June 24, 2018

YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CALL IT THAT UNTIL WE'RE PRYING THE GOLD FILLINGS FROM THEIR TEETH...:

Do we need to update Godwin's Law about the probability of comparison to Nazis? (MIKE GODWIN, JUN 24, 2018, LA Times)

[L]et me start another conversation here. Take the argument that our treatment of those seeking asylum at our border, including children, is not as monstrous as institutionalized genocide. That may be true, but it's not what you'd call a compelling defense. Similarly, saying (disingenuously) that the administration is just doing what immigration law demands sounds suspiciously like "we were just following orders." That argument isn't a good look on anyone.

The seeds of future horrors are sometimes visible in the first steps a government takes toward institutionalizing cruelty. In his 1957 book "Language of the Third Reich," Victor Klemperer recounted how, at the beginning of the Nazi regime, he "was still so used to living in a state governed by the rule of law" that he couldn't imagine the horrors yet to come. "Regardless of how much worse it was going to get," he added, "everything which was later to emerge in terms of National Socialist attitudes, actions and language was already apparent in embryonic form in these first months."

So I don't think GL needs to be updated or amended. It still serves us as a tool to recognize specious comparisons to Nazism -- but also, by contrast, to recognize comparisons that aren't. And sometimes the comparisons can spot the earliest symptoms of horrific "attitudes, actions and language" well before our society falls prey to the full-blown disease.

Posted by at June 24, 2018 3:01 PM

  

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