Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Krause's Adjunct to Godwin's Law

One of my favorite truisms is what's known as "Godwin's Law".  It holds that the longer an on-line discussion continues, the greater the probability of comparisons of the subject matter to Naziism or Hitler.  I've seen discussions on topics like gun control, mandatory health insurance and even zoning code enforcement all devolve into what participants believe were the policies of German National Socialists in the 1930's and '40's.

Today, I'd like to propose an amendment to Godwin's Law--call it "Krause's Adjunct"--which theorizes that the longer any discussion about racial issues goes, the greater the probability of comparisons to slavery and the Jim Crow South.

Our latest example of "Krause's Adjunct" comes from Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore--who on Monday during a conference call with reporters to bash Governor Scott Walker's presidential campaign swing through the South--said Walker's policies are "literally tightening the noose" around African-Americans.  It's always hard to tell exactly what Congresswoman Moore is talking about, but I believe this was said in the context of Walker's support of "3 strikes and you are out legislation" for multiple offense felons--which Moore blames (not the actual committing of the crimes) for the high rate of African-American incarceration in Wisconsin.

How exactly this equates to the lynching of blacks in the South during the era of Segregation I'm not sure.  Those who were lynched usually did not receive a trial or to have police and prosecutors present evidence against them that a defense attorney could challenge or refute.  And many of those killed by the "angry mob" weren't even first time offenders--much less those convicted of a third serious crime.  But to Congresswoman Gwen Moore, the process is the same.

And Moore didn't even give herself an out on her comments because she used (and stressed) the word "literally".  English majors would tell you that would mean Scott Walker was engaged in the physical act of placing a rope around the necks of African-Americans and strangling them.  While Walker's most hated opponents might wish there was video footage of that, I doubt anyone is ever going to witness it happening.

"Krause's Adjunct to Godwin's Law" doesn't even have to apply to conversations about the topic of race.  Given the recent actions of Black Lives Matter protesters, it could also include Bernie Sanders campaign rallies or local Police and Fire Commission meetings.

I saw on Twitter last night a great post from a political pundit: "Here is the list of things that it is okay to compare to slavery: 1--Slavery  That's it, that's the list"  Someone should literally send that to Congresswoman Gwen Moore. 

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