Friday, May 13, 2005

Michael: Walmart equates zoning restrictions with Nazi bookburnings

NazisSeems that Walmart is running print ads here in Arizona associating zoning restrictions on 'Big Box' retailers with an image of a Nazi book burning. The reaction of many is not favorable, especially WWII vets who know exactly the magnitude of the evil they faced on the battlefields of that war, and would not have it diminished through comparison with square-footage restrictions.

I think that placing comparisons to Nazis or allusions to Nazism off-limits in our political discourse is unhealthy. The same active evil that dwelt in the Nazi leadership, and the more banal type inhabiting their collaborators, lurks in every human. Therefore, we must never make it impossible to simply call a spade a spade, as it were, in our political rhetoric. I myself have made comparisons between the current ruling junta and the National Socialists when I thought the comparisan was apt, and I don't appologize for it.

On the other hand, it's generally not the Nazis' land use policies regarding retail outlets that are the focus of people's horror when they reflect on the harm the Nazi movement caused the world. Such unreflective and jingoistic uses of such a powerful referent threatens to minimize tha evil of Nazi fascism. And that must never happen.

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