Monday, January 03, 2011

Ruba's Law

Pro-Life activist Jojo Ruba wrote in a note on his facebook account:

Ruba’s Law:

If one gets into a heated discussion on-line or elsewhere and uses a Holocaust analogy to make a point, someone else will bring up “Godwin’s Law” to try and dismiss or belittle that argument, even if the link to the Holocaust is legitimate. Thus, Godwin’s Law is mentioned so as to not have to consider the validity of the analogy.

“Godwin’s Law” is a modern invention that was based on an observation by Mike Godwin in 1989. He observed that the longer a heated discussion took place on the internet, the more likely it would be that someone would compare their opponents or others to the Nazis. His hope in naming the law was to discourage inappropriate comparisons to the Nazis or to Adolph Hitler because it robbed any legitimate comparisons of meaning.

However, the law is now used to dismiss any analogy to the Holocaust, regardless of how appropriate the comparison. Often, the person citing Godwin’s Law never judges the merit of the argument or the comparison and uses the Law to not have to think about the claims made, simply assuming that the comparison is illegitimate. The only reason why the claims are considered illegitimate then is because others make Holocaust comparisons without merit or rationale.

Thus, when Godwin’s Law is invoked, Ruba’s Law can be invoked in response, to point out that citing Godwin’s Law does not actually refute the claims of those making the Holocaust comparison. Rather, it has simply become an excuse to not have to think about the comparison and to delegitimize the person making the comparison.