Quote Ethics: Rep. Miller’s Hitler Quote

jojo

I’d call this an ethics train wreck if it wasn’t so stupid.

During a rally for the conservative Moms for America, Mary Miller, a freshman Illinois Republican member of the House, said conservatives would lose unless “we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”

Responding with classic “gotcha!” verve, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in an interview about Miller, “She’s been on this earth long enough to know that invoking the beliefs of Hitler as being right in any respect is inappropriate and wrong. It’s wrong enough that she should not be in Congress.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) piled on, saying that Miller should resign and be replaced with “someone who better understands the sacrifices our brave service members made during World War II.” Illinois’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Miller’s comment at the rally “disgusting.” Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger called the Hitler comments “garbage.” Echoing, I’m sure, many shameless progressive pundits, Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham described Miller in a column as “the first-term representative from Illinois who had quoted Hitler approvingly at a “Save the Republic” rally the day before.

Naturally, Rep. Miller had to grovel a clumsy apology:

Miller apology

What’s going on here? Stupidity, grandstanding, dishonesty, virtue signaling, oh, lots of things.

  • Miller is, to be succinct, an idiot, not a Nazi. Talk about walking into a propeller! Why in the world would you use Hitler as your authority for such an unremarkable observation as “children are important to the future of a nation.” I have a book of American political quotes, and there’s a whole category on “Youth.” Lots of quotes say essentially what Hitler said. (To be fair, the translation of Hitler’s version is more succinct and direct than any of them.) Doesn’t Miller know about the cognitive dissonance scale? (Doesn’t she read Ethics Alarms?)

        Look, Mary,

Cognitive Dissonance-SMALL

Hitler is so far below zero on the scale, like minus infinity, that he couldn’t see it with the Hubble telescope. That means that anyone or anything, including a basic truth, that is tied to Hitler sinks like a rock on the visceral approval scale. Why don’t you know this? Baseball kicked a silly team owner. Marge Schott, out of the game for saying “Hitler did some good things.” Using Hitler to introduce a quote is asking to be pounced on.

  • The message of Hitler’s quote, however, is obviously true, and no one has ever disputed it. It is especially dishonest for a Democrat to imply, as Schakowsky did, that this was a “Hitler belief” that is wrong. Democrats are in power largely because conservatives allowed them to turn the schools and colleges in left wing indoctrination factories. Miller may have quoted Hitler, but the Left has been following his observation, and with great success. For any Democrats to say the quote is “wrong” is simply a lie.
  • To say, as Rep. Adam Kinzinger did, that “Whoever has the youth has the future” is “garbage” raises a rebuttable presumption that the speaker is brain-damaged. It’s virtually a tautology. Of course children control the future. Heck, “Children are the future of a nation” is a Thai proverb centuries old. What’s the counter position, that old people control the future?
  • Because the messenger was evil doesn’t mean that his every belief was evil and everything he said must be rejected. That’s a silly, illogical, emotional reaction, so naturally Miller’s critics are using it to smear her. Miller “quoted Hitler approvingly” because in this case, what he said happened to be true. If Hitler said “The world is round” does that mean it isn’t round?

Nonetheless,Miller’s use of the murderer of over six million Jews and the architect of World War II  as an authority for a proposition that is intrinsically obvious was what they call in tennis “an unforced error,” and what they call in politics “rank incompetence.”

37 thoughts on “Quote Ethics: Rep. Miller’s Hitler Quote

    • Hitler probably loved dogs more than humans. Nazi Germany was one of the first modern countries to have laws against the mistreatment of animals (Quick, somebody tell PETA their base philosophy is Nazi-inspired!).

      The above, of course, illustrates that not every idea Hitler had was bad. We’ve turned him into a supernatural boogeyman, an aberration outside the human race to which there is no comparison (except, maybe, Donald Trump). As a result, we rob ourselves of the chance to understand the humanness in totalitarianism, where it comes from, why it develops, how tyrants are able to inspire and control. Hitler wasn’t a raging lunatic 24-7. He knew how to be charming, considerate and generous.

