Godwin’s Law, also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies, is defined as follows:
[A] humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The term Godwin’s law can also refer to the tradition that whoever makes such a comparison is said to “lose” the debate.
It is an ad hominem argument and logical fallacy that is known as Reductio ad Hitlerum, or “reduction or argument to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis,” which is sometimes used to play the “Nazi Card,” analogous to the “Race Card.” Basically, it used like this:“Hitler (or the Nazis) supported X, therefore X must be evil/undesirable/bad.” It is also related to the fallacy of Guilt By Association, another tactic commonly used by Beck.
just one way Beck loses his arguments
If you’re familiar with Glenn Beck’s style of “journalism,” you know that he not only uses guilt by association and the negative proof fallacy, but also has exhibited ample use of Godwin’s Law. Here are 14 examples, courtesy Media Matters for America:
- Beck: “This is what Hitler did with the SS.”
- Beck: “I’m not comparing” Obama to Hitler, but asked his audience to “please read Mein Kampf” and learn from Germany’s mistakes.
- Beck cited Hitler to attack Obama, claim “[e]mpathy leads you to very bad decisions.”
- Beck told Newsmax: “I fear a Reichstag moment.”
- Beck links health care reform to Nazis, suggests reform would kill elderly and newborns.
- Beck compared car dealership closures to Nazism, warning “at some point, they’re going to come for you.”
- Beck compared auto bailouts to the actions of German companies “in the early days of Adolf Hitler.”
- Beck compared TARP to “what happened to the lead-up with Hitler.”
- Beck said “the Germans” during Hitler’s rise “were an awful lot like we are now.”
- Beck airs photos of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, asks, “Is this where we’re headed?”
- Beck repeatedly compared Gore to a Nazi propagandist.
- Beck has also attacked progressive organizations as “brownshirts.”
- Beck compared Fox News to Jews during Holocaust, other news organizations to silent bystanders.
- Beck compares media portrayal of “tea partygoers” to Nazi portrayal of “complainers.”
There are plenty of other examples of Beck linking current activities to Nazis shown on the Media Matters website. Following is a chart showing the number of times Beck has brought up various subjects.
The United States is under threat from extremely reactionary and violent Islamic terrorists who get mentioned by Glenn Beck less than 3% of the time than the now defunct ACORN, an American, urban, anti-poverty group. Beck doesn't just lose arguments (according to Godwin's Law), he has severely misplaced priorities.
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