Analogies

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"Analogies"

This Richard Cohen column reads almost like a joke. It’s 1938! It’s 1938! Appeasement! Appeasement! Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, at a minimum, pull this schtick off with a certain rhetorical flair. Cohen doesn’t even seem to be paying attention. In-depth diavlogging discussion of the use and abuse of historical analogies here.

In general, I’m against these kinds of analogies. Marx and Hegel aside history does not, in fact, repeat. Analogies to 1938 are especially pernicious. Adolf Hitler is, obviously, a very noteworthy historical figure and WWII a noteworthy period in world history. This is precisely because the things that happened during them time were extreme, weird, and largely unprecedented they idea that they’re constantly recurring or likely to recur is odd.

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