"What's been lost in all this is the fact that the quest for human perfection is a Nazi ideal. And nobody exemplifies that crazed ideal more than does Coulter who hate filled rants have been excused for far too long by her allies in the extreme right."
reductio ad Hitlerum
reductio ad Hitlerem
for "reduction to Hitler"—was originally coined by University of Chicago
. The phrase comes from the better known logical argument
reductio ad absurdum
. It is a variety of association fallacy
and may also be described as argumentum ad nazium
, though some distinguish the latter as referring to Nazi actions or beliefs with reductio ad Hitlerum
being reserved for arguments involving Hitler himself. The relative frequency of such comparisons in Usenet
discussions led to the formulation of Godwin's Law
. The reductio ad Hitlerum
fallacy assumes the form of "Adolf Hitler
(or the Nazi party
) supported X
; therefore X
must be evil
/undesirable/bad, etc"; or, less commonly, "Adolf Hitler was against X
; therefore X
must be good, desirable, praiseworthy, etc." This fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant condemnation of anything to do with Hitler or the Nazis.
It is important to understand that those policies advocated by Hitler and his party which are
generally considered evil are all condemned by themselves, not because
Hitler supported them. In other words: genocide
and Aryan white supremacism
(for example) are not considered evil because Hitler advocated them, but rather Hitler is considered evil because he advocated them.
The fallacious nature of Reductio ad Hitlerum
is best illustrated by identifying X
as something that Adolf Hitler or his supporters did promote but which is not considered unethical — for example, X
= "building expressways
= "painting watercolors
= "owning dogs
. It may also be refuted through counterexamples:"
What has been lost in the effort to make no one feel bad is to replace striving for excellence with striving for meritocracy.