Attention Los Angeles City Council:
“Once such a comparison [to Hitler or Nazis] is made, the discussion is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically ‘lost’ whatever debate was in progress.” — Godwin’s Law, Corollary #1
I always bristle at hearing anyone, especially public officials, throwing in Hitler and the Nazis to add weight to their arguments. After hearing audio clips from the L.A. City Council vote to for their partial, somewhat, if-it’s-not-too-inconvenient boycott of Arizona, I recalled a “law” that was often invoked during the early days of the Internet. The law is called “Godwin’s Law” named for Mike Godwin, an Internet guru back in 1990.
The original law, (or “universal truth”), says:
“As a [online] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Probability is usually expressed in “likelihood of something to occur on a scale from 0.0 to 1.0”. So, a probability of 0 is very unlikely and a probability approaching 1 (such as .9999999) is very likely.
We already know this is the case with the LA City Council, but it could have been predicted with Godwin’s Law. However, the MOST INTERESTING aspect of this law is one of the “corollaries” which are expansions, amendments or modifications of the original law (or theorem, or principle, etc.)
Godwin’s Law, Corollary #1:
“Once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically ‘lost’ whatever debate was in progress.”
Basically, that means the idiot who invokes Hitler or Nazis causes all other parties to the discussion to vacate the discussion and the invoker loses the argument.
There are a few other laws which I found are applicable to many of the people and topics discussed on talk radio (and sometimes in other media). I will be posting a complete list of these laws with source information, but one can easily find most or all of them all over the Internet. (Except, Wikipedia… real researchers do not use Wikipedia as a resource; it’s just a bunch of people — like me — writing whatever we want and not subject to professional or expert “vetting”.)
I’ll also post a second list which has a series of “rules” for using the Internet, many of which also apply to the subjects of talk shows (and to some of the callers, too). Some of these Internet Rules directly mention the Internet Laws; it’s all very similar to local bylaws deferring to state laws and state laws referencing federal laws.
This is not to be confused with the despicable laws they used in Nazi Germ…. aaaaarrrrrrggggggg!