No, I’m not asking you to brush up on your German and listen to an old news reel or even read a book. But I’m curious. What does Hitler mean to you? To me, there is the obvious ‘mass murder’ connotation, but I also studied the Nazis in a class I took on rhetoric. They were… very good… at propaganda, not to mention war.
On the internet, Hitler is where arguments tend to end. And with the exception of a small band of racist groups in our society, the name is in almost every way (even supernaturally) demonic.
The name is an invocation to horror.
Should we as atheists be encouraging this sort of thinking? Adolf Hitler could arguably be accused of being one of the great criminals of the last century, even of history itself. But he wasn’t a supernatural force. He was a failed artist… a man.
I’m always a little uncomfortable when other secular types start talking about ‘evil’ like its an actual force of nature. It tends to imply magical, rather than critical, thinking.
Having said that, I’m certainly not a fan of Hitler.
Unlike in some parts of Europe such as Russia and Austria, where Mein Kampf has been embraced by the extreme right, Hitler’s popularity in India is not the result of anti-Semitism, says Navras Jaat Aafreedi, a professor of social sciences at Gautam Buddha University in New Delhi. He says it stems from a dearth of European history classes in schools. To the extent that German history is taught, he says, it’s in the context of “the view that had Hitler not weakened the British Empire by the Second World War, the British would have never voluntarily left India.”
Ok, I wasn’t expecting that.