Godwin’s Law

May 3rd, 2007 by Potato

I’ve always liked Neville Chamberlain references, myself, as they tend to skirt the issues of Nazis and the holocaust just enough to make a point without completely destroying the discussion — that is, without falling prey to Godwin’s Law. That doesn’t seem to be the case lately, as a reference by Elizabeth May has sparked some crazy, out-of-proportion controversy over the whole thing. Admittedly, I’m a little biased: I like Elizabeth May, and there are very few subjects that I consider too sacred to be the used as figures of speech or hyperbole. In fact, I find the insane over-reaction by other groups far worse (“deplorable comment” — come on, it may have been slightly out of context or exaggerated, but deplorable or horrific?).

So, I really liked the twin articles that appeared in Maclean’s about how people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I’m not too surprised that some people blew it out of proportion and got all enraged over the comparison — in particular the Cons, since they were the target of the remarks, and also because they’re just generally angry people who get enraged at pretty much anything that isn’t a broken promise or pollution (they seem surprisingly comfortable with broken promises and pollution). I am surprised at how quickly other people jumped on the bandwagon to condemn her. This is something that really troubles me in politics. I mean, Jack Layton and Stephan Dion probably aren’t actually outraged and horrified by the comparison, and if you had asked them right after she made her speech, they probably wouldn’t have noticed. But because someone else is outraged, they suddenly became outraged too — again, not likely because now it was pointed out to them and they became horrified after perceiving it, but simply because they didn’t want to risk offending someone by not being outraged. It troubles me because they’re up there pretending to care about this — and I’m pretty sure most of us know this is all an act and they’re not really all that outraged by her choice of words (though if they are so sensitive to word choice, that’s a whole other area of concern). But they’ll scream and yell for her to take it back all the same — and I’m pretty sure the people that do care and were upset probably still see through their act and aren’t moved by the sympathy.

So when they pretend to care about everything, can we really trust them to care about anything?

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