Comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles – three of which may be poisoned, so best to discard the whole bowl – is an idea that has deep roots.
The concept of one bad apple threatening the peace of society dates back at least to 1938 and a children’s book written by an especially nasty demagogue called Julius Streicher, called Der Giftpilz, or The Toadstool, in which a mother explains to her son that it only takes one Jew to destroy an entire people.
Active in politics from 1919 onwards, Streicher’s arguments were primitive, vulgar, and crude but he believed in what he said and was an uninhibited, wild agitator, to whom masses would listen; which was what mattered to the Nazis and their backers.
In November 1923, Streicher participated in Hitler’s first effort to seize power, the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. Streicher marched with Hitler in the…
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