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Whataboutism and the Unreasonable Left

Captain Adverse

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I want to bring up the topic of the irrational position of "Whataboutism."

I keep seeing this argument/response presented by many in "The Resistance" whenever any negative comparison is made between Trump and some "hero of the Left." Most typically it is some comparison between President Obama's actions while in office compared with President Trump's, but it also encompasses the Clinton's, or any major public figure who may have done something contrary to the way Mr. Trump did/does it.

My trigger on this arose from a recent thread about Mr. Trump and the government shutdown over the budget. A Forum member had mentioned that Mr. Obama had also presided over a government shutdown seeking votes for the ACA. Up jumps a couple of members from the Left decrying "whataboutism" has no place in the discussion. Yet the same members have no problem comparing Mr. Obama's successes with Mr. Trump's failures. In such cases the claim is always that it isn't whataboutism for some strange varied reasoning.

We see this time and again, examples included border issues of migrant detention, and separation of children. Remember when those pictures of kids kept in "cages" were bandied about...right up until this evidence was found to have actually occurred during the Obama Administration. Not to mention mass deportations, and don't forget those family detentions until a 9th Circuit decision in 2016 forbad kids being held in custody, requiring separation. But mention this and they cry "foul" and "That's whataboutism which has no place in a discussion!"

I'm sure readers can provide other examples, but the point I am trying to make is that IMO many people who argue on the Left seem to think the rules they demand be followed only apply to their opponents.

Such people demand recognition of their own free speech rights; but command silence via allegations of "hate speech" or deflections via "whataboutism" of those who disagree.

Such people demand respect and consideration; but label those who don't support their ideals with complete disrespect, using hateful name-calling and efforts at ostracization.

Such people demand the right to protest spontaneously for what they believe in without limitation or hindrance; but have no problem acting out violently against, or to otherwise restrict those who march against what they believe in.

In short, they claim to be reasonable but act the exact opposite. IMO actions always speak louder than words.

Whataboutism is not a "thing," IMO it is an invention of the Left to stop from having to confront their own arguments being pushed back at them.

This is why I didn't buy into a request back sometime last year from a Forum member asking people to pledge not to use "whataboutism" in future discussions. I knew from experience the rules would only apply to those responding in defense of the current Administration, and somehow be justified as NOT applying to those opposed to it.

The above list of observations is also (as I have clearly posted in my tagline and at the summation of my blog post) why I often simply stop responding in threads.
 
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Hawkeye10

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I want to bring up the topic of the irrational position of "Whataboutism."

I keep seeing this argument/response presented by many in "The Resistance" whenever any negative comparison is made between Trump and some "hero of the Left." Most typically it is some comparison between President Obama's actions while in office compared with President Trump's, but it also encompasses the Clinton's, or any major public figure who may have done something contrary to the way Mr. Trump did/does it.

My trigger on this arose from a recent thread about Mr. Trump and the government shutdown over the budget. A Forum member had mentioned that Mr. Obama had also presided over a government shutdown seeking votes for the ACA. Up jumps a couple of members from the Left decrying "whataboutism" has no place in the discussion. Yet the same members have no problem comparing Mr. Obama's successes with Mr. Trump's failures. In such cases the claim is always that it isn't whataboutism for some strange varied reasoning.

We see this time and again, examples included border issues of migrant detention, and separation of children. Remember when those pictures of kids kept in "cages" were bandied about...right up until this evidence was found to have actually occurred during the Obama Administration. Not to mention mass deportations, and don't forget those family detentions until a 9th Circuit decision in 2016 forbad kids being held in custody, requiring separation. But mention this and they cry "foul" and "That's whataboutism which has no place in a discussion!"

I'm sure readers can provide other examples, but the point I am trying to make is that IMO many people who argue on the Left seem to think the rules they demand be followed only apply to their opponents.

Such people demand recognition of their own free speech rights; but command silence via allegations of "hate speech" or deflections via "whataboutism" of those who disagree.

