CDZ Is what people mean by "what about ism?"

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by RandomPoster, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Gold Member

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    Imagine bachelor George, who's wife died in car accident, is reluctantly giving his baby up for adoption to a couple that lives in Hawaii because he has terminal cancer. His friend Sally tells him not to because kids that grow up in small states can't grow up to be law abiding citizens because there aren't enough eyes on them growing up to control their behavior. She explains how her cousin grew up in a small state and became a serial killer. George says well if want to look at it that way, what about my cousin that grew up in Maine and is a saint?
     
  2. Pellinore
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    Pellinore VIP Member

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    I'm not exactly sure what you question is, but there's a lot going on in this story. Sally's wackadoo idea is a good example of anecdotal evidence rather than whataboutism; her cousin's one case does not mean anything for large-scale trends. Also, the whole small state/less oversight/more violent killers would seem to suggest that the real issue is population density rather than population, but Hawaii is one of the more densely populated states we have (#13 of 50; I looked it up).

    Whataboutism is an old press conference trick to keep from having to answer a damning question. The idea is that when you're asked about some evil thing you just did, rather then fessing up, you can respond with "Well, what about ... " and then fill in whatever tangentially related past events you like, turning the aura of guilt on someone else and generally sandbagging the conversation. The Soviet Union used to love to do it during the Cold War.

    "Why did you just punch that guy?"
    "Hey, look who's talking - you punched somebody once too."
    Like that.
     
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  3. fncceo
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    fncceo Gold Member

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    While we're on the subject...

     
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  4. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Gold Member

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    So, what about ism is more like this? My friend is enraged about Frank borrowing $100 from him and not paying it back and I say what about the time you borrowed $100 from Frank and never paid it back?
     
  5. Pellinore
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    Pellinore VIP Member

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    It could be, even moreso if Frank was the one who said it.

    Also, it could be:
    "Frank, you didn't pay back the $100."
    "Frank, you stole $100 from my pocket."
    "Frank, you defrauded that little old lady out of $100."
    "Frank, you've been stealing money from the whole community for years, including this $100."

    And, Frank's replies could be:
    "But what about when you did that too?"
    "But what about when you stole the $100?"
    "But what about when you stole the lollipop when we were kids?"
    "But what about when you jaywalked? That's a crime, too."

    None of those change the fact that Frank still stole the hundred dollars. That's the thing.
     
  6. CWayne
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    CWayne Senior Member

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    Whataboutism is also directed at those who would ignore their own bad behavior, or the behavior of those they support, in order to score a debate point with the bad behavior of another they do not care for. A lot of times, whataboutism is really just hypocrisy.
     
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  7. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Gold Member

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    I see it as deal with both or neither. Let's say Larry punches George in the face and George punches him back. If Larry is crying to the principal that George punched him and George says "What about the fact that he punched me first?", I say deal with both or neither.

    If you tell me Italians are more likely to be atheist and the only argument you're giving me is that your neighbor is Italian and also happens to be an atheist, that is retarded. If I respond with "If you want argue with silly anecdotes, what about my neighbor who is Italian and a priest, that is valid in my opinion. They either both count or neither count. Actually, they both count, except they are both useless as evidence.
     
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  8. jwoodie
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    jwoodie Gold Member Supporting Member

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    It's called moral relativism.
     

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