From Wikipedia: Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies is an observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches … there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin’s law.”
I’ve been thinking quite a lot about “Godwin’s Law” recently. As the Australian Marriage Equality juggernaut forges ahead, the religious right grows increasingly frustrated as their arguments lose traction with the wider community.
“We are comprehensively losing this”, the Australian Christian Lobby wrote to its followers earlier this year.
Meanwhile, there are fears for the health of Bill Muehlenberg as his head appears to ‘asplode’ at each new sign that Australians will no longer accept his brand of bigoted bastardry which fundamentally flies in the face of Australians’ ‘fair go’ ethos.
Last year, Kevin Rudd’s sister, Loree hit the headlines after she accused same-sex marriage advocates of being a “Gestapo”. According to Ms Rudd there is a worldwide gay network feeding ‘propaganda’ to politicians.
“I call them the global gay Gestapo — it is the lobbying movement that is brainwashing people, particularly the young in the community that this [homosexuality] is an optional extra in life,” she said.
Callously disregarding the collateral damage to Jewish Australians, The Australian Christian Lobby backed Ms Rudd’s comments:
“I suggest Loree Rudd’s opponents visit the museum in Nuremberg and see how important it is that these deplorable tactics be opposed,” said the Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace.
Holocaust survivor Frederick Weisinger – a gay man with first-hand experience of Nazis – responded to the slurs:
“I spent three years in a concentration camp as a child, and I am horrified by this comparison between the Gestapo and ordinary citizens like me who just want to be treated equally … Before she makes such offensive comments, Ms Rudd should read about the horrors perpetrated by the Gestapo, particularly how it hounded, persecuted and killed homosexuals in large numbers.”
Bruce Copeland, an ex-military Australian who campaigns against mainstream programs for HIV/AIDS prevention in Papua New Guinea has similarly complained that ‘several churches in Papua New Guinea’ have been severely bullied by the ‘AusAID lesbian gestapo officers’. Copeland is clearly an A-grade nutter but his rantings are indicative of the depths to which Muehlenberg, Wallace, Ms Rudd and others are prepared to stoop.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed Australian fundamentalists increasingly resort to Godwin’s law.
Most publicly, Jim Wallace, recently likened ‘teh’ homosexual lobby and their supporters to Nazi arch-propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. Adding insult to injury, the remark was made in front of (and, partly directed towards) Dr Kerryn Phelps – who is both a lesbian and a practicing Jew.
(Nazi slur at 1:30)
But Wallace isn’t the only one invoking Nazi slurs in a farcical attempt to keep the anti-gay argument afloat.
In January, Catholic anti-abortion campaigner, Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn accused the gay community of “rainbow fascism” over protests relating to Margaret Court’s virulently anti-gay views.
Muehlenberg regularly refers to ‘the gaystapo’ on his despicable blog.
“Every day we witness another example of the pink jackboots in operation,” Muehlenberg despairs.
“I better run through some of the most recent examples of this homosexual fascism,” he says elsewhere.
(I won’t link to Muehlenberg’s on principle – google if you must read his filth.)
It’s inflammatory language meant to frighten the community and intimidate gay rights activists. Instead, it’s widely read as last-gasp-Godwinism – the death-rattle of a minority group of religious extremists aghast that they are’comprehensively losing’ the debate. Ironically, these gutter tactics only function to alienate decent Australians and outrage and embarrass the vast majority of Australian Christians.
As Jim Wallace is a former brigadier, perhaps we should employ a military analogy:
It’s like this Jim. When you have to resort to Nazi slurs, it’s a sure sign the arse has fallen out of your arsenal.
once this episode is lost and over for these hate filled people I wonder what new freedom or equality they will find to oppose ?
I see a parallel with dog training. (Humour me.) When you’re training a dog to give up a behaviour, barking at the postman, say, the dog doesn’t gradually bark at the postie less and less til one day he gives a last whimper, never to make a sound again.
No, once a dog realizes you mean business and he’s going to have to give up the treasured behaviour, he actually does it *more*, in a kind of last ditch desperate effort, called, in dog training circles, an “extinction burst”, before he abandons the behaviour, quite abruptly.
It seems to me that Jim, Bill and co are having an extinction burst.
I am hoping that this example of religiously oriented homophobia and the continued rise of religious fundamentalism in small pockets throughout Australia and the world is also an example of an extinction burst before we abandon religion all together:-)
It’s a bit late in the cosmological day to maintain the fiction of the sky daddy and his edicts and his beady eye.
Absolutely, Veronique. I hope so too.
Ah yup. I hope I hope.
I hope so too.
At the risk of ‘doing a Godwin’ myself, have a look at this comparing the rhetoric of the Nazis and that of James Dobson, whose arguments and ‘research’ are used extensively by the ACL. I’m willing to bet Wallace and Muhlenberg’s speeches would also line up: http://biblethumpingliberal.com/2012/06/09/astonishing-parallels-nazi-rhetoric-and-james-dobson/ Now, who was it who said “Goebbels”?
The documented parallels between Dobson’s rhetoric and Nazi rhetoric are appalling. You owe it to yourself to read it, if I do say so myself!
Read it. Not just appalling Ron. Uncanny. Does the fascist mentality follow patterns, or has Dobson done some apeing? Thank you for this work, most interesting.
Absolutely wonderful, as usual, What a delightful analogy, Louella!
Thank you Chrys for keeping these people’s bigotry out there.
How do they keep up their hatred and disgust in the face of their supposedly loving god?
(Methinks they may object a wee too much….!?)
Reblogged this on meinthe21stcentury and commented:
Godwin’s Law & the Cross-Eyed Bear