1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Using Hitler as a tool in argumentation and debate

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Stevicus, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    14,050
    Ratings:
    +7,259
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    I think most of us are familiar with Godwin's Law, but for those who haven't: Godwin's law - Wikipedia

    It comes up in a variety of different contexts, but much of the time it's brought up in the context of international relations and how we deal with other countries. We might single out some leader of some rogue nation, declare that he's "just like Hitler," and this somehow justifies any number of hostile or violent actions against them or their country. (i.e. "what if we could have used a drone to kill Hitler?")

    It's also used in arguments and debates regarding domestic politics, as our current president has often been associated with Hitler.

    So, my questions to the peanut gallery are as follows:

    1. Why do people do this? What is the point?

    2. Does using Hitler in the context of modern politics display an ignorance of history, WW2, who Hitler was and the nation he ruled?

    3. Could it have the effect of distorting history?

    4. Does a comparison to Hitler justify and validate any number of attitudes and political actions (up to and including violence, torture, and assassination) which wouldn't normally be considered justified against an ordinary human being?

    5. Does one side play the Hitler card more than the other? Or are both sides (left and right) equally guilty of using it to suit their ends?

    6. Does Hitler give a good name to war?
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  2. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    3,642
    Ratings:
    +1,334
    Religion:
    None
    I use Adolf quite a bit because his personality and behavior are so well-known. I don't have to explain who he was or what he did. Since the troublemakers of the world are universally extremely arrogant personalities dealing with them can be compared to dealing with Hitler.

    For example, I might say that the idea that power corrupts is wrong. Power is just a tool, like a hammer, which can be used to build or destroy. Power didn't corrupt Adolf Hitler. He sought power because he was corrupted when conceived in his mother's womb.

    You see? I didn't need to explain who Hitler was or what he did. I could focus on making my point about power.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    14,050
    Ratings:
    +7,259
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    You don't think that would detract from the point you're making about power? Besides, you did explain who Hitler was, albeit more in the form of a caricature than a serious historical claim. But does that constitute a valid argument in explaining the nature of power or the human condition related to it?
     
  4. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    9,697
    Ratings:
    +5,290
    The same reasons make comparison to anything, really. Sometimes it's because there's actual apt similarities between the two that indicate shared traits, ideologies or attitudes; sometimes it's for the sake of hyperbole or demonization. The key is in how the comparison is used and justified. For example, somebody saying "General X's policy of arresting socialists and trade unionists bares striking resemblances to Hitler's early policies" is an apt comparison. "General X believes the wealthy should be taxed more, and this makes him no better than Hitler" is not apt.

    See above. It depends entirely on the context and justification for why the comparison is used.

    See above.

    See above.

    I have no idea. I tend to see it a lot on both sides, but I generally find it is more often to be aptly used by the left than by the right. This could be simply confirmation bias, however.

    No.

    In short: decrying comparisons to Hitler simply because they are comparisons to Hitler is kind of missing the point of comparison. The real issue is to evaluate the comparison on its own merits, evaluate why it is made, and assess each individual case of comparison.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    15,573
    Ratings:
    +7,815
    Religion:
    None
    The use of "Hitler" is essential to any good argument
    against evolution.
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
  6. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    3,642
    Ratings:
    +1,334
    Religion:
    None
    My statement isn't an argument. It contradicts the popular view that power corrupts. Using Adolf as an example allowed me to use fewer words to make my point because otherwise I would have had to describe the personality, how it came to be, and the behavior.
     
  7. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    25,140
    Ratings:
    +19,530
    Religion:
    None
    I dont think i have ever played the Hitler (or Stalin or Pol Pot or or the Mao) argument as attack. But it has often been used against me as a slight against atheism.

    It can cause consternation when the religious history history of 3 of this 4 is passed back

    Denial of evidence is so funny
     
  8. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    32,713
    Ratings:
    +19,201
    Religion:
    Atheist
    You tell me:

     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    8,524
    Ratings:
    +7,455
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    People also invoke Neville Chamberlain at the drop of a hat, I've noticed, though these are usually confined to the warmongering Right. :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    3,550
    Ratings:
    +2,865
    Religion:
    none
    I accept Godwin's Law. Whenever an interlocutor comes up with Hitler, the discussion is over and I win. The same goes for threats of hellfire ("you will know when it's too late"). It's a clear admission that that person has run out of arguments. And I think it is unethical to continue the discussion. No need to kick someone who is down (and has difficulty to deal with it).
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    170,896
    Ratings:
    +53,899
    Religion:
    Bokononism & Atheism
    Hitler is a versatile guy.
    Want to demonize a person or idea.....compare it to Hitler.
    Trump, evolution, science, atheism, Bush...those things & more have been
    Hitlerized by by people who aggressively misunderstand, & rage about it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    15,573
    Ratings:
    +7,815
    Religion:
    None
    You wanted new rules for RF?
    Enforcing Godwins Law would be a terrif plus.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    170,896
    Ratings:
    +53,899
    Religion:
    Bokononism & Atheism
    I don't think we need new rules.
    Just more honoring the spirit of the forum.
    We need to work on civility.
    The great Buckaroo Banzai said it best....
     
  14. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    29,663
    Ratings:
    +11,707
    Religion:
    Philosophical Buddhism
    Several reasons.

    Hitler was a legit threat to the free world and the fact remains that he almost won.

    One could say WW2 was the apex mother of all wars and the sober lessons of allowing a rouge country to accumulate so much military power.
     
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    16,029
    Ratings:
    +3,483
    Religion:
    Anglican...heretic
    It would not be a good idea to ever forget Hitler.

    History tends to repeat itself, and that is not an episode I wish to go through again.
    or would wish on anyone.
     
  16. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    15,573
    Ratings:
    +7,815
    Religion:
    None
    Sorry ah, it is my nature to be mean.

    How about a "dishonourable mention" at least
    from the modulators, when someone mentions
    Hitler?
     
  17. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    170,896
    Ratings:
    +53,899
    Religion:
    Bokononism & Atheism
    Try as you might, you're not all that mean.
    But I might offer lessons some day.
     
  18. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Messages:
    9,033
    Ratings:
    +1,874
    Religion:
    Christian
    The hitler card being played just makes the unknowing more comfortable with him. Using hyperbolic terms just lessens the impact of the terms, till they mean little.

    Lefties use it a lot against Conservatives, not knowing that Germany under hitler was a socialist country, one of their own.

    With civility out the door in viscious politics, poor ol' adolph just doesn't have the impact he once did, though he seems to be everywhere.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    16,029
    Ratings:
    +3,483
    Religion:
    Anglican...heretic
    It is perhaps a good thing to remind ourselves of Hitler and the Nazis from time to time.
    Their route to power and methods of control are well documented. and they still have have thier imitators, as their methods do work.
    It is a lesson and comparison that bears repeating.
     
  20. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    15,874
    Ratings:
    +6,691
    Religion:
    Atheist Libertarian
    To compare someone to Hitler has an effective shock value.
    Not necessarily. It's value in a discussion is not historical.
    Too late, or well I doubt you'd be distorting history any worse than it already is.
    Not its purpose. It brings to question the immorality of one's position in a discussion.
    I don't know. I hear it more coming from the left but that's anecdotal.
    Good name, no but effective, efficient. It drove a nation to almost conqueror western Europe.
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...