In the early years of internet discussion, a wise fellow named Mike Godwin coined “Godwin’s Law” which stated:
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving
Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”
I have seen the inevitability of such hyperbolic comparisons on every kind of discussion forum whether about cars, kittens or politics. This occurs in political discussion outside of the internet as well as we see with recent foolishness from Conservative MP Larry Miller in Owen Sound.
The flippant use of comparisons of contemporary actions or figures to Hitler, Nazi’s, Fascists and the Holocaust is not only offensive, but it desensitizes us all to one of the most horrific periods of human history.
Below I will list pictures to indicate where the use of terms such as Hitler, Nazi, Fascist and Holocaust may be appropriate in discussion. Please review these before considering using any of the aforementioned terms.
Above is a picture of Adolf Hitler. There is no other Adolf Hitler, there has been no other Adolf Hitler and there will not be another Adolf Hitler. There are other dictators and nasty people out there but none of them are Adolf Hitler so don’t compare the two.
Above is a picture of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini was a fascist leading a fascist party. There are currently no fascist parties nor fascist leaders in existence so do not try to compare such to current parties, their leaders or their supporters.
Above we see a picture of a bunch of Nazis. They are the only Nazis in human history. There are no Nazi parties or leaders in existence so don’t bother comparing current leaders, parties and supporters to such.
Yes, there are indeed some who identify as Nazi’s right now. They are neo-Nazis and really are loose collections of idiots that can’t be realistically compared to the true Nazi movement of the early 20th century.
Above is a picture from the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a large scale organized effort to eradicate an entire people based on their religion (as well as gays and Gypsies). That was genocide of which indeed there are unfortunately multiple examples of in human history.
Let’s get something straight however, poultry farms raising chickens for KFC are not committing a “holocaust” and any animal activist continuing to use that comparison should be soundly kicked in the reproductive organs. Ongoing land-claim settlements in Canada do not represent “genocide” of Canadian natives either and I am sick as hell of people using that term. There is not even a sniff of genocide in Canada right now and please tell people who claim such to GFT.
Political discussion can be and often is heated. Hyperbole and cheap shots are often utilized (I use those methods myself) to varying effect. The use of the above comparisons though is simply lazy debate and is offensive.
Save a link to this page and forward it to the next person who uses any of the above terms in discussion. Sadly the chances of your needing to use that link are pretty close to 100% if you participate in political (or many other kinds) debate.
I am a full supporter of free speech. People are certainly free to use the above terms without legal intervention and they should be. We should call them out for the fools they are when they do so though.