Why is representing Perfidious Dan in a Nazi uniform offensive? According to Frydenberg, because (i) it shows a lack of understanding of history; (ii) it fuels hatred and danger; and consequently, (iii) has no place in public debate.
Regarding (i), he doesn’t actually explain how the analogy lacks historical understanding. The Nazis are infamous for any number of things: their exploitation of public fear following the Reichstag fire in 1933 and subsequent passing of the Enabling Act in that same year, the Anschluss of 1936, their occupation of the Sudetenland and then annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Aktion T4 program, among others, but importantly here, the exclusion of non-Aryans from significant areas of public life under the so-called Nuremberg laws of 1935. Can it show a real lack of historical understanding to focus on some of these similarities when the question of a Enabling Act-like bill is being rush through the Parliament? Or when the powers under that bill would extend the present discriminatory apparatus that excludes unvaccinated yet COVID-negative members of the Victorian public from going to work, attending a public or municipal building, celebrating with family or friends at a restaurant, and the like? Or coercing members of the public to partake in a medical procedure under threat and thus against their will? I think not. If the analogy is arresting it’s because it is apposite. Further, the failure to recognize the applicability raises the hackles of those moral numb to the enormity of the current situation and thus confronted with the embarrassment of their silence, at best, or by their complicity, at worst.
Does it fuel hatred and therefore is it dangerous? Possibly, but righteous indignation when confronted with moral injustice is a sign or moral health and ought to be encouraged. Moreover, a system of segregation itself fuels hatred, because it is unjust, and the injustice is amplified and thus more dangerous given the power of the institutions involved in its propagation, whether academic, bureaucratic, journalistic, medical, and political. When people are now routinely threatened with the loss of medical assistance without the slightest unease, I would have thought a placard or two at a protest was the least of our worries.
Which leaves us with the third complaint, that such an analogy should never be made in public debate. This is simply too much. The only people that never want such an analogy to be made are politicians or their lackeys, and they are the only people that are protected from such a rule. If policies are so egregious that they invite the use of this analogy, then rhetorically, the analogy should be made. As a matter of prudence, you don’t want to overuse the analogy in order to lessen its sharpness; but when it is called for by the circumstances involved, it would be derelict not to use it.
If that makes the political class uncomfortable, all the better. Don’t want to be likened to a Nazi? Well, then, don’t establish or seek to establish Nazi-like laws, and do so while exploiting fears unscrupulously.