Holocaust fail

Here’s a questionable claim:

The 1930s saw mass unemployment and financial calamity, with stock markets losing 90 per cent of their value. More ominously still, 1930-39 was the decade when mainstream politicians lost control of events, when the Nazis rose to power and the far Right took charge in Europe. By the end of the decade the world was at war, and the Holocaust – the greatest crime in human history – was about to begin in earnest.

Come on Oborne, you can do better

Peter Oborne, normally a serious writer, in the Telegraph today. The Knife entirely agrees that the Holocaust was a terrible thing, and calling it a crime perhaps diminishes it a little, but Oborne’s historical review, implying that the financial calamity in Europe could somehow reproduce the Nazis’ rise to power, with all that ensued, is very far-fetched. And anyone who finds themself reading the Telegraph will just about know what the Holocaust was, without the trite explanation.

It’s a variation on Godwin’s Law, memorably referred to as reductio ad Hitlerum, and its use here rather desperately tries to elevate a humdrum financial armageddon piece into something prophetic and noble by the hyperbolic claim: “the greatest crime in human history”. Really? How does he know?

Any attempt to measure or quantify evil is  basically doomed. Is the Holocaust worse than the Soham murders? The Armenian genocide? The Rape of Nanking? It reminds of a particularly contrived attempt by Blair’s acolyte John Rentoul to diminish the significance of the Iraq war by quibbling over whose estimate of the deaths was more accurate, commented upon at the time.

Oddly enough, Oborne is one of the few writers who seeks to put morality and ethics back ino public life, for example in pieces like this, or his excellent book  The Rise of Political Lying,

None  of this is to diminish the misery of the current Eurozone contortions, but to extrapolate it to a new era of genocidal national socialism is just pathetic.


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