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Is Trump a Tyrant? V: What Aboutism & the Two Sides Problem

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This essay concludes the series on Trump and Tyranny and does so with full confidence that no minds have been changed.  I will be discussing Whataboutism and the Two Sides Problem. Image Credit The Soviets might not have invented Whataboutism, but they effectively weaponized it. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russians continued to use it effectively. Like other Russian tools, it has now become entrenched in American political discourse. While anyone can use it, it is a favorite of Fox News and Donald Trump. While Whataboutism has many forms, the most common versions used in the defense of Trump has the following general form. 1. Premise 1: Person A of affiliation 1 is accused of X by person B of Affiliation 2. 2. Premise 2: Person C of affiliation 2 is accused of X by person D of affiliation 1. 3. Conclusion: Therefore, A did not do X. This is a fallacy because whether C did X is irrelevant to whether or not it is true that A did X.  One example of this is when Trump and his defenders bring up the alleged misdeeds of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The specific flawed logic can be seen as concluding that Trump did not do anything, because “what about Hillary’s emails?” Alternatively, one could grudgingly admit that Trump did something that might seem wrong, then use Whataboutism to try to “prove” that it is not wrong: 1. Premise 1: Person A of affiliation 1 is accused of X by person B of Affiliation 2. 2. Premise 2: Person C of affiliation 2 is accused of X by person D of affiliation 1. 3. Conclusion: Therefore, it is not wrong that A did X. Clearly, even if C did X it does not follow that A doing X was not wrong. As noted above, Trump and his defenders try to defend Trump by asserting that Democrats, especially Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, have done bad things. As a specific example, when pressed about Trump trying to exploit his office for personal gain, his defenders will say “what about Joe Biden?” and. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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