Don't let your analogies out of their cages
Posted by aogFriday, 05 May 2006 at 22:16 TrackBack Ping URL

I was reading a post about a potential error in a capital case, when someone brought up the George Bernard Shaw quote:

It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.

As usual with leftist cant, it sounds good but falls apart once one thinks about it in general and not just in the specific case (yet another example of the particularist vs. meta dichotomy). If Shaw is right, then does the State locking people in prison teach kidnapping? Does not the collection of taxes by the State teach extortion? What’s the difference?

On the other hand, if you think the citizenry is smart enough to understand context and to realize that there is a vast gulf between acts done through societally agreed mechanisms and acts done by individuals flouting those mechanism, then it’s easy to distinguish. Why, if that viewpoint were common enough you’d think there would be a word to express the appropriation of societal authority by individuals. Oh, wait, isn’t that “vigilantism”? Doesn’t Shaw’s claim require that no one understands the meaning of that word? But, of course, his statement is meant to feel good, not think good.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Michael Herdegen Friday, 05 May 2006 at 23:55

If Shaw were correct, then there ought be no murder in societies that don’t have capital punishment, or at least, fewer per capita.

If anything, the existence of murder leads to the idea of capital punishment.

Jeff Guinn Saturday, 06 May 2006 at 06:01

his statement is meant to feel good, not think good.

That sums up left psychology; if it left anything out, I can’t think of it.

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