Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rewriting Godwin's Law

"Godwin's Law" is an observation made by attorney and author Mike Godwin, which states: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

I believe that the law needs a corollary to fit the Obama age: "In discussing any political issue the probability of anyone who disagrees with views held by the current administration being a racist is automatically 1."

Disagree with the Health Care overhaul? It's because you're racist. Disagree with the stimulus bill? You're racist. Disagree with the government take-over of the auto industry? You're a racist.

Those on the left are incapable of believing anyone could disagree with them, and they are afraid that anyone else might listen to those who disagree with them. Rather than admit disagreement can exist based on the logical, political, social, economic, or historical merits of an issue, the only possible reason anyone could have for disliking current policies or legislation is because there is a black man in the White House. They know it is a difficult charge to defend against, so they invoke it early and often to quickly drag any discussion away from the actual merits of an issue.

I am not saying there is no racism in America, nor am I saying that there aren't people who disagree with Obama solely because of race. I'm sure there is at least one person out there who would support the administration heart and soul if there just weren't a black man at its head. But people like that are the exception, not the rule.

Meanwhile, the real cases of racism in this country are being overshadowed by this pathetic excuse for a debate technique, which is in reality the same thing as wrapping up your opponent in boxing so they can't punch you with any effectiveness. It's illegal in boxing, and we should not allow it in discussion or debate.

In fact, it's time to strike back. Why do we accept the charge of racism as the end of discussion? Is this not America, where a person is innocent until proven guilty? Next time someone calls you racist you have every right to insist they offer proof. They can't, and they know it, so they will likely attempt to point out some latent racist leanings in your past or some other nonsense.

But don't accept that. Reframe the argument. Ask them if what they are really saying is that there is no other possible reason for someone to be against issue X. If they say yes then you may now accuse them of prejudice and ignorance. If they say no, ask them why they would automatically assume racism is your motivation when there is no proof that you are racist. Does that not prove that they themselves are prejudiced?

The argument is so easily turned on its head, but no one ever seems to try. One does not have to be racist to oppose the ideas of this administration. To assume one is a racist because they do is dishonest and morally bankrupt--and ultimately detrimental to the real fight against real racism.

Both sides should have a vested interest in removing this particular tactic from play as soon as possible before real damage is done.

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