Speaking with Breitbart News on Monday, former celebrated neurosurgeon and current Tea Party darling Ben Carson once again described his political opponents as Nazis who intimidate countless Americans into surrendering their right to free speech. In response to the Breitbart interviewer's question about what Carson means when he says Americans are living in a "gestapo age," Carson said, "I mean, very much like Nazi Germany --and I know you're not supposed to say Nazi Germany but I don't care about political correctness -- you know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population."
Ben Carson's preoccupation with comparing Americans he doesn't like to Nazis is unfortunate. Regrettably, it comes up more often than it should -- just last month, for example, the Republican cause celebre argued that progressives are turning the United States into the next Nazi Germany.
But this strikes me as slightly worse.
"We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe," Carson added, "and it's because of the p.c. police, it's because of politicians, it's because of news -- all of these things are combining to stifle people's conversation."
To my ear, this represents a slight shift in posture. Carson ordinarily equates liberals with Nazis, but in this case, he's going further, suggesting contemporary, American public life reminds him of Nazi Germany.
Cason finished third in the CPAC presidential straw poll last week.
This probably isn't necessary, but let's take a moment to note a few of the more glaring flaws with Carson's condemnation of modern America.
First, no one is using the United States government to "intimidate the population." Americans can and do say bizarre things all the time, in public, without fear of consequence of governmental punishment. Take Ben Carson, for example.
Second, if political correctness reminds someone of Nazi Germany, chances are, that person doesn't know much about political correctness or Nazi Germany.
And third, the problem with Nazis was not that they "stifled conversations," but rather, that they were genocidal maniacs.
The Hill reported over the weekend, "Neurologist Ben Carson could be 2016's sleeper presidential contender.... Carson is lauded for his plainspoken yet forceful ability to speak clearly about the party's values.... That simple star power has made him one of the biggest draws at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, earned him a prime speaking slot on Saturday, and even inspired an unlikely movement to draft him into the presidential race."
As a rule, national candidates don't usually equate American life with Nazi Germany, but these are strange political times.