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Godwin's Law and Donald Rumsfeld
, Secretary of Defense, and one of the chief architects of the Middle East debacle has said that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups “seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” and he compared them to those in the 1930’s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.
states: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
At which point, the discussion degenerates into name calling and is no longer useful.
Rumsfeld is not involved in an online discussion, but a similar principle seems to apply. Let me propose a corallary to Godwin's law: As evidence of incompetence approaches a maximum, the probability of comparing one's critics to Nazi appeasers approaches one.
Rumsfeld hopes that by calling critics appeasers, he will put them on the defensive. It's a cheap trick, but it probably won't work.
I'm not a Wal-Mart fan. As a matter of fact, I hate going to Wal-Mart. I dislike shopping there, I dislike their labor policies, the fact that they have put many smaller operations out of business, etc., etc. See Wal-MartWatch
for lots of gory details. But, this article
shows that everything has another side. In the next 12 months, Wal-Mart wants to sell every one of its regular customers--100 million in all--one compact fluorescent bulb. This will be a significant renergy use eduction if it works. It may change the way people think about energy use in a small positive way.
Fight Terrorism with Anti-Terror
Bruce Schneier always makes sense when talking about security. Today, he's making sense talking about our response the current state of fear gripping much of the western world (What the Terrorists Want
). It used to be a joke to say "if x, then the terrorists win", for example, "if I don't buy those jeans, the terrorists win. Well, the terrorists seem to be winning. What is the goal of terror, destruction? Hardly, no one can't beat the west when it comes to sheer destructive power. Rather, the goal is terror. People killed by terrorists are just so much collateral damage. The real goal is to strike fear into the rest of us. Many politicians and much of the media in the US and Britain have fallen into this trap using fear as a tactic to win electiosnsand draw attention to TV news. The recent arrest of 24 people in Britain partly achieved the terrorist goal with no action, causing a panic in the airline industry. Imagine if the recent arrests in Britain had been treated by the media as the arrest of a group of criminals (fairly poor ones, at that, it seems) rather than a major counter-terrorist operation.The result would be less panic and perhaps in the long run a more effective strategy. Bruce makes the point better than I can:
The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote security theater that wastes money and doesn't make us any safer.