Such people demand respect and consideration; but label those who don't support their ideals with complete disrespect, using hateful name-calling and efforts at ostracization.

Such people demand the right to protest spontaneously for what they believe in without limitation or hindrance; but have no problem acting out violently against, or to otherwise restrict those who march against what they believe in.

In short, they claim to be reasonable but act the exact opposite. IMO actions always speak louder than words.

Whataboutism is not a "thing," IMO it is an invention of the Left to stop from having to confront their own arguments being pushed back at them.

This is why I didn't buy into a request back sometime last year from a Forum member asking people to pledge not to use "whataboutism" in future discussions. I knew from experience the rules would only apply to those responding in defense of the current Administration, and somehow be justified as NOT applying to those opposed to it.

It is also (as I have clearly posted in my tagline and at the summation of my blog post) why I often simply stop responding in threads.

I did not read your post ( I skimmed, you are so full of words tonight!) but what so many fail to understand is that all of the truth matters and that every single thing we see must be taken in the context of the rest of the stuff we see. The need to take bits of reality in the context of the rest of the reality was something that folks used to learn when they got educated, but sadly in these decayed times full of inferior people that does not happen like it used to.



HAPPY NEW YEAR! :2dancing:
 

trouble13

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I want to bring up the topic of the irrational position of "Whataboutism."

I keep seeing this argument/response presented by many in "The Resistance" whenever any negative comparison is made between Trump and some "hero of the Left." Most typically it is some comparison between President Obama's actions while in office compared with President Trump's, but it also encompasses the Clinton's, or any major public figure who may have done something contrary to the way Mr. Trump did/does it.

My trigger on this arose from a recent thread about Mr. Trump and the government shutdown over the budget. A Forum member had mentioned that Mr. Obama had also presided over a government shutdown seeking votes for the ACA. Up jumps a couple of members from the Left decrying "whataboutism" has no place in the discussion. Yet the same members have no problem comparing Mr. Obama's successes with Mr. Trump's failures. In such cases the claim is always that it isn't whataboutism for some strange varied reasoning.

We see this time and again, examples included border issues of migrant detention, and separation of children. Remember when those pictures of kids kept in "cages" were bandied about...right up until this evidence was found to have actually occurred during the Obama Administration. Not to mention mass deportations, and don't forget those family detentions until a 9th Circuit decision in 2016 forbad kids being held in custody, requiring separation. But mention this and they cry "foul" and "That's whataboutism which has no place in a discussion!"

I'm sure readers can provide other examples, but the point I am trying to make is that IMO many people who argue on the Left seem to think the rules they demand be followed only apply to their opponents.

Such people demand recognition of their own free speech rights; but command silence via allegations of "hate speech" or deflections via "whataboutism" of those who disagree.

Such people demand respect and consideration; but label those who don't support their ideals with complete disrespect, using hateful name-calling and efforts at ostracization.

Such people demand the right to protest spontaneously for what they believe in without limitation or hindrance; but have no problem acting out violently against, or to otherwise restrict those who march against what they believe in.

In short, they claim to be reasonable but act the exact opposite. IMO actions always speak louder than words.

Whataboutism is not a "thing," IMO it is an invention of the Left to stop from having to confront their own arguments being pushed back at them.

This is why I didn't buy into a request back sometime last year from a Forum member asking people to pledge not to use "whataboutism" in future discussions. I knew from experience the rules would only apply to those responding in defense of the current Administration, and somehow be justified as NOT applying to those opposed to it.

The above list of observations is also (as I have clearly posted in my tagline and at the summation of my blog post) why I often simply stop responding in threads.
Bravo to you swallowing the red pill and seeing how things are.

The left has gotten a bit spoiled by having the media frame the arguments in ways that favor their perspective. They have gotten away with it for so long that they have begun intellectually lazy and lean on it like a crutch. That's why when they are challenged with a valid comparison they protest that your using whataboutism or when you disagree about immigration they claim racism, etc...

