No Sense

February 3, 2007

T.A. Frank, posting at The Washington Monthly:

No Shame: So I visit a rundown zoo and see hyenas in miserable cages, lions in miserable cages, and antelopes in miserable cages. I’m disgusted by their conditions, so I attack the zookeepers and set the animals free. The lions eat the antelopes, the hyenas eat the antelopes (and sometimes the lions, too), and the antelopes run for shelter. Should I feel bad for not having minded my own business? No way, says Charles Krauthammer. Hey, who knew that lions liked to eat antelopes? "We midwifed their freedom. They chose civil war."

Frank is getting hammered in the comments, and deservedly so, regardless of what you think of Krauthammer’s argument. This is a prime example of how not to use an analogy. Krauthammer argues that after Saddam was overthrown, the Iraqi people had a choice and chose civil war. Frank’s analogy removes the possibility of choice by conceiving of the Iraqi people as animals who are not responsible for their actions. It’s not only a flawed argument, but a deeply offensive one as well. Frank is the one who should be ashamed.


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