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Ben Carson’s Inept and Inaccurate Analogy

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U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Dr. Ben Carson is a wonderful human being and a worthy presidential candidate, but he’s created unnecessary problems for his campaign with careless remarks about Nazi Germany.

On six occasions he’s declared that “most Germans didn’t support what Hitler was doing, but they kept silent, and let it happen anyway.” He compares this to Americans who disapprove of Obama, but fail to speak out against him. This comment implicitly compares the president to Hitler, which is foolish and offensive. It’s also bad history: Hitler was wildly popular at the height of his power, and Germans overwhelmingly supported his leadership—5 million of them sacrificed their lives in defending his rule. The Nazis gained popularity because of their raging Jew-hatred, not in spite of it, as they embraced the slogan, “The Jews are Our Misfortune.”

Dr. Carson needs to improve his grasp of history, and stop his deployment of reckless and distracting analogies.

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  1. Raphael  •  Oct 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Excellent column by Mr. Medved. Pure facts people. And I see the slogan: “Mexicans are our misfortune” (apparently, for Trump there are no chinese, Pilipino, Irish, Indian, and other illegal immigrants). Listen to what Mr. Medved says. Whoever has ears….

    • jguy  •  Oct 14, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      The Jews who were the brunt of Hitler’s insanity were, to the best of my
      knowledge, in the early stages, German citizens. Mr. Trump from what I
      have heard is against the flagrant breaking of
      US law by those who are in the US illegally as well
      as against the anchor baby abuses from misinterpretation of constitutional
      provision Mr. Trump wants to uphold existing law while Herr Hitler destroyed
      all civil and moral law and finally himself.

    • jrandall  •  Oct 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      Most Germans supported Germany in war but did NOT the genocide of all Jews. Carson was talking about the genocide. There is a difference. As for Trump:

      Trump has repeatedly said he LOVES the 80% of Mexicans who are LEGAL, and only objects to the ones in the ILLEGAL 20% that are KNOWN to have come and killed Americans and other serious crimes. Sounds sane to me.
      To spin and distort a fair complaint against known criminals from the illegal 20% into hating all Mexicans–is the gross dishonesty that made me leave the Democrat party.

      There aren’t 11million illegal immigrants flooding the uncontrolled US/China border, US/India border or US/Ireland border to worry about, be because–HELLO!? We DON’T HAVE borders with those countries! like we do with Mexico. Raphael is apparently unaware of this. Let he who has a brain use it to cut through dishonest BS.

  2. Craig  •  Oct 13, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Just like Obama, Hitler was extremely popular when he first came in to power. But, as more people came to recognize what was really going on they were not so supportive. The brown shirts were running loose threatening and intimidating. If you did not support the Nazi’s and support them you were targeted. Living in Germany during this era was not an easy thing for common people

    • Dan  •  Oct 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Craig, c’mon, you have to be smarter than the make a vague analogy to Hitler. You’re blinded by political and/or racial hatred of the guy to give him a fair shake. He is in no way comparable to Hitler.

  3. Jim Bird  •  Oct 15, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    What’s “foolish and offensive” is harping on such an incomprehensible attack by Michael on Dr. Carson. What we don’t need in this election is a republican attacking him endlessly on some historical minutia counterpoint. More Jews with guns would’ve saved lives. It sounds as though Michael wants to throw his hat into the ring, get on stage and debate the non-politicians in the republican lineup. Did you notice the ghoulish democrat debate? The country is going to hell! I guess Carly Fiorina is next.

    • Preston Hale  •  Oct 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Jim Bird,

      Medved does not intend to “attack” Dr. Carson as a candidate. He wants to elevate the republican/conservative strategy. When individuals use faulty logic, clumsy analogies, and historical inaccuracies, it damages the perception of the party as a whole. Good strategy doesn’t involve unconditional damage control. It involves conditioning our presentation to do less damage.

      • Andrew  •  Oct 18, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        100% agree.

