I’ve long wondered who one compared people one didn’t like to before Hitler, and Brian Palmer of Slate has provided the answer:
“In the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, many Americans and Europeans had a firmer grasp of the bible than of the history of genocidal dictators. Orators in search of a universal symbol for evil typically turned to figures like Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, or, most frequently, the Pharaoh of Exodus.”
Makes sense, I guess. But, as I’ve said before, if the Bible was their reference point, why would they not have used the Devil himself?
(Hat Tip to Andrew Sullivan)
Ha! Good question. Judas is still used as an evil reference, but I have never heard one use the Pharaoh's name.