X-Message-Number: 21882
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
Subject: Godwin's Law on CryoNet?
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 10:14:36 +0100

Godwin's Law is some sort of Internet shorthand to say that is anyone
introduces to an argument similes or makes other comparisons to National
Socialism, or any of its practitioners, then they automatically end the
discussion and lose the debate. It was suggested that this should apply to
the recent debate here on CryoNet about welfare.

I believe that this is a very dangerous law to anyone who is interested in
freedom issues. Although blatant fascist dictatorships have up to now always
been extinguished, what this "law" does is to enable fascist ideas to
permeate and infiltrate other government systems. In fact, it is highly
probably that this extraordinary "law" was itself introduced by a fascist
sympathiser in order to promote fascist methods.

Of course it is absurd just to call someone "a Nazi" if you don't like them
or what they are saying. That belittles all those who have really suffered
from such regimes. But if someone's philosophy can be shown to lead to such
excesses, then it seems to be to be a valid form of argument, not as part of
a slanging match, but more to say " look, this really isn't a good idea
because if taken further could lead to ..."

If Godwin's Law is going to prevent this sort of debate, then clearly it
could allow philosophies to emerge that, given time, could lead to another
Nazi state by some other name. Also it could lead to "mini-nazi" systems
existing on their own within ordinary democracies. As on CryoNet we have a
vested interest in the future, we need to be particular sure this does not

One of the important lessons learned from 1945 is that government officials
have to be personally responsible and accountable for what they do. Attempts
to erode this are ever present, and occur in all sorts of ways, but it is
one of the most important safeguard of freedom that there can be.

Sincerely, John de Rivaz:  http://John.deRivaz.com for websites including
Cryonics Europe, Longevity Report, The Venturists, Porthtowan, Alec Harley
Reeves - inventor, Arthur Bowker - potter, de Rivaz genealogy,  Nomad .. and

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