Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics


Boris Johnson, proud of his subtle grasp of history, and of the Second World War in particular, has contributed to the Brexit debate by comparing the EU to the Third Reich:

“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically,” he says. “The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.”

I appreciate that goals and intentions are important, but one would tend to think that at some point, if the “methods” are sufficiently different, it does make a qualitative difference. Otherwise, one could attack the government’s attempts to calm ethnic tensions, and the grounds that Hitler also tried to resolve ethnic tensions through “different methods” (genocide rather than dialogue). Policies to ensure that businesses can find qualified workers? Sure, if you look at the details, improved education opportunities sound better than enslavement, but it’s really just quibbling over different methods.

Or plans to build motorways… well, I guess the methods weren’t particularly different, so that’s just fascist through and through.

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