Given the change in military technology and the state since Aristotle, I’m not sure the quotes are apposite.That is doing Aristotle poor justice. He is not talking about military technology or the state here. He's talking about persuasion, and in particular in persuasion by example. So here's the citation:
The “example” has already been described as one kind of induction; and the special nature of the subject-matter that distinguishes it from the other kinds has also been stated above. Its relation to the proposition it supports is not that of part to whole, nor whole to part, nor whole to whole, but of part to part, or like to like. When two statements are of the same order, but one is more familiar than the other, the former is an “example.”A position I've long defended in this space is that this kind of reasoning is analogical. It would be easy to read this as a kind of logical reasoning instead. "Instances of one general principle" sounds like there is a single thing of which this is an instance; a type of which this is a token, to put it in the way contemporary philosophers prefer.
The argument may, for instance, be that Dionysius, in asking as he does for a bodyguard, is scheming to make himself a despot. For in the past Peisistratus kept asking for a bodyguard in order to carry out such a scheme, and did make himself a despot as soon as he got it; and so did Theagenes at Megara; and in the same way all other instances known to the speaker are made into examples, in order to show what is not yet known, that Dionysius has the same purpose in making the same request: all these being instances of the one general principle, that a man who asks for a bodyguard is scheming to make himself a despot.
But that isn't Aristotle's point. Here's what he says next:
There is an important distinction between two sorts of enthymemes that has been wholly overlooked by almost everybody-one that also subsists between the syllogisms treated of in dialectic. One sort of enthymeme really belongs to rhetoric, as one sort of syllogism really belongs to dialectic; but the other sort really belongs to other arts and faculties, whether to those we already exercise or to those we have not yet acquired. Missing this distinction, people fail to notice that the more correctly they handle their particular subject the further they are getting away from pure rhetoric or dialectic.As a point of pure rhetoric -- which is what he was talking about -- the charge by example that a bodyguard implies tyranny is an effective tool. As a point of understanding the real world, that is not the case. The more correctly you understand your subject, the less you're doing rhetoric, and the more you're doing arts and science, certainly to include military and political science (which are more properly sciences on Aristotle's terms than on the contemporary understanding of what a "science" is).
The thing about analogies is that they always break. The question about analogical reasoning -- which includes all forms of the example -- is whether the breaking point comes before or after the thing you're talking about. If you're using rhetoric to try to understand the world, that's the thing to keep in mind.
If you're just trying to persuade someone of a point you'd like them to adopt, well, this is a perfectly good rhetorical argument. It's not that Aristotle didn't understand enough to give you good guidance. It's that even the people who read him rarely read him closely enough to understand what he was talking about. Here he's just talking about persuasion, creating the impression that a single real principle is governing disparate events. In fact, that is never the case: analogies always break. It is my contention that Aristotle knew this perfectly well, and defends it as a governing principle of ethics and politics in the early Nicomachean Ethics. (1094b12-28, for those who are serious about following along.)