I don’t know who this Godwin guy is, but I’d like to bludgeon him with a bag of history books until he apologizes to the entire internet. The ubiquitous Godwin’s Law has become the crucifix of online Leftists. If you dare think to draw an applicable historical analogy between something and any part of the Third Reich, they clutch their sacred icon and wave it in your face. Your arguments are now invalid, ipso facto. The appropriateness of such a metaphor is never examined, the very fact of using it invalidates every point and even negates you as a thinking person.
Why is this one era of human history verboten? Why is there no “law” to denounce pundits who compare the decadence of pop culture with the decline of Rome? Because the Left is terrified of its own history. They excuse, rationalize, or outright ignore the horrors of Leftist ideology put into practice. Castro was forced into Communism by the US, and his violence was a reaction to US backed opposition. Stalin started out fine, but was driven to paranoia in protecting mother Russia thanks to the horrible cost of The Great Patriotic War wrought by the Nazis; who were far-Right, everyone knows. Mao brought an ancient empire into the modern world and threw of the tyranny of oppressive land owners; and if there were some hiccups along the way it was the fault of the West for carving up and embarrassing China. But you cannot excuse Nazism. You cannot rationalize the Third Reich. You cannot ignore Hitler.
Everyone has seen the images of WWII; the shattered and hollow cities of Europe, the piles of bodies stacked like cordwood. Yet how many have seen the piled skulls of Camodia’s killing fields? How many know of the millions purposefully starved to death in the Ukraine? Who has read of the madness and murder of the Cultural Revolution? Do you know of the pure sadism of Che? Its not likely you’ve seen pictures of the gulags or read Solzhenitsyn unless you went out of your way to do so. But everyone knows what Nazi means. It should be a rhetorical slap in the face. It should bring anyone up short to think they are doing or advocating something which bears the slightest similarity. And we can’t have that.
Everyone knows the end of the Nazi story, yet not many know the rise to power; and therein lies the reason for the willful ignorance of so many. The rise of Hitler mimics the rise of so many other cult of personality mob movements throughout history and typical of the Left. Moreover, the party platform of the National SOCIALIST German Worker’s Party was not too dissimilar to those of the promises of Leftist regimes around the world in their rise to power. And it’s hard to argue with, “What you’re advocating is very similar to what allowed for the rise of the Nazi Germany,” so instead of even trying, the Left attacks the messenger as it’s wont to do. HA! You can’t bring up the Nazis you buffoon. EVERYONE knows that. EVERYONE knows you’ve just invalidated all your arguments and yourself as a human being. And it’s not really know. Go back and watch old episodes of Firing Line and see Leftists guffaw at Buckley’s insightful citation of the recently defeated socialist regime. Not argue his point and show where he’s wrong, simply dismiss the great debater.
Now, to be painfully fair, since I first but those thoughts together, this primary election cycle has shown the Right far from immune to the same nonsense. Trump supporters commit violence against protestors, his surrogates threaten delegates if their leader is not ensconced, and members of the Right scoff at those who rightly point out the parallels between the Nazi minority’s violent usurpation of power. More than ever, now would be a good time for open, honest debate and assessment of ourselves, our nation, and our possible pitfalls.
As an added update, just before I was about to publish this piece, I discovered Godwin is actually a real person! And on Twitter, no less. And so now I must apologize for some of what I said. For he has written a piece explaining the popular use of his “Law” is never what he intended:
“But the fact is, I designed Godwin’s Law not to be predictive, but to be “memetic” — not to show that debates would invariably become overheated but to spur debaters to invoke history mindfully, with deeper analysis rather than with glib allusion, because that’s the way for a speaker or writer to show that he or she is not taking the easy rhetorical path.”[emphasis added]
So then, it would seem Mr Godwin isn’t the one in need of bludgeoning with a sack full of history books until he apologizes, but rather all the shallow thinkers of the internet. Well then, this could take awhile. Better get started.