At some point, in a sudden and unfair about-face, it became a smug liberal-intellectual game to declare an argument over (and overheated) the moment a Nazi analogy appears, as Mike Godwin has noted one inevitably does eventually. Well, that’s fine when you’re trying to stop a teenager from declaring his high school’s anti-nudity policy “fascist,” but I think this anti-analogy push has now reached the point that liberals think you can’t even use the Nazis in real cases of strong historical parallelism.
Don’t be surprised, for instance, if you find yourself saying, cautiously and without venom, something like, “I think the mass-murderers in that totalitarian country could have imagined themselves to be justified, though that’s mind-boggling, but then, even the Nazis relied upon a sense of victimhood, the ‘stab in the back,’ to rationalize their subsequent — ” and suddenly having some pinhead leap in and say, “Sorry, but you have totally invalidated your own argument by mentioning the Nazis! Mike Godwin’s rule of Nazi analogies!! Godwin’s rule! Godwin’s rule! I win! Gold star for me! Gold star and a free trip to camp! Duuuhhh…”
And then they drool. Yes, they actually drool. I’ve seen it happen, though I’m not saying the drooling per se invalidates their point. I would not be that petty.
Where’s the good Godwin — by which I mean authority-hating original anarchist writer William Godwin (husband of Mary Wollstonecraft and father of Mary Shelley) — when you need him? Fighting fascism on all sides if he were alive today, I’ll bet. So there.