March 22, 2016

"The other way to neutralize a bad analogy is with an equally bad analogy that cancels out the first one."

"For example, as of today, the Trump=Hitler analogy is partly neutralized by Belgium=USA-with-porous-borders."

(That's Scott Adams, and his first idea for canceling the Trump=Hitler analogy is an appeal to identity, saying something like "We’re Americans, and the instinct for freedom is in your DNA. Have some confidence in our constitution and in our people that a dictatorship can never happen on our shores.")

70 comments:

Mr Wibble said...

Have some confidence in our constitution and in our people that a dictatorship can never happen on our shores.

I would, except that the left for the past century has demonstrated an unhealthy desire to bring a dictatorship to the US.

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse "hearts" Scott Adams. Hey, at least Mr. Dilbert is better than the New Yorker and NYTimes:)

Here's some better reasoning, I would submit:

1. The Hitler=Trump analogy is false and disgusting. Hitler murdered millions and invaded countries; Trump is sometimes loud and says mean things.

2. Anyone who makes the Hitler=Trump analogy is spreading lies and hatred.

3. The good, decent, citizens of our country, like Althouse and Adams, should vigorously challenge and ostracize anyone in doing 2.

Nonapod said...

Using unrelated nonsense to counteract nonsense? Isn't that kind of like the Johnny Cochran theory of defense?

Gahrie said...

Have some confidence in our constitution and in our people that a dictatorship can never happen on our shores.

I do...or Wilson or FDR would have already imposed one.

One of the reasons is the Second Amendment...which is precisely why it was included....

Meade said...

"the instinct for freedom is in your DNA"

Yeah, in your Nordic/Teutonic DNA, some even might say.

Gahrie said...

The Hitler=Trump analogy is false and disgusting. Hitler murdered millions and invaded countries; Trump is sometimes loud and says mean things.

If you restrict the analogy to political campaigning, which many sloppily neglect to do...

The comparison is rather apt.

No Trump hasn't killed millions, invaded countries etc.....but in 1932, Hitler hadn't either. in fact, Hitler was the darling of the Western Left.

cubanbob said...

All of this nonsense equating Trump to Hitler when the more realistic equating would be Hillary Clinton (if left to her devices) would equal Joseph Stalin.

Ann Althouse said...

"Here's some better reasoning, I would submit..."

Go to the link to see what Adams has to say about reasoning.

He's not competing at the reason level, so it's unreasonable to think you are out reasoning him. He's way past that.

The fact that it's a bad analogy is already understood. Explaining why it's a bad analogy is a distraction.

But your point isn't really about reasoning. You're just saying people should shun those who compare Trump to Hitler. Those people are also calling for shunning. So it's a game of who can encourage more shunning. Think that is more effective than the moves Adams is suggesting?

Gahrie said...

Stalin was competent.

jr565 said...

i don't put much stock in the Trump as Hitler analogy considering reagan was Hitler. And Bush was hitler. And Ted Cruz would be called hitler if he was winning and not Trump. Consider who is making the argument. They always make the same argument. they can't ALL be Hitler can they?

gerry said...

Stalin was competent.

Such competence is terrifying (and, indeed, was).

Meade said...

I shun anyone who professes any kind of "purity of race" theory.

glenn said...

Some people are fit to live in a Republic. Some aren't, and neither condition is permanent.

jr565 said...

"We’re Americans, and the instinct for freedom is in your DNA. Have some confidence in our constitution and in our people that a dictatorship can never happen on our shores."

But the left doesnt think that. The whole basis for their existence is to criticize this country as racist, sexist, homophobic, and imperialistic. Do you really think people who would be so critical of the US think somehow a dictatorship could never happen on our shores? They only have confidence in the institutions if we change them to their brand of utopia, or if their guy is in power. And even when he is the colleges are still hotbeds of rape. And all the cops are shooting people for walking around while black. Identity politics negates this idea of shared identity that Scott thinks we have. He might have it, because he thinks America is a great place. But he is jsut a white heterosexual man of privilege who is mansplaining.

rcocean said...

Anybody who calls Trump "Hitler" is a moron. And a Liar.

mccullough said...

The American approach is a modified FDR, not the approach of Franco, Mussolini, or Hitler. There are currently 40,000 Americans (citizens and legal immigrants) listed in the TSDB ("the terror watchlist). The vast majority are Muslim. Of these, 6,400 Americans are on the sublist known as the "no-fly list."

