[Godwinian nazi ontology popcorn]

So popcorn consumption continues but a bit one sided. Over at Vox Day’s house the Trump triumphalism (trumphalism?) continues, only disturbed by the meltdown at Brietbart.

Meanwhile at Accordin to Hoyt, Kate Paulk has a guest post lamenting Godwin’s Law:

If I could eliminate one thing about the Internet, it would be Godwin’s law. Why? It’s made it next to impossible to make actual comparisons about what is probably the best documented instance of the rise of a populist dictator. The instant the magic words come out, any semblance of rational discussion gets defenestrated and the next thing you know people are shouting past each other and the whole thing dies. http://accordingtohoyt.com/2016/03/16/down-with-godwin-kate-paulk/

While I have some sympathy, after all sometimes an analogy to the Nazis is apt in discussion, the internet does tend to overwrought and poorly thought through comparisons with nazis.

Kate Paulk has, herself, made some rather silly nazi comparisons herself. For example:

It’s a shame this year’s hosts showed all the restraint of a Nazi rally along with the morals of a Soviet show trial and the taste and discernment of a cat in heat. And I’m not talking about the votes. http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/08/27/yet-another-post-hugo-post/

and later in the same post…

And what’s even sadder is this pathetic collection of power-hungry little Hitlers have destroyed what was once a genuinely respected award. Whether it can be resurrected by the Campaign to End Puppy-Related Sadness or not, I consider the cause to be worthy.

And then again in a later post:

And yet, when I pointed out that our dear anti-Puppy friends were behaving like the Nazis did, complete with examples and quotes, I was horrible, just absolutely horrible. http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/11/12/of-the-evil-of-puppies/

Referring back to the other post. In both cases the nazis were brought out for comparison because people cheered when No Award won at the Hugo ceremony.

Godwin’s law as a kind of internet community rule in preventing discussions becoming derailed by silly comparisons like those, is a valuable bit of social pressure. In this latest post from Paulk, the problem with having made silly Nazi-comparisons in the post becomes clearer. She now wants to address the real issue of the rise of Donald Trump and wants to bring out the N word.

She is a bit more circumspect and doesn’t mention Vox Day as an example but the thrust of the message is clear and not completely off the wall: Trump and his supporters are not unlike the Nazis (she also makes some comparisons with Sanders).

Going back in time, when the shoe was on the other foot Kate Paulk had different views about other people making comparisons with Nazis:

 For starters, the Evil Legion of Evil is not Nazi, neo or otherwise. As if we’d associate ourselves with those losers. Seriously, how can an Evil organization expect to be taken seriously if it models itself after a political ideology that started by kicking out some of the most competent people in the country, and went on to our world’s version of “Never start a land war in Asia”, invading Russia. http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/06/11/attack-of-the-infinite-stupid/

The Evil Legion of Evil includes Vox Day of course and the quote she wasn’t getting offended about referred to the Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies as being neo-Nazis and not the Sad Puppies.

Now, because of the Trump ascendancy within the GOP, comparison of Trump supporters (and in particular Vox Day) are becoming more common among Sad Puppy places. Of course, in their defense, things have changed and it is a virtue not a vice to change ones mind in the light of new evidence. However, it is worth considering whether there is any new information.

Yes the rise of Donald Trump is scary and unprecedented but:

  1. Vox Day’s views haven’t changed and he wasn’t making any secret of his extreme racial ideology last year or the year before. His contempt for *conservatives* has arguably become clearer but given his views it is hardly unexpected.
  2. Vox Day’s views are MORE ideologically extreme than what we know of Trump’s views. Yes, Trump is scarier because he may gain actual political power but in terms of ideology, Vox’s positions are unabashed claims of racial superiority.

Yet, it is only now that various Sad Puppies begin to see Vox as beyond the pale. There was a term during the post-war Red Scares in the US that a suspected communist sympathizer was ‘prematurely anti-fascist’ i.e. was opposed to fascism too vocally and too early when apparently respectable people were still acting like it was just a tad vulgar. It would seem that those of us pointing out how appalling Vox Day’s views are were prematurely anti-Vox…

 

 

 

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11 comments

  1. Archbishop Laudanum

    Ha! Good catch. Hoisted her on her own petard. For people in a creative field, they sure do have a limited reach for historical analogues. Why oh why must it always come down to being called Nazis? Won’t anyone think of the poor Falangists? Or les pauvres Gaullists? Carlists?

