We owe a great favor to Mike Godwin. Those of us who have spent any amount of time arguing nonsense on the Internet are familiar with Godwins Law. Briefly, Godwins Law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches … given enough time, all discussions –regardless of topic or scope –inevitably wind up being about Hitler and the Nazis.”
The most wonderful aspect of Godwin is that “there is a tradition in many newsgroups, and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically ‘lost’ whatever debate was in progress.”
Now there are exceptions to Godwin, for instance when discussing Jesse James affair with Bombshell McGee, it would be quite difficult to not bring up Nazi references. As a student of Hayek, a personal beef I have, is that sometimes a political argument requires a comparison.
Friedrich A. Hayek believed, the infringements on Liberty caused by programs like National Health Care, or any other central planning, will inevitably lead to a totalitarian government that is indistinguishable from National Socialism, save for the logo on the armbands. However being held to Godwin is a rigorous discipline that forces me to plum the depths of my intellect, for an alternate metaphor when discussing issues with liberals.
I believe that Godwin also applied during the years of the Bush Administration. Their argument was lost when Code Pink and MoveOn started with the BusHitler remarks, and I think images of the current President sporting a Charlie Chaplin moustache should probably be discouraged as well.
But I think we should add another corollary to Godwins Law. I think that if you call your opponent a Racist, you have also lost the argument.
It certainly seems that way. The latest attack on the Tea Parties by the NAACP, seems like a last resort. It reminds me of the old Superman movies where the criminals, having fired all their bullets at the man in steel, resort to throwing their guns. It certainly seems like a desperation move, but in this case it might actually work.
We are not Supermen. Nor are we professional politicians. We’re just a bunch of hard working stiffs trying to make a buck or two, under the worst economy in close to a century. We want a little change in our pockets. and a lot of Change in Washington. Heck we’re not even very good at the White Supremacist stuff.
For all the talk about bigots in the Tea Party, we make a pretty pathetic racist mob. It seems to me that competent racists would be able to reach a racial purity level much closer to 100%, an anti-diversity factor somewhat comparable to the NAACP.
But we’re doing exactly what they expected us to do: stumbling all over, making apologies, and trying to defend ourselves. We look like the person at the party, who accidently makes a borderline remark, then spends the next hour explaining that he really does like black people, and proudly counts several among his friends.
Instead, we all would be much happier if we just ignore the NAACP resolution, declare victory and move on.
Thank you again Mike Godwin.