From RealClearMarkets:

Godwin’s Law is an internet rule of thumb that states the longer an online discussion goes the chance of Hitler or the Nazis being employed by someone in it approaches one. Also called Godwin’s Rule of Hitler Analogies, it was first used in attachment to the usenet groups of the early internet. Attributed to American attorney Mike Godwin who began referring to the spectacle all the way back in 1990, near three decades later it is pretty close to settled doctrine.

In February 2014, Philippines President Benigno Aquino skirted the edges of Godwin’s Law not in some random reddit thread but in serious international diplomacy. His country, along with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan, had been (and continues to be) locked in territorial disputes with the People’s Republic of China. The latter nation having grown more aggressive in its claims on strategic island groups, Aquino in frustration introduced the Nazi comparison.

 “At what point do you say, ‘Enough is enough?’ Well, the world has to say it. Remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War II.”


This statement was more in line with his purpose. Economic cooperation isn’t strictly enough to forestall conflict. It is taken as unshakable doctrine in the same way Godwin’s Law has become more informally, that trading partners don’t make war on each other.


Godwin’s Law, as I understand it, compels me after such a typically lengthy examination to call someone a Nazi. It may be tempting to fit Xi Jinping into that role. Hitler, however, was a unique historical case. It’s more than unhelpful to think only in those terms. But it’s far more dangerous to purposefully ignore the world as it really is.

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