Bad Analogies Will Be the Death of Us

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NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S ticks and stones might break your bones, but bad historical analogies can bring entire nations to their knees. We know this in the United States, but we don’t like to talk about it very much. After all, it’s comforting to compare present challenges with those of the past. It allows us to read the historical record as a kind of instruction manual that will tell us what to do and what not to do.

John Stuart Mill called this approach to current affairs “the science of history.” We distill general principles from the historical record and apply them to solve political …


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