I personally deal with it by rejecting the premise of the attack because its faulty and I continue on my argument over their objections. Some cut bait and run but others elevate their arguments. I have had some very constructive dialogue with people on the other side by simply standing my ground.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

Tigerace117

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I want to bring up the topic of the irrational position of "Whataboutism."

I keep seeing this argument/response presented by many in "The Resistance" whenever any negative comparison is made between Trump and some "hero of the Left." Most typically it is some comparison between President Obama's actions while in office compared with President Trump's, but it also encompasses the Clinton's, or any major public figure who may have done something contrary to the way Mr. Trump did/does it.

My trigger on this arose from a recent thread about Mr. Trump and the government shutdown over the budget. A Forum member had mentioned that Mr. Obama had also presided over a government shutdown seeking votes for the ACA. Up jumps a couple of members from the Left decrying "whataboutism" has no place in the discussion. Yet the same members have no problem comparing Mr. Obama's successes with Mr. Trump's failures. In such cases the claim is always that it isn't whataboutism for some strange varied reasoning.

We see this time and again, examples included border issues of migrant detention, and separation of children. Remember when those pictures of kids kept in "cages" were bandied about...right up until this evidence was found to have actually occurred during the Obama Administration. Not to mention mass deportations, and don't forget those family detentions until a 9th Circuit decision in 2016 forbad kids being held in custody, requiring separation. But mention this and they cry "foul" and "That's whataboutism which has no place in a discussion!"

I'm sure readers can provide other examples, but the point I am trying to make is that IMO many people who argue on the Left seem to think the rules they demand be followed only apply to their opponents.

Such people demand recognition of their own free speech rights; but command silence via allegations of "hate speech" or deflections via "whataboutism" of those who disagree.

Such people demand respect and consideration; but label those who don't support their ideals with complete disrespect, using hateful name-calling and efforts at ostracization.

Such people demand the right to protest spontaneously for what they believe in without limitation or hindrance; but have no problem acting out violently against, or to otherwise restrict those who march against what they believe in.

In short, they claim to be reasonable but act the exact opposite. IMO actions always speak louder than words.

Whataboutism is not a "thing," IMO it is an invention of the Left to stop from having to confront their own arguments being pushed back at them.

This is why I didn't buy into a request back sometime last year from a Forum member asking people to pledge not to use "whataboutism" in future discussions. I knew from experience the rules would only apply to those responding in defense of the current Administration, and somehow be justified as NOT applying to those opposed to it.

The above list of observations is also (as I have clearly posted in my tagline and at the summation of my blog post) why I often simply stop responding in threads.

Actually, it is a reflection of the Trump cult’s total inability to face reality and endless appetite for deflecting away from whatever subject matter is at hand to shriek “but Clinton” or “but Obama”.
 

upsideguy

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Most of the "whataboutisms" that are presented here are false equivalences.....

......As such they often require someone to point out that the "whataboutism" is not an applicable to what is being done now. Usually that false equivalence breaks down in order of magnitude. For example, if someone points out Trump's chronic lying, we will get a "all politicians lie" with "what about Obama, who told us we can keep your doctor"..... well we can go down rabbit hole of explaining that really wasn't a "lie", or we could ask the poster to reach down and come up with 1000 other lies of Trump to match the list the Washington Post has.... but both of those arguments are distractions to the main point, which in this case was "Trump is a chronic liar"........

Actually, in debate theory a "whataboutism" is, in essence, a concession of the main proposition with an attempt to minimize that concession by attacking its significance. For example, if an officer pulls you over from speeding and you know you were speeding, you are likely to challenge the officer for picking you out from the traffic, because you know your "I wasn't speeding" argument was going to go know where, so you come up with a whataboutism... "what about the Beamer that past me..."..... ......you see, you have conceded the point you were speeding by choosing, instead, to diminish that point by saying 'everyone else was doing it'. It is, in essence, a "yes, but ... [what about] response.

