Sunday, February 4, 2018
Anti-Semitism, Poland's New Speech Law, Team Trump and Whataboutism
I first traveled to my parents' homelands in Eastern Europe in the 1970s. I met some card-carrying communists.
If I said to them, "You don't have freedom of speech in this country," they'd say something like,
"Oh yeah? In your country, Negroes are lynched."
This rhetorical technique, whataboutism, was everywhere, including in the press.
Anytime anyone pointed out the failings of life in the Soviet Empire, and the successes of capitalism, a commie would say, "What about American racism? What about American pollution? What about American crime?"
Whataboutism is a way of avoiding discussing a topic, changing the subject to another topic, and accusing the person or entity accusing another person or entity.
Simple-minded people's brains are shut down by whataboutism.
Whataboutism has had a grand resurgence among followers of Donald Trump. You can read more about that at NPR, here. "Trump Embraces one of Russia's Favorite Propaganda Tactics: Whataboutism."
Blog reader Michal Karski calls out "whataboutism" re: Poland's new speech law that criminalizes speech about the Holocaust.
Those supporting the law say, "What about laws criminalizing Holocaust denial?"
That's a good question. And it should be addressed. And it is addressed, at length, in any number of venues.
So. Allow people addressing Poland's new speech law to stay on topic. If you want to talk about laws criminalizing Holocaust denial, go do that, and let those of us concerned with Poland's new speech law remain on topic.