Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pennsylvania GOP Rediscovers Godwin's Law

Reductio ad Hitlerum, also argumentum ad Hitlerum, or reductio (or argumentum) ad Nazium – dog Latin for "reduction (or argument) to Adolf Hitler (or the Nazis)" – is a modern informal fallacy in logic. It is a variety of both questionable cause and association fallacy. The phrase reductio ad Hitlerum was coined by an academic ethicist, Leo Strauss, in 1953. Engaging in this fallacy is sometimes known as playing the Nazi card.

The fallacy most often assumes the form of "Hitler (or the Nazis) supported X, therefore X must be evil/undesirable/bad." The argument carries emotional weight as rhetoric, since in most cultures anything relating to Hitler or Nazis is automatically condemned. The tactic is often used to derail arguments, as such a comparison tends to distract and to result in angry and less reasoned responses. A subtype of the fallacy is the comparison of an opponent's propositions to the Holocaust.


The Associated Press reports that an email is being sent to Jewish Pennsylvania voters that equates Barack Obama's presidential campaign to the rise of Adolph Hitler:

Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.

"Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008," the e-mail reads. "Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let's not make a similar one this year!"

A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was "Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA - Victory 2008."

It warns "Fellow Jewish Voters" of the danger of a second Holocaust due to the threats to Israel from its neighbors and touts Republican presidential candidate John McCain's qualifications over those of Obama.

State GOP officials disavowed the e-mail and said the strategist who helped draft it had been fired.

Need I say anything more?


risingsn said...

I have seen that one. In addition there are several emails circulating that show comparisons to Obama as Antichrist, however I don't think they originate from any official GOP headquarters.

risingsn said...

As an aside, Leo Strauss is the one most people point to as the founder of the Neocons.

Strong said...

Yeah, I thought it was particularly ironic that the so-called "Father of the Neocon Movement" was the one supplying the basis for the definition of Godwin's Law. *LOL*

I'm continuing to follow the PA GOP's denials on that email. The guy who wrote it still says he was instructed to do so. I'm betting that we'll find out the identity of his superior before Election Day.

risingsn said...

I was just following orders... LOL

risingsn said...

Don't you think there's a link between Godwin's Law and neocons- the people who think that they should distract the populace from what they are doing because they know better?

Strong said...

Oh, yeah, that's the neocon philosophy. It's actually written somewhere in Strauss's works.