Whataboutisms, when truly equivalent, are an effective debate technique to use when you can't defend the attack on the primary proposition. Use them when your hand is otherwise weak..... and a whataboutism that isn't an equivalent is both a concession of the main point while leaving you exposed to be questioned on the command of the issue in the first place. When I see a "whataboutism" based on a false equivalence, its pretty clear to me that the poster has no command of the issue at hand and is merely flailing away.

Use them at your rhetorical risk.
 
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MovingPictures

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I sure hope that with the new year the right-wing has some new talking points.

The problem with 'whataboutism' is that it's primarily used by the right-wing to derail threads, where they have no defense for a conservative figures actions/policy, or if they are simply unable to support their assertions. Most often, the whataboutism isn't relevant, isn't supported by the evidence, and is just a pure distraction.

While this thread isn't an outright use of whataboutism, it is a perfect example of how conservatives argue. The OP hit on about half a dozen issues, all of which call for seperate and dedicated discussions, where the conversation is focused and on point.

But that's just the thing about those on the far-right. While no conversation is clean and without it's turns and twists, current far-right debate tactic is to intentionally create a cluster**** out of every discussion, so they can more easily deflect and distract from hard facts they don't want people to talk about, and to eventually frustrate their opponents to concede.

It may be a new year, but it's the same ****.:roll:
 

Hawkeye10

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Most of the "whataboutisms" that are presented here are false equivalences.....

......As such they often require someone to point out that the "whataboutism" is not an applicable to what is being done now. Usually that false equivalence breaks down in order of magnitude. For example, if someone points out Trump's chronic lying, we will get a "all politicians lie" with "what about Obama, who told us we can keep your doctor"..... well we can go down rabbit hole of explaining that really wasn't a "lie", or we could ask the poster to reach down and come up with 1000 other lies of Trump to match the list the Washington Post has.... but both of those arguments are distractions to the main point, which in this case was "Trump is a chronic liar"........

Actually, in debate theory a "whataboutism" is, in essence, a concession of the main proposition with an attempt to minimize that concession by attacking its significance. For example, if an officer pulls you over from speeding and you know you were speeding, you are likely to challenge the officer for picking you out from the traffic, because you know your "I wasn't speeding" argument was going to go know where, so you come up with a whataboutism... "what about the Beamer that past me..."..... ......you see, you have conceded the point you were speeding by choosing, instead, to diminish that point by saying 'everyone else was doing it'. It is, in essence, a "yes, but ... [what about] response.

Whataboutisms, when truly equivalent, are an effective debate technique to use when you can't defend the attack on the primary proposition. Use them when your hand is otherwise weak..... and a whataboutism that isn't an equivalent is both a concession of the main point while leaving you exposed to be questioned on the command of the issue in the first place. When I see a "whataboutism" based on a false equivalence, its pretty clear to me that the poster has no command of the issue at hand and is merely flailing away.

Use them at your rhetorical risk.

So long as you understand that I get to make my own calls, and that sometimes I will be right and you will be wrong.

It is in your best interest to be tolerant and to let folks say what they want to say, and to try to be decent as you do it........"You cant say that" is almost always a problem,,,,,a sign that we have failed at civil conversation.







HAPPY NEW YEAR! :2dancing:
 

Skeptic Bob

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If the goal is to score points in an argument or to point out hypocrisy then whataboutism works just fine. If the goal is to actually come up with solutions then it is pointless. I cared about Obama’s actions when he was President. I don’t care anymore since he no longer affects my life. That spot light is on Trump, now.
 

Hawkeye10

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I sure hope that with the new year the right-wing has some new talking points.

The problem with 'whataboutism' is that it's primarily used by the right-wing to derail threads, where they have no defense for a conservative figures actions/policy, or if they are simply unable to support their assertions. Most often, the whataboutism isn't relevant, isn't supported by the evidence, and is just a pure distraction.

While this thread isn't an outright use of whataboutism, it is a perfect example of how conservatives argue. The OP hit on about half a dozen issues, all of which call for seperate and dedicated discussions, where the conversation is focused and on point.

