Everyone I don’t like is Hitler

First introduced by American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990, Godwin's Law states that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic) the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler becomes more likely; it originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, though has found application in online comment threads, political speeches, articles, and other rhetoric.


This kind of argument (a fallacy) is referred to as reductio ad Hitlerum:

reductio ad Hitlerum (Latin for "reduction to Hitler”), coined by Leo Strauss in 1953, is an attempt to invalidate someone else's position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party.  An example would be that since Hitler was against smoking, this implies that someone who is against smoking is a Nazi.

According to Strauss, reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of ad hominem, ad misericordiam, or a fallacy of irrelevance.  The suggested rationale is one of guilt by association.  It is a tactic often used to derail arguments because such comparisons tend to distract and anger the opponent.
(Gary N. Curtis, Logical Fallacy:  The Hitler Card)

  • Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies (a.k.a., the Sexton-Godwin Law):
    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
    [Usenet Message-ID: <1991Aug18.215029.19421@eff.org>, 18 Aug 1991]
  • Morgan's Corollary:
    As soon as such a comparison occurs, someone will start a Nazi-discussion spinoff thread on alt.censorship.
  • The Sircar/Case Corollary:
    If the Usenet discussion touches on homosexuality or Heinlein, Nazis or Hitler are mentioned within three days.

In 2012, "Godwin's Law" became an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

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