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Crying Nazi and Goodwin’s Law

“We already scrub the worst of the images and make sure the viewer is warned that they may be “disturbing.” Of course they’re disturbing.” This is how people come to not know just how bad a Nazi, and Hitler, were.

After WWII the allies intentionally put out images and movies about the concentration camps. So in the beginning every knew how bad it was. That is how Hitler’s name became such a curse to being with. This is also how Stalin isn’t though of that way even though he murdered more of his own people than Hitler did. There were few images coming out of Communism to show the world how horrible it was.

Today, we self-impose not seeing such images. People are fine watching a movie like Saw, or the Purge, or other hyper-violent blood splattered shows but show them an image of emaciated Jews and they will ban you from Facebook. “Being disturbed by them is the whole point of seeing them in the first place, isn’t it? Being disturbed is how we ensure “Never Again.” We’re making sure, through Twitter and Facebook policy, that we can’t remember.

We’re also Turning Hitler into a meme.

Why do so many people jump right into calling someone they don’t agree with Hitler? Trump, for example, gets called “literally Hitler” all the time. It gets tiring telling people that they don’t know anything about Hitler if they think that or at best they don’t know anything about Donald Trump.

Cry Hitler Wolf
Hyperbole expands in societies where articulateness atrophies

When talking about this on the Platypus Facebook page Goodwin’s law was brought up very adeptly. That really got me thinking about the use of Hitler’s name.

If you aren’t familiar with Goodwin’s law it goes like this, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches.” My contention is that the duration of time that it took for someone to make that comparison became exponentially shorter and shorter until now it’s just a meme. Hitler has passed into our language the same way the F-word has.

I think there are two reason for this. The first is pretty simple, People actually are ignorant about the Nazis and Hitler. They just don’t know. The second is that I believe his name has become slang now. It doesn’t mean what we think it should mean. To them it’s just another way of cursing at someone. It’s a step above the standard A-hole or other more colorful aspersions. They’ve been taught to ignore dictators anyway. You can’t love communism or socialism if you have an inkling about what a dictator is.

The Internet will continue to call a homemaker in Des Moines Hitler because she voted for Trump and Trump a Hitler because he wants to manage immigration into our country or cut taxes or because he says something loudly. Hitler could sometimes be loud too…see…the same!

The root of this boils down to an inability to defend your position. It’s a classic attack on character (ad hominem) that people do when they have nothing smart to say. Why are tax cuts wrong? Because Trump is Hitler that’s why!

As George Will said, hyperbole rises as the ability to articulate oneself falls. But you don’t have to be a slave to that. You can make sure that you know what you’re talking about and that when you talk about it you use that knowledge, rather than emotion to articulate it. I can’t tell you how many conversations on the Internet I’ve had that end with people finally just saying, “well, you have fun with that” because they haven’t been articulate their point of view. Part of the reason for that is because I hold people to the meaning of words and part of that is because they just don’t know why they believe what they believe.

If you ponder something you will get to know it but that brings a danger that you will no longer be able to believe in what you once did. I contend that a person who really studies and understands the nature of capitalism, for example, will no longer see socialism as a viable option. Because some have a religious belief in such things, they just believe on faith and that’s good enough for them. Faith is wonderful and everyone must have it in something, but it isn’t the proper foundation for running other people’s lives, just your own. Faith is personal, not universal.

Calling someone Hitler because they don’t share your personal faith isn’t going to bring them closer to it at all. No one is suddenly going to realize, because you called them Hitler, that you’re right, and they are wrong after all. And that’s the key. No one really calls someone Hitler to persuade them.

 

 

Source: Misfit Politics

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