But that's just the thing about those on the far-right. While no conversation is clean and without it's turns and twists, current far-right debate tactic is to intentionally create a cluster**** out of every discussion, so they can more easily deflect and distract from hard facts they don't want people to talk about, and to eventually frustrate their opponents to concede.

It may be a new year, but it's the same ****.:roll:

Your fantasies about why people are saying what they are saying are generally irrelevant.

Let's face it, you are not in their head, you dont know, you are merely guessing.






HAPPY NEW YEAR! :2dancing:
 

Checkerboard Strangler

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If the goal is to score points in an argument or to point out hypocrisy then whataboutism works just fine. If the goal is to actually come up with solutions then it is pointless. I cared about Obama’s actions when he was President. I don’t care anymore since he no longer affects my life. That spot light is on Trump, now.

It is clear that 90% of the members of this forum view it as a contest to see who "wins".
That leaves people with the other ten percent who just want to talk it out, hash through discussions about the issues and search for solutions.
I suppose Theodore Sturgeon would be impressed with ten percent, seeing as how he only sees "six percent grandeur" and not ten.

I am seeking the ten percent. I couldn't care less if I am proven wrong, it just means I get to learn something.
So for me, whataboutism is as useful as tits on a bull.
 

Hawkeye10

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It is clear that 90% of the members of this forum view it as a contest to see who "wins".
That leaves people with the other ten percent who just want to talk it out, hash through discussions about the issues and search for solutions.
I suppose Theodore Sturgeon would be impressed with ten percent, seeing as how he only sees "six percent grandeur" and not ten.

I am seeking the ten percent. I couldn't care less if I am proven wrong, it just means I get to learn something.
So for me, whataboutism is as useful as tits on a bull.

There are sure not enough who are looking for the truth, who are interested in getting better.

90/10 we could quibble over but it is bad, a real tragedy.

We used to be better we Americans generally.

The decay has really set in.








HAPPY NEW YEAR! :2dancing:
 

BlueElk

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It is clear that 90% of the members of this forum view it as a contest to see who "wins".
That leaves people with the other ten percent who just want to talk it out, hash through discussions about the issues and search for solutions.
I suppose Theodore Sturgeon would be impressed with ten percent, seeing as how he only sees "six percent grandeur" and not ten.

I am seeking the ten percent. I couldn't care less if I am proven wrong, it just means I get to learn something.
So for me, whataboutism is as useful as tits on a bull.

HEY MODERATOR -

Whatabout posting this one.


WHATABOUTISM - Although used by the "Both" Parties, it favors the "Left" as it is ALWAYS used to justify questionable behavior.

Questionable behavior is the Signature of the "Left", hence, the word Liberal.


Your % statistics reflect the entire U.S. population, based on moving to America from a Sanctuary City/State in 2016.

https://cis.org/Map-Sanctuary-Cities-Counties-and-States

(There are more, as the worst ones refuse to self identify when called out)


Years ago, the Democrats and Republicans merged into the "Lesser of Two Evils" Party. often refusing to allow a "Third" Party to enter a candidate debate.

Electoral revolution of 2016 brought Bernie and Donald, No More traditional "Lesser of Two Evils" Party.

Like it or not, the new choice is a "Left" Socialism/Communism/Marxist mix or a "Right" Capitalism/Constitutional/Democracy mix.

The "Left" only succeeds with endless (nonsense) disruption and the "Right" with resolution.

8ba6f0c6-db08-49f3-8268-640c697f784e.jpg
 
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uptower

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There is a difference between 'Well what about..' that leads to a similar or analogous example, and whataboutism which aims to merely deflect and avoid the discussion by going on the attack even if it wanders off topic.

The problem is when it becomes subjective. A good example is perhaps Trump's affairs and payoffs vs Bill Clinton's. Some will see a similarity: though some details are clearly different, big-picture wise, there are similarities. Others will see clearly those differences and perhaps the contextual differences and say, no in this case harking back to twenty year old cases is merely a deflection. People's own bias or preference will inform them and depending on their side will see any case with a mild similarity as suitably demonstrative of the other side's hypocrisy; others will focus on the minutiae and insist that the cases are worlds apart.

