Is there a moral reason to do what Hitler did not and to avoid what he did because it was he who did or did not, respectively?

Further, is is ethical to use Hitler as an example to promote certain habits? For example, Hitler was non-smoker and vegetarian.

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    Heavens. I think if an American teacher used Hilter as example of clean living, non-smokerism, and vegetarianism she would have some 'splainin to do! She would pick some other non smoker and vegetable eater. The rest of it I can't decipher. I am not an expert on other parts of the planet and what they would think. – Gordon Aug 11 '17 at 19:55
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    Well, Hitler breathed air and used his feet to walk. As German chancellor, he also oversaw a lot of routine that governments usually do. Judging actions on the basis of who did them is similar to the genetic fallacy of objecting to arguments because "bad" people made them too. When there is a tangible link between Hitler's actions and atrocities that followed similar actions deserve extra scrutiny, but that is not because "Hitler did it too" specifically. And using him as a role model would be counterproductive for pragmatic reasons, I suspect. – Conifold Aug 11 '17 at 19:55
  • Not quite an answer, but I'll point out that one of the reasons Hitler comparisons are frowned upon is because he generates such an emotional response from people that make it very hard to use reason about him. – Cort Ammon Aug 12 '17 at 1:31
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    The main ethical use of Hitler is to show how a highly civilised country could elect a leader that more or less destroy Europe. – Mozibur Ullah Aug 12 '17 at 3:43
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    And one good reason for not using Hitler as an example is that it might be a cover for neo-nazism. – Mozibur Ullah Aug 12 '17 at 3:52

Is there a moral reason to do what Hitler did not and to avoid what he did because it was he who did or did not, respectively?

It sounds like you're asking, is it OK to endorse vegetarianism, citing Adolf Hitler as an example of vegetarianism?

It depends on the context/situation, but you probably won't get much mileage out of such statements because Hitler has been so demonized.

I would actually like to see more comments about Hitler's good side to balance the insane demonization that makes it almost impossible to know the truth. I would also like to see an end to the use of Hitler and the Nazis as a metaphor for evil incarnate.

What about the Romans, Spanish and British, who carved empires out of blood? What about Caligula, Vlad the Impaler or U.S. President Andrew Jackson?

How was Hitler worse than Stalin? And how was he more racist than Churchill, Roosevelt or the French?

Focusing more closely on your question, I wouldn't say it's unethical to invoke Hitler as a symbol of clean living. But it wouldn't make much sense, because most people would have a mini-mental breakdown. You'd be better off replacing Hitler with Obama, who murdered so many innocent people with unmanned drones.

Is there a moral reason to do what Hitler did...

Like not smoking? One could well argue that not smoking is a moral act, but linking it to Hitler or anyone else doesn't make much sense. It's a moral act all by itself. If 10,000 nuns smoked, not smoking would still be an intelligent (and quite possibly moral) choice.


To further put this question in perspective, just replace "Hitler" with the name of one of history's biggest monsters, like Caligula, Abraham Lincoln or Milton Friedman.

Many people regard Lincoln as an all-American hero and might therefore appreciate using his image to promote drinking milk or whatever good things he did. However, Lincoln also presided over the biggest mass execution in American history and may not be too highly admired by Native Americans.

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