Saturday, May 28, 2005

Analogy Mongering, Mein Herr

Matt Yglesias uses Nazi analogies to say we shouldn’t use Nazi analogies.

Kevin Drum and Jonathan Chait both think we should be more tolerant of Nazi analogies as long as they’re used “not to make a moral comparison but to establish a logical principle.” Fair enough, I guess. But the thing of it is that an awful lot of Nazi analogies really are being used to try to make wildly overblown moral comparisons. The strict “no Nazis” rule is like our rhetorical Sudetenland — the case for not giving it up to the pro-Nazis isn’t especially strong, but without its sturdy mountains to protect us, we’re at risk of being totally overrun.

Drum and Chait are basically good and decent folks, along the lines of Neville Chamberlain, but if they think we can concede the occasional logical analogy to the Nazi-mongers of the world and that will sate their appetite for rhetorical overkill, they’re dead wrong. We need to draw a line in the sand.

I’ll heil that.