Sunday, July 01, 2007

Godwin's Law and the Journal Sentinel

Today's Crossroads section includes a column by Nancy Bauer-King. The column--largely about how the columnist's husband pitched a fit when, in buying a new car, he was required by the Patriot Act to provide his Social Security number--included this gratuitous little paragraph near the end:

In a magazine article titled "Fascism Anyone?" (Free Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 2), Laurence Britt, who studied fascist regimes, lists 14 common threads. Here are a few: powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for human rights; identification of enemies as unifying cause; obsession with national security; rampant cronyism and corruption in positions of power; and religion and government intertwined.

Three points to be made here:

  • While it's not an online discussion, the corollary of Godwin's Law--which holds that whoever brings up the Nazis (or, in this case, their more generic fascist equivalents) has lost the argument--should probably apply here.
  • With the exception of the last two points--one of which applies just as well to Democrats as to Republicans, and the other of which is used/abused by the columnist to confuse religious activism with a state-sponsored church--these "common threads" are largely exaggerations of traits that are essential for a nation's survival and prosperity.

Suffice it to say that Bauer-King and I have very different opinions on that last question.


1 comment:

Dad29 said...

McIlheran observes that a CASH transaction of more than $10K must be recorded w/SSAN for IRS purposes.

It's an extension of the old Bank rules requiring notification to IRS of any CASH transactions of $10K and above.

Of course, "paying cash" is rare and the column is not specific. In 95% of the cases, what that really means is "I'm writing a check; you don't have to finance me."