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 Milosevic Goes Free, Thanks to Godwin's Law!

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 20, 2001

Adequacy News Service (Holland)-- Serb leader and alleged war criminal Slobodan Milosevic was freed today in a shock development which has thrown the War Crimes Tribunal here in the Hague into chaos. Invoking the controversial doctrine of "Godwin’s Law", the erstwhile dictator made his startling legal intervention during the fifth day of the prosecution's opening argument. Legal experts stood on aghast as Milosevic interrupted counsel for the tribunal:


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Counsel for the tribunal: … were rounded up and placed in concentration camps.

Slobodan Milosevic: Objecting! What is it you are saying by meaning these "camps of concentration"? Eh huh? Are you taking me for wet ass pussy? I kill you!

CFTT: "Concentration camps" is a phrase in common usage, referring to inhumane mass civilian imprisonment environments, Mr Milosevic. The term dates back to the second World War and the camps instituted by the Nazi party.

SM: GODWIN'S LAW! YOU LOSE FAGGOT! HAHAHAHA! You mention Nazis! You lose! Bye bye fucksucker!

In a state of some distress, the board of international judges were forced to rule that, on the technical merits of the case, counsel for the tribunal had indeed mentioned the Nazis, and thus that Milosevic was correct to invoke Godwin's Law.

"Something must be done", commented one onlooker.

This news item brought to you by the news service. Please note that we guarantee nothing. Please also note that, due to circumstances beyond our control, some links above may be directed to World Championship Wrestling at rather than War Criminal Watch at

The situation above was perhaps fictitious, but its online equivalent happens every day of our lives. Someone is caught in possession of an indefensible view, but manages to get out jail free by provoking his interrogator to make reference to the Nazis and then invoking Godwin's Law. Well, not on this site. The official policy on is that we call a rose a rose, a spade a spade and a Nazi a Nazi. Or sometimes a "fucking Nazi", if we're in the appropriate mood. We encourage the posters to our discussion boards to do likewise.

After all, there are numerous people out there who have views which, in a very real sense, have relevant points of comparison with the Nazis. In the abortion debate, for example, it is senseless to pretend that this comparison is not relevant. One side of the debate is trying to claim that a certain class of being is not human (as the Nazis did) as a justification or pretext for slaying them in their millions (as the Nazis did). The comparison is entirely warranted; the sensible response for the pro-abortion side would be to calmly point out that, if the Nazis had been correct to view the Jews as not human then there would have been no problem. As it happens, the Jews are humans, and it is extremely evil to massacre them. But that doesn't carry any particular implication for foetuses.

Similarly, the Confederate States of America was an explicitly racist regime, based on an unfair economic system, with a national ideology which appealed to such traditional fascist grounds as homeland, history, etc. The parallels with Nazi Germany are obvious. Hence, comparisons between the Confederate Flag and the Swastika are obviously accurate.

All manner of other historical parallels can be drawn. A number of leading Nazis were, indeed, gay. Hitler was, indeed, a vegetarian. Hitler banned guns, but on the other hand no he didn't. So as luck would have it, both sides can use the useful Nazi analogy there.

There are so many Nazis out there, that we shouldn't censor ourselves from calling them Nazis. Join us in pledging to flame any of the Godwin's Law weenies into well-deserved oblivion


Hey! Something I Can Agree With! (none / 0) (#7)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:02:14 AM PST
If nothing else, I can agree that it's crap to somehow turn the tide of an arguement by making a false comparison with something that everyone considers bad such as Nazis.

--Sven (now with bonus weblog vanity site! (MLP sold seperately))

sorry -- you've misunderstood me (none / 0) (#8)
by jsm on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:10:01 AM PST
The point of this article is that it's good> to compare people to Nazis, particularly if they actually happen to belike the Nazis. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Red Fnords on the Grass (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:23:26 AM PST
Umm. I think you left out a few key groups that are Nazi-like in nature. The most obvious is the musical group Pink Floyd. In case you haven't seen it, their disturbing cinematic accompanyment to the album The Wall had a very long segment with Nazi imagery. The lead singer was even shown to be a Hitler-like figure.

