Andrey (azangru) wrote,

The BBC has a recent animation short about whataboutism:

(And I did not even realize watching it for the first time how instantaneously they jump to Nazis. Way to go, BBC!)

The concept of whataboutism as a fundamentally flawed rhetorical tactic is giving me some trouble. Of course, when employed crudely, and with a thick Russian accent, it feels disingenuous, intellectually lazy, and overall distasteful, but the very idea that there is something wrong in pointing at a similar problematic issue when discussing a problem, feels misguided. If, when told that A is doing X, which is bad, you point out that B is also doing X (or maybe doing Y, which in some essential respects is similar to X), is it always bad for the discussion? What happened to shifting the perspective, expanding the horizon, broadening the context? What happened to the inductive reasoning, to argument from analogy?

And if such a tactic is perfectly admissible, then what exactly is whataboutism?

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