Hitler Wins Again!

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It has been a few years since I presented my first year students with my election exercise on the first day of class.  I have two candidates, “A” and “B.”  Without naming either of them, I describe their programs, ideas, practices, etc.   Candidate “A” – I tell them after they have voted – is a composite of the “founding fathers” (Sam Adams, Jefferson, John Hancock, Tom Paine, etc.), while candidate “B” is Hitler.  In prior years, Hitler prevails with about 75% of the vote. This time, candidate “B” won by a margin of 25-13.  When I told my students that candidate “B” was Adolf Hitler,  there was a loud, collective “gasp!”  Later on, in the discussion of a case involving government regulation of food, one of my students said “of course, none of us are Nazis,” to which I responded: “then how do you account for the fact that nearly 2/3 of you just voted for Hitler?”

Adolf is still a popular figure, which probably explains why most Americans are as willing to support attacks and invasions on other countries as Germans were during the 1930s.

10:51 am on September 7, 2011