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I was asked to write a little paper (undergrad philosophy class) on Michael Walzer's treatment of the Domestic Analogy in his book Just and Unjust Wars. Here's what I wrote:

In his book, Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer tells us that, “The comparison of international to civil order is crucial to the theory of aggression” (58). He then concedes that his argument throughout Just and Unjust Wars relies on this comparison which in turn relies on what is called the ‘domestic analogy’. The appeal to analogical reasoning as a basis for legal action is weak to begin with, but the domestic analogy is further weakened in that the common characterizations it seeks to compare involve abstract concepts rather than sets of facts. Further, Walzer treats ‘the rights of political communities’ as a given offering almost no grounding for this concept. Instead, he bases their legitimacy on a weak appeal to social contract theory in which an abstract concept of ‘community’ is granted independence as a separate entity and bestowed with the rights of personhood. I argue that social contract theory fails to justify the legitimacy of the state as well as any rights the state may claim to possess, and because states cannot be justified, a society of states cannot be justified. Therefore, the domestic analogy does not hold and fails to provide justification to any theories promoting state aggression.

Walzer introduces the ‘domestic analogy’ in the following passage:

The comparison of international to civil order is crucial to the theory of aggression. I have already been making it regularly. Every reference to aggression as the international equivalent of armed robbery or murder, and every comparison of home and country or of personal liberty and political independence, relies upon what is called the domestic analogy. Our primary perceptions and judgements of aggression are the products of analogical reasoning. When the analogy is made explicit, as it often is among the lawyers, the world of states takes on the shape of a political society the character of which is entirely accessible through such notions as crime and punishment, self-defense, law enforcement, and so on (58).

It is clear that Walzer is using the concept of analogy within the context of legal reasoning here. This makes sense as relying on mere literary device to justify preventable deaths would lack the kind of normative appeal he seems to be going for; however, his understanding and use of analogy as legal reasoning seems to be misguided. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy tells us that “An analogical argument in legal reasoning is an argument that a case should be treated in a certain way because that is the way a similar case has been treated,” and also that “Analogies do not bind: they must be considered along with other reasons in order to reach a result.” So, here we see that having an analogy serve as the sole basis for an argument that appeals to legal reasoning is problematic. But, even more problematic for Walzer, is the question of what is meant by ‘similar’ in the context of this reasoning, and whether a comparison between states and individuals actually qualifies. I would argue it does not. The proper use of analogy here is contingent on a commonality of facts between two cases or doctrines and dictates these commonalities are NOT to be found in the abstract. This is explained quite well in the following passage from the entry on Analogy in Legal Reasoning found in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

So knives may be analogous to guns if the issue concerns weapons, but knives may also be analogous to teaspoons if the issue concerns cutlery. Duress may be analogous to provocation if the issue concerns defenses, but duress may also be analogous to incitement if the issue concerns complicity. Two doctrines or sets of facts are not analogous in the abstract, but in the context of a legal issue.

The domestic analogy is not a comparison between two sets of facts. It is a comparison between fiction and reality. That is, the analogy presents us with fictional entities conjured up through ideological abstraction and asks us to surrender to their apparent likeness those things we hold most valuable in the real world, specifically our individual rights to life and liberty.

Though the domestic analogy concerns itself with a society of states, its comparison is between states and individuals, and its use is premised on the notion of states having the same rights as individuals. So, then, the most important question in evaluating the domestic analogy becomes whether this central premise is true or not. Do states have the same rights as individuals? Walzer believes they do, but his argument in support of this leaves much to be desired. He begins his inquiry here saying, “Individual rights (to life and liberty) underlie the most important judgements that we make about war. How these rights are themselves founded I cannot try to explain here” (53-54). His unwillingness to offer a proper account of individual rights is disappointing, but he at least manages to say, “they are somehow entailed by our sense of what it means to be a human being,” and whether they are “natural or invented, they are a palpable feature of our moral world” (54). His appeal to our intuitive sense of individual rights is difficult to find fault with, however, his subsequent move to claiming that states’ rights are simply the collective form of individual rights is not quite as intuitive. Especially when he stipulates individuality is to be expectedly and appropriately diminished in the process. This process of collectivization, Walzer tell us, is a complex one that is best understood in terms of social contract theory.

Walzer grants that the rights of states rest on the consent of their members but is quick to add that this ‘consent’ cannot be understood in its ordinary sense. He then goes on to explain what amounts to a kind of ‘implied consent’ being generated by the sharing of experiences and cooperative activity within a community over a significant amount of time. Implied consent is a controversial concept and far from being widely accepted as a legal or social norm (despite its political use). So its use as a premise here is weak. Walzer’s subsequent appeal to ‘contract’ is not much better. “Contract,” he tells us, “is a metaphor for a process of association and mutuality, the ongoing character of which the state claims to protect against external encroachment” (54). So, by ‘consent’ he doesn’t actually mean consent, and by ‘contract’ he doesn’t actually mean contract. The state, then, is being justified by unpopular legal theory and a set of ambiguous metaphors and analogies. It fails to meet the standards of proper reasoning; but, more importantly, considering we are expected to sacrifice the immediate force of our individuality for the sake of the state, and considering the amount of death and destruction that happens on behalf of the state, the justification fails to meet the standards of our most valued principles of justice. For these reasons, and many more left unaddressed by this particular discussion, the rights of these abstract entities we call ‘states’ are as fictitious as the entities themselves, and their legitimacy as well as the devices they invoke for this legitimacy are false. The state along with its theories of aggression remain unjustified.

Colorado / Re: Colorado State Organization
« Last post by TruthAbides on March 07, 2018, 05:29:54 AM »
Are there any folks down near Pueblo? 
Introduce yourself! / Hello and How do I get Started
« Last post by justin on February 21, 2018, 02:44:22 PM »
I've been following Kokesh for awhile now, and I've finally made a forum account! Yay!

My name is Justin, I'm from Northern Kentucky, and I've been a Libertarian since the 2016 election. Slowly transitioned to voluntaryism over the past two years, and now here I am supporting a guy that wants to actually dissolve the federal empire. Awesome!

But, I had one question. I go on his new campaign website to volunteer, but once I get to the nation builder page it wont give me access! I sign up, and once I try to log in it says "This email doesnt have access". Why is this? How do I get access? And can we work to fix this for future volunteers?
Current Events / Re: Hijacking trending # and creating
« Last post by Djeferson on February 19, 2018, 10:47:00 PM »
Are these important content updated and can I distribute them to people?
The knowledge I get is very useful and I would like to know if there are continuous updates.
Activism projects/Strategy/Winning Converts / Re: Telegram app for communication
« Last post by WilliamKent on February 17, 2018, 05:09:40 AM »
Yea..good idea. I am new here, I very happy to get this website by searching Google. Because I got losts of information from here. I like writing and I am always referring blogs forums for my writing.  I am also referring best essay writing service websites.
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Of course the response to this is always pointing at the nightmare of the industrial revolution. At the hellish factory cities, the great centers like Manchester and Liverpool, here in the US; New York and its Triangle Shirt-Waist, Pittsburgh and its foundries. Pinktertons. Thugs. Union busting.

A Dickensian monster run away without organized labor to check it.

The straightforward answer is unions. Then capital moves against the union. The union falls back on government to protect it from gross physical violence. Of course it doesn't always (far from it), opting instead to bolster capital.

How does a libertarian perspective reconcile with this?
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