Godwin’s law author endorses comparing neo-Nazis to Nazis
The man who coined “Godwin’s law,” an adage from the early days of the internet that derides the prevalent use of Nazi comparisons in online discussions, has sanctioned the analogy for one specific group: neo-Nazis.
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one,” states lawyer Mike Godwin’s rule, first penned in 1990 in reference to threaded online discussions such as internet forums and chat rooms. The “law” was meant to poke fun at commenters who are unable to engage in meaningful discussion and revert instead to labeling opponents as Nazis.
But amid public debate over statements by US President Donald Trump following deadly violence that broke out at a Virginia rally of white supremacists, Godwin, now the general counsel of conservative think tank R Street Institute, said that the rule can be broken when referring to the collection of Klansman, neo-Nazis, alt-right and white nationalists that marched in Charlottesville over the weekend.