Worse than Gandhi vs. better than Hitler
I notice that some people compare Edward Snowden unfavorably to Thoreau, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King; and that the same people tend to compare the USA favorably to China, Russia and Venezuela. Technically these comparisons are correct, but still that’s holding Snowden to a much higher standard than the USA. If anyone ever compared me to, say, Gandhi, even unfavorably, then I’d be pleased; but if anyone ever compared me to, say, Hitler, even favorably, then I’d be furious. The latter is called ‘damning by faint praise’; so maybe we can call the former praising by faint damns. I’d say, in both cases, ‘so I remind you of him?’
I have heard my country called better than Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and Taliban Afghanistan; and this from people who thought they were saying something nice! (Assuming that they thought about it at all.) Am I the only one to see the grievous insult in this? The soft bigotry of abysmal expectations?