By Take THAT, Godwin!
We have all been there. Picture the following: You are having a difference of opinion with someone. Someone you deem worthy enough at that moment to actually engage regarding that subject. The discussion becomes heated and in a moment of desperation, or in an attempt to be funny, you utter the words “Yeah, well, Hitler…”
The Panic Button
Adolf Hitler represents the worst of what mankind can amount to. Everybody knows him as the ultimate personification of that universal blackness: “evil”. Funnily enough it differs from person to person what this means. If half of all accusations were even remotely true, the man would be a Leftist Right-wing, Muslim atheistic Reptilian Alien with a surprisingly mundane warm streak. The invocation of Hitler has very little to do with an actual argument. It is an appeal to emotions; a fallacy directly opposite to the reason we all stand for.
In the early days, when Take That Darwin was the first and only #TTCOT-account, I was surprised at the amount of stoopid the world could produce. Being a Christian in rehab, I started following all of the (now famous) retweets of Christians to be reminded of some of the darker sides of my former faith, but what I was offered was usually the more dimwitted side. However, after while I noticed that both sides of the argument were very quick to prove Godwin’s Law right.
Godwin’s law states – and I quote: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1” (Source: Wikipedia). Effectively, this means that the longer a discussion takes, the more likely it is that at least one of both parties in a discussion will use the Hitler-argument to compare the other side or their arguments to the horrors of Nazism.
It struck me that both sides in the religious debate did just that. But why both sides? Surely he can’t have been both religious and non-religious? Perhaps this had nothing to do with it? A bit of research (more Twitter) showed me that people nearly always ‘pulled a Godwin’ to affect the other emotionally. Emotional responds come after the reasonable arguments have been exhausted or are considered not worthy for use. And where reason ends, people become unreasonable. And the I saw the light! Okay, so it was my PC screen, but let’s not be pedantic, here. Here was my opportunity to do the following:
- Play my part in the Take That family.
- Provide the world with the revolutionary new insight that invoking Hitler or Nazism does not add to the discussion
- Realise that the above statement was very much redundant
- Provide a choice selection of tweets wherein people prove their lack of depth
- Destroy a desk or two by causing repetitive impacts between it and a forehead
- Respond with humour to some of the ‘better’ ones to underline the seriousness of the issue.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The issue is serious. Throughout history there have been many examples where people abandoned reason to pursue an emotional or spiritual cause. We need only to look a the horrors of the Second World War to see what happens when people stop being reasonable. But the way to tackle this issue is with aforementioned reason. And let’s be reasonable: what better way is there to make a point than to laugh and ridicule a statement or idea that is indeed laughable and ridiculous?