Sunday, July 11, 2021
Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument. According to Russian writer, chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov, "whataboutism" is a word that was coined to describe the frequent use of a rhetorical diversion by Soviet apologists and dictators, who would counter charges of their oppression, "massacres, gulags, and forced deportations" by invoking American slavery, racism, lynchings, etc. Whataboutism has been used by other politicians and countries as well. Whataboutism is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Soviet response would often use "and what about you?" style by instancing of an event or situation in the Western world. The idea can be found in Russian language: while it utilizes phrase "Sam takoi" for direct tu quoque-like "you too"; it also has "Sam ne lutche" ("not better") phrase.