Thursday, August 17, 2017

Comparisons are Odious

I heard someone say this once and I wasn't sure why someone would bother to say such a thing about something so simple.  I only today realized just how much trouble comparisons can be.

"We're bigger than Jesus" comes to mind as possibly the Gold Standard of odious comparisons, but for a more recent example, how about the governor of Maine talking about removal of confederate statues: 

"To me, it's just like going to New York City right now and taking down the monument of those who perished in 9/11."

Obviously he is trying to say that being a victim of the September 11 tragedy is just as bad as being a racist. 

Well there may have been a time when we could more freely use comparisons to make our point, but now all anyone wants to do is accuse you of making a false-equivalence.  
The equivalence argument really misses the point of the comparison.  News Flash: any comparison made for illustrative purposes will not hold up to real scrutiny.  That's not how it works.   

I hate to use the phrase "political correctness" but I believe it is to blame for people's inability to understand the true intent behind the idea of making comparisons to prove a point.

So when someone (even someone odious) points out that opposing groups of protesters both have bats and are dressed in riot gear, maybe don't assume that person is trying to tell you those two groups are identical in every other way.  That's on you... and it's not a good look.