      • jrandall  •  Oct 25, 2015 at 6:31 pm

        To wisely learn from history is to glean key PRINCIPLES involved–It is not compare the personalities nor to present exact circumstances as analogies. The key PRINCIPLE Carson was making was what can happen when a population loses control of it’s government through complacency in the face of raging excess. Sadly, Medved plays into the opposition’s hands by giving credence to it’s favorite game of deflecting from crucial principle, to a phony argument about the validity of comparing 2 leaders.

      • Charles Mulligan  •  Oct 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        If Mr. Medved’s column was meant to encourage the republican/conservative candidates to use better arguments, then he would have worded it as such. Instead, it was worded as an attack. Mr. Medved is in the business of using words – he knew exactly what he was typing.

      • Jay Pole  •  Nov 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        Then I will attack him, at least as a candidate. It’s not just his favorite Hitler analogy, that is just another instance of his being rather uninformed on history as he is on most other things outside of medicine and religion. He is also not reliable with the truth, as we saw last week with his corporate connections.

        Ben Carson is so trustworthy that he has already to be found either to be dishonest or just clueless on several counts.

        on Wednesday, OB/GYN and science writer Jen Gunter revealed on her
        blog a 1992 study in which Carson and three other colleagues used tissue
        from the fetal brain and nasal cavity to better understand the development
        of the chambers (or “ventricles”) of the brain. These tissues “were
        obtained from two fetuses aborted at the ninth and and 17th week of
        gestation,” the paper says. I don’t think he will talk about that on TV and if asked,
        he will say “I had no connection with that event.”

  4. jguy  •  Oct 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    As Americans we can disagree agreeably……historically this was not
    the case in Nazi Germany. Hitler and the Nazi’s outlawed opposing
    parties, jailed and exterminated those who disagreed and brainwashed
    the populace with lies and propaganda. It seems Dr.Carson was
    correct – the German population was largely pro-Hitler because
    to not be….was….to not be……alive.

  5. I am 4 Virtue  •  Oct 20, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Who said this? “It’s time to bring God back to our country.” Anyone who says this can earn my vote because it’s true. What Abraham Lincoln came to understand during his presidency is exactly what we need today… God. Read the second inaugural address– God is everywhere in that speech! Therefore, I am not “all or nothing” when it comes to my candidate selection… Perhaps that person may occasionally say something not quite right, but in the end I know a God-fearing person has character. And what we need in a new president today more than ever is character. So who said the above? Ben Carson.

  6. Jim Bird  •  Oct 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Preston Hale,
    This is not the time to play Mr. Milktoast, you know the same old republican double-speak. “Uh I am a conservative, just reelect me one more time ……” And then they stab us in the back every time. Michael’s position seems to be (I literally no longer understand his defeatist attitude in recent years) to give in and give up – make nice with truly vicious people who have destroyed our economy, given nuke weapons to Iran, funds terrorists with hundreds of billions of dollars per year, started WWIII, destroyed the best healthcare system the world has ever seen, …. It is literally never ending destruction! Michael on the other hand wants to denigrate a great man about nothing! In the last Presidential debates, Michael said Romney lost the election because of ONE WORD he uttered in the debates. Obama was an absolute childish buffoon spewing lies in all three debates. Michael thinks BO is a nice man and smart. Stunning. This is the face of the Republican Party now. Crony capitalist elitists they are (says Yoda). Obama has abused power at every turn. He’s a criminal who should be along side Hillary in prison. WTF. How do they get away with this never ending corruption!!! If America spends 100% of its GDP in taxes, it will not cover our yearly debt. We have over $200 trillion in unfounded liabilities. Hillary says she will double-down on what Obama spends. They are f____ing totalitarian thugs and no one gives a rip about the end of our middle class, the end of our country. F the republicans. Good luck getting us to vote for you ever again if you somehow nominate Jeb.

