Friday, 1 July 2011

“Little Hitlers”


All the chatterati are pretending to be incensed about Don Brash’s characterisation of council’s clipboard-wielders as “little Hitlers.”

Oh the outrage! I’m so offended! What sort of term is that to call all those nice helpful folk at the council!

What sort of term is it? Answer: as a random trawl around the internet “reveals” (as if you didn’t know) it’s a very common one:

  • 1957, "Three Ways," Time, 1 Apr.:
    Editorial writers were saying last week that Egypt's Nasser was getting too big for his boots. . . . The tabloid New York Daily News asked: "What has this little Hitler ever done to make himself noteworthy?"
  • 2001, “"SI" Equals "System Imbecilic",” APS Physics website
    The new abomination is SI. Because the size of approved units progresses by thousands it is awkward for almost everybody. Democracy has been achieved. The Angstrom is verboten. One must use nanometers, which make molecular structures harder to think about. The Pascal (one apple-weight per desktop) is the approved unit of pressure, perfect in the eyes of the little Hitlers because it is unintuitive and unpopular. Here even scientists rebel. Many authors give pressures in atmospheres, thus using a familiar and enduring standard. Their papers will be understandable after the Pascal is forgotten-which it will be if scientists have any sense.
  • 2002, “ Rooker attacks council planning 'Hitlers' ,“ The Guardian
    The new housing and planning minister, Lord Rooker, complained today about "little Hitlers" in council planning departments and urged them to be more supportive of new developments.
  • 2005, “Unleashing the Little Hitlers,” No2ID website
    Carol Sarler, writing in The Observer, warns of the tide of petty bureaucracy that would follow in the wake of compulsory ID cards
  • 2005, “Cricket Fan Piers Lashes Out ar Council's 'Little Hitlers',” Mid-Sussex Times
    PARISH councillors have been accused of acting like 'little Hitlers' by controversial newspaper editor Piers Morgan in a row over a village cricket match
  • 2006, “The labyrinthine links of the 'Little Hitlers',” Website of the Families & Social Services Information Team (UK)
    “A significant number of (abusive) parents,” say the guidelines, “are likely to report having experienced genuine medical problems. They may or may not have been substantiated by medical investigations.” Come again? Their children may “present a rosy picture to the outside world”, “have been seriously ill” or have a medical history that started early in life. This is a charter for Little Hitler's and busybodies.
  • 2008, “Now the Little Hitlers at the town hall are getting bigger and nastier,” Daily Mail
    Why is it - and this could concern you directly, since you may be helping one of their number either into or out of power on Thursday week - that so many of our local authorities these days are swinishly vindictive?.. Little Hitlers, we used to call them 60 years ago. Now they're getting bigger.
  • 2009, “Little Hitlers,” Sunday Times
    Encouraged by Silvio Berlusconi, groups of far-right vigilantes are patrolling the streets of Italy…
  • 2010, “Why aren’t the Conservatives doing better?,” Adam Smith Institute
    I also think that there is a rich vein of public sentiment to be exploited by railing against all the incremental infringements of our liberty that we have suffered over the last decade – promising to get rid of all the bureaucratic little Hitlers that make British lives a misery would surely be a vote winner. In 1951, Winston Churchill campaigned under the slogan "set the people free". If the Conservatives want to reverse their decline in the polls, they desperately need to capture that same sentiment.
  • 2010, “Banned by 'little Hitlers' for daring to speak out? ,” Letter to ThisIsDerbyshire website
    The little Hitlers who run Derby City Council have really exposed themselves.
  • 2011,” Spoke too Soon,” Chrissie’s Place
    The traditional image of the typical council manager as a micro-managing "Little Hitler" is well entrenched in British comedy, and that is because it is so often true.
  • 2011, “Bureaucracy in America,” The Economist
    The common description of bureaucrats as “little Hitlers” (does anyone know who first used this phrase?) fails, or wilfully refuses, to recognise that we all have a little Hitler in us, or more to the point, that Hitler had a little human in him too, and that a human given power will exercise it, no matter how measly it may be.
  • 2011, commenter at CiF Watch , CiF Watch
    I am afraid I really think that was overkill on Spielberg’s part [to “demand Megan Fox be fired from ‘Transformers’ for calling the (Jewish) director of the film, Michael Bay, a Nazi]. Saying ‘X is a jumped up little Hitler’ is part of common discourse. C. S. Lewis described his prep school as ‘Belsen’. OK, poor taste, maybe deserves a talking to and a slapped wrist with a public apology, perhaps, but not firing. This is unhelpful, I think, and totally unnecessary.

Get the point?  And if you’re still pretending you don’t know what the term means:

little Hitler (plural little Hitlers), Noun (derogatory)
An unnecessarily or pretentiously dictatorial person - a jobsworth.
A little Hitler is a self-important tosspot who thinks he's in charge. Someone who makes up arbitrary and/or self-serving rules and has a tantrum if they aren't obeyed. They tend to have a park-keeper/traffic-warden mentality; rules are Law and rules come first. They can't handle people who threaten their authority.

Looks like the perfect term to call these jumped-up sawdust Caesars who tread so heavily on other people’s dreams.

My only disappointment then is that instead of proposing to abolish the Resource Management Act, the RMA, the Act that gives these little Hitlers their power, he instead offers only to “reform” it. Frankly, after nearly two decades of evidence against the RMA and its abuse of property rights, that’s just pissweak. Even Nick Smith talks about “reform.” And he doesn’t mean it either.

Ayn Rand once observed that “When the productive have to ask permission from the unproductive in order to produce, then you may know your culture is doomed.” They do. And we are. And with the explicit approval of the chatterati.

Here’s Nick Lowe from his album Jesus of Cool:

Here’s Elvis Costello:

And here’s Everything But the Girl (undoubtedly the only time they’ll ever appear here, I promise!):


  1. Objectivist rule no 1347:

    It's not offensive to call people who haven't murdered 6 million people Hitler as long as when you do you also suggest they're short.

    OK got that.

  2. Gee anon...get called anal retentive much?

  3. Nope, you? Are you the same James that gets pwned each day over at the Dim-Post? If so, keep that up, it's very funny.

  4. Anon, are you one of those illiterates who read & post messages at Dimpost? You must be, since your message is just dim like the commentators & the blog that you hangout at (Dimpost).

  5. How can an illiterate read? Is that an example of objectivist logic?

  6. I'm still waiting to be pwned once Anon...the Dim bulbs seem unable to argue a point and head straight to the personal attacks.But then people who don't believe that the reality they are living in doesn't exist aren't starting from a position of strength in the first place huh?

  7. "But then people who don't believe that the reality they are living in doesn't exist aren't starting from a position of strength in the first place huh?"

    More objectivist logic! This is great. Got any more?

  8. Anon, you asked, how can an illiterate read? Your reasoning is like an uneducated dork? You know, there are lots of uneducated dork who can still read though.

  9. "You know, there are lots of uneducated dork who can still read though."

    Judging by that sentence you could be correct. Illiterates still can't read though, my dopey objectivist chum.


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