Lord Monckton, the Nazis and Godwin's Law

28 Jun 2011, 00:05

As a citizen of the world wide web, the Sceptic Tank has long-accepted Godwin's Law and its assertion that "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 [100%]".

But now we have identified a new real-world variety of the law, dreamt up in 1990 by US lawyer Mike Godwin. Namely, as self-styled political guru, scientific genius and all-round Renaissance Man Lord Monckton's speeches grow longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

The man who consistently does more damage to the cause of climate sceptics than all the world's peer-reviewed scientific papers put together decided this weekend to label Australia's chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, a Fascist.

Delivering a presentation at a conference in Los Angeles, Lord Monckton stood before a projection of a swastika and a quote from Garnaut arguing that "the outsider to climate science has no rational choice but to accept that, on the balance of probabilities, the mainstream science is right in pointing to high risks from unmitigated climate change".

"That's a Fascist point of view – that you merely accept authority without question," Monckton told the audience, before reportedly adding, "Heil Hitler, on we go".

The ever-retiring Lord subsequently apologised, telling The Telegraph that he has written to Garnaut to "apologise humbly".

Unsurprisingly, apologising for calling someone a Fascist tends not to undo the fact that you called them a Fascist in the first place, particularly when you have gone to the trouble of cutting and pasting one of their quotes and putting it next to some swastika clipart.

"I think Nazism and symbols of Nazism are deadly serious," responded Garnaut, as Liberal leader Tony Abbott faced repeated calls for him to cancel an appearance at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) conference in Perth next week where Lord Monckton is scheduled to speak, and Australian academics called for one of Monckton's planned lectures to be cancelled.

Following his well-publicised 2009 run in with some young people who had disrupted one of his meetings, during which he accused them of being akin to the Hitler Youth, it appears the world's favourite climate sceptic is making something of a habit of likening his critics to Nazis.

The Sceptic Tank would like to take this opportunity to note that the well-known coda to Godwin's Law is the assertion that whoever mentions the Nazis first during a debate has inevitably lost the argument.

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