Godwin’s law was mildly amusing the first time you heard it. It was old and tired the second time.
American attorney Mike Godwin coined this “law” in 1990…
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.”
…or, in other words, if an online discussion goes on long enough someone will compare something to Hitler and/or Nazis. In concept it doesn’t sound all that bad. It does happen. In fact, it *could be* proper and valid… there are indeed examples of people making absolutely ludicrous arguments and introducing hyperbole by introducing Hitler/Nazis, I’ll grant that… but only if used correctly and sparingly. And there’s the rub. It’s too often not used correctly or intelligently. It’s more often overused to the point of brain dead absurdity.
It degenerated almost immediately into an inarticulate tool for people to try and shut down a conversation when they have no legitimate response or point to make. I have seen instances where people have actually declared, “Godwin. You lose!”, when someone made a Hitler/Nazi comparison.
What the hell is that?!? It’s almost a concession. Either you can argue the point, or you cannot. Declaring victory does not make it so. Quite often Hitler/Nazi comparisons ARE valid. Godwin himself wrote…
“…its purpose has always been rhetorical and pedagogical: I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler to think a bit harder about the Holocaust.”
Yet the way it has evolved it could be argued that Godwin’s law is itself a form of a strawman argument, diverting the natural path of the topic to something the person making the accusation thinks they can more easily defeat. As such, I refuse to fall for it. When discussing a topic with me, Godwin’s law is out-of-play.
Argue the point.