Whataboutism: The Evil Term Eating Your Brain(and your Wallet)

First here’s an amazing video:

One thing I like about this video is how Jamie Lee Peterson just argues ‘no that is not true’ to disagree with people. It is not a very technical disagreement, but I appreciate his honesty. But you should still Watch from the beginning. I just linked it to start from a great sound bite.

Twice in the last two days, two or three ‘intelligent people’ have used the term “whataboutism” to argue what I thought was a historical fact.

For instance, a friend made a fairly innocent post asking how we deal with children crossing the border, and all I did was mention we get 60,000 crossing per year according to the CBP, and I got accused of ‘whataboutism’ which I brushed off as weird art people speak. Then some other online communists started throwing it around so I had to, like, look it up.


Whataboutism stems from the Tu Quoque which is an INFORMAL logical fallacy.

“Tu quoque or the appeal to hypocrisy is an informal fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent’s argument by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion.”

For those of you confused about why INFORMAL is in all caps, it is because formal logic is stuff like this:

Through my googling, the term whataboutism is from our days negotiating with the USSR. Whenever the United States would question Russia’s human rights issues, the Soviet Ambassadors would counter with: “But you are lynching [black people]”

Maybe I’m a liberal on this issue, but that’s actually a pretty point. The more you research the history of lynching in America, it actually does seem like a pretty good counter to the United States giving anyone advice on civil rights:


American Ambassador: you should pull out of Afghanistan

Soviet Ambassador: you should stop the practice of advertising a lynching in the newspaper to the point that 20,000 people show up and the police claim they could not find the people responsible.

American Ambassador: look don’t change the subject.

Soviet Ambassador: you should stop lynching people before telling us what to do.

Let me be clear, Communism is toxic and destructive, but, for real, lynching was surely a pretty good undermining of our entire human rights history.

In Short, Whataboutism is when you point out any inconsistency without admitting your own. It is not a Christian thing to do.

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?  How can you say, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while you yourself fail to see the beam in your own eye?” -Luke 6:41

3Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? 5You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye Matthew 7:3

There’s some hard hitting Jesus for you. Look here is Paul.

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions. 2For one man has faith to eat all things, while another, who is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not belittle the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14

This is one of those times I don’t want to admit it but there is a point.

What I have a problem with here is the amount of times whataboutism is now brought up as a counter to providing historical context or explaining what is going on. Or providing a historically similar case where the outcome was beneficial.

Of course, here’s what happens when you actually give someone the context of the ordeal:

Gotta shed light on this.