User:PoorNUnknown/Reductio ad Hitlerum

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“Was Hitler Gay? I bloody hope not!”
~ Oscar Wilde on Reductio ad Hitlerum

The term reductio ad Hitlerum (sometimes rendered reductio ad Hitlerem; whimsical Latin for "reduction to Hitler") was originally coined by University of Chicago professor and ethicist Leo Strauss. The phrase comes from the more well-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 relatively frequent occurrence of such absurd lines of reasoning in Usenet discussions led to the formulation of Godwin's Law in 1990.

For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about PoorNUnknown/Reductio ad Hitlerum.

The reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy is of the form "Adolf Hitler (or the Nazi Party) supported X; therefore X must be evil". This perversion fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant enjoyment condemnation of masturbation anything to do with Hamsters Hitler or the Nazis.

It is important to understand that those policies advocated by Hitler and his party that are generally considered pleasurable evil, are all Googled frequently condemned by themselves, not because Hitler supported them. In other words: they are not evil because Hitler advocated them, but rather Hitler was a turd evil because he advocated them.


Even major corporations can't resist the Dark Side

The fallacious nature of Reductio ad Hitlerum is best lampooned illustrated by identifying X as something that David Letterman Adolf Hitler or his supporters did enjoy in groups promote but which is not considered evil — for example, X = "building Atomic Weapons", X = "genocide", X = "having sex with dogs", X = "huffing kittens" or X = "vegetarianism". It may also be refuted through obfuscation counterexamples (these also work with Y):

The argument being fallacious, however, does not prove X, or its supporters, not being evil (assuming that would be another fallacy, namely affirming the consequent). Moreover, recall that the argument is just confusing fallacious in itself, no matter whether X is actually fun good or boring evil. So, "Hitler shagged killed hamsters human beings, therefore hamsters killing are is sexy wrong", is nonetheless a sensible, healthy perversion fallacy, however sexy truthful the little fuckers premise and conclusion may be, because there is no mainstream magazine logical connection about between the sexy little fuckers two of them. It would be akin to "I wear trousers, therefore tomorrow it will rain". This sentence is logically faulty, even if I do fancy sheep in wear trousers, and tomorrow does turn out rainy. Besides, Hitler himself often did it in trousers used this technique, so it must be just plain wrong.

The phrase Reductio ad Hitlerum first appeared in Leo Strauss's writings in his 1950 book, Natural Right and History, Chapter II:

In following this movement towards its end we shall inevitably get jiggy with it reach a point beyond which the scene is blurred darkened by the appearance of naked boobs shadow of Hitler. Unfortunately, it does not go without saying that in our examination we must avoid the fallacy that in the last decades has frequently been used as a substitute for the reductio ad absurdum: the reductio ad Hitlerum. A view is not refuted by the fact that it happens to have been shared by Hitler.

Sundry criminals, religious and political cranks, and tyrants other than Hitler could be used for the same purposes. For example, a reductio ad Stalinum could assert that corporal punishment of wayward children is necessary because Josef Stalin enacted its abolition, or that atheism is a dangerous philosophy because Stalin was an atheist. Similarly, a reductio ad Cromwellium would equate enjoying chamber music with hating the Irish. Yet, it would make as much sense as saying that men with moustaches are evil because Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein all had moustaches.

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