Thursday, May 17, 2018


Donald Trump has once again called undocumented immigrants "animals." Juan Cole writes that Trump's use of the word has uncomfortable echoes of Adoph Hitler's use of the term  untermensch or "underman:"

“Animal” functions similarly in this regard to the Nazi technical term “Untermensch” or underman, subhuman.
Richard A Etlin in Art, Culture, and Media under the Third Reich translates passages from the infamous SS pamphlet of 1941, entitled Der Untermensch:
“It is a frightening creature, a mere shadow of a man, with humanoid racial features, yet spiritually and psychologically more base than any animal. Within this being rages a vile chaos of wild, uncontrolled passions, a nameless desire for destruction, the most primitive desires, and naked vulgarity.”
The pamphlet goes on to be more specific about the identity of this horrible category of apparent human beings, who are actually animals or worse. It specifies eastern Slavs (Russians and Poles) and Jews, among others. Not even some members of those groups, but all of them. The pamphlet functioned as a call for and a justification for the genocide against the Jews, Gypsies, gays and other groups as well as the slaughter of Russian boys at the eastern Front.
That is, denigrating people as less than human is a step toward permitting their elimination.

It is, perhaps, too easy to use the Hitler analogy these days. But make no mistake. Like Hitler, Trump believes there are certain groups of people who are subhuman. Once there is growing public acceptance of  that notion, it is only a small step to making their elimination government policy.

Image: Exceptional Delaware


Toby said...

That Trump thinks of himself as the epitome of human that all others are to be judged by sort of makes my day.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, I'm sure Trump's evangelist base will push back hard. If America is a land of immigrants and immigrants are animals, then it follows that Americans are descended from animals. That ain't what the Buybull says. I'm expecting outrage from Franklin Graham, Jim Bakker and Pat Robertson any minute now....


John B. said...

I suspect that Trump has a similar opinion of many of his supporters.

"You have to be born lucky in the sense that you have to have the right - the right - genes to go out and if it's in my business, if it's making deals ..."

" I really was, you know I had a good genepool from the standpoint of that. So I was pretty much driven. ... I have a certain gene. You know I'm a gene believer."

I'm a gene believer too. I remember hearing him say, on one of the three episodes of his TV show that I wasted time watching, that anyone who hasn't made it big by the age of fifty must be a loser and is, as such, unworthy of his attention. In his case the genetic factor would seem to amount to having a daddy possessing of sufficient wealth and forbearance to continue bailing junior out of his troubles well into his supposed adulthood. We all should wish we had some of his genes.

Owen Gray said...

Trump is all ego and no brain, Toby. His exhalted opinion of himself has nothing to do with brain power.

Owen Gray said...

Add the guy who thinks that Jews and Muslims are going to hell to those three and you've got a moountain of evangelical ignorance, Cap.

Owen Gray said...

Those same genes must have something to do with his multiple bankruptcies, John.