Now, many bands have been influenced directly by Pink Floyd. Anyone who's made a concept album really. It stands to reason that the Nazi influenced couldn't help but be passed along the way.

I imagine at this point in time 75% of the bands in our country have probably be exposed to Nazi propoganda which would explain why Yiddish music has seen a steady drop from the spotlight.

On the other hand, we can safely say that the TV show South Park is free from Nazi-influence due to their subversive use of the well-known anti-Nazi hymn "The Dradel Song" on a Christmas Episode which also featured dancing and talking feces. Nazis are well-known for their obsession with cleanliness, so that's another point in South Park's favor. While it's true that the character Cartman has appeared dressed as Hitler, when he does so he is shunned by the entire town showing that South Park is intolerant of the Nazi viewpoint. I think the show deserves to be heavily applauded for it's stand against facism in a world being overrun by Hitler's legacy.

--Sven (now with bonus weblog vanity site! (MLP sold seperately))

Nazi Influenced bands (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by nobbystyles on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:37:05 AM PST
Morose Mancunians New Order and their predecessors Joy Division are named after respectively Hitler's foreign policy and slave prostitutes in Concentation Camps. So I think they win the most Nazi influenced band of all time prize.

Spot on. (1.00 / 1) (#31)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jul 22nd, 2001 at 04:48:05 PM PST
You said it, nobby. Plus they are from the shithole of England, Manchester, which most British people would consider is a worse thing than actually being Nazis.

I mean why is it that all the really really shit bands come from Manchester ? The Smiths, The 'happy' Mondays, Oasis for fucks sake! Is it something in the water ?

I had the misfortune to live (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by nobbystyles on Mon Jul 23rd, 2001 at 09:15:48 AM PST
In sunny 'Madchester' during the early 90s. It was a time when any petty theif with a pair of Joe Bloggs flares could get a record contract off Tony 'Cuntface' Wilson's Factory Records and get hyped via Granada TV and The (Manchester) Guardian. Mancs are worse than the mafia and definitely worse than Scousers...

Setting the record straight (2.33 / 3) (#34)
by iat on Mon Jul 23rd, 2001 at 09:52:35 AM PST
I've had as much of these anti-Mancunian lies as I can take. I came close to deleting your posts, but just about managed to control my anger by moderating them to "1".

Let me make a few things clear:
  • Manchester is the finest city in the world. This is a scientifically proven fact, and is thus indisputable.
  • Mancunians are the finest people in the world. They are friendly, intelligent, good-looking, honest and witty. If you happen to anger them, they are also the hardest bastards in the world.
  • Manchester houses both the world's finest football team and the world's worst football team.
  • Manchester has produced the world's finest bands: New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division and The Happy Mondays to name but a few.
If there is a repeat occurrence of these outburts and lies about Manchester, I will be forced to delete accounts and ban IP adresses. I also forbid any more pro-Scouser commentary on - Liverpudlians are the lowest form of humanity, even worse that USians, Scottish and the Welsh. Is this understood? - love it or leave it.

You are outnumbered (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by bc on Mon Jul 23rd, 2001 at 10:11:01 AM PST
Anti-mancunian editors outnumber you by 20-1 iat. You might as well give up with the 1-rating, comment deletion stuff.

♥, bc.

Oh, come now. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by CaptainZornchugger on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:21:38 AM PST
Now, many bands have been influenced directly by Pink Floyd. Anyone who's made a concept album really

Major rock bands like Genesis and The Who were doing concept albums well before Pink Floyd was. That's not to say that concept-albums are not inherently Fascist, but I think it's absurd to claim that they represent Pink Floyd influence.

Hmmm. I just realized that all three of those bands are British. Obviously this means that all Brits are Nazis. Fascinating.

Well, duh! (none / 0) (#20)
by Adam Rightmann on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:46:41 AM PST
Hmmm. I just realized that all three of those bands are British. Obviously this means that all Brits are Nazis. Fascinating.

