November 10, 2009

HONORING HITLER:

The Relevance of Godwin's Law (Nick Cohen, 11/03/09, Standpoint)

Godwin's justly celebrated law states that as an online debate grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Anyone who engages in reductio ad Hitlerum instantly loses the argument because he or she begs questions and makes false comparisons.

Certainly the best thing about Godwin's Law is that it is an unintentional concession to Hitler, treating him and his thought as so unique that they are the only things to which nothing else can ever be compared. And yet, his sort of eugenic beliefs and one party dictatorship are actually common enough. And his murder tally was rather niggardly by comparison to his secular/rationalist peers (Mao, Stalin, etc.). What really scares folks who invoke Godwin's Law tends to be thinking through the opinions they hold.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 10, 2009 6:53 AM
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