The tortured analogy is a device used by the ignorant (or those preaching to the ignorant) usually in an attempt to make something sound bad by fabricating a non-existent comparability to something horrific.
“Serving on that committee is like watching the extermination of the Jews in concentration camps.”
No, it’s not.
In political terms, the tortured analogy is often used because the ignorant (or the one preaching to the ignorant) would rather not addresss the actual facts of the issue and so tries to make the issue itself seem ridiculous to short-circuit real discussion.
We see this in drug policy a lot.
“If you want to legalize drugs, why don’t you just go ahead and legalize rape while you’re at it?”
It’s a classic tortured analogy misdirection. Of course, my favorite response to that is a rather facetious “If you don’t know the difference between drugs and rape, you’re not going to get invited to the good parties.”
All of us know why that’s a tortured analogy. It’s an attempt to avoid any real discussion of the issues. Drug transactions are consensual, rape is not. Drugs are demand commodities; rape is not. If you arrest a drug dealer, it creates an immediate job opening caused by demand, so the net effect of the arrest is an increase in drug dealers, whereas if you arrest a rapist, you get the rapist off the street, and it doesn’t result in a demand for new rapists. The illegality of drugs makes them so valuable that corruption in law enforcement and other areas inevitably ensues; the illegality of rape doesn’t make rape valuable.
These things are completely incomparable.
So here, my friends, for your amusement, is the Tortured Analogy of the Day!
This comes from the Katz Litterbox at the Pacovilla Corrections blog. Howie Katz is a former law enforcement officer and retired professor of criminal justice.
A prominent group of former law enforcement officials announced the formation of Law Enforcement for Pedophilia (LEP), an organization whose goal is to repeal the laws against pedophilia.
â€œI was a police officer for 34 years, the last six as chief of police in Grossville,â€ retired law enforcement veteran Norm Stoner told the press conference held to announce the formation of LEP. â€œAt one point in my career, I had an epiphany. I came to the appreciation that police officers could be doing better things with their time and that we were causing more harm than good by arresting pedophiles. My position is that we need to end the prohibition against pedophilia. We need to replace our Victorian laws by following the lead of Thailand and other enlightened countries that allow sexual relations between adults and children.â€
The formation of LEP is ridiculous, isnâ€™t it? Well, itâ€™s not much more ridiculous than Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a tiny group of former law enforcement officials urging an end to the war on drugs and advocating the decriminalization of recreational drug use.
Actually, to compose Norm Stonerâ€™s absurd LEP statement, I paraphrased a statement about the war on drugs made by LEAP member Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle.
Congratulations, Howie! You have the ability to paraphrase.
Taking a criminal justice class from you must have been like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
I think I’ll sit back with a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster and let my readers take your silliness apart.