Analogies, citations & photo-ops


I agree with Cathleen Kaveny (“A Flawed Analogy,” June 20) that drawing an analogy between citizens of the Third Reich who turned blind eyes to the Holocaust and Catholics who vote for prochoice candidates is over the top. The fact that this analogy does not invite fruitful debate or dialogue is itself a good reason to avoid it.

Still, it is worth pointing out that an analogy does not “equate” two things—as Ms. Kaveny twice claims this one does; rather, it highlights a relationship of similarity between them. Sleep is analogous to death, but is not equal to death. Nazi Germany and the American prochoice legal regime are similar in their effects—that is, the state-sanctioned death of innocent members of the population—and so, in that way at least, they can be called analogous.

Kaveny finds the Holocaust and the U.S. practice of legalized abortion to be different in several ways, but her analysis of these differences ends up bringing some similarities into focus, and similarity is what analogy is built on. In my opinion, Kaveny’s arguments show that the analogy between the U.S. practice of abortion and the Final Solution in Nazi Germany, while crude and ill-advised, is not so “flawed” as to be useless.

Kaveny sees a difference of intention...

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