What The Nazis Wanted, Ctd.

Freeways.

Do you know, where does this word ‘freeway’ come from? Does anyone know? The exact word ‘freeway’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. Next time your Eisenhower Republican friends talk about freeways, ask them why they’re Nazis.

PS. Mr. Urquhart claims that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. This is correct. The sentence reads:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

That’s right. “Between.” Not “Of.”

Now I hate to be prissy (no, actually, I love it). But does Mr. Urquhart believe that Hitler was given to speaking in English? So the precise word “of” could be uttered or inscribed, instead of the precise word “between” in order to secure his claim? Or does he, rather, believe that translation is so completely determinate that one could be confident that something Hitler inscribed or uttered would have to be translated into English as “of” and not “between”?

I suspect the origin of this canard has to do with the truth sometimes asserted, that the phrase “separation of church and state” nowhere appears in the U.S. Constitution, but that we find “separation” spoken of in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. What Mr. Fischer and Mr. Urquhart have done is modify this so that the common misconception becomes that Jefferson spoke of separation, when in fact it was Hitler. That’s the thing about common misconceptions. They bear such a resemblance to facts.

Now, to be utterly fair, preposterously fair, let’s suppose that the claim is not about specific words (strictly construed!) but instead about concepts. What do you suppose Hitler wanted from the German churches? Silence. For them to refrain from publicly criticizing Germany’s political leadership, i.e., himself. And what do you suppose Jefferson wanted from the Congregationalists denouncing him for atheism during his presidential campaign, that induced him to avail himself of fellow victims of Congregationalist oppression, the Danbury Baptists, to score some political points? Silence. For them to refrain from publicly criticizing the President of the United States, i.e., himself.

OK, now that we’ve established that Jefferson was a Nazi (it’s a pretty big tent), let’s get back to dismantling those damn freeways, and while we’re at it, the party of Eisenhower.

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3 comments on “What The Nazis Wanted, Ctd.

  1. DB says:

    Uh-oh. That one left me sorta confused. Maybe it’s still too early, but… what’s your point, exactly?

  2. poseidonian says:

    Well, lots of balls in the air in this one, but I’ll be satisfied if we catch “enough with the ‘everyone but me is a Nazi’ already!” because better than half the time, we’re seeing a fallacy like:

    If the Nazis liked something, it’s bad.
    The Nazis liked to breath.
    Therefore breathing is bad.

    I used freeways as an example. The fact that the Tea Party is basically about taking down the Eisenhowerishness of the Republican Party, and that Eisenhower was our Hitler (as to wanting lots of freeways) and replacing it with something else was rhetorical gravy.

    I am pretty ambivalent about that last (there is something to be said for really representing real people, and also something to be said for doing so intelligently), but not ambivalent at all about Fischer or Urquhart, who strike me as despicable.

    The deeper point is: yes, indeed, Hitler wanted to suppress religious dissent. But actually, so did Jefferson. So playing the “I see past the popular misconceptions about history (held by my opponents)” card can take you places you may not want to go, assuming you actually want to get the history right.

  3. David Buchner says:

    Hitler liked dogs, too.

    Speaking of freeways…

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