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Bret Stephens Is More Like Donald Trump Than You Ever Knew

15 27 0
03.09.2019

The impulse to universalize the lessons of the Holocaust has proven to be irresistible to even otherwise sensible observers.

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While some historians and educators have always worried that the Holocaust would be marooned in history if it wasn’t somehow made relevant to contemporary audiences, that has helped to legitimize the kind of inappropriate analogies between the Shoah and an unending spectrum of unpleasant things and people.

So it is hardly surprising that the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII has become an excuse for rehashing the debate about whether the rise of Donald Trump is a precursor to a new dark age.

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His critics are convinced that Trump’s unconventional speech and tweets - while for the most part pursuing normative conservative policies - has unleashed a tide of hate and intolerance that has spilled over into violence.

For those who choose to try to connect his rhetoric to the actions of extremists who have committed mass shootings in the United States, like New York Times columnist Bret Stephens ("The president cannot be absolved of responsibility for inciting the hatreds that led to El Paso"), it doesn’t require much of a leap of imagination to claim that understanding the events of 80 years ago requires us to consider whether Trump and others afflicted with a "spirit of certitude" are leading us down a similar "dark defile."

That is the context in which the storm of controversy into which Stephens has been plunged in the last week in which he managed to become the object of scorn from both the right and the left.

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Stephens, a onetime editor of the Jerusalem Post and a Pulitzer Prize winner when he was writing for the Wall Street Journal, crossed over from that bastion of mainstream........

© Haaretz