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catoismymotor (45.25)

The Godwin Approach To Debating / Carnival Barking Twaddle

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May 13, 2011 – Comments (14)

Over the course of my time on TMF I have read many postings and articles composed by fellow Fools. There have been some good, and even excellent debates covering a wide variety of subjects. I have seen good approaches and poor ones executed in the course of these debates. In my experience the least effective of those in trying to make a point, for good or bad is to use what I call The Godwin Approach.

For those not in the know read here for some background on Godwin's Law. The Godwin Approach To Debating is basic: 1) The ability to compare any person, place, thing or idea to a person, place thing or idea with roots in Nazi Germany. Depending on the topic and the mind behind behind the arguement this approach has the same effect as using a pool noodle to fend off an angry dog: It can be done if you know what the heck you're doing. 2) The adoption of Nazi Propagana Minister Joseph Goebbels' technique of winning a debate: "...tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." You have to know your audience in order to be effective with this approach.

In recent weeks I have seen number two used without restraint by one particular Fool. He used to have substantive content to his contributions. But over the course of a year and a half the meat of his arguements have given way to fat. He thinks that he can replace quality with quantity and be given a pass for his lack of effort. He thinks that if he keeps repeating the lies, half truths and outlandish declarations that eventually we will come to believe it. He has reduced himself to being little more than a carnival barker for his freakshow of commentary, his twaddle. Shame on him for taking you for a fool. And shame on those of you that let him go unchecked.

For the purposes of this posting I have elected to withhold the name of the attention hungry permabear, the perveyor of half truths and falsehoods. It will not surprise me to see him out himself in the comment section below so you had better "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Step right up!"

 

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM, kdakota630 (29.50) wrote:

In my experience the least effective of those in trying to make a point, for good or bad is to use what I call The Godwin Approach.

That's exactly what the Nazis did.

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#2) On May 13, 2011 at 11:25 AM, catoismymotor (45.25) wrote:

LOL!!!

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#3) On May 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM, mtf00l (45.13) wrote:

Greenspan? hee hee =D

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#4) On May 13, 2011 at 11:43 AM, Turfscape (41.23) wrote:

I give a lot of credit to this online community. The Fool has a much, much lower rate of incidence of Godwinization of conversations than most free sites.

Perhaps that's why it sticks out like such a sore thumb when it happens. And, yes...shame on us for giving it a free pass.

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#5) On May 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM, mtf00l (45.13) wrote:

Perhaps my philosophy is flawed however, some of the things I appriciate most about the TMF's blogspace is freedom, the right to choose and for the most part unfettered access.

Sometimes I post in all seriousness, sometimes in pure sarcasm.

Sometimes I'm agreed with, other times convinced of my error and somtimes flamed.  I accept it all.  That's what freedom and lliberty are all about.

Of course we all have our favorites and/or those we follow.  I do too.  That said I accept everyone and try to remember "but for the grace of God, there go I".

Fool on! =D

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#6) On May 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM, mtf00l (45.13) wrote:

To add color to my Greenspan comment;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedspeak

Read it all however; see "Usage by Alan Greenspan" for a corollary...

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#7) On May 13, 2011 at 12:12 PM, mtf00l (45.13) wrote:

The previous post was suppose to say Re: approach #2.  Cut and paste errors...

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#8) On May 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM, ikkyu2 (99.34) wrote:

...tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

Karthago delenda est! 

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#9) On May 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM, mtf00l (45.13) wrote:

Is this what you meant?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est

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#10) On May 13, 2011 at 4:18 PM, smartmuffin (< 20) wrote:

Personally, I think we need a term for people who blindly use "OMG GODWIN'S LAW" to laugh off legitimate comparisons to Nazi Germany.

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#11) On May 13, 2011 at 4:34 PM, tekennedy (67.53) wrote:

@10- http://xkcd.com/261/

Also agreed on all parts, +1 rec

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#12) On May 13, 2011 at 8:55 PM, ajm101 (31.97) wrote:

Godwin's law is not some kind of imprecise thing.  It's "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1"

Your corollary #2 is completely unrelated to Godwin's law.

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#13) On May 13, 2011 at 8:57 PM, ajm101 (31.97) wrote:

But yeah, alst...that person should evaluate his online behavior.

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#14) On May 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM, lemoneater (79.37) wrote:

I hadn't heard the term Godwin's Law before. But my husband ran into an instance of it that utterly bewildered him. He asked me why somebody,a Bible Translator would be called a Nazi when he did his translation long before the Nazi movement began and had no political connections to Hitler.

I told him that now people use the term for anyone they disagree with no matter what time period in history the person lived. He thought it was stupid to apply the term to someone who lived before the movement started. I have to agree.  

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