In order to be included on the terror watch list, the executive branch unilaterally decides who to put on the list, which is anyone the executive branch has "reasonable suspicion" to believe is suspected of being involved in "terrorist activity" (financing, voicing support for terrorists, etc.). Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, which is required to get a warrant to search someone's house or tap their phone or monitor their electronic communications.

The terror watch list grew 10 fold after the failed Detroit underwear bombing flight attempt on Christmas 2009.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Scott Adams is the Penelope Trunk of political punditry.

Gahrie said...

Such competence is terrifying

I was making the point that at least Hillary isn't competent.......evil, corrupt, venal, ignorant and a megalomaniac...yes. Competent? Nope.

traditionalguy said...

Ok. But can we do Trump = Napoleon? The dude even wants to renegotiate the German position in Europe and the Japanese position in Asia. Talk about thinking big.

The retreating Trump hater Lying Ted this morning totally dissembled about Trump abandoning NATO in the hour of its need. What a complete total lying Jerk.

Qwinn said...

Cubans circa 1958 were also quite certain it could never happen there.

Meade said...

Adolf Donald Hitler Trump

Nyamujal said...
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Qwinn said...

To be more specific, the attitude of Cubans in 1958 was "We don't like Batista, this other guy says the right things (including that he wants to be friends with the US), let's support him, if he turns out to suck, we'll just replace him too!"

Sebastian said...

"He's way past that." That's one way to put it.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Gahrie

If you restrict the analogy to political campaigning, which many sloppily neglect to do...

The comparison is rather apt.

No Trump hasn't killed millions, invaded countries etc.....but in 1932, Hitler hadn't either. in fact, Hitler was the darling of the Western Left.


That is a real good, but subtle point.

Yes, in 1932, Hitler had not murdered anyone (that I'm aware of) and certainly hadn't invaded any countries (yet). He was a loud mouth leader of a renegade socialist mob, yapping in the beer halls about a list of grievances a mile long......WAIT, this does sound like Trump:) (I jest)

Of course, as you note, the Left isn't doing this. They simply say, Hitler Bad, Trump Bad, therefore Trump = Hitler. But, this slanderous lie can be effective politically among low information voters to run towards Hillary, which is their objective.

Nyamujal said...

Trump isn't like Hitler, he's like Berlusconi.

Beldar said...

How about we generate some bad analysis and punditry by focusing on the political musings of a cartoonist who's in love with a con-man?

Naw. That stuff generates itself, and it's always bad.

Henry said...

If Trump is Hitler, who is Marie of Romania?

traditionalguy said...

Maybe everyone is Hitlery except for Trump. Trump is at a skill level the Austrian painter turned magician turned Fuhrer turned suicide never came close to attaining.

But then it's his followers who are being called Nazis. What the hell. A free Volkswagen is appealing. Lets kill everybody without blue eyes. Hair color can be optional red or blonde or blonde tips, but the eyes definitely must be blue. Paul Newman blue. And we can glue tips at right angles on our crosses.

tim in vermont said...

A free Volkswagen

Not "Volks" wagon, but "Volts" wagon, the new "car for the people." You can file that under "not a fascist... Nooooo!"

Jason said...

In the future, every conservative will be Hitler for fifteen minutes.

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT HITLER WAS A SOCIALIST!

Bay Area Guy said...

Professor Althouse slaps me down:

Go to the link to see what Adams has to say about reasoning.

I did. He wrote: The problem with analogies is that people use them in place of reason. . But he is wrong. There is no problem with analogies; there is a problem with BAD analogies, which lead to bad reasoning.


He's not competing at the reason level, so it's unreasonable to think you are out reasoning him. He's way past that.

It is unreasonable to state that he's not competing at the reason level, so it is unreasonable to claim that it is unreasonable to think that I am outreasoning him, when in fact, I am reasonably pointing out his misuse of reason. Whew!

The fact that it's a bad analogy is already understood. Explaining why it's a bad analogy is a distraction.

Understood by whom? Smart tenured Professors, or low level, dumbass Democratic voters who need a little quasi-virtue signalling to really learn that Trump is a "bad?"

But your point isn't really about reasoning. You're just saying people should shun those who compare Trump to Hitler.