That push-me-pull-you struggle will probably always exist and we should try to understand that perspective doesn't necessarily make the other person 'wrong' but only that there are clearly aspects of two similar stories that need to be compared and discussed.

I too have been guilty of dismissing counterpoints as 'whataboutism' perhaps because for me there is not enough similarity, all the while ignoring those similarities that do exist.

that said, some whataboutisms really are deflections: the so-called similarities arise from a misunderstanding of the issue or case; or worse, intentional use of misinformation from nefarious sources.
 

Crosscheck

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I did not read your post ( I skimmed, you are so full of words tonight!) but what so many fail to understand is that all of the truth matters and that every single thing we see must be taken in the context of the rest of the stuff we see. The need to take bits of reality in the context of the rest of the reality was something that folks used to learn when they got educated, [SIZE=4]but sadly in these decayed times full of inferior people[/SIZE] that does not happen like it used to.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! :2dancing:


The first post after the OP is picture perfect. This thread is almost comical.
 

Crosscheck

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Comedians are some of the best truth tellers around.....what is your beef?

Have no beef, am just a little slow on the uptake. I thought this was a serious thread then realized it is all tongue in cheek. Play on
 

code1211

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Actually, it is a reflection of the Trump cult’s total inability to face reality and endless appetite for deflecting away from whatever subject matter is at hand to shriek “but Clinton” or “but Obama”.

You misspelled "butt".
 

code1211

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Most of the "whataboutisms" that are presented here are false equivalences.....

......As such they often require someone to point out that the "whataboutism" is not an applicable to what is being done now. Usually that false equivalence breaks down in order of magnitude. For example, if someone points out Trump's chronic lying, we will get a "all politicians lie" with "what about Obama, who told us we can keep your doctor"..... well we can go down rabbit hole of explaining that really wasn't a "lie", or we could ask the poster to reach down and come up with 1000 other lies of Trump to match the list the Washington Post has.... but both of those arguments are distractions to the main point, which in this case was "Trump is a chronic liar"........

Actually, in debate theory a "whataboutism" is, in essence, a concession of the main proposition with an attempt to minimize that concession by attacking its significance. For example, if an officer pulls you over from speeding and you know you were speeding, you are likely to challenge the officer for picking you out from the traffic, because you know your "I wasn't speeding" argument was going to go know where, so you come up with a whataboutism... "what about the Beamer that past me..."..... ......you see, you have conceded the point you were speeding by choosing, instead, to diminish that point by saying 'everyone else was doing it'. It is, in essence, a "yes, but ... [what about] response.

Whataboutisms, when truly equivalent, are an effective debate technique to use when you can't defend the attack on the primary proposition. Use them when your hand is otherwise weak..... and a whataboutism that isn't an equivalent is both a concession of the main point while leaving you exposed to be questioned on the command of the issue in the first place. When I see a "whataboutism" based on a false equivalence, its pretty clear to me that the poster has no command of the issue at hand and is merely flailing away.

Use them at your rhetorical risk.

Your entire argument above attacking whataboutism is based on whataboutism.
 

code1211

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I sure hope that with the new year the right-wing has some new talking points.

The problem with 'whataboutism' is that it's primarily used by the right-wing to derail threads, where they have no defense for a conservative figures actions/policy, or if they are simply unable to support their assertions. Most often, the whataboutism isn't relevant, isn't supported by the evidence, and is just a pure distraction.

While this thread isn't an outright use of whataboutism, it is a perfect example of how conservatives argue. The OP hit on about half a dozen issues, all of which call for seperate and dedicated discussions, where the conversation is focused and on point.

But that's just the thing about those on the far-right. While no conversation is clean and without it's turns and twists, current far-right debate tactic is to intentionally create a cluster**** out of every discussion, so they can more easily deflect and distract from hard facts they don't want people to talk about, and to eventually frustrate their opponents to concede.

