The A-Z of ISMs…
Whataboutism– also known as whataboutery –
is a way of criticising and,
in some people’s minds,
defeating an opponent by accusing them of hypocrisy.
What about x,
what about y?
As a political tactic,
it was employed by the Nazis in the 1930s.
When Nazi Germany was censured for annexing territories in Europe,
its officials countered by saying that
Germany was only doing what countries like Britain and France
had been doing for centuries in Africa and Asia.
The practice was continued by the Soviet Union in the 1950s
in the area of human rights.
Challenged on the murder of Soviet citizens by the state,
Soviet officials countered by saying that black people were being lynched
every day in the USA.
The term whataboutery was also used in the 1970s in Northern Ireland,
when Republicans and Loyalists pointed to their own sufferings
当时 北爱尔兰反英和忠英分子 都强调各自的苦难
as a justification for supporting violent action.
All these instances are dramatic,
but ignore the fact they’re based on an invalid argument –
the notion that two wrongs make a right.
而这种论点认为 错误加错误 就是正确
Whataboutism is not a useful or logical form of debate,
because it relies on the idea that two wrongs make a right.
因为 其基本理念是 错误加错误 就是正确
And while there is a lot of support for this notion –
see also an eye for an eye –
比如 以眼还眼 以牙还牙
it’s a false analogy.
Doing a bad thing cannot be excused
by the existence of another bad thing.
If I steal your car, you should tell the police.
Stealing my car is not an appropriate response.
Also, it’s generally just an excuse.
The Nazis didn’t invade Poland as a protest against British imperialism.
The Soviets didn’t murder their own people
as a reaction to American racism.
You didn’t steal my car because I stole his car.
And so on.
In the last few years, whataboutism has resurfaced,
partly because it’s easier to point fingers away from yourself than at yourself,
partly because the internet is not always a place for high-quality debate,
and partly because there’s always room for one more idiot on the stupid bus.
Thanks for watching.
Don’t forget to subscribe and click the bell
to receive notifications for new videos.
See you again soon!
The A-Z of ISMs…