One only has to look at Neville Chamberlain's behaviour to realize Brits are close cousins to Nazis, and I won't even mention the concentration camps in South Africa (Boers) and Ireland (Catholics).

If only Hitler hadn't jumped the gun on Scandinavia, the UK and Germany would have honored the hidden agreement.

A. Rightmann

'Nother nazi band (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by nx01 on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:40:18 AM PST
Dream fucking Theater.

No, I don't have any evidence. But damnit, they're nazis.

One of my friends insists on blasting that shit at us every time we're in his fucking car. "Oh, this one is there experimental album!" "This album has six songs and is 74.3 minutes long!" "You guys ought to like this, even though you don't like metal because even though they play a lot of notes, the songs are really long so it's not so many notes at once like Van Halen!" "How about some Liquid Tension Experiment next!"

Us: "Is that electronica or something?"

Him: "No, it's progressive metal!"

Shoot me now.

On a side note, he's also the one who inspired the whole Star Trek: Enterprise thing. He used to compare every fucking thing to Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm serious--everything. If you went out to eat, he'd talk about that "one time the crew had some ambassadors aboard and had dinner with them." You went to a coffee house and played chess, he'd talk about "that one episode when Data played 3d chess with the alien". You get into a car wreck, he'd start talking about "that one time when the Picard went and made it look like he was going to ram the other ship". Most annoying fucking thing I've ever seen :)

"Every time I look at the X window system, it's so fucking stupid; and part of me feels responsible for the worst parts of it."
-- James Gosling

Fuckin' A! (none / 0) (#12)
by Electric Angst on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:44:17 AM PST
Yes. Finally someone had the balls, and relevant hyperlinks, to say it. The entire Godwin's law thing is so remarkably trite that I can't believe it has gained such popularity on the 'net. Then again, we are in a system where people seem to have this strong desire to have new "laws" pointed out to them, weather they have any basis behind them or not. (Godwin's law is one, Moore's law is another.)

In the dark times, will there still be singing?
Yes, there will be singing. There will be singing about the dark times. -- Bertolt Brecht

not only that... (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by motherfuckin spork on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:01:37 AM PST
but they've managed to post an actually funny story. I'm stunned.

I am not who you think I am.

Now that you're a GIZeditor (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:10:34 AM PST
you can post some funny stories there, too.

What is your problem ? (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jul 22nd, 2001 at 04:44:24 PM PST

The fact that you seem to feel that everything should raise huge belly laughs says more about you than it does about this site. Adequacy discusses serious issues of the day, including but not limited to, war, disease, sexism, racism, sports, etc etc etc.

If you happen to find these things unfunny, I'd say that is not a problem with this website, it is a problem with your bizarre expectations of a news and current affairs discussion site.

Life is not a barrel of laughs. Get over it.

And while you are at it, change your fucking stupid offensive username. It is not big, and it is not clever to use profanity in this way.

Re: What is your problem ? (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Art Tatum on Mon Jul 23rd, 2001 at 06:52:35 AM PST
Perhaps he meant that this article managed to make a point with humor? I don't know...

Stop! You lose. (none / 0) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:49:39 AM PST
There's all sorts of stop signs people invoke to end debate. Far more annoying than Godwin's Law is the Freedom Principle: "Your idea is an affront to individual liberty, so you lose this debate by default rather than any argument of mine."

Space-Time Loops at Low Low Prices! (none / 0) (#14)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 08:59:17 AM PST
There's all sorts of stop signs people invoke to end debate. Far more annoying than Godwin's Law is the Freedom Principle: "Your idea is an affront to individual liberty, so you lose this debate by default rather than any argument of mine."
Freedom is of course a liberal-myth.

We are all slaves to our genes, our social programming, and the brainwashing signals sent out to us via modern televisions and radios.

Any attempt to convince you that something "infringes on your civil liberties" is actually just another way of brainwashing you. These defends of civil liberties try to convince you that you have freedoms to begin with by telling you how the evil government or capitalistic corporation is trying to take them away. They are of course, part of the conspiracy. They're trying to keep you from realizing that you have no freedom and are a slave to society's whim and your own genetic programming.