It may be a new year, but it's the same ****.:roll:

When a person employs critical assessment of the real world using real world facts instead of irrational, passion infused propaganda, he is said to be deflecting.

Obama is presented as a kind of holy grail type of mythic perfection and ALL of his failures, lies and political bias are conveniently ignored.

Trump is conversely presented as a satanic traitor with no redeeming qualities and ALL of his successes, achievement and inclusivity are conveniently ignored.

Claiming to know that when a person says one thing, he means something different and perhaps exactly the opposite is a familiar tactic of the Left in discussing Trump.

Why does the phrase "All Americans" represent a racist hate message in today's politics?
 

holbritter

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If the goal is to score points in an argument or to point out hypocrisy then whataboutism works just fine. If the goal is to actually come up with solutions then it is pointless. I cared about Obama’s actions when he was President. I don’t care anymore since he no longer affects my life. That spot light is on Trump, now.

Agreed, except when it's used to point out the hypocrisy of condemning one that has done the same as one that was praised. That type of 'whataboutism' is perfectly valid, imo.
 

ttwtt78640

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Most of the "whataboutisms" that are presented here are false equivalences.....

......As such they often require someone to point out that the "whataboutism" is not an applicable to what is being done now. Usually that false equivalence breaks down in order of magnitude. For example, if someone points out Trump's chronic lying, we will get a "all politicians lie" with "what about Obama, who told us we can keep your doctor"..... well we can go down rabbit hole of explaining that really wasn't a "lie", or we could ask the poster to reach down and come up with 1000 other lies of Trump to match the list the Washington Post has.... but both of those arguments are distractions to the main point, which in this case was "Trump is a chronic liar"........

Actually, in debate theory a "whataboutism" is, in essence, a concession of the main proposition with an attempt to minimize that concession by attacking its significance. For example, if an officer pulls you over from speeding and you know you were speeding, you are likely to challenge the officer for picking you out from the traffic, because you know your "I wasn't speeding" argument was going to go know where, so you come up with a whataboutism... "what about the Beamer that past me..."..... ......you see, you have conceded the point you were speeding by choosing, instead, to diminish that point by saying 'everyone else was doing it'. It is, in essence, a "yes, but ... [what about] response.

Whataboutisms, when truly equivalent, are an effective debate technique to use when you can't defend the attack on the primary proposition. Use them when your hand is otherwise weak..... and a whataboutism that isn't an equivalent is both a concession of the main point while leaving you exposed to be questioned on the command of the issue in the first place. When I see a "whataboutism" based on a false equivalence, its pretty clear to me that the poster has no command of the issue at hand and is merely flailing away.

Use them at your rhetorical risk.

You have expressed your point fairly well, yet who is to judge whether "a false equivalence" is what is being offered? Let me offer some whataboutisms in response to it. ;)

The lying example points out that the quantity (frequency?) of someone's lying (or perhaps just their political slant?) annoys you more than the quality (magnitude?) of a particular lie sparking the current (most recent?) politician Y is a chronic liar thread. That is certainly a valid way to evaluate (compare the equivalence of?) liars (aka politicians) but ignores the possibility that the whataboutism offered was not intended to excuse the more frequent liar's latest lie but to point out that the particular lie prompting the thread is neither the straw that broke camel's back nor is of any significant consequence. The whataboutism offered (that politician X told a much more consequential lie?) is used to place the current (most recent?) lie cited in the thread about politician Y in a different context - addressing instead (only?) the severity (consequence of?) the lie told. In other words, is the lie cited as the current thread topic really more serious or consequential as the past lie offered up as the whataboutism?

The speeding vehicles example is of a similar nature. Vehicle A (the one being cited for the violation) and vehicle B (the one traveling even faster yet allowed to proceed without being cited for their violation) were both violating the posted speed limit. The whataboutism argument is not asserting that vehicle A was not speeding, but that vehicle B was the more serious threat to other motorists' safety since they were not only speeding but also passed their own speeding vehicle. The point being that the operator of vehicle A is questioning the decision of the officer electing to cite the less serious offender while having ignored the more serious offender in the immediate vicinity. It is certainly valid to issue any speeding driver a traffic ticket (judge them to be equivalent?) but not, in the opinion of that driver, to do so while excusing (ignoring?) the even worse actions of another driver (they see the officer as offering a false equivalence).
 

