Godwin\'s Law of the Land

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Such is the amusing and sadly true Godwin's Law, which has its roots in the Internet community. But this 'law' can be applied in far more instances than on message boards and chat rooms.

Socialist billionnaire and apparent sore loser Ted Turner yesterday compared the popularity of Fox News to the popularity of Adolf Hitler prior to WWII. And a few weeks earlier, the creator of Gilmore Girls – a television program competing with American Idol on a different network - also played the Swastika card. Amy Sherman-Palladino compared the success of American Idol to “Nazis marching through Poland”.

So it appears that when you are being defeated by a rival in the marketplace, might as well compare your competitor with National Sociali… er, "Nazis." If you're popular and accumulating wealth, you simply must be doing something hideous resembling 1939 Berlin. Business success is Hitleresque.

Speaking of Ted Turner, he once stated that he'd "rather use (wealth) for the benefit of mankind rather than spend it selfishly." In the Turner-Fonda economic universe, if you indulge and buy a yacht for personal use, I suppose you aren't contributing to the livelihoods of all those who earn a living designing, producing, building, marketing, and selling yachts.

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>>In the Turner-Fonda

>>In the Turner-Fonda economic universe, if you indulge and buy a yacht for personal use, I suppose you aren’t contributing to the livelihoods of all those who earn a living designing, producing, building, marketing, and selling yachts.

This is a subtle example of the broken-window fallacy. By this reasoning, billionaires can contribute to the livelihood of producers by smashing all of their own stuff and then re-buying it again and again until they run out of money.

Wasting resources on yachts, hookers, and blow is bad for humanity, but it's not nearly as bad as trying to stop people from wasting resources on yachts, hookers, and blow.

>>In the Turner-Fonda

>>In the Turner-Fonda economic universe, if you indulge and buy a yacht for personal use, I suppose you aren’t contributing to the livelihoods of all those who earn a living designing, producing, building, marketing, and selling yachts.

"This is a subtle example of the broken-window fallacy. By this reasoning, billionaires can contribute to the livelihood of producers by smashing all of their own stuff and then re-buying it again and again until they run out of money."

Is it? Doug is not saying that the world is better off because of spending on one's self, only that there are benefits to selfish spending, as there are to charitable spending. Yes, if you spend money on charity some people will be better off. But if you spend money on selfish things, other people will be better off.

"Wasting resources on yachts, hookers, and blow is bad for humanity..."

How so? Some people like yachts, some people like hookers, and some people like blow.

this would be a pretty

this would be a pretty boring world without hookers and blow.:lipssealed:

Regarding my final

Regarding my final paragraph...

Reading the passage in the link, I had found it amusing that Turner – taking a holier-than-thou approach – would specifically call out someone and criticize him (and imply his being "selfish") for buying a yacht. As if no one else benefited from the yacht sale besides the buyer fulfilling his boating pleasures.

Turner then spoke of donating to the United Nations instead, supposedly a more worthy investment. :roll:

Not that it would make these

Not that it would make these situations much better, but I sure would appreciate referencing other tyrants of modern history besides our whipping boy Adolph. Using his name to invoke moral outrage is getting very, very old. Turner's got a useful bully pulpit; how about mentioning the other socialist/fascist/authoritarian bastards to stir the imagination and research of the curious?

Clearly spending money on

Clearly spending money on hookers and blow is more worthwhile than the UN. Come to think of it, hookers and blow are better uses of money than most (all?) government programs.

>>How so? Some people like yachts, some people like hookers, and some people like blow.

Mainly in the sense that there exist more efficient boats, better women, and better drugs. It's like Hugh Grant and the prostitute: prostitution shouldn't be illegal, and Hugh shouldn't have been forcibly restrained (at least by the cops), but that doesn't mean Hugh wasn't a total dumbass.

If im not mistaken the idea

If im not mistaken the idea that buying yachts, blow, and all sorts of other gadgets doesn't fit into the broken window fallacy at all. If this were so then all human development and production would be a broken window fallacy. Every time you buy a yacht or some other such gadget you contibute to an increase in overall wealth, yes/no? Smashing all tghey yachts and then paying to have them rebuilt, now that would be very much broken window, again, yes/no?

