I’d been meaning to post this for a while, but only recently got around to it. Lately (as in, for the past several years…I don’t recall hearing the term more than, say, five years ago) there has been, if not a coining of, at least an increase in visibility of the term “whataboutism”. Unless I’m sorely mistaken, its usage is to dismiss charges that the same thing a certain party is accused of doing were done by someone else without objection in the past.
But…didn’t that sort of argument used to be considered a valid exposure of hypocrisy? When someone argues that a public figure should be fired/voted out/denied office because they did (or are accused of doing) X, and then someone points out that the same person defended the same behavior when it was done by someone on his side, is it not right to expose that person as a hypocrite, as someone who is simply using a principle as a tool toward advancing his own ends than a believer in the principle for its own sake, and therefore is not to be taken seriously as an advocate for that principle? How did this line of argument fall out of favor and become “whataboutism”?