In my writings on this blog, I frequently make use of the analogy (A form of logical inference or an instance of it, based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects). I tend to use analogies to explain a principle ripped from the headlines and then insert it into our everyday lives.
Conor Friedersdorf decided to use this vehicle as well in explaining the underlying issues in regards to the spying on Americans by the NSA. The characters in his analogy are Barack and Michelle Obama.
Barack snuck into Michelle's closet one day, dug through her belongings until he found her diary, and photocopied it. Then he replaced the original, locked the copy in his desk, and didn't think about it much until she found out months later and furiously confronted him.
"What? You stole my diary?"
"No Michelle, I didn't 'steal' it. But I am going to find a cage for whoever told you that I photocopied it."
"I can't believe you took it and made a copy -- you invaded my privacy."
"Listen, Michelle. I did not invade your privacy. I have no interest in reading your diary. I merely set aside a copy in case I have a legitimate reason for reading it at some undetermined point in the future."
"That's still outrageous! And how do I know you haven't read it?"
"That's unfair. You have no evidence that I read it. This conversation needs to be a little bit more informed and responsible."
"And who knows who might get a hold of it now that you've stashed a copy somewhere!"
"There are very strict safeguards around who can get into my desk, Michelle, you know that."
"What about when it's Joe's desk, or Hillary's? Eww, what if Bill reads my diary. I can't believe you did this. And what if you get tempted to read it yourself a year from now, if you haven't already?"
"You just have to trust me, Michelle. This is for your own good. Ultimately, I'm the decider."
"Oh my God, you're even starting to sound like him."