The ADL is upset with Rush Limbaugh for invoking Nazi comparisons in deriding the Obama health care plan. Limbaugh compared Organizing for America’s health care logo to a swastika (it’s actually a caduceus, the snakes-wrapped-around-a-staff thing that’s a universal symbolof the medical arts. Check out the U.S. Army Medical Corps logo at the top of this page).
But there’s an even weirder Limbaugh formula, if that’s possible, in his statement about Democrats and Nazism last Thursday:
Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business — they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working, one of which was the Autobahn….
Whoa, whoa — the Nazis were opposed to “Jewish capitalism”? This must be unpacked.
True, the Nazis blamed — actually, scapegoated — Jewish capitalists for Germany’s economic woes. (They also blamed Jewish communists, Bolsheviks, and socialists, but never mind.) But is Limbaugh saying that capitalism is itself “Jewish”? Or that there is a specific branch of capitalism that is “Jewish”?
Limbaugh’s defenders might say he meant this: the Nazis considered capitalism Jewish, and hated it because of that. In that case, for his charge to make sense, it must follow that the Democrats also consider capitalism to be “Jewish,” which is why they supposedly oppose it. He really wants to go that far? Or is he saying that opposing capitalism is the same as anti-Semitism? (That would be news to these guys.)
What he probably means to say is this: “The Nazis opposed capitalism; so do the Democrats.” Throwing in “Jewish” is creepily reductive, suggesting at the very least that Limbaugh thinks the Final Solution was an attack on capitalist scapegoats, instead of the totality of ethnic and racial Jewishness. At worst, it suggests that Limbaugh thinks “Judaism” and “capitalism” are one and the same.
Perhaps most disturbing is that Limbaugh assumes his listeners would know exactly what he is talking about.