July 17, 2017


On 'Whataboutism' And Its Moral Hazards (BEN SHAPIRO, July 12, 2017, Daily Wire)

Moral Relativism. This is the dangerous form of "whataboutism," and also the most common. This is the actual message underlying Trump's tweet: Hillary got away with it, so why shouldn't I be able to get away with it? This ignores two facts: first, Hillary most certainly did not get away with it in the minds of the American public, which is why she's not in the White House; second, wrong is wrong. The Right now engages in a fantasy whereby the Left's dishonesty somehow justifies conservative dishonesty -- hey, if Hillary's corrupt, what's the big problem with the Trump campaign soliciting information from the Russian government?

In this case, whataboutism is itself dishonesty -- it's pretending to care about the sins of the Left in order to justify the sins of the Right. It actually throws into sharp relief the hypocrisy of the Right: we complained endlessly and justifiably about Loretta Lynch meeting secretly with Bill Clinton, but we're fine with Donald Trump Jr. meeting secretly with Natalia Veselnitskaya; we ripped President Obama's "flexibility" hot mic moment, but we're fine with President Trump saying that America has killed people just like Putin; we correctly targeted Clinton over Chinagate, but now we're happy to use Chinagate as an excuse to avoid talking about Russiagate. This isn't conservative. It's not even moral. Kindergarteners learn that "but he did it, too" isn't an excuse for bad behavior.

The Right often embraces this form of "whataboutism" because many people believe that fighting the Left requires tossing out morality of means in favor of morality of ends. Fight fire with fire! Since that was the animating principle behind much of the conservative support for the Trump campaign, this form of "whataboutism" has also become the most common form.

They're only defending Donald because they share his nativism in the first place.  

Posted by at July 17, 2017 7:44 AM