We may be living in the worst period of Holocaust denial since the Nuremberg trials. I'm not referring to the twisted morons who insist that the Holocaust never happened the way the Monty Python guys insisted the parrot wasn't dead. I'm referring to the legions of Holocaust deniers in the Democratic Party, on the Web, on college campuses, in the mainstream press and, most acutely, in my e-mail box every morning, who reduce to the Holocaust to a triviality.
In America today - never mind Europe and the Middle East - ostensibly sophisticated and enlightened people see nothing particularly controversial about comparing George Bush to Adolph Hitler and the United States of America to Nazi Germany.
The examples are everywhere. Vanity Fair magazine asks if Richard Perle and Joseph Goebbels were "separated at birth." Whole Web sites are dedicated to the most astoundingly stupid and superficial comparisons between George Bush and Hitler (they both liked dogs, for example).
At every event protesting war, Bush, America, this, that and the other thing, one can find pictures of various administration officials in SS garb or bearing Hitler mustaches. On the Web, leftwing forums like Democraticunderground.com overflow with insubstantial people bolstering their self-esteem by pretending to "speak truth to power" to the unfolding Nazification of America.
Putatively intellectual magazines, like the leftwing Nation and the New York Review of Books, feature articles that are more measured in tone and more nuanced in style than the hysteria one hears from C-Span callers or rabble-rousers at Howard Dean events, but the upshot is still the same.
James Traub, writing in The New York Times last June, detailed the trendiness of the Bush-Hitler comparison: "That's grotesque; and the fact that is has achieved such currency among what the French call the bien pensant is vivid proof that in much of the left, 9/11 and its aftermath have increased the visceral loathing not of terrorism or of Islamist fundamentalism but of President George Bush."
But no one seems willing to name this grotesquery plainly. It is, simply, Holocaust denial (not to mention slander against Bush and America).
If your son is murdered and I claim that it never happened, I am denying the existence of a crime. But if your son is murdered and I compare that tragedy to losing your car keys, that is a form of denial, too. And this is precisely what the "Bush equals Hitler" crowd is doing.