranny. This is a dirty rhetorical trick, but no holds are barred for champions of any modern outrage.
Germany, to her credit, still refuses to regard abortion as a universal human right. Abortion there is illegal de jure, if not always de facto. Even so, if the UK’s limit is 24 weeks, Germany’s is only 12 – and the woman must undergo mandatory counselling on the sanctity of human life.
And clinics are prohibited from advertising abortions everywhere in Germany, with directory and on-line listings correctly treated as advertising in most areas. Naturally, even such timid attempts to put brakes on abortions are too much for the brittle sensibilities of today’s lefties.
Even though 100,000 abortions are still performed in Germany every year, the country, in spite of her greater population, still lags behind Britain’s 185,000. Such backwardness is intolerable to the modern lot.
A massive campaign is under way to bring Germany in line with Britain in that respect, and The Times is clearly sympathetic to it. On top of the three references to the Nazi provenance of the advertising ban, it also mentions that the populist AfD party is anti-abortion.
Its slogan is “larger families, not more immigration”, which, as far as The Times is concerned, is antediluvian on both counts, especially if it implies objections to abortion. As far as the paper is concerned, indigenous populations should stop procreating altogether, with the resultant underpopulation remedied by a mass import of Somalis.
An innocent reader – and few are today anything rather than innocent – may get the impression that the only people who find anything wrong with abortion are overt or covert Nazis and other nasties.
And – are you ready for this? – “anti-abortion campaigners… are in some cases religiously motivated…”. QED.
Not only are they Nazis, but they are also Christians. Are they also homophobes, misogynists and global warming deniers? I’m sure they must be, and our formerly respectable paper missed a trick by failing to allude to that likelihood.
P.S. Speaking of Germany, it is henceforth in extremely poor taste to refer to Angela Merkel as a ‘mover and shaker’.