THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG, writes Damian sardonically as E-nough illustrates a post with a poster of Mitt-Romney-as-Adolf-Hitler that's popped up in California (merci à Carine).
This is as good an opportunity as any to bring up Godwin's Law: I cannot be sure of Mike Godwin's original intentions, but certainly, in the way that Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies is invoked and used, it is a terrible thing that makes no sense and that in no way serves intelligent discourse — why in the course of a (reasonably intelligent) conversation should one not be "allowed" to mention Adolf Hitler — or Stalin — or Che Guevara — or Abraham Lincoln — or Dan Quayle — or Mickey Mouse?! (It makes no sense, that is, except to shut up the other person and make oneself look superior.)
You're having an interesting argument, a good back'n'forth, and you are hearing all the arguments in favor of peace, of non-intervention; at one point you segue into the dangers of a peace candidate becoming, willingly or otherwise, another Chamberlain at Munich, and getting ready to cite arguments brought up at the time (1938), some of them extremely similar as those being brought up now, and the (sneering) leftist you are talking with lets out a shout: Time Out! Ha Ha! Godwin's rule! Conversation over! You nixed it!
Is this reasonable? Does it make sense?
(Is this not, rather, immature?)
Why should references to Nazis not be used?
Worse: it means that, instead of giving free rein to the conversation, and searching for new ideas and novel solutions (on both sides), at least one of the conversationalists is constantly monitoring the conversation, both the other person's (the other persons') and his own, for examples of Godwin's law (in addition to monitoring it for politically incorrect items like racism, sexism, phobias, gay jokes, and "hatred", generally, along with other things "beyond which we have moved" and that are "no longer acceptable").
Indeed, what you get is one party who is — eagerly — looking for traces (conscious or otherwise) of racism, sexism, Godwin's Law, and what have you in the other party's words, while the other party is — anxiously — worrying about traces of the same in his own words. In either case, a discussion that is hardly focused and hardly free and hardly honest.
You can just feel the first party's eagerness when suddenly you are interrupted and the pressure within the leftist is let out: "Hah! GOTCHA! You brought up the Nazis! You made a joke about women! You made a comment that proves you're a racist! Conversation over!"
Wonder why there is no more conversation in the Western world anymore? Really?! Godwin's Law is one additional part, small or large, in the manner in which free speech is being dismantled in the West.
There is a perfectly logical reason that Munich is brought up so often; it is simply the best known example, and by far, of avowed peace-lovers not getting the result they expected. (Au contraire!) Instead, if you wish, we could mention, say, the example of… well, no — there you go — off the top of my head, I cannot think of another example, certainly not one that is so good or so clear-cut or so famous to all.
In any case, Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies only applies to the right!
As is quite clear, leftists are giving free rein in evoking the Third Reich and the Führer, and that, not in regards to reasonable arguments but regarding name-calling and insults: for the left (American or international), Reductio ad Hitlerum is par for the course — describing conservatives (or Americans generally) as fascists and (neo-)Nazis, invoking Greed-Über-Alles and the specter of genocide, and painting square mustaches on the photos of George W Bush, Mitt Romney, etc…
However benevolent its original intention may have been, Godwin's Law as it is used turns out to be nothing but an umpteenth example of leftists' double standards…
Update: Danke schön to Instapundit for the Instalanche.
By the way, we would like to point out that No Pasarán contributed a Brett Kimberlin day post that Michelle Malkin does not seem to have noticed; if anyone can bring our entry to her attention, that would be much appreciated… And please notice that the post in question quotes Jonah Goldberg as saying: "That is how the liberal Gleichschaltung works; contrary voices are [among many other things] mocked"; with that in mind, please turn to update 2…
Update 2: Mike Godwin reacts — saying that "The notion that Godwin's Law, as poorly comprehended by bloggers, inhibits their free speech is laughable." In other words, they are deserving of mockery. That may be the case, but forgive me if I am wont to be skeptical. First of all, the point is not whether I understand, whether bloggers understand, whether conservatives understand Godwin's Law, it is how it is understood, or rather how it is used (or misused?), in the current culture.
Second, there are few arguments in his tweet (as if you hadn't noticed) and it seems like Godwin thinks it is beneath him to provide any. (Quick question: who does that remind you of?) I don't know if Mike Godwin is a leftist (or a leftist-leaning libertarian), but among people and ideas and other things, we are told, that are, or that have been, "laughable" in recent times (and that therefore deserve mockery), so many turn out to be conservative. Among them are:
• the "nutty" candidates for the Republican primary
• Sarah Palin
• George W Bush
• Ronald Reagan
• Lowering taxes
• Spending less money
• Resisting Obama's statist agenda
• Overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the Middle East's Adolf Hit— oops, sorry!
• the notion that you can bring up Munich and the Nazi era in a reasonably intelligent conversation
• (you get the idea…)
And so, it turns out, "Laughable" is equivalent to "sexist", to "racist", to "ridiculous" (such as bringing up the Nazis), to "outrageous". So beyond the pale that no further debate is necessary. And no need to present, and to defend (how convenient), well-constructed arguments.
If you will allow me to go a bit further on this topic: I am doing research for a graphic novel biography of Abraham Lincoln with Dan Greenberg. One of the things many people know was that in his early years Honest Abe was part of a debating club. In politics, Lincoln the Whig would debate (among others) Stephen Douglas the Democrat. What fewer people know is that when the debate was over, it turned out that… the debate was… not over; at that point the debate would start again, but with the debaters "switching sides" and this time having to argue for their opponent's policies — i.e., with Lincoln arguing for the Democrats and with Douglas arguing for the Whigs. (No "Ha ha conversation over.")
You have to wonder to what extent something similar could happen in today's day and age, with a leftist trying, just for the heck of it, to defend, rationally, the viewpoints of a Dubya or trying to see a good, objective side in the positions of a Sarah Palin.