Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Corollary to Godwin's Law

For any of you that are political message board junkies like me, you've probably heard of Godwin's Law, which states that:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

This has become such a fact of life on the Internet that an appeal to Nazism (also known as reducto ad Hitlerium) has become the rhetorical equivalent of waving a white flag.

But there is some push-back, because sometimes a comparison to the Nazis is apt and sometimes it's not just a "Bush=Hitler!" statement but a parallel to economic conditions, etc. I am observing behavior online among some internet veterans that leads me to believe that Godwin's should be expanded thusly:

Duvall's Corollary:

The longer a political thread goes on without reference to Hitler or the Nazis, the probability of the mention of Stalin approaches 1.

I think this about covers it. People too smart to mention Hitler and subject themselves to ridicule now find themselves Hitler's stunt-dummy Stalin to substitute for the horrific excesses of the Nazis -- which, as bad as they were, were actually a mediocre effort compared to Stalin's Great Terror, his mass purges and planned starvation of Ukraine. Hitler killed millions, Stalin killed tens of millions AND outlasted Hitler.

So there you have it. I have submitted my entry to Wikipedia, we'll see what happens.

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