Syllabification: God·win’s Law
• humorous the theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic:
(from the Oxford English Dictionary)
As per the Wikipedia article:
“There are many corollaries to Godwin’s law, some considered more canonical (by being adopted by Godwin himself)than others.For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress”
I’d like to propose a couple more corollaries that I think fit the spirit of the originals.
1. Invoking “9/11” as a justification for any action has the same effect as invoking “Hitler” or “Nazis:” The thread is over and the person who invoked “9/11” has automatically lost the debate. See, of example, President Obama’s speech on the NSA. The President cites 9/11 as a justification for secret, indiscriminate, probably illegal programs that gather data on all Americans. Because he cited 9/11, his argument fails and the discussion is over.
2. Stating that your opponents hate “X” where “X” is a thing or concept that no one could possibly hate renders your argument invalid. This is a special case of the classic straw-man argument, but I think it deserves a slot as a corollary to Godwin’s Law because it’s a last-gasp-I’m-completely-out-of-ideas attempt to rescue a failed assertion. Here’s a great example from Rush Limbaugh:
“The Democrat Party here doesn’t do that. They don’t shoot people on sight and there are not political prisons, but the same attitude — the same fear of freedom — exists.
Liberty is something they’ve gotta tamp down.
They can’t co-exist with free people. It can’t happen.
There can’t be liberalism in that way.”
There are days I swear I wonder how he summons the brain power to continue breathing, but I guess there’s something in that skull that loves the sound of it’s own voice so much that it operates at a sub-conscious level. If you want to read the whole piece, it’s really special. Obama’s speech was full of untruths, but Limbaugh? He’s not just dishonest; he’s literally nonsensical.
Maybe there ought to be a corollary that declares any description of Limbaugh as “dishonest” or “nonsensical” utterly redundant, eh?