By Ben Pensant
‘What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence’
For those not familiar with 21st century Islamophobes, the above Christopher Hitchings quote tells you everything you need to know about neoliberalism, white male privilege, and the ridiculous idea that dishing out wild claims without proof makes you look a right tit. Hitchings was talking about religion of course, and like celebrity atheist Bill Marr was a darling of the left until he started saying nasty things about Islam as well as Christianity. Because Islam is the one faith liberals can’t criticise, despite being about as liberal as a swastika in the eye. And if any right-wingers or self-hating Muslims do criticise the Religion Of Peace they can’t complain when someone calls them a goose-stepping Nazi. Just because the Qur’an has far more in common with Mine Kampf than a hundred Sam Harrison lectures doesn’t mean trendy racists have the right to point it out.
Which is why providing evidence is such a risky venture. Modern progressivism is based on the principle that some things are true because they are, like the gender pay gap, post-Brexit hate crime, or Israel being to blame for everything from ISIS to those new plastic fivers with Zionist propaganda hidden in Churchill’s chin-cleft. And just because all of the above can be discredited in seconds doesn’t mean for one second that the contemporary left are wrong about pretty much everything.
On the contrary, we just need to prop up the narrative by ignoring demonstrable facts and shutting down as many opposing views as possible. And last year in particular saw an exciting new development as the loudest voices on the left took the unprecedented step of completely forgetting about a little thing called Godwin’s Law.
Godwin’s is the internet adage which asserts “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches”. Coined by American lawyer Mick Godwin in the early ’90s, the original intention was simple: “I wanted folks who glibly compared someone to Hitler to think a bit harder about the Holocaust”. And think about it we did. So hard that we successfully convinced ourselves 2016 was actually 1939 in disguise.
And boy, did we go for it, resurrecting Godwin’s with such force it made Metallica’s comeback look as powerful as a 5ive Star reunion. You couldn’t glance at Twitter last year without coming across an educated liberal leap-frogging classic pejoratives like ‘right-whinger!’ or ‘raaaacist!’ and going straight to ‘Nazi!’ and ‘Friend Of Eva!’. They even usurped popular demands such as ‘apologise now’ and ‘tell me your name’ as the first words to leave a proud SJW’s privileged mouth when faced with a shopkeeper or taxi-diver who refuses to do what he’s told.
But unlike ten years ago when sensible people on left and right avoided comparing politicians to Hitler unless they were literally white supremacists with a penchant for invading countries and murdering Jews, we took to it with gay abandon, branding everyone from Andy Bernum to President Pussy-Grabber Nazis for saying stuff we don’t like.
The latter, of course, regularly attracts scorn from sensible pundits, intelligent commentators and that weird bloke who used to write Father Ted. Indeed, Graham Glinnerhan has become something of a one-man anti-Trump Twitter army, fighting fascism singlehandedly by sneering at people with less followers than him. When not creepily forwarding family photos of people he lost arguments with, Graham can be found attacking people for not hating the President-elect as much as he does, such as the person who recently fell foul of him for the heinous crime of…not wanting to disrupt Trump’s inauguration.
“I guess now we know what you would have done to oppose Nazism, eh?…You’ve been tested and you failed” Graham gravely intoned, leaving no doubt as to where this longtime Venezuela fan stands on dealing with people who disagree with him, while also reminding us why this gruff-but-principled middle-aged Irishman is so good at writing spoilt, petulant man-children.
But the real beauty of this exchange – and umpteen others that Graham has on a daily basis – was the way he didn’t so much drop Godwin’s Law into a conversation but engineer a conversation that was nothing but Godwin’s Law. Liberals claiming Trump voters are racist morons are ten-a-penny but it takes balls to tell people who don’t even like Trump that they’re no better than the Gestapo for not catching a plane to Washington to risk prison and a bullet in the leg by throwing rotting eggs at the nasty orange man off the telly.
Elsewhere, the award-winning screenwriter’s yuletide meltdown continued as he unveiled plans to take on Trump and his supporters in 2017, coming on like a bookish cross between John Hinkly Jr and Jimmy Crocket. “We need to shame these shits back into their hidey holes. Visible protest will do that. We need to make racists and misogynists scared again”. Admirable sentiments, though it’s worth noting Graham isn’t talking about all racists and misogynists, as that would mean condemning Hamas, something he recently refused to do as the issue is ‘complex’. Though happily he showed no such reluctance when evaluating Nigel Farrage in the same conversation – ‘a cunt’ – a man who at the time of writing is yet to kill any Jews. (Give it time.)
Because as all leftists know, there’s nothing more ‘complex’ than condemning antisemitic murderers who imprison gays, shoot protesters, and fire rockets at civilians. Luckily, Farrage has zero complexity. And a ridiculous, mouthy Thatcherite who dislikes the EU is clearly far more racist and misogynist than an Islamist terrorist group who have a written constitution calling for the extermination of Jews worldwide. Serious, uncomfortable questions require serious, uncomfortable answers and Graham has a shitload of those. Which explains why the co-writer of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time is also one of Twitter’s most humorless, intolerant bores.
