I believe some people need reminding of Godwin’s law. From the early 1990s up until Trump’s election, there’s been the popular meme and widely accepted notion that “whoever makes a comparison to Hitler during debate, instantly loses the debate.” Today, Hitler comparisons are the debate. At the time, attorney and author Mike Godwin claimed people were overusing references to Nazis in order to discredit their opponents’ arguments which ultimately trivialized the Holocaust. Today, comparisons to the Holocaust are being made by almost every mainstream media outlet, talkshow host and Democrat.
MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough was the latest to make the comparison, claiming there’s a resemblance between illegal immigrants (parents or not) being held to the same policy as U.S. citizens of being temporarily separated from those who are under 18 years old during criminal processing, and genocidal ethnic cleansing. He even compared border officers escorting people to showers to Nazi officers marching Jews into gas chambers.
Former CIA chief Michael Hayden posted photos of the Auschwitz death camp, likening it to the temporary housings by the border, which even the most anti-Trump news network found kids with full bellies, watching soccer, playing video games on big flat-screen TVs, sleeping in comfy beds and participating in tai chi classes, rather than ya know, being caged, gassed or worked to death.
According to Godwin, reference to Nazis is used as a conversation stopper, a propagated idea injected into public discourse in order to transform thought patterns in conversation. Godwin proposed his law in 1994 as a counter to this manipulation of discourse to get people to stop overusing references to Hitler and Nazis and start talking about the real issues. Godwin explained later in 2013 during a New York Magazine interview that the whole purpose of his “law” was to prevent lazy thinking.
“The purpose of it was to label and to implicitly ridicule, in a reductive way, people who fell into these lazy, glib comparisons. It’s a way of tagging and thinking about stuff and recognizing a phenomenon that signifies, in most cases, some lazy thinking. 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.”
Despite him today joining and towing the only socially acceptable party line after what happened in Charlottesville in order for his work to avoid being called alt-right or a Nazi himself, the lesson behind his original statement stands. The biggest problem with calling everyone you disagree with a Nazi is the intention there to regulate speech. It instantly cuts off our capacity to talk to one another and think freely. Today we’re being forced to choose whether we “sympathize” with Nazis or everyone we don’t like are Nazis, and our beliefs, ideas and the way we think must reflect this fabricated and completely unnecessary social divide.
Let’s stop suppressing opposing thought and speech with dumb comparisons to Nazis and Hitler. The same goes for “bigot” and “racist.” Sometimes those terms will fit, but most of the time they’re used by politically motivated enforcers in order to shut down thought and promote a one-size-fits-all counter against ideas every time they have no better argument. We should be aiming to build a culture of free thinkers with a strong grip on reality, who don’t have to trivialize the most catastrophic event in world history to discredit opposing opinion, where facts and thought-out ideas win debates, not calling each other names.
A PSA for the Trolls who also conveniently forget that Hitler was a Rothschild 🤦…
PS: Godwin’s Law still applies regardless of what Godwin himself said under duress from the ADL. You’ve lost because you’ve no argument so GTFO🖕.