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Creator of Godwin’s Law: You can totally call these guys Nazis

Chanting “White lives matter!” “You will not replace us!” and “Jews will not replace us!” several hundred white nationalists and white supremacists carrying torches marched in a parade through the University of Virginia campus on Aug. 11.
Chanting “White lives matter!” “You will not replace us!” and “Jews will not replace us!” several hundred white nationalists and white supremacists carrying torches marched in a parade through the University of Virginia campus on Aug. 11. The Washington Post

The creator of Godwin’s Law, a widely cited adage on the probability of any online argument ending in the invocation of Nazis or Hitler, on Sunday issued an exemption for neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one,” goes the most commonly cited version of Godwin’s Law, credited to Mike Godwin.

On Sunday, Godwin himself weighed in on Facebook on the applicability of his titular law to white nationalist and neo-Nazi protesters who rallied against the pending removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. It turns out that when you wave Nazi flags and give “Sieg Heil” salutes, Godwin’s Law doesn’t so much apply to you.

Godwin noted in a comment on his Facebook post that he issued the exemption in response to a private message that said, in part, “Your adage is invoked so very often to shut down discussions about politics and social issues as soon as any comparisons to Nazism and 1930’s Germany are made, but now that videos have surfaced showing the Nazi flag being waved in the Charlottesville parade… Sir, would you please make a public statement?”

Godwin’s Facebook post has been shared nearly 1,500 times and received 1,300 likes.

The Charlottesville protests turned deadly Saturday when a self-avowed white nationalist plowed a car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring nearly a score of others. Two state troopers also died Saturday when their helicopter crashed en route to the protests.

What started as a white nationalist protest centered on a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia exploded into violence between protesters and counterprotesters that has left one dead and many injured.

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