Here's an example over at Pandagon, which provides a fascinating case study in the "vision of the anointed". These folks have been / are excellent students and have learned their lessons well. And the result is they've got bad case of anointed vision, that is, as Thomas Sowell puts it, self-congratulation as the basis for social policy (or support of liberal policies / positions in this case).
In this post, one of the Pandagon hosts takes a National Review writer to task.
Burger King: Employing
Michael Graham has an argument about the plan to go to Iraq as it relates to the war on terror that's almost convincing at first glance. Since Iraq was supposed to be a strike against terrorism, it counts as a plan.
However, this is like saying that when I submitted my application to be a resident nuclear physicist at the Burger King down the street, I had a plan for employment. If reality worked that way, it would have gotten me employed, or at least had the chance to.
In actual reality, my plan no chance of succeeding whatsoever - in fact, the time necessary to draft and implement my application to Burger King not only had no chance whatsoever of actually getting me employed, but it actually detracted from time that I could have spent seriously looking for a position that could have used my skills. Regardless of what I say about how my plan was intended to gain employment, if the strategy's obvious outcome will not result in my gaining employment, it's not really a strategy to do that, now is it?
One can say Bush had a plan to invade Iraq, and didn't have a plan to deal with terrorism, because A had no chance of accomplishing B. You can't have a plan to do something that the plan can't do.
First of all, I can't resist picking on the phrase that starts the third paragraph, "In actual reality ..." Oh, actual reality. As opposed to fantastical reality. (A side note, actual is a faux ami in French, so translating that into French you'd have 'In present reality ...' which wouldn't be as bad.)
Second of all is the vividness and cleverness of the analogy. This is good stuff. Applying to Burger King to serve as its nuclear physicist makes the point well. You may a plan, but the plan is doomed to fail. I understand, but I disagree. Unfortunately, the analogy has convinced the writer that he's right.
Which leads me to my point, how reasoning by analogy can cause self-deception, particularly in younger folks. One way it does it is insight feels good ... and coming up with a clever analogy feels good, too. And especially to young folks who are just getting used to the idea that this brain has five speeds, they like the idea of tearing around corners and putting the metal to the floor in the straightaways. (See, ain't I clever?)
But, but, but ...
Just because you've come up with a nice metaphor, or a nice analogy, don't make it necessarily so. It just means you've articulated your point well. Your point still needs to be assessed, and not necessarily by the terms for your analogy.