"If im not mistaken the idea

"If im not mistaken the idea that buying yachts, blow, and all sorts of other gadgets doesn’t fit into the broken window fallacy at all. If this were so then all human development and production would be a broken window fallacy. Every time you buy a yacht or some other such gadget you contibute to an increase in overall wealth, yes/no? Smashing all tghey yachts and then paying to have them rebuilt, now that would be very much broken window, again, yes/no? "

No, Ted Turner already created the wealth in the first place (Assuming he didn't use too much government intervention, I'm not sure about broadcasting/Turner's career). His demand for goods doesn't really create or destroy wealth. But how he spends his wealth will redistributes wealth in certain ways. Usually, his spending it will involved bidding away resources from other people, regardless of what he gets. If he buys a yacht, the people who make and sell yachts prosper, while people who want to buy one or use the materials and labor that are involved in building a yacht have to pay a higher price. If he does nothing with the money, the general price level might be slightly lower than otherwise.

If he donates it to charity, then those people are better off. Although value is subjective, from my point of view he probably would be helping more people by donating to charity (I don't consider the UN as a charity) which helped the unfortunate - esp if it trained them to get jobs rather than just providing them with food, shelter and medication.

I'm afraid I must disagree

I'm afraid I must disagree with you on your analysis of yacht buying; The yacht-makers are creating wealth by converting various natural resources and energy into a warm comfy boat. Yes, in the narrowest inerpertation, the transfer of money for a yacht does not in and of itself create the wealth. But, by creating a demand for yachts and encouraging entrepeneurs to make yachts, Ted's purchase closes out an act of wealth creation.

It is also not accurate to say that Ted's purchase drives up the cost of yacht purchasing. Certainly, when demand for a product outstrips supply, sellers can raise their prices until they have reduced the demand to about what they can service. However, in practice, an increase in prices usually attracts other would-be entrepeneurs who want to get a piece of the action. They and the manufacturers who decide to expand production as a means of increasing their profits increase the number of yachts (existing and potential) that are available for purchase, providing the downward pressure on prices that makes yachts more affordable. Thus any increase in prices should be temporary (if there are no barriers for expanding manufacturing capacity).

Let us contrast this to him giving the money away to the "needy." Essentially, the recipients have not created wealth. One could argue that in puchasing other goods and services like food, shelter etc. They similarly encourage the creation of wealth and one would be correct. Given that the yacht builders who would similarly use what had been Ted's money to purchase goods and services that they desired, it becomes clear that buy buying soemthing rather than giving the money away, Ted is actually encouraging more wealth creation and that everyone one the whole is better off.

Of course, I am not advocating the elimination of charitable giving. Ted's money is Ted's to do with as he wishes. If he values the pleasure he gets from giving his money away to less wealthy people more than he values a yacht, I certainly wouldn't want to prevent him from making himself happy.

Godwin's law is useful in

Godwin's law is useful in that it points out the logical fallacy of hyperbole, or perhaps slipery slope reasoning. One is either suggesting that something is equivalent to the Holocaust or that it will inevitably lead to the same thing, and hoping to silence his opponent as a result. People usually invoke Nazi Germany when trying to cut short an argument they are losing. After all, very few things compare to the Holocaust in any way. But, that said, it is equally illigitimate to dismiss an argument simply because in contains some reference to the National Socialist era. The fact is, the Holocaust occured, and along the way many small, rather mundane steps were taken. If I were to point out that I saw a conductor whose style resembled Furtwangler's, would the observation automatically be disqualified because his career spaned the National Socialist era in Germany? One must not make the mistake of considering everything about this era absolutely incomperable in every possible way to anything that has, or will, ever occur before or after. I can imagine someone saying, "Foul! You made reference to the Holocaust when you spoke of genocide in Rwanda. It is forbidden that anyone ever mention that subject. Therefore, you automatically lose the debate. Rwandan genocide must be a good thing, after all!"

:behead::behead:Only someone

:behead::behead:Only someone as twisted as Herr Gobbels would think to use Nazism and Hitler in a post to prevent being compared to Hitler.

(Doing my part to keep the probability close to 1)