    I will now attempt to be creative by characterizing the terrible Trump and various rightists via the genre of Disney characters.
    ___________

    Larry is Gaston (‘cause of the manly man-ness and weapons)

    Brad T can be Cruella de Ville (gathering puppies; so named because he seems threatened by nonconforming gender definitions and this thought amuses me)

    Dave F is Captain Hook. Kind of childish and very quick to anger, but ultimately more of an amiable comic foil with probably decent intentions.

    Kate and Sarah are the fairy godmothers Flora and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty, trying to rein things back in, casting spells, and believing themselves to have the Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue.

    Vox is revealed in the Pastoral Symphony from Fantasia. Vox Bunny, Milo, Mike C et al. are the centaurs and centaurettes dancing around like the Greco-Romans they want to be. Vox/Zeus appears and creates a storm, urging the evil legion of evil Vulcans to hurl lightning bolts for him. They like to break things and make people mad but ultimately are as tiresome as they are inconsequential.

    Donald Trump is Scrooge McDuck: orange-billed face and weird ruffled hair feathers, a greedy miser, not able to withstand taking advantage of people who are at his mercy. He reoccurs periodically on the great screen of history, esp indulging in racist exploits/tropes, making and losing fortunes by exploiting workers and skirting the law, but ultimately also is tiresome and inconsequential. This character is pitiable and reflects the worst impulses of our nature.

    I recognize that Trump is currently a newsworthy terrible person. He’s relevant in my opinion, not for himself or any possibility that he will be president (the Establishment is not going to let it happen) but because of the grotesque tear he has ripped in the social fabric that has revealed just how much anger and hatred and racism is out there and how much some people want an nasty authority to follow. The followers are more terrifying than he is; they are the townspeople from Beauty and the Beast.

    In my opinion, Trump is a mere carnivalesque distraction. The real villain is the austerity-worshipping, banking and militaristic, neoliberal capitalist Establishment order that mutates and persists and continues to oppress. Framed as a Disney character, the real threat facing us not Scrooge McDuck but rather Chernabog, the huge midnight devil in Fantasia because we all permanently reside on Bald Mountain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Archbishop Laudanum

    PS — sorry so long, won’t happen again. I realise that it’s your blog, not mine! * wanders off, whistling Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah *

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  3. Archbishop Laudanum

    Thank you for not calling me a parasite.

    Have a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine and bluebirds headin’ your way. 🙂

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  4. Mark

    Isn’t Paulk getting Godwin’s Law wrong here? The original version was simply an observation that the process she describes of “The instant the magic words come out, any semblance of rational discussion gets defenestrated” exists and is more likely the longer an argument goes on for. The interpretation of “say Nazi and you lose” came much later.

    Her argument is rather vague. If I was feeling mischievous I could interpret it as a plea to be _allowed_ to call people Nazis.

    I wonder what the ur-Godwin in this kerfluffle is? It probably happened about 5 secs after VD hove in to view.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lurkertype

    A very good point indeed, though going along with the general Puppy ethos of “for me, not for thee”.

    Anyway, there’s always Mussolini for a comparison, even if Hitler’s closer and better-known. Who better to refer to regarding Fascism than the guy who invented the word?

    Potted bios of Il Duce ought to be making the rounds more.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. snowcrash

    “…only disturbed by the meltdown at Brietbart.”

    More than anything else, this has been my popcorn (well, arrowroot chips anyway) moment for the American election cycle thus far,

    Also, just want to point out that when Paulk said she provided “…examples and quotes”, this wasn’t examples and quotes of what those horrible Not-Puppies were saying, they were quotes by, y’know*, *actual* Nazis. So kinda unsurprising that yes, those examples sound like things Nazi’s would say.

    Regarding the Day/Hoyt schism, I always find it fascinating how the Puppy “we want to welcome everyone” gets constantly undermined by themselves.

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    • camestrosfelapton

      A lot of Puppy motivation (at least for SH & KP) is animosity to SFWA. So backing VD was a gesture to show how much better they are than those nasty SFWA. Conflating SFWA and the Hugos was a whole other error…

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  7. iamzenu

    I pointed this out on Scalzi’s site as well. Godwin says:

    “American history has its own flirtations with fascism and racism and militarism, and people have believed in any and all of these things, so with certain individuals it has to come up from time to time. So it’s not the case that the comparison is never valid. It’s just that, when you make the comparison, think through what you’re saying, because there’s a lot of baggage there, and if you’re going to invoke a historical period with that much baggage you better be ready to carry it. ”

    And about Trump he says:

    “First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician.”

    So if it is thoughtful Ok. But if it is Kate saying…

    “So, let’s call them for what they are. Nasty, petty, bullying socialists who would fit in just as well with the Nazis as they would with their equally murderous Communist cousins.”

    Well ……

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