Politics

Chap behind Godwin’s law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: ‘By all means, compare them to Nazis’

Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin’s law, has rescinded his own rule for those outraged by vile fascists marching the streets of Virginia, USA, at the weekend.

In other words, it’s OK to call these un-American white supremacists exactly what they are: By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you, Godwin said on Sunday evening.

Godwin’s law states that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. The unofficial extension of this is that the first person to bring up Hitler automatically loses the argument.

Godwin created the aphorism in the early 1990s, when he was the first in-house lawyer for the EFF. It was created partly as a humorous aside on bulletin board behaviour and partly as an exercise in mimetics and to encourage people to read more history. More than 20 years later it’s still cited online.

In the wake of white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, which left one protestor dead and 30 injured, Godwin has, at least in this case, suspended his own law – or, rather, granted permission to break it. This comes after a plea from a fan online for him to respond to the scenes of fascists in America’s streets — via The Register (UK)

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