      Acknowledging the multi-faceted aspects of Hitler’s personality does not minimize or excuse his crimes. When we deny Hitler’s humanity, we lose perspective on significant historical events that need to be understood in order to prevent them from happening again.

      • Hitler was human, yes. He was nice to dogs yes. He also knew the Earth is round and the sun rises in the east. The point isn’t that these things are untrue, the point is you never have to hand it to Hitler.

        There’s never not a better example for something you consider a virtue.

        • Agreed. Rep. Miller clearly could have worked harder to find a better way to make her point, but my post was really more intended to continue the thought in our host’s last point about the messenger being evil not necessarily always negating the message itself.

          By recognizing Hitler as human, we are forced to confront our own individual capacities for evil. There are little Hitlers all over the world in our neighborhoods, our workplaces and our schools. They want the mere fact of their existence to be sufficient enough to warrant kudos so that they will not be forced to expend too much of their own time and effort contributing to society or their own well-being. The difference is that most people as lazy as Hitler never get as far as he did. Were it not for the good timing and luck that allowed him to put his finger on the pulse of his adopted country’s frustrations and exploit them, he would have spent the rest of his life in a minor government office somewhere, resentful that no one recognized his artistic talent and making life miserable for his co-workers and any hapless citizen that came in for assistance.

      • Trump’s not even close. Stalin is right behind (and higher body count), then Mao, Tojo, Francisco Lopez, Genghis Khan, Attila, Ivan the Terrible, Caligula, Nero, Philip II of Spain, Pizarro, and the three Pashas. There are a lot more before you get anywhere near Trum.

      • Obviously, part of the point she was trying to make was that some ideas are so correct that even the worst people recognize them. But as Jack noted, she should have been aware that referencing Hitler and anything true or good has been made verboten by the language Nazis, and would get her blitzed.

  1. And let’s not forget that the Olympic Torch relay was an innovation created for the 1936 Berlin Olympics to connect the Old World in Athens to the Modern World of Berlin. The Olympic Committee loved the idea and kept it for future ceremonies.

  2. Why, oh why, would anyone quote Hitler on anything? It is mind-numbingly stupid. If Rep. Miller wanted to invoke the idea that children can be used for political ends and not sound stupid or pandering, she should have quoted that moronic Whitney Houston song that extols the virtue that “children are the future.” The infantile sentiment always made my eyes and ears bleed. My response to that song was and is, “Well, no kidding. If children aren’t the future of a society, then that society is doomed. Idiot. Oh, and why the hell do you have throw in all those unnecessary notes every time you sing something?”

    jvb

    PS: I know. I hate Whitney Houston’s music but I am in a bad mood today. My son, 16 years old, was bitten by an injured dog he was trying to help get out of the middle of the road while on his way to swim practice and the healthcare system has no choice but to treat him as though the dog had rabies. There is no way to tell if it was taken care of or not. I don’t blame them but he will have to submit to a series of horrible injections. No good deed goes unpunished. Grrrrrr!!!!

    jvb

  3. The problem is that she misused that Hitler quote. You can only use it when attacking your enemy for indoctrinating kids with things like The 1619 Project. For yourself, Whitney Houston recorded a catchy little tune to use.

    -Jut

    • My gut feeling is that she took too little time trying to make a sound bite that I think she overly summarized a warning and a plan.

      My instinct is that she was trying to imply – “Just like Hitler tried to indoctrinate his kids for evil, we must cultivate their minds towards good.”

      • That’s my first thought when I read the article. Good grief! She was talking to a group of “MOMS”! Get it? What better way to get their attention. She’s already being crucified by Wikipedia, who has rapidly become the hater of all things Republican, which means Mary’s life is going to become a hell on earth. If you don’t get that our educational system after the late 1950’s has become a cesspool for Communists and Marxists to wallow around in, then you’re in the majority. Mary was right even if she had to use scum of the earth to make her point. Imho of course.

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