No, to the former; Yes, to the latter. I'm saying Dilbert's premise is wrong. Good analogies are important tools for good reasoning. Bad analogies beget bad reasoning. Hitler= Trump is a bad analogy promoted by Leftists, who don't care about good reasoning (means), they simply want to win elections to get more free stuff (ends).

Those people are also calling for shunning. So it's a game of who can encourage more shunning. Think that is more effective than the moves Adams is suggesting?

I don't want to shun my political opponents. I want to bludgeon bad ideas and mock those who promote them. Hitler = Trump is a bad idea. So, Yes, I think mine is a more effective approach than Dilbert's, who is dodging the question: What do we do when faced with BAD analogies that feed BAD reasoning?

That was fun!

Brando said...

Arguing whether Trump is Hitler is not worth the time--until someone talks of liquidating entire racial groups and taking dictatorial powers and expanding the national living space by invading our neighbors there's really no comparison.

Trump though is--like his pal Hillary--dangerous in power, as he exhibits a cruel streak, has contempt for the rule of law or limited government, and displays glorious ignorance about just about every issue in this presidential campaign. His dishonesty matches Hillary's as does his sense that he can do no wrong. Both of our major party choices this fall are semi-authoritarian and only their incompetence can serve as a check on their lawlessness.

But Hitler? We're pretty far off from having another Hitler. But still pretty awful.

Meade said...

Okay okay, he's not Hitler.

But what makes you so sure the Trump family ever fully assimilated into American culture?

n.n said...

Hitler=socialist="final solution"=pro-choice=redistributive change=Obama

Nazi=racism=individual marginalization=class diversity=Clinton

Aztec=human sacrifice=abortion rites=liberal cult

Korowai=cannibalism=recycling=Planned Parenthood

And so on and so forth.

Bob Boyd said...

"But what makes you so sure the Trump family ever fully assimilated into American culture?"

He's orange.

Writ Small said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln%27s_Lyceum_address

Abraham Lincoln had this to say:

Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us?

According to Wikipedia, "Lincoln concluded that there was a need to cultivate a 'political religion' that emphasizes 'reverence for the laws' and puts reliance on 'reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason."

We should not test our Constitutional checks and balances against a would-be strong man. If our "political religion" and "instinct for freedom" is collectively strong enough, a man with obvious undemocratic tendencies should not get near the presidency. That many people, Republicans no less, set aside the warnings of Lincoln with appeals to group-based resentment politics is a sad betrayal.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Meade said...But what makes you so sure the Trump family ever fully assimilated into American culture?

Other-ing a political candidate? Questioning whether someone is a "real American" or whether they're truly loyal to this country?

I remember when that type of thing was frowned upon, man. Ugly.

Meade said...

"He's orange."

Glad you didn't say banana.

pm317 said...

Actually, it is Belgium = elite liberal media and the liberal Democrats (Bern-shirts)

Bay Area Guy said...

Meade:

But what makes you so sure the Trump family ever fully assimilated into American culture?

Drumpf= Trump, heh!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... So it's a game of who can encourage more shunning. Think that is more effective than the moves Adams is suggesting?

Isn't that part of what Adams has been suggesting, though, an appeal to identity (which beats reason)? "Only ridiculous people like Leftists morons would think it's valid to compare Trump to Hitler--we're much smarter than that and don't even have to talk with THOSE people." No?

Smilin' Jack said...

Have some confidence in our constitution and in our people that a dictatorship can never happen on our shores. We’re Americans, and the instinct for freedom is in your DNA.

Yes! Why, some countries even dictate the size of the toilets and the light bulbs you can have! Thank God that could never happen here, in the Land of the Free!

HoodlumDoodlum said...
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HoodlumDoodlum said...

Nonapod said... Isn't that kind of like the Johnny Cochran theory of defense?

What was the outcome of that trial, again?

South Park: The Chewbacca Defense

Bob Boyd said...

"Glad you didn't say banana."

You spoke to soon, Meade.
I have been inspired to supply an analogy.

The GOP accepting Trumps as its nominee = bending over and fully assimilating the orange banana.

Hyphenated American said...

By comparing Trump to Hitler, liberals are explicitly denying the Holocaust and Nazi crimes against humanity. Shame on them.

That's the way to answer this idiotic analogy.

Jason said...

He's orange.

TRUMP = PAUL ATREIDES = MU'AD DIB!

Nyamujal said...

Spending a few minutes with Trump gives you your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.