Only when we realize this, are we truly free to fight to break free of it. Do not given into this blatant liberal propoganda of individual freedom. We are zombies, the sooner we see it the sooner we can begin to live again.

--Sven (now with bonus weblog vanity site! (MLP sold seperately))

Freedom Principle (none / 0) (#15)
by iat on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 09:00:14 AM PST
I can't say I've ever heard of the Freedom Principle, or ever seen it used to end a debate. It doesn't seem like a particularly good way to end a debate either, because many people don't show any respect for the concept of individual liberty. - love it or leave it.

Ad hominem attacks and other tripe (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Harvey Black on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 10:15:17 AM PST
For those unschooled in Ars Debatus, Ad Hominem means "To the man", and it refers to a logical fallacy in which one of the subjects of a debate makes a personal attack on the character of his opponent. While this is still considered acceptable in English debate forums, I consider it a wholly unacceptable way to argue a point, along with the use of stereotypes, begging the question, post hoc ergo propter hoc, red herrings, guilt by association, ad populum, ad verecundiam, either-or fallacy, etc.
Clearly, calling someone a Nazi falls under the category of the Ad Hominem fallacy. Even if you believe that your opponent is a nazi, you should be focusing more on the points of discussion than your opponent's character, otherwise you will weaken your own argument.

what balls (none / 0) (#22)
by jsm on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 10:22:42 AM PST
On the other hand, the fallacy of "taking the views of fucking Nazis at face value and trying to argue with them seriously, as if they weren't Nazis" doesn't have a posh Latin name, but it's been a source of more error than "ad hominem" over the last fifty years. The following quote sums up how I feel about your pusillanimous insistence on regarding prissy "rules of debate" as more important than our duty to fight Fascism wherever we meet it.

"For some people, four walls are three too many" -- Josef Vissarionavich Dhugashvili ("Stalin")

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

I need a wheelbarrow to carry my balls (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by Harvey Black on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 11:01:12 AM PST
If the so-called Nazi's argument is inherently flawed, you shouldn't have to resort to base name-calling to defeat them, especially if your intent is to do nothing but raise particularly strong feelings associated with the label.

Fact: I am pro-choice.
Fact: I am not now, have never been, nor ever will be, an adherent of National Socialism or the dogma it espouses.

So call me a Nazi if you must, but understand that I am unaffected, because I am not one. Nor am I, as you seem to insinuate, a fascist, seeing as I am not trying to exercise strong dictatorial control over anyone. Also, for the record, I am not a faggot, retard, dickhead, fuckwit, ad infinitum. Calling me any of those will get you no farther than calling me a Nazi.

The real irony lies in the fact that most of the time I am extremely profane and often use personal attacks when I'm particularly impassioned about a subject. Therefore, understand that the views in this message are not necessarily those of the author.

I must (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jul 22nd, 2001 at 04:39:58 PM PST

Slight correction (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by Platypus on Sat Jul 21st, 2001 at 12:18:09 PM PST
For those who are only slightly schooled in debate, there's a more subtle distinction to be made regarding what is or is not argumentum ad hominem. Specifically, it only counts if the commentary about the person is intended or serves to undermine their credibility regarding the matter under discussion. Gratuitous insults, while unwelcome for other reasons, are not argumentum ad hominem.

Furthermore, it is not argumentum ad hominem if the person's character and/or credibility are actually relevant to the discussion. For example, if the topic is "X is child molester" then commenting on X's sexual history does not constitute an ad-hominem attack. Similarly, if X is attempting argumentum ad verecundiam (less pretentiously known as an appeal to authority: "You should agree with me because I'm an expert.") then commentary on X's credentials ("Some expert, you're really a high-school student with a D average.") is entirely appropriate; X has made their credentials relevant by being the one to mention them.

In short, not every comment about a person is argumentum ad hominem. Many people on the net have learned to "take the high ground" by calling any personal comment as an an ad-hominem attack, even as they themselves indulge in appeals to authority and all manner of other fallacies. Most such claims are, in fact, a sort of second-order ad-hominem attack; their intent is to undermine the accused's credibility by making them out to be a "bad" debater.

