Godwin

I remember when Godwin's law was a new thing1, and how clearly right it was: how obviously stupid and offensive it was to compare people and injustices to the monstrous horror that was fascism and the Nazis. We should all, instead, be thankful that the horror was in the past, and use language more carefully for the relatively tiny horrors of the late 20th century.

And suddenly not. Suddenly calling people fascists is not stupid hyperbole, because there are real fascists – there are possibly fascists reading this – and they are doing the trick they learned from the early 20th century fascists: get elected, and then destroy the democracy that elected them by spreading a fabric of lies and hatred. And like last time they will almost certainly win. And just as it did last time it has happened astonishingly fast after the crisis which caused the catastrophe: from 1918 to 1933 was 15 years, from 2008 to 2020 will be 12.

The sides are different this time: this time the Germans are on the side of the angels: they at least have remembered the terrible lesson of the past. The role Trump is playing is too obvious to mention2; while the UK has its own Mussolini: a clown-emperor who thinks he is the king of the world, a great leader from a greater but barbaric past reborn to lead his country to glory once more.

How many of us will go to the camps to be made free this time? I am sure I will.

We have learned nothing, or perhaps we have forgotten everything.


  1. I am fairly sure I used to read some of the newsgroups where he posted it. 

  2. And even now I have trained myself not to use the comparison which, this time, is so apt. 


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