Actually, it isn’t a fallacy if it is true and relevant, but that makes for a rhetorically clumsy title. The fallacy I want to talk about here is the argumentum ad nazium (sometimes called ad hitlerium.) This is the “fallacy” of dismissing some person or group as being Fascists or Nazis. We’ve certainly seen a great deal of this in recent years, with President Obama repeatedly denounced in the right-wing media as a Fascist communist Muslim Kenyan/Indonesian (with a time machine to fake his Hawaiian birth certificate.) These accusations are just part of the flood of infantile twaddle that organizations like Fox “News” butter their bread with. But what if someone in the public sphere – for example, running for national office – really is a Fascist?
There are many memes flowing through social media comparing Donald Trump to Hitler. I disagree with these comparisons somewhat, and a glance at the attached picture will indicate the nature of that disagreement (the specifics of THAT disagreement will not be explored here.) I will argue that it is both true and relevant to characterize Trump as a Fascist. However, before proceeding with that particular claim, I will spend most of my time talking about Fascism itself. This concept gets thrown about with promiscuous abandon, and the general disregard for what it really means is a disturbing sloppiness for which I have no sympathy. Continue reading