P.S. I highly recommend Don Lindsay's list as a reference to common logical fallacies. Re-reading the list periodically will not only help you to recognize fallacious reasoning by others, but also to avoid fallacies yourself.

It is required reading for all adequacy editors. (none / 0) (#28)
by dmg on Sun Jul 22nd, 2001 at 04:38:50 PM PST
We find that resource particulary useful for new editors at adequacy. It can bring them quickly up to speed in spotting 'troll' postings.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

Important Clarification (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 20th, 2001 at 12:54:09 PM PST
I believe that when the author said "there are so many Nazis out there" he was not necessarily referring to opponents in a debate. What I believe he means is that situations exist in our world, that for one reason or another, parallel what the Nazis did or thought. To mass ignore someone because they draw justifiable parallels to Nazis is comparable to poor sportsmanship in the "game" of debate.

He is NOT saying that he should be able to call someone a Nazi who states such a parallel. He is merely illustrating why it's nonsense to allow that occurance to affect the debating process itself. A good point stands on its own merits, and a bad point without merits will fall.

Yes and no... (none / 0) (#25)
by Art Tatum on Sat Jul 21st, 2001 at 03:18:20 AM PST
You're absolutely correct that the words Nazi and fascist should be allowed in arguments. Especially when discussing WWII or political philosophy.

However, these words have an amazing power over the human mind, suspending any and all reasoning ability or common sense in the hearers (and often the speaker as well) and causing the brandisher of these words to automatically be declared the winner by default. Godwin's Law is an attempt to counteract this phenomenon. Some do have the ability to look objectively at the unfortunate individual being attacked thusly and realize the truth of the matter; sadly, most do not have the fortitude to take that position--partly because they fear that they will also be labeled as Nazis or fascists.

Furthermore, very few people even know what these words really mean. A Nazi is a member of a particular 20th century political party in Germany and Austria. Yes, there are other groups that hold similar views; but they are NOT Nazis--they should be referred to by the appropriate political name.

Fascist, with a capital "F", refers to a member of a political party in Italy in the first half of the 20th century that sought to reestablish the ancient Roman Empire and dominate the world with military might.

Fascist, with a lower case "f", is a person who espouses the honor and glory of violence as an end in and of itself, especially in connection with an organized military. They believe that violence cleanses mankind of impurity. It does NOT mean "dictatorial" or "authoritarian" or even "racist," though those traits are to be found in fascist movements.

If one wishes to state that a third party believes in the unity of genetics and behavior, the appropriate term is "racist"--NOT Nazi or fascist.

Good call (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Jul 21st, 2001 at 12:29:43 PM PST
Godwin's Law is probably second only to Moore's Law in terms of how commonly it is misinterpreted and mangled. Godwin's Law applies only to Usenet, and is purely a statement of natural fact that does not directly involve winning or losing an argument. For the record, Godwin's Law states (paraphrased) that as a Usenet thread grows, the probability of someone or something being compared to Nazis increases toward a limit of 1. That is *all* it says; the "lose the argument by default" stuff was tacked on in much the way that "processor speed doubles every X months" was tacked on to Moore's Law. Likewise, the additions have taken on lives of their own and have rendered the original laws obscure.

If Milosevic were an American (none / 0) (#36)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Dec 18th, 2001 at 04:27:58 AM PST
If Slobo would have been an American, the Senate just made it possible for the American Army to use force and free him from the Scheveningen prison...

Censorship or Just Good Sense? (none / 0) (#37)
by OpieTaylor on Sun Feb 3rd, 2002 at 01:41:46 PM PST
The reason for Godwin's Law corollary is not to stiffle valid comparisons as suggested here.

The real reason is that the comparison trivilizes the horror of the Holocaust, and the very real suffering by it's victims.

Just as over-prescription of antibiotics has made them ineffective against many germs, so too does over-use of the Nazi/Hitler comparison enures us to the pain caused by rascists and sexists like Milosevic and Taliban.

I, for one, don't want to contribute to future genocides just to score cheap points in a debate. Neither should anyone else.


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