Amanda said...

"A dictatorship could never happen on our shores"? In other words Scott Adams is telling Americans to 'just relax, let it happen, you'll like it, it'll be good for you, it won't be hurt that much, let Trump work his magic on you, keep watching the swinging pocket watch and repeat after me, Trump will Make America Great Again'.... he really does like the idea of hypnotizing people and seems to think he can make Americans trust Trump with the powers of his suggestion. Why would people idolize a master manipulator, Trump or Adams?

Our Constitution isn't going to protect us from a dictator once he is in power. Our freedom loving instincts should kick in long before a dictator gets into power, which begs the question, how the heck did a Trump get so far in the process? We should be reflecting on that. Wake up and smell the coffee.


Peter said...

Trump=Hitler? Wasn't Pres Bush Hitler? Perhaps we've had too much Hitler-analogy inflation.

Hyphenated American said...

" Our freedom loving instincts should kick in long before a dictator gets into power, which begs the question, how the heck did a Trump get so far in the process? We should be reflecting on that. Wake up and smell the coffee."

Amanda, you are talking about Obama now, right?

Amanda said...

Hyphenated,
On the one hand hand we hear Obama being described as "weak, ineffectual, a capitulator", on the other hand we hear that he is an "uber President, a Nixon wanna be, a mini dictator". Make up your damn minds.

mikeski said...

Althouse: "But your point isn't really about reasoning. You're just saying people should shun those who compare Trump to Hitler. Those people are also calling for shunning. So it's a game of who can encourage more shunning."

Writ Small: "That many people, Republicans no less, set aside the warnings of Lincoln with appeals to group-based resentment politics is a sad betrayal."


Americans as a whole, on the "Thinking/Feeling" axis of the Myers-Briggs test, are about 45% "thinking" and 55% "feeling".

And not all of the "thinking"-type personalities will be matched up with a "thinking"-level IQ. So 45% would prefer to use reason over emotion, but they don't all reason well enough to do it.

If you want 100% representative Democracy, instead of excluding some of the less-Thinky and/or less-intelligent people somehow (shun them!), a politician will always have an easier time getting in to office by appealing to emotion over reason.

Thus political attack ads with the ominous music and shadowy visuals.

Thus "won't people think of the children?" (Note the lie... they don't want you to think about the children. They want you to feel for the children.)

Thus Obama.

And thus Trump.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda said...On the one hand hand we hear Obama being described as "weak, ineffectual, a capitulator", on the other hand we hear that he is an "uber President, a Nixon wanna be, a mini dictator". Make up your damn minds.

The answer, Amanda, is that it's a matter of what end the President (and, really, the Left) is pursuing.
When it's pushing Obamacare, or trading terrorists for Bergdhal, or allowing people here illegally to stay--in other words when the end in question is something that attacks the Right and strengthens the Left, Obama's quite strident, willing to bend and break rules, do do whatever it takes; he has a "pen and a phone" and woe unto any who stand in his way! The Federal Gov. under his control will stop at virtually nothing (including IRS laws, EPA rules, longstanding traditions w/r/t gov. lawyers defending gov. laws, etc) to win.
When the question is pursuing American interests abroad, or of the overall American economy, though, Obama takes the weakest possible course. Red line? No, that would involve taking a stand that could result in unpleasantness/confrontation (so he'll say it and then not to it, the worst combination). XL Pipeline? Well, it might be good for America overall, but it's bad for the Leftist interests so that's a no, as well (although not an actual no with conviction, a "oh, we'll study that shit for years" and then eventually reject it like cowards). His default mode is to negotiate (even when confrontation might be better) and his preferred mode of negotiation is from a position of weakness (taking viable options "off the table" preemptively, presenting capitulation as necessary based on a false choice, etc).

There are many other examples, but you get the picture.

I forget who first observed it but it can't not notice it now: when Obama's talking about terrorists or ISIS or America's foreign enemies he's quite muted and seems almost bored, but when he's talking about his domestic political opponents he often gets quite fired up, uses colorful language, and seems genuinely engaged.

Weak against the enemies of America, strong (to the point of breaking laws/overstepping his Administration's actual authority) against his political opponents/the domestic population who aren't Leftists.

Easy, see?

n.n said...
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Amanda said...


