Godwin's Law Suspended

Giganews Newsgroups
Subject: Godwin's Law Suspended
Posted by:  Steve Hayes (hayess…@telkomsa.net)
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2017

Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville
fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

We did Nazi that coming

By Iain Thomson in San Francisco 14 Aug 2017 at 20:35

Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin's law, has rescinded his own rule for
those outraged by vile fascists marching the streets of Virginia, USA,
at the weekend.

In other words, it's OK to call these un-American white supremacists
exactly what they are: "By all means, compare these shitheads to
Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you," Godwin said on Sunday evening.

Godwin's law states that "as an online discussion grows longer, the
probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."
The unofficial extension of this is that the first person to bring up
Hitler automatically loses the argument.

Godwin created the aphorism in the early 1990s, when he was the first
in-house lawyer for the EFF. It was created partly as a humorous aside
on bulletin board behavior and partly as an exercise in mimetics and
to encourage people to read more history. More than 20 years later
it's still cited online.

In the wake of white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., over
the weekend, which left one protestor dead and 30 injured, Godwin has,
at least in this case, suspended his own law – or, rather, granted
permission to break it. This comes after a plea from a fan online for
him to respond to the scenes of fascists in America's streets.

"Your adage is invoked so very often to shut down discussions about
politics and social issues as soon as any comparisons to Nazism and
1930s Germany are made, but now that videos have surfaced showing the
Nazi flag being waved in the Charlottesville parade," one netizen
wrote on Godwin's Facebook page.

"Sir, would you please make a public statement? I've noted before that
sometimes sheer irony can pierce to the heart of an argument, to
deflate the opposing side."

The attorney's response was quick and to the point. When talking about
white supremacists and their supporters, the four-letter N word is
back in play.

    By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again.
I'm with you.
    — Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) August 14, 2017

Certainly anyone watching the weekend's rallies in Charlottesville
would have difficulty not describing the protestors as Nazis – given
the swastikas and Heil Hitler salutes on display. While the marchers
themselves prefer terms like alt-right or true patriots, it's clear
the rest of the country and world would rather call a spade a spade
when they see neo-Nazis march. ®

PS: This anti-fascist movie, made by the US military in the late
1940s, could not be more timely.


Steve Hayes