Keen meets Godwin

Andrew Keene is the author of The Cult of the Amateur and someone who is convinced that Web 2.0 is leading to the end of civilization as we know it.

(Mike) Godwin’s Law: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Keene’s recent article in The Daily Beast:

Imagine if today’s radically unregulated Internet, with its absence of fact checkers and editorial gatekeepers, had existed back then. Imagine that universal broadband had been available to enable the unemployed to read the latest conspiracy theories about the Great Crash on the blogosphere. Imagine the FDR-baiting, Hitler-loving Father Charles Coughlin, equipped with his “personalized” YouTube channel, able, at a click of a button, to distribute his racist message to the suffering masses. Or imagine a marketing genius like the Nazi chief propagandist Josef Goebbels managing a viral social network of anti-Semites which could coordinate local meet-ups to assault Jews and Communists.

Mr. Keen, please, please go away your arguments have officially lost any merit due to Reductio ad Hitlerum.

2 Replies to “Keen meets Godwin”

  1. Keen is pretty skeptical, even of his own ideas.

    Actually, why is this still so far out? I don’t consider it an argument against the internet or web 2.0 technologies, but rather an interesting mind-experiment.

    I am not sure why everyone thinks we are so immune to the kind of thing that happened in Germany in the 1930s… It obviously would not be 1:1, but can we be so confident? Frogs being boiled in kettles comes to mind.


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