From Pop Matters:

American attorney Mike Godwin contemplated our predilection for going for the rhetorical jugular when introducing us to Godwin’s Law in 1990. His assertion was that at some point in all political arguments someone will insert a Hitler comparison in an attempt to invalidate the argument of his/her combatant. Sometimes regarded as a fallacy of irrelevance or as just an ad hominem attack, words like “fascism”, “Nazi”, and “Hitler” are employed not to further one’s position but to derail another’s. Godwin hoped that by shining a light on this aggressive urge, we would curtail our hyperbole and only use such inflammatory terms where appropriate. Thus, while recognizing Godwin’s council, we still might reasonably ask: is fascism relevant to our current political state?

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