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Arthur Caplan

New York University

Arthur Caplan is the Dr. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics at New York University (NYU) and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU.



As reported by Campus Reform, Caplan compares Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

In the weeks following Donald Trump’s announcement that he would seek the 2016 Republican nomination, Caplan writes in Poynter,  a non-profit journalism and research center, that news organizations must hold Trump and the Republican party accountable “for the damage [Trump] does.” Caplan characterizes Trump’s views as racist and legitimizing of those American citizens who fear changing demographics.

While acknowledging that he views Trump’s chances as winning the nomination for the presidency unlikely, Kaplan draws parallels between Trump’s campaign and the unexpected rise of Hitler in Germany.

Caplan further states in the same article that Trump is dangerous and that his speech is a classic ploy to generate fear and sow divisiveness.  Caplan urges journalists to treat more seriously the “danger” that Trump poses. Caplan accuses Trump of characterizing Mexicans as being criminals, rapists, and carrying diseases. Caplan says that these characterizations are similar to the rhetorical tactics used by the Nazi party against the Jews.

Despite his comparisons of Trump to Hitler, Caplan argued against the use of Nazi analogies to describe other people or political movements. In an article for bioethics.net, Caplan states that often those who draw analogies in arguments to Nazis, “do not know what they are talking about.”

In the same article, Kaplan states that it is “ethically incumbent” on those who use these analogies to understand the history behind the Nazis, and not to diminish the horror of their atrocities. Kaplan describes the “cavalier” use of these analogies as “unethical.”



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Updated, Spring 2021

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