Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s rule of Hitler analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that:

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

So basically, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds, the point at which effectively the discussion or thread often ends. Indeed, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that, when a Hitler comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever made the comparison loses whatever debate is in progress.

Would that there could be such a rule in discussions on the Boer War, but with ‘Concentration Camps’ substituted for ‘Hitler’.

As Godwin’s Law states, if a discussion is actually about Hitler, or the leadership of Nazi Germany, then, of course, it doesn’t violate the law for him to be mentioned. Similarly, in a Boer War context, if a given discussion is actually about the concentration camps or, for example, the Scorched Earth policy in general, then it is obviously fair enough that they should be talked about in great depth and detail.

But there is a bewildering tendency to bring them in to every single discussion on the Boer War – someone might ask, for example, ‘who was the British commander at Modder River?’, or ‘What was the calibre of a 15-pdr Armstrong?’ and you can bet your bottom dollar that, within a few responses, some clown will start pretending his granny was murdered ‘in the camps’.

Indeed, I never fail to be entertained by those who, the moment they feel they are losing an argument on any aspect of the Boer War, suddenly start frantically screaming: “Concentration camps! Concentration camps! Concentration camps!”

When you reach that point in any such discussion, you can be absolutely sure the other person is:
a) an idiot
b) unable to form any further coherent argument worth listening to


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