Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bad Analogies: Border Fence = Berlin Wall

   I don't have an actual position on the question of a fence to stop illegal immigration on the southern border. I've sometimes leaned in favor of it largely because I'm contrarian, and I have such a strong reaction to the terrible analogy that was so central to the anti- position early in the debate. That is: the border fence = Berlin Wall analogy.
   It's amazing how shitty people's reasoning can become when political passions get engaged. (Which, I hope, is not to suggest that I think that what's needed is Spock-like frigidity.) The analogy is so awful that I think I've always refused to even state why it's awful. It's an insult to say it--an insult to anyone making even a minimal effort to be rational, that is.
   So I'm still not going to say it.
   So there.
   I thought that the quasi-open-borders left--the sanctuary cities/no-border-fence/no deportations crowd--might have quietly abandoned the analogy...but I guess not.
   I don't know whether a fence is a good idea. It's a cost-benefit question. Assertions that it's the "symbolism" that's the problem are crappy because, again, the analogy is crappy. But fences can. e.g., disrupt wildlife migration patterns, for example. Anyway, laying out the costs and benefits is for the experts. Don't look at me... I suppose one might respond that a fence could end up playing a Berlin-Wall-type-function if the U.S. government were to go bad...but that doesn't immediately strike me as a very weighty argument.
   My point is pretty minimal: we can't let an obviously bad analogy carry any weight in the discussion.


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