Reagan acted the strongman, "Tear down this wall! " on the other hand what did he do after the barracks in Beruit were bombed? Iran Contra ring a bell? One standard for a Democratic President another for a Republican President, yawn

lge said...
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lge said...

"Belgium=USA-with-porous-borders."

That's not even an analogy or a comparison -- it's the same thing. Arabs is Arabs. Young, feral, fanatical "yutes" is young, feral, fanatical "yutes". As they behave in one place, they will behave in another.

If you import Morlocks, don't be surprised if they act like Morlocks and prey on the populace.

Hyphenated American said...

Amanda, you silly girl. Reagan destroyed ussr, the evil empire. In fact, he destroyed the entire Warsaw Pact and turn Eastern Europe free again. What's obama's biggest foreign achievement? Losing Iraq to Isis or giving libya to Isis? Maybe handing 150 billion dollars to mad mullahs in Iran?
But you are right, Obama did use IRS against the tea party, something even Nixon could not achieve.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I mean, it's technically on topic since the topic is "bad analogies," so you can't fault Amanda there, but I'm genuinely amused that she has demonstrated to her own satisfaction that Reagan was a weakling and in contrast Obama is a tough guy.
It's funnier to assume she actually believes this.

buwaya said...

"A dictatorship could never happen on our shores"

It certainly could, and its happening now.
Consider that Americans are, on most measures, less free than many other peoples of the world.
The US bureaucratic stranglehold is more oppressive and more advanced than in many other places, and its getting more suffocating at a faster pace. The US business climate measure is an imperfect metric, but its reasonably reflective of international standing, and its gotten a LOT worse since the 1990s; and the only free/free-er part is availability of finance. All the controlling measures have gotten more so, with no sign of stopping and nothing in their way.

Amanda will have her dictatorship, no fear, but it will be a dictatorship without a great leader, just domination by a grey anonymous mass.

Amanda said...

Buwaya,
Are you quoting Scott Adams or me? If you're quoting me, you ommited the question mark at the end of my sentence. I disagree with Adam's notion that it ( a dictatorship) couldn't happen here. It most certainly could under the right conditions, despite the Constitution. I don't see Trump allieviating the massive bureaucracy, he may actually create some more to express his authoritarian nature. The BIT- Bureau of Interrogation and Torture, come to mind, there he could "expand" (diminish) the torture laws.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccullough said...

FDR was the closest thing the US ever had to a dictator and he was not even close to a dictator.

All comparisons of imperial type presidencies should be to FDR. Congress handed him its powers, many of which Congress took from the states, and he eventually rolled over the Supreme Court through perseverance. He made the states the secondary entities they are today.

Meade said...

Complete the sequence:

Boris Berezovsky, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Harding, Harry Truman, Mitt Romney, Rob Ford, ?

Ann Althouse said...

"Isn't that part of what Adams has been suggesting, though, an appeal to identity (which beats reason)? "Only ridiculous people like Leftists morons would think it's valid to compare Trump to Hitler--we're much smarter than that and don't even have to talk with THOSE people." No?"

Yes, but I think the shunning coming the other way is stronger, which is why I was suggesting you'd lose the shunning game.

ken in tx said...

Meade, about your reference to the Indian politician named after Adolph Hitler. Many Indians, especially the upper castes, are very proud of being what they consider the true Aryans. There were Indian units in the Waffen SS who fought on the Eastern front for Germany.

Writ Small said...

Why is Adams interested in countering the bad analogy? Based on the Reason interview, he expressed no rooting interest in the outcome - only that he admires Trump's skill set and tactics. Why would a person, indifferent as Adams says he is, be trying to come up with pro-Trump strategies? Would he not rather express admiration for the opposition approach?

With respect to the Hitler analogy, let's all agree it is deeply flawed. No reasonable person thinks Trump has mass murder on the mind. But you don't have to go all the way to Hitler to be concerned. I can't conceive of Trump even getting to the Chavez or Castro level. Although, look at what Trump had to say about Raul yesterday:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/03/21/trump_obama_should_have_turned_the_plane_around_and_left_when_raul_castro_didnt_greet_him.html

And I'm not knocking Castro, if they can get away with this stuff, they're making a great deal. Because they're making a deal, it is fine to do it.

Always, always, always Donald Trump expresses admiration for dictators. Those of us who point this out can be dismissed because "Hitler analogy."

Jim S. said...

Did the headline remind anyone else of St. Patrick's bad analogies?