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"I wonder what this analogy says about historical literacy: Is Richardson so ignorant of history that he doesn't realize that the Berlin Wall was built to prevent people from emigrating, not immigrating?"

Richardson's analogy was not that great, but I think Fallacy Files is being unfair here. Do they really think the Bill Richardson doesn't know basic facts of 20th century history?

The strength of an analogy rests on there being a common element in the issue you're talking about and the analog to it. The question here is what the common element Richardson had in mind when he compared a Mexico-U.S. border wall to the Berlin Wall. Fallacy Files asserts that the crucial thing about the Berlin Wall was that it prevent emigration, not immigration. But there are several things that Richardson could have had in mind, e.g. that the Berlin Wall divided families or that it was a symbol of hostility between countries on either side of the wall. If a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border were erected as a result of anti-Mexican hostility, then I think it would make sense in some contexts to call it a barrier like the Berlin Wall in some respects.

Is a weak analogy a fallacy? The strength of an analogy is most of the time an empirical or historical matter that doesn't have anything to do with the logical structure of the argument.

Letter about Richardson, the Olympics, China, Darfur, and Tibetans in China

I strongly agree with Richardson’s innovative idea put forth during the New Hampshire debates, in view of the general silence among nations vis-à-vis China’s ghastly atrocities in the human rights realm, and not just about China and Darfur, but especially towards Tibetans, and especially with its dozens of prisons which for Tibetans are exactly like Auschwitz and Dachau. I posited the same idea in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, in correspondence to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and to many heads-of-state, that the moral indignation of the nations in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 could be harnessed into at least the threat of a boycott, perhaps worded diplomatically. During the debate, Sen. Edwards clearly agreed with this point by Richardson.

Make no mistake: this is probably the last chance in human history to do anything constructive about Tibet, to prevent henceforth the genocidal treatment of Tibetans remaining in Tibet, which has since 1959 seen 1.2 million Tibetans killed, roughly 20% of the entire population of Tibet. If American political powers and their pundits won’t use the remains of our powers of moral suasion in the world at large, and if we are to once again docilely capitulate to dimwitted politicians who say that the Olympics is only about sport, and not about politics, we are no better than the many nations who were oblivious to the growing obviousness of the genocide of Jews in Europe before and during World War II.

Actually, the USA was for many years oblivious in this regard, all of which is thoroughly documented in Arthur Morse’s book, While Six Million Died. In that light, we think Richardson is on the right track, and even more so, when you consider the dead pets and the poisoned toothpaste from China. That is just not “about politics:” that was life and death for many, including at least 100 dead, mostly children, in Panama!

News: In what may be its most audacious Olympic act yet, China’s Ministry of Public Security has issued an incredible directive that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Pariah groups include: - eerily vague “key individuals in ideological fields” -“overseas hostile forces” - “counter-revolutionary” figures - the Dalai Lama and all affiliates, members of “religious entities not sanctioned by the state” (e.g. Roman Catholics) - “individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet,” - and even certain types of “handicapped” persons. Members of the Falun Gong would be barred, as would “family members of deceased persons” killed in “riots” — a euphemism for events such as the Tiananmen Massacre — and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which the regime brands “national separatists.” Only at the very bottom of the directive does it identify “violent terrorists” and members of “illegal organizations” as targets for investigation and possible barring.

Stephen Fox, New Millennium Fine Art, 505 983-2002


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