It’s a big-time taboo to compare any leader in a democracy to the notorious Adolf Hitler. People are justifiably loathe to ascribe to anyone the pathology that would lead Hitler to commit such terrible atrocities. I suggest that by NOT making comparisons, we are putting ourselves more at risk for some version of the same thing happening in our own place and time.
When we think of Hitler, we think mainly of the ultimate atrocity that he committed: genocide against the Jews. The horror of it is how coldly systematic and how terrible it was. Compared to this atrocity, the other transgressions of Hitler are diminished. But we mustn’t forget those other transgressions. We mustn’t forget that Hitler’s ability to create a totalitarian dictatorship depended on a lot of initial groundwork.
I don’t actually believe that the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, is a deranged psychopath of the order of Adolph Hitler. Nonetheless, he is the leader of a nation, and as such, wields power that has the potential to cause much harm, as well as much good. Therefore, we are fools NOT to compare his proclivities to those of world leaders throughout history – including Adolf Hitler.
Here is a laundry list of things that Harper has done that scare me:
1. He has used the media extensively to advertise his initiatives, and to discredit his adversaries. This is called propaganda.
2. He has allowed the surveillance of his own people, including using a state-sponsored spy agency.
3. He has demonstrated extremely right of centre policy attitudes.
4. He has identified a religion as the biggest threat to Canadian security (“Islamicism”).
5. He has used legislation to attack trade unions.
6. He has tried to politicize and discredit the judiciary.
7. He has espoused extremely unorthodox science in order to squelch environmental issues.
8. He has suppressed intellectuals, especially those who might stand in the way of his policies.
9. He has an almost pathological obsession with controlling the dissemination of information.
10. He has increased penalties for crimes.
11. He has covered up manipulations of elections.
12. He is currently creating policy that will give him an electoral advantage.
13. He has increased the militarization of the country.
14. He has, through an advertising campaign, and through funding (and de-funding) initiatives, tried to re-create the history of Canada as a militaristic history.
These are but a few observations. As I have already said, I don’t believe that Harper is a mad dictator like Adolf Hitler, but I DO compare his behaviours to Hitler’s. Why shouldn’t I? And I DO think that in many ways, he is taking Canada down a very unhealthy path.
I haven’t bothered to substantiate my claims with links or references. I would appreciate measured comments that take issue with my concerns, as much as I’d appreciate comments supporting them.