Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sometimes a great idea...

Jay Tea at Wizbang, sets out a great idea in the midst of a fine post on what seems to be the ever increasing ratcheting up of invective in our political speech- the "heckler's veto" (shouting down a speaker with who you disagree) modified for print or blogs:
So they went looking for a way to adapt the heckler's veto to work, and they seem to have found one. If you can't increase the volume of your argument, increase the intensity. Ratchet up the rhetoric. Push everything into the extreme, and hope that the sound and fury of your words will overshadow the lack of substance.

With that tactic, everything becomes easier. Bush isn't a bad president, he isn't woefully wrong, he isn't misguided, he isn't leading us into disaster. He's Hitler, he's Satan, he's evil incarnate. Karl Rove is no longer a cunning political operative, a brilliant strategist, a visionary with a plan that you disagree with. He's Machiavelli, he's the evil genius, he's the puppet master, he's the shadowy power behind the throne. The war in Iraq isn't an error, it isn't a failure, it isn't wrong, it's American genocide and a ravenous lust for oil. And less-than-delicate treatement of prisoners, captured bearing arms against Americans on the battlefield while not in uniform (in violation of the Geneva convention) isn't mistreatment, it isn't questionable, it isn't a cause for concern, it's torture and slaughter and death camps and Gulags and the Killing Fields all over again.
Here's his great idea -a suggested addition to Godwin's Law:*
I've mentioned before "Godwin's Law," and I'd like to see it extended a bit. I'd like to see anyone who makes a comparison to some great atrocity in the past be immediately challenged to explain exactly what that great atrocity entailed, and then go into detail showing precisely how the current event compares with the historical one. (my emphasis)

*(Godwin's law (also Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies) is an adage in Internet culture that was originated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states that:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.)source

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