The Eclectic Quill

August 24, 2009

Godwin’s Law Hits Mainstream

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 4:42 pm

There was a time when the worst political rhetoric was reserved for the internet forums. There is a segment of society—those who have the lowest acumen for political discourse, and the most appetite for it, who will troll every political sight and offer such dignified debate as "Commie." That’s OK though, because you know what they are, nothing more than ignorant wannabes who have all  the capacity to learn of an over-oxygenated gerbil. They’ll believe anything ugly they want to and spew it back with all the force of knowledge they can muster, yet without the slightest realization that they are ignorant. As long as they stay where they are it’s easy enough to just click "ignore" and simply avoid their spewing rants. There was a tendency though to remain civil in person. Yet, when it started becoming apparent that Obama might win the election those rules went out the window and the hate which gradually became "acceptable" in public, is now shamelessly exhibited publicly, with utter disdain for anything like knowledge, sense or good taste.

I help out a Christian group on a college Campus and as I was walking by one young man who offered me a nefarious smirk and a tract, asking me, "Did you get your picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache." I responded by telling him he was sick and just continued walking. Remember Godwin’s Law? That rule which says that the first person to start bringing up comparisons to Hitler or NAZIs loses the debate? Yeah, I think we know who just lost. And what it is that have them so riled up? It’s Obama’s "socialist" health care policy. So I’m walking and I’m thinking about this and I ponder to myself "Is it worth it? Should I go back and explain to him that Hitler was actually a fascist which is the exact opposite of a socialist? Should I go back there and explain to him that the very fact he’s handing out pictures of a black man with a Hitler mustache on it belies a complete and total ignorance that is almost beyond telling? Should I tell him that ideologically, while Bush wasn’t actually a fascist, he was a heck of a lot closer to it that Obama? Should I explain to him that the cornerstone of fascist economic policy is that corporations essentially write policy, which is precisely the position he is supporting by opposing the public option? Should I tell him that it is the fascist ideology which determines that the people are not able to make moral decisions for themselves, so they need the government to make it for them?"

And as I consider these things it occurs to me, Godwin’s law has hit the mainstream. People are taking off their public masks and shamelessly accusing whomever of whatever simply because they want to. These are the worse kind of braying sheep. They will follow their "shepherd" wherever he goes. They will repeat whatever he says. They will mindlessly echo everything, and the only place they will go to "learn" is him. They will look you straight in the eye and give you patently false information as though it is gospel, and no amount of logic or fact will ever convince them they are wrong. I recently had a friend tell me with all the certainty of gravity that you can get a Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth" if you were born in a foreign country. He’d read that dagummit, and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t true, that the Hawaii’s own official government website says otherwise. If something doesn’t fit their view, they skew it. If something doesn’t match their "knowledge" then YOUR facts are wrong, not theirs—source be dammed. The only reliable sources to them are Newsmax, Fox and Rush.

So as I’m mulling over this for a couple of hours, mourning the death of any possibility of civil political discourse in our country ever again because the hate mongers are just going to yell anything civil down, it occurred to me, we eventually figured out a way to get around the Godwinnian offenders on the internet. Internet forums gradually gave way to blogging, and blogging became a great source of information for the reasonably minded. The fair-minded were able to look at the "liberal" view and compare it to the "conservative" view and many begin to realize that it was they, not we who were the extremists. Perhaps there’s hope that this too can have a similar result. As the kooks and screamers and blamers screed their hate in public the fair minded might take a look at how offensive that is and say, now what’s the other point of view? Sure they may score a few points at first by just offending away conversation, but usually the purely offensive rhetoric has a way of snapping back to the offender. The neutral person wants to disagree with the offensive just because it’s offensive. Perhaps the offended could leave the ranks of the disinterested and disengaged and ask those with a reasonable voice what is going on. After all, in the end, remember the first one to cry "Hitler" loses the debate.

1 Comment »

  1. did you see Colbert do a bit on the moustache deal?

    pretty funny

    Comment by CCC — August 28, 2009 @ 11:50 am | Reply

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