Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Republican Party repeals Godwin's Law

Those of you who blog or participate in online discussions are probably familiar with Godwin's Law. For those of you who aren't:
Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1989 which has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin put forth the sarcastic observation that, given enough time, all discussions—regardless of topic or scope—inevitably end up being about Hitler and the Nazis.
The general rule of thumb in online discussions was that the first side to bring up Nazis loses the argument. Not anymore. The Republican Party has effectively repealed Godwin's Law through the actions of the Hitler-obsessed Glenn Beck and, more recently, the disclosure that Republican candidate for Congress (and one of Eric Cantor's Young Guns) Rich Iott likes to dress up as a member of the SS Panzer Division Wiking and recreate World War Two battles from the Nazi side.
Iott, a tea party-backed candidate, spent time fighting another battle before he hit the campaign trail against Kaptur as a member of the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, a group of Ohio World War II reenactors.

According to their website, the Wikings strive to "salute" the "idealists" from occupied northern Europe who saw the Third Reich as "the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life" and signed up to fight for the Wermacht and "gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free."

Green broke the story tonight, showing the photos of Iott in his SS garb on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."[1]
Godwin's Law clearly no longer functions here. How do you not discuss Rich Iott without discussing the fact that his favorite thing to do is to dress up as an officer of the Waffen SS?

Check out their recruitment video:

Here's part of the Wiking Division's history that I bet they don't recreate for the cameras:
Members of the division's bakery column, led by Obersturmf├╝hrer Braunnagel and Untersturmf├╝hrer Kochalty, assisted Einsatzgruppe A in rounding up Ukrainian Jews. Witnesses report that the Jewish victims were forced to run a gauntlet formed by soldiers who would beat them as they passed, and when they reached the end of the gauntlet, Einsatzgruppen officers murdered them and their bodies were pushed into a bomb crater. The German 1st Mountain Division is also suspected of being implicated. Between 50 and 60 Jews were killed in this manner, as a part of the larger Einsatzgruppe operation which resulted in over 700 murders.

In addition historian Eleonore Lappin from the Institute for the History of Jews in Austria has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of the 5 SS Division Wiking in her work The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945.

On March 28, 1945, eighty Jews from evacuation column, though fit for the journey, were shot by three members of the Waffen SS division Wiking and five military policemen. On April 4, twenty members of another column that left Graz tried to escape near Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Soldiers from the 5 SS Division Wiking that were temporarily stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them in a gully, where they were shot. On April 7 and 11, 1945 members of the division executed another eighteen escaped prisoners. 5 SS Division Wiking war crimes have not been confirmed, mostly because they were not proven guilty in the Nuremberg trials.
Today's Republican Party looks suspiciously like last year's . . . oh well, I suppose you can fill in the blank. I wouldn't want to violate Godwin's Law.

But thanks to Rich Iott, a political reporter really isn't doing his or her job unless they ask Republican candidates whether they like to dress up as Nazis in their free time.

1 comment:

JTylerBallance said...

Nobody talks about this nonsense but you.

There is no such "law" as Godwin's Law. It is merely a rhetorical contrivance.

Anyone can reference comparisons to the Third Reich, as often as they wish, and as long as such a comparison is valid, then the point being made is probably valid.

For something to be called a "law" it should be true in all circumstances. This silliness about "godwins" is just rubbish.