    • Jo Geraci  •  Oct 22, 2015 at 12:31 am

      I think the gentleman above and others ate correct. We absolutely need a President of impeccable character. To me that is Dr. Ben Carson. His record is out there for anyone to see. As a neurosurgeon, he had the aptitude to carefully work out problems and/or get the help he needs to solve those problems

  7. Darwin Wyatt  •  Oct 22, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I of course defer to Michael and his amazing brain but I think what Dr Carson is referencing is the average German was unaware of the atrocity committed in concentration camps in their name by the Nazi? Wasn’t the average German when they found out shocked and ashamed? I sort of recall seeing black and white footage of townspeople forced to witness and help in the burial of murdered Jews? They looked pretty appalled. And I hardly think Dr Carson was comparing President Obama to Hitler but rather warning of the dangers of central gov’t run amuck, in that it can happen to us.

    • jrandall  •  Oct 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Exactly so. A population losing control of it’s government by swallowing rosy promises to the masses was the point–Not who compares to Hitler.

  8. David Dreis  •  Oct 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    The lesson to be learned from Nazi Germany is not that the public had no weapons. The real lesson is the power of Goebels propaganda through the radio, movie screens and the arts to promote Hitler’s message. The public voted for what sounded good and the press was mute.
    Sounds eerily similar to today’s lapdog press and academics.Little wonder Hitler was popular early on. Hope and change anyone?

    • jrandall  •  Oct 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Yes–Sadly our greatest threat seems to be the fifth column that is supposed to be the fourth estate–amplified by social media.

  9. Jim Bird  •  Oct 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    ………and, according to Michael it seems, we all need to be respectful and quiet happy warriors making nice with the liberal thugs. In other words, keep doing what the Old Guard GOP always does, absolutely nothing.

  10. Charles Mulligan  •  Oct 28, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    “This comment implicitly compares the president to Hitler, which is foolish and offensive.” Why is it “foolish” to compare Obama to Hitler? Hitler oversaw the murder of millions of Jews – Obama oversaw the murder of millions of babies.

    Perhaps it is “offensive” to compare Obama to Hitler – but Obama through his actions has certainly earned that comparison.

    Who’s side are you on, Mr. Medved?

    If all those who silently dissented from Obamacare and other Obama policies had actually given voice to their dissent – do you think Obama and the democrats would have been able to enact their plans as they did? I think not – and I believe this is Dr. Carson’s point.

    To compare American citizens to German citizens and Obama to Hitler is not a perfect analogy – it is very difficult to find analogies that run into difficulties at some level. And Mr. Medved is over-analyzing Dr. Carson’s statements. Once the German people discovered the horrors of the death camps, they were still silent, but I’m sure at that point Hitler ceased to be “wildly popular.”

  11. George  •  Oct 30, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    This article on your web site is another marker that you, my friend, are the equivalent establishment media for Republicans as the lamestreamers who handled the last Democrate debate. (Notice I did not say “democratic). I turn you off most of the time because your personal bias shine through loudly every show. Have you ever attended a Carson event? Probably not or you would have listened to one of the most skillful orators of our time. He speaks for a good time without repeating himself, without a single stumble, with complete clarity – no notes, no teleprompter. The audience sits in rapped smiles, doting on every beautifully logical thought, laughing at his perfecting timed humor, joining with him when he emotes emotional stuff. Before you establishment style attack him, attend one of his events. Of course, after listening to you off and on after Rush, I’m convinced you are talk radio’s equivalent of Mitch McConnell. Sorry, Michael, but it rings out like a big bell.

  12. George  •  Oct 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    As to the Nazi thing. Anyone avid student of the first half of the last century can see multitudinous parallels happening in our country to, not only Social Democrats, but the weeks and months just preceding the 1917 revolution in Russia. It isn’t a stretch. The clothes may look different, but the same Alinsky tactics that influenced Goebbels has metastasized throughout the Progressive (Marxist) movement. It is very frightening indeed. To your comment that today that such and such will never happen? Never say never. And the phrase, “That will never happen in America,” has crossed my path many times during the past 70 years as I have seen those very things happen – yes – in America.

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