And Graham has picked his recipients well as Farrage is second only to Trump when it comes to getting hit up with Godwin’s Law. Spend five minutes in the Guardian comments sections and you’ll see posts comparing Nige to Hitler are almost as ubiquitous as ones calling Leave-voters thick racists. Indeed, the internet is so awash with disregard for Godwin’s law it’s almost like it never existed.
Because what modern leftists may lack in historical knowledge they more than make up for with heart, passion, and old-fashioned ignorance. So it frankly doesn’t matter that Trump will never invade Poland or kill 6 million Jews, just like it’s unimportant that Farrage turning Britain into a fascist state is as likely as Lily Alan covering Mike Reid’s Ukip Calypso.
Not that that stops us massively over-exaggerating his party’s power, appeal, and hunger for totalitarianism. Just before Christmas a parade of Twitter users took to the net and lambasted Farrage for pointing out that Hope Not Hate had a history of supporting extremists, a view received unfavourably by people who know bugger all about Hope Not Hate. Needless to say, within hours the calm, considered, cat-shit crackers responses sent the International Godwin’s Detector off the scale.
“UKIP are the Nazis of 2016!” cried one, despite UKIP ending the year having neither seized power nor built a concentration camp. However, such stark differences between UKIP and the Nazis are easily explained, as this Tweeter did with consummate skill by reminding us it was only after seizing power that the Nazis started murdering Jews. The point being that Farrage and his boys aren’t finished by a long chalk yet.
“Fascists don’t arrive with gas chambers and genocide but with populist hate-filled xenophobic rhetoric” weighed in another. Though in this case they appear to have arrived in the form of a gobby City wanker with as much chance of winning a general election as he does of convincing the British military not to shoot his face off if he tries to overthrow the government.
But common sense be damned, these budding historians are so committed to fear mongering they’ve convinced themselves it’s only a matter of time before Nigel Farrage is anointed Supreme Leader. And they’ve reached this conclusion because he doesn’t like the EU, says the odd nasty thing about immigrants, and once posed for a photo in which the positioning of the microphone made him look like he had a Hitler ‘tache.
Naturally, the exact point in the future when Farage and co reveal their true national socialist colours is as vague as the explanation for how on earth a party with one seat will go from handing out poorly worded flyers to murdering millions and starting world war three. But the illogical beauty of Godwin’s is the way the mere mention of Nazism still has the power to enchant idiots so hypnotically that they’ll believe anything from “Hitler invented Zionism!” to “Eva Braun Was A Man!” without a second’s hesitation.
Such is the enduring appeal of the real N-word and its equally hysterical variations. All of which came thick and fast in 2016, from Polly Toungebee talking of Brexit-voting Labour strongholds where “white supremacy won the day” to Chelsea Handler calling UKIP “England’s version of the KKK”. To be fair, as Polly owns several homes across Europe she no doubt defines ‘white supremacy’ as ‘not having a brown-skinned au pair’. And if Chelsea doesn’t have the time to do any actual research on UKIP it’s probably because she’s been far too busy paying her plastic surgeon to turn her into Rennie Zellwegger’s bitter older sister.
Thankfully, the potential for trivialising the history of authoritarian regimes is low, as most SJWs know as much about the history of authoritarian regimes as Trump knows about clovergenders. And no, clovergenders aren’t 300ft rancor-fish-things wrongly assigned ‘human’ at birth. If you must know, they’re nonces who identify as children. Grow up.
But the biggest beneficiary of the resurgence of Godwin’s Law is professional gobshite Milo Yiannapoulopolopolis, whose recent book deal inspired the most self-righteous wave of moral outrage since Sam Smith got his Oscar history mixed up, causing Justin Lance Black to totally lose his shit and accuse the singer of hitting on his son Tom Daily.
Two of the publishers’ biggest critics were The Independent’s Sonny Hundal and queen of Channel 5 clip shows, Emma Kenney, both of whom took to Twitter to label Milo a Neo-Nazi while failing to provide any evidence whatsoever that the homsexual libertarian Jew is a Neo-Nazi.
Revelling in their flat-out refusal to entertain the concept of proof, Sonny went on to compare Milo to Islamist jail-bird Angela Choudary. And with good reason because criticising Islam, supporting Trump, and taking the piss out of feminists is exactly the same as supporting far-right terrorists who rape children and throw gay men off tower-blocks.
Going one step further, Gemma proceeded to block anyone who asked her for proof of Milo’s white supremacy. At the time of writing, neither Sonny nor Emma have been forthcoming with that elusive evidence, but needless to say they’ve both carried on repeating the accusation ad nauseam, insulting/ignoring/blocking anyone who requests proof and generally doing Godwin’s Law proud by behaving like fascistic warmongers with a genocidal belief in their own purity.
Hmm. Sound like anyone we know?