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I want to bring up the topic of the irrational position of "Whataboutism."

I keep seeing this argument/response presented by many in "The Resistance" whenever any negative comparison is made between Trump and some "hero of the Left." Most typically it is some comparison between President Obama's actions while in office compared with President Trump's, but it also encompasses the Clinton's, or any major public figure who may have done something contrary to the way Mr. Trump did/does it.

My trigger on this arose from a recent thread about Mr. Trump and the government shutdown over the budget. A Forum member had mentioned that Mr. Obama had also presided over a government shutdown seeking votes for the ACA. Up jumps a couple of members from the Left decrying "whataboutism" has no place in the discussion. Yet the same members have no problem comparing Mr. Obama's successes with Mr. Trump's failures. In such cases the claim is always that it isn't whataboutism for some strange varied reasoning.

We see this time and again, examples included border issues of migrant detention, and separation of children. Remember when those pictures of kids kept in "cages" were bandied about...right up until this evidence was found to have actually occurred during the Obama Administration. Not to mention mass deportations, and don't forget those family detentions until a 9th Circuit decision in 2016 forbad kids being held in custody, requiring separation. But mention this and they cry "foul" and "That's whataboutism which has no place in a discussion!"

I'm sure readers can provide other examples, but the point I am trying to make is that IMO many people who argue on the Left seem to think the rules they demand be followed only apply to their opponents.

Such people demand recognition of their own free speech rights; but command silence via allegations of "hate speech" or deflections via "whataboutism" of those who disagree.

Such people demand respect and consideration; but label those who don't support their ideals with complete disrespect, using hateful name-calling and efforts at ostracization.

Such people demand the right to protest spontaneously for what they believe in without limitation or hindrance; but have no problem acting out violently against, or to otherwise restrict those who march against what they believe in.

In short, they claim to be reasonable but act the exact opposite. IMO actions always speak louder than words.

Whataboutism is not a "thing," IMO it is an invention of the Left to stop from having to confront their own arguments being pushed back at them.

This is why I didn't buy into a request back sometime last year from a Forum member asking people to pledge not to use "whataboutism" in future discussions. I knew from experience the rules would only apply to those responding in defense of the current Administration, and somehow be justified as NOT applying to those opposed to it.

The above list of observations is also (as I have clearly posted in my tagline and at the summation of my blog post) why I often simply stop responding in threads.

Whataboutism is simply another way of the left telling the right that they were correct in what the right had said.
 

jnug

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It is clear that 90% of the members of this forum view it as a contest to see who "wins".
That leaves people with the other ten percent who just want to talk it out, hash through discussions about the issues and search for solutions.
I suppose Theodore Sturgeon would be impressed with ten percent, seeing as how he only sees "six percent grandeur" and not ten.

I am seeking the ten percent. I couldn't care less if I am proven wrong, it just means I get to learn something.
So for me, whataboutism is as useful as tits on a bull.

Well I hasten to point out that the title of the forum is DebatePolitics and debate is a competitive win/lose proposition. That said, anybody involved in a true debate platform will tell you that Whataboutism will earn you no points with the judges in Debate. Its as likely to lose you points as anything as making no ground in Debate is the equivalent of losing ground since you gave up some of your time limit uselessly. So to your point while Whataboutism is given to producing heat but no light, its not even a decent Debate tactic.
 

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Funny thing to me is that if it's just 'whataboutism', it should be just as easy to point out the difference in the two scenarios as it is to dodge the whole thing with that word. When I see that word, I immediately take the response a little less seriously.
 

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Agreed - a Defense - Usually used in response to the Party that initiated the behavior and act offended when reciprocated. (IE - Nuclear Option)

Note as pointed out "produce heat no light" - Liberal Goal - No Resolution.
 
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