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"Whataboutism" vs "Veil of Ignorance"
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Old 10-26-2019, 03:09 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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Default "Whataboutism" vs "Veil of Ignorance"

I didn't know whether or not to put this under "Politics" or "Social Woes", so I put it here.

"Whataboutism" is often dismissed.

However, I've often contended that if it's not OK for the "other guy" to do it, it's not OK for "your guy" to do it. That's often looked as as dismissive, as well.

But what if we apply a "veil of ignorance" to those situations? Does that change things?

Or is it not as possible/easy as we think to apply said veil, because of our own personal biases?

Take, for instance, the Trump impeachment saga. Or the IRS or email situations. Should we all come to the same, or similar, conclusions if we apply the veil?

There are a number of Republicans right now who think he did nothing wrong, and a number of Democrats who think he's guilty as sin.

Applying the veil doesn't just "reverse the situation", it makes certain aspects completely unknown, doesn't it?

Thoughts?
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So the Veil is probably a good test to apply
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:59 PM
D_Yeti_Esquire's Avatar
D_Yeti_Esquire D_Yeti_Esquire is offline
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Default So the Veil is probably a good test to apply

But to your point I think that's where there's a difference between morality and political thinking.

When people complain about Whataboutism, the complaint is essentially we're not allowed to talk about the subject at hand, because you want to base our decision on something else and hence all arguments and discussion need to shift. It's an argument frame of reference shifting and as you point out it is almost without fail, politically self-serving.

If you'll indulge the topical frame here, if a President provably withholds the good faith and credit of the United States to an ally against a common belligerent unless that ally provides and renders services (emoluments) on behalf of that President's political apparatus, it's a very easy constitutional question.

Is the act of withholding promised aid justifiable based on the ask (does his opponents son present a clear and present danger to the United States requiring such an extreme measure)?

You don't need to answer as it's not the point of your question. But yes, in many cases what is desperately needed is citizenry capable of accessing raw facts and the critical thinking skills to apply them sans identity.

The problem is the prisoner's dilemma. Even if it is better for everyone for the veil to be applied, it is even better for me if you apply it and I don't. That in a nutshell is modern politics and why the hollowing of the press coupled with "poison the well" behavior is so dangerous. It prevents even getting to the facts or correct frame for judgement.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:41 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Yeti_Esquire View Post
When people complain about Whataboutism, the complaint is essentially we're not allowed to talk about the subject at hand, because you want to base our decision on something else and hence all arguments and discussion need to shift. It's an argument frame of reference shifting and as you point out it is almost without fail, politically self-serving.
Every word you said in that sentence is true.

That said, it's not that you (in a general sense) aren't allowed to talk about the subject at hand, it's about acknowledgement, at least in my opinion, that "yeah, if 'my guy' did this, I'd be pretty upset, too".

Quote:
If you'll indulge the topical frame here, if a President provably withholds the good faith and credit of the United States to an ally against a common belligerent unless that ally provides and renders services (emoluments) on behalf of that President's political apparatus, it's a very easy constitutional question.
The key word there is "provably", but otherwise I concur 100%. I don't care who's in office when it happens. But "provably", these days, has turned into a partisan term. But as far as this discussion goes, we shouldn't consider that since we're leaving political affiliation out of it.

Quote:
You don't need to answer as it's not the point of your question. But yes, in many cases what is desperately needed is citizenry capable of accessing raw facts and the critical thinking skills to apply them sans identity.
I think it goes beyond that. We need citizens of good will, as well. The problem is, it seems like we've demonized "the other side", and both have (generally) dug in their heels. Disagree with a Democrat's position? You're a racist or a bigot. Disagree with a Republican? You hate the country.

Just one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttTIpO16ymg

That kind of thinking has to stop.

Quote:
The problem is the prisoner's dilemma. Even if it is better for everyone for the veil to be applied, it is even better for me if you apply it and I don't. That in a nutshell is modern politics and why the hollowing of the press coupled with "poison the well" behavior is so dangerous. It prevents even getting to the facts or correct frame for judgement.
True. Valid argument here. Well said.

Last edited by mjr; 11-03-2019 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:32 PM
Gravekeeper Gravekeeper is offline
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Originally Posted by mjr View Post
I think it goes beyond that. We need citizens of good will, as well. The problem is, it seems like we've demonized "the other side", and both have (generally) dug in their heels. Disagree with a Democrat's position? You're a racist or a bigot. Disagree with a Republican? You hate the country.
There's a third aspect here you just inadvertently brought up: The false equivalency that oft goes hand in hand with Whataboutism. Both sides are supposedly collectively as bad as the worst thing "they" have done. It's a tactic that Republicans have hammered to death alongside Whataboutism and US media continues to support because the media benefits from behaving like every opinion has equal weight. Everything is a horse race. Keep watching because you never know what's going to happen next!

That's why you see ridiculous shit like US news having on a doctor and an anti-vaxxer to "debate" each other. As if the anti-vaxxer's position holds any worth or weight whatsoever.

The inherent flaw here though is that Republicans and right wing media have gone all in on authoritarianism and loyalty to one man over country. Democrats have not. It's easy to find the most stupid sounding thing about the "left" you can come up with ( your video ) and claim like that represents the left in general ( like you just did ).

However, the fact of the matter is it doesn't. In the US the left is the left because it collectively values individualism and in doing so often disagrees with itself. Hence the identity struggle the Dems are having right now between progressives and moderates.

Conversely, the right is the right in the US because it values tribalism. Where one goes so do they all. Not a single Republican in the house had the self respect or integrity to vote for the impeachment inquiry. Because doing so would bring down the half wit spittle of Dear Leader upon them. They are nakedly and unashamedly partisan as a whole. It doesn't matter if the country burns down as long as they can hold onto their political power till the end. Even if it means licking that tangerine asshole and publicly lying day in and day out.

Thus is the problem every time someone tries to pull the "both sides are bad" card. The mistake is assuming the left is as tribalistic and unified as the right. When it isn't. If it was you'd have President Clinton right now and wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. -.-

As to the broader point; critical thinking as a skill is desperately lacking in the US. As is civics. When you couple that with American politics being the root of people's identity instead of people's choice you end up with a pretty big problem. For Americans political parties are treated more like sports teams and your team is a part of your identity.

So you have people who they or their family has "always" been a Republican or Democrat so they always vote that way regardless. Then you have voting motivated not by choice of winner but by choice of loser. They're not voting for someone they're voting against someone else. Which is an attitude that Republicans have fostered vastly more than Democrats. Trump is merely the end result of decades of cynical political strategy for the Republicans.

Then, finally, you have US media. Who instead of operating journalism as journalism has operated journalism as a product. Don't like Democrats? Well, you can tune into Fox and enjoy what has practically become an alternate reality tailored entirely to your biases. For all extents and purposes you have your own American Pravda you can tune into. No need to ever here any conflicting information.

Don't like Republicans? Well, that's trickier. Nothing on the "left" of US media comes remotely close to Fox seeing as Hannity is literally an informal advisor to the President. But you're still free to tune into the pseudo intellectual wanking of Bill Maher or a deep dive into MSNBC's opinion department. Or you can just hop online where you can tailor reality to your reality preferences to whatever you like.

And no, I don't know what the solution is at this point. Frankly the rest of the world has been watching America in abject horror since anyone in your country first took the idea of President Trump seriously. There's no longer an out. I think you're just going to have to finish riding this train to its inevitably fiery demise because no one's going to change their behaviour until they're personally burning in the wreckage.

After that it'll probably take at least a generation for America to recover it's reputation on a world stage. And that's only if Republicans can pull themselves away from the teet of Trumpian style politics.
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