Cut it out, already.
July 2, 2004 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Jargon's Corollary: "Following a demonstration of Godwin's Law in action, the first person to refer to Godwin's Law also loses."
posted by majcher (20 comments total)

 
I can't seem to find a good statement of it anywhere, but I always understood the important corollary to Godwin's Law to be that once someone compares their opponent to the Nazis, no more useful information will come out of the discussion. This article is just a longer statement of that principle.

The only way to actually "win" an argument is to convince someone, and you don't do that by beating them up with links and epithets. You can only change someone's mind by taking into account their point of view. I see that happen in a political thread on MeFi about once every 6 months.
posted by fuzz at 6:55 AM on July 2, 2004


I see that happen in a political thread on MeFi about once every 6 months.

[hanging head in shame] I see what you mean.
posted by phylum sinter at 7:09 AM on July 2, 2004


Neither of you is, any longer, participating in a useful debate

I feel this way after two minutes in a political thread around here.

Still, nice piece. Very old-school K5.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:13 AM on July 2, 2004


You're all a bunch of logic nazis!
posted by milovoo at 7:45 AM on July 2, 2004


You can only change someone's mind by taking into account their point of view.

That's how the Nazis got started.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2004


I was just reading the original godwin thread, and someone posts

Odds increase greatly if the discussion concerns a group of people
who are, are seen as, or see themselves as oppressed (in the past, present
or future tense). Why use the Nazis?

1: Everyone's heard of them. Compare someone to Cromwell or
what's her name from Madagascar and people won't
get the point.


Who's the woman from Madagascar? All I can find is Queen Ranavalona, but that hardly seems like an archetype of an oppressor. Or was that just a generic random example?
posted by milovoo at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2004


Isn't the missing term here ad hominem? Calling the person you're debating a Hitler is a prime example of it.
posted by josephtate at 8:23 AM on July 2, 2004


Jargon's meta-corollary: The first person to mention Jargon's law also loses.

Jargon's meta-meta corollary: The first person to mention Jargon's meta-corollary... oh wait...

D'oh!
posted by Loudmax at 8:28 AM on July 2, 2004


nu-monet's corollary: When a follow-up message to a non-political thread has a gratuitously political message for no apparent reason, the follow-up message poster should be kill filtered, because they will never have anything intelligent to contribute in the future.
posted by kablam at 8:29 AM on July 2, 2004


Jargon's meta-corollary: The first person to mention Jargon's law also loses.

The first rule of Jargon's corollary is you don't talk about Jargon's corollary.
posted by hob at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2004


I'll trade a Gmail invite for a Jargon's Corollary account.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:53 AM on July 2, 2004


The only way to actually "win" an argument is to convince someone

On the contrary. If you convince someone, you have both</i. won. If one person wins the argument, it simply means their opponent rans out of comebacks before they did. Which in itself can be satisfying, and a reasonable substitute for the win-win if you can't convince the other person.
posted by kindall at 8:59 AM on July 2, 2004


I don't get it: even Jargon acknowledges that Godwin doesn't say, "The first person to mention Nazis, loses". So how can his corollary say that the first person to mention Godwin, ALSO loses?

I can certainly sympathize if Jargon is sick of hearing people Godwinning each other. It might be better to say: The first person to mention Godwin doesn't understand him. But it serves a purpose because, I've noticed, in almost every thread where Godwin applies, there's at least one person who's never heard of it. I guess because it's always September somewhere on the Internet.
posted by coelecanth at 9:25 AM on July 2, 2004


You're all a bunch of Dancing Bears in TuTu's!
posted by Trik at 9:42 AM on July 2, 2004


If something is genuinely analogous to Nazism or Hitler there is nothing unreasoned about making that connection.

“You think Berlin is in Germany??... That’s what Hitler thought!”
This obviously isn't a good reason to accept that Berlin is not in Germany, but...

“The earth is not flat. If you don’t agree, you’re a Nazi”
The argument is invalid, but that doesn’t prevent it from being sound. The earth is still not flat.

“The way our our society treats animals is analogoues to how the Nazis treated the jews.”
This is a valid comparison; the fact it draws a parallel to Nazism doesn’t affect this in any way.

In my humble opinion, Godwin’s law is a load of shit; I feel lightly ill ever time I hear the term.
posted by ed\26h at 10:13 AM on July 2, 2004


The first person to invoke a patently fallacious Calvinball "law" to disparage an argument rather than address its factual and logical merits, loses.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:17 AM on July 2, 2004


Well, no. One cannot lose an argument without the idea one is asserting as true, being false, or vice versa. Therefore, one can invoke all the silly nonsense “laws” in the world, one way or the other, and it has absolutely no affect on whether one wins or loses.

Unless you hold that winning/losing an argument is irrespective of fact and is based on some kind of social acceptance or something; which would just be weird.
posted by ed\26h at 10:33 AM on July 2, 2004


You realize of course that Godwin's Law doesn't give any value judgment to the mentioning of a comparison to the Nazis, right?

It states (from the link in the fpp):

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

I'm just pointing this out because many people think there's another component that points out the comparison is bogus. It certainly doesn't have to be - it can be perfectly apt.
posted by beth at 12:59 PM on July 2, 2004


The first person to invoke a patently fallacious Calvinball "law" to disparage an argument rather than address its factual and logical merits, loses.

But today is Super Duper Reverse Logical Fallacy day, which means that the first person to invoke a patently fallacious Calvinball rule WINS! Neener neener neener!
posted by arto at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2004


Hitler!

Godwin!

(Last post...)
posted by baylink at 5:45 PM on July 2, 2004


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