Monday, July 9, 2018

Goodwin's Law Officially Revoked: By Goodwin

I know, it's been awhile.  The last SPARTA meeting is like the last day of school; you need to run away for little bit.

If you read political blogs, you're familiar with Goodwin's Law.  In it's simplest form, it states that you can't throw the word "Nazi" around during an argument.  Well, it seems Goodwin has revised that a bit.

American attorney and author Mike Godwin created an online meme-related rhetorical law, appropriately titled “Godwin’s Law.”

 Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies)[1][2] is an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1";[2][3] that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds. Promulgated by the American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990,[2] Godwin's law originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions.[4] It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms, and comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles, and other rhetoric[5][6] where reductio ad Hitlerum occurs.

 As Godwin explained in an interview with Dan Amira of New York Magazine back in 2013, “It’s the worst thing anybody can think of, so if you have some kind of rhetorical escalation with someone you disagree with, it’s sort of easy to go there if you’re not very reflective about what you’re saying.” Of course, right wingers and those “debate champion” libertarian friends of yours have used this rhetorical law as a cudgel to yell about hyperbole being used in the arguments over Trump and Republican policies.

But even according to Mike Godwin himself, the concept the “Godwin’s law” was not to say comparing things to Hitler or Nazis made those claims false; his hope for the “law” was to remind people to consider deeply the comparisons they were making in the heat of an argument battle.

American history has its own flirtations with fascism and racism and militarism, and people have believed in any and all of these things, so with certain individuals it has to come up from time to time. So it’s not the case that the comparison is never valid. It’s just that, when you make the comparison, think through what you’re saying, because there’s a lot of baggage there, and if you’re going to invoke a historical period with that much baggage you better be ready to carry it.

Here is the tweet Mike Godwin has pinned to the top of his account.

By all means, compare these s******** to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.
5:03 PM - 13 Aug 2017

The information highway is in agreement as to the heinous nature of our current state of the union. We are separating families and putting them in cages. 

Daily Kos 6/20/2018

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