Note: I have provided no links in this thread. That is because what I am railing against happens every day on this board and I don’t want to pick on individuals.
From a psychological point of view, there are certain folks on this board (and they know who they are) who are both irritating and fascinating in equal measure. See, most people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder execute pointless rituals like counting cracks in the sidewalk. The folks I’m pitting today exhibit a more benign, but far more aggravating symptom:
ENDLESS FUCKING INVOCATIONS OF GODWINS FUCKING LAW EVERY TIME THE NAZIS ARE EVEN MENTIONED IN ANY FUCKING CONTEXT WHATSOEVER!!!
Like Darwin Awards winners whose supreme incompetence is responsible for warnings like “DANGER: Does not enable user to fly” on Superman capes, these poor OCD sufferers need some simple guidelines to aid them in the proper application of Godwin’s law.
First of all, the text of the law itself:
That’s it. No more. No less. That the law is so brief and uncomplicated may shock these folks, so let’s give them a moment to assimilate it
<cue jeopardy music>
Okay? We ready to continue? Good. First rule.
[li]Invocations of Godwin’s Law degenerate a thread almost as much, if not just as much as any Nazi comparison. They also make you look like a complete tool.[/li][/ul]
This is because Godwin’s Law has been around for about fifteen years and yet hardly a day goes by without some AOL using puss monkey jumping into a web forum feet first and shrieking “Godwin’s Law! Godwin’s Law!” at the most tangential reference to the dominant political party of Germany circa 1933 because he thinks it’s clever.
It ain’t. To quote a phrase that has most definitely “Jumped the shark”, Godwin’s Law has well and truly jumped the shark. In fact, Godwin’s Law “jumped the shark” so long ago that its corpse is currently turning to mulch on the ocean floor while pilot fish swim through its fundamental orifices. It’s clichéd. It’s trite and it’s about as original as a dollar bill depicting George Washington smoking a blunt. Telling someone they’ve invoked Godwin’s law only makes you look stupid and annoys the piss out of other forum users. That is all it does.
Rule two. This rule is pivotal, and shocking. I hope you’re sitting. Are you sitting? Good.
[li]Sometimes, believe it or not, Nazi comparisons are entirely valid.[/li][/ul]
I know. It blows your fucking mind, doesn’t it? How can any comparison to the Nazi’s, one of the nastiest bunches of evildoers to ever find themselves in power, ever be in the least bit valid?
Well, they can. Fascism is a mental state. It is a means of behavior which equates the power to do something with the right to do it. It is a mindset that subjugates the rights of the individual to that of the state. Nazism is a strain of fascism. When, to pluck one of many examples out of the air, a certain administration cages people in Cuba for two years without trial, their fascist mindset is betrayed. Making comparisons between them and the Nazi’s is a potent, attention grabbing rhetorical tool. Only those poor unfortunates with the reading comprehension skills of a lab rat that’s spent its formative years being tested for the effects of crystal meth on cognitive ability would interpret such a comparison as one between the aforementioned deeds of the nameless administration and the Nazi’s worst deeds. The rest of us would see a comparison between said administration and the early stages of the Nazi’s imposition of totalitarianism.
Nazi comparisons are also valid when one is debating an actual, self confessed Nazi, as has happened several times on this board in GD. Accusing those who make comparisons under these circumstances of invoking Godwin’s Law will result in nothing more that howls of derision from everyone, especially the Nazi who would be elated at finding someone with less functional ganglia than him.
When you accuse the maker of the original comparison of invoking Godwin’s Law in such a scenario you engender such ferocious eye rolling in the more sophisticated members of the peanut gallery that they risk brain hemorrhage. I’m serious. Stupid, unwarranted invocations of Godwin’s law as happen time and time again on this very message board dozens of times a day, can kill people.
Rule number 3
The final rule, for now. [ul]
[li]Even if you accurately spot an invocations of Godwin’s Law, shrieking “Godwin’s Law! Godwin’s Law” doesn’t mean you win the debate.[/li][/ul]
If you reread the original wording of Godwin’s Law you’ll see that it makes no mention of the invoker losing the debate. It just says that as a Usenet discussion grows longer the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Invocations of Godwin’s Law as an automatic “you lose” gambit are very much frowned upon.
If an evolutionary biologist calls a Young Earth Creationist a Nazi during the course of a creation debate, the YEC fundie fruit-and-nutcase doesn’t automatically win the debate by default by pointing to the invocation of Godwin’s Law. All he does is point out a netiquette faux pas on the part of the biologist and make himself look like a trite, unoriginal nitwit who would struggle to beat a trained chicken at tic-tac-toe.
Godwin’s Law invokers, I do not fault you for your unfortunate compulsive quirk. I do not fault you either for failing to recognise how unbelievably stupid you make yourselves look with your repeated invocations. I do, however, fault you for wearing your ignorance like a badge of honor and waggling it about like some deviant at a Church coffee morning wearing nothing more than an open trench coat and waving a 14 inch prosthetic schlong.
Cut it out.