David Preston guest post: Brief critique of a weak analogy . . .

For this analogy to be apt, you’d need to ask what Ron Paul would do if your neighbor on the other side came over and broke your windows. Would Ron sit there minding his own business? Or would he intervene?

You can take the analogy in different directions from there, some of which are pro-Paul and some of which aren’t.

Remember: An analogy is neither true nor false. It is simply more or less apt, depending on the context, on how well it is argued, on how well it would hold up over time, and so forth.


2 thoughts on “David Preston guest post: Brief critique of a weak analogy . . .

  1. Ron Paul’s policy is consistent with the NAP- the basis of Libertarianism. Of course self defense is justified, it’s the party who initiates the aggression, who is in the wrong. That’s why he voted for the Afghanistan war. The U.S. government has yet to justify every other of the 150 they have troops in; it they were just concerned about defending us. Either way, Clinton in 1998 pissed of the Middle East when he bombed Sudan’s only pharmaceutical source, destroying $200 million of damage.

    So in your analogy- 9/11 was justified, because they retaliated against people who first bombed them.

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_missile_strikes_on_Afghanistan_and_Sudan_(August_1998)


    • Keith, I think we can find some common ground here. We can both agree, I think, that a direct attack on the Taliban in retaliation for 9/11 would be self-defense. Unfortunately, most foreign policy situations are not as unambiguous than that.
      We are more likely to get into trouble when we launch a “pre-emptive first strike” on the grounds that some perceived enemy MIGHT attack us. Or when we intervene in a national election in another country (somewhere in South America, say) because if we don’t, they COULD go communist and then a domino effect would be unleashed, with the last domino landing at our doorstep, and so on.
      There are slippery slopes out there, but I think you have to examine each foreign military crisis separately, and try to determine whether it’s likely to work itself out on its own or not. If the answer is: No, this will not work itself out, then the question becomes: What should we do about it? or What CAN we do about it? and What are the risks involved if we intervene?
      When it comes to foreign policy, I don’t believe it’s good to have a “doctrine” that you must shoehorn every problem into. Thus, I would be as leery of a minding-our-own-business doctrine of Ron Paul as I would be of the minding-everyone’s-business doctrine of George W. Bush.

      Liked by 1 person

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