Yesterday, Scott recommended a column by William Voegeli called “About ‘Whataboutism.’” I read that column and join Scott in recommending it.
In our current discourse, whataboutism is used by Democrats/leftists to counter conservatives who, when discussing questionable actions by Donald Trump or violent conduct by a pro-Trump mob (for example), point to similar behavior by others that Democrats/leftists did not condemn. Those of us who point to the double standard are accused of whataboutism.
The charge is an evasion — an attempt to duck the fact that Democrats are employing a double standard. Accepting the evasion means accepting unprincipled discourse, which is what the left desires. They insist on an exemption from normal rules of argument.
Whataboutism is essentially a demand that similar situations and similarly situated people be treated similarly. Thus, if not abused, whataboutism is an essential element of justice.
In law, if a Black plaintiff who was fired for being tardy twice for work points to a white co-worker who was tardy twice but not fired, his allegations make out of prima facie case of discrimination. His argument boils down to whataboutism, but it can’t be dismissed on that basis.
Source: What about “whataboutism”?