The two-sided hypocrisy

An easy way to get your point across is by pointing out hypocritical elements of your opponents. Such argument is not necessarily fallicious, because an inconsistent position is a wrong position. But often, these alleged hypocritical elements are about the supporters of a cause and not the position itself.

One particular rhetorical device, however, is when the allged hypocrisy can easily be flipped around to allege hypocrisy in the opposite side by the same style.

Here is an example, excuse its comedic nature:

Black Lives Matter lights a city on fire - peaceful protest! White people peacefully march with tiki torches - end of the world!

This is a tweet by @StefanMolyneux, a YouTuber who desperately wants to be a philosopher. Ignore the fact that this tweet aged very poorly (the "peaceful march" ended up in a terror attack with 3 dead and 17 wounded), and construct the following:

Black Lives Matter marches - end of the world! White people peacefully sets city on fire - peaceful protests!

You see the point here. The seemingly same logic is used, yet the message is the opposite.

Here's a better example:

The left says all white nationalists are bad, yet not all muslims are bad.

This logic is not very sound, but in addition to that, we can flip it to make it say:

The rights thinks all muslims are bad, yet they don't think all white nationalists are bad

Note how both are both segments of above statement is implied by the original statement.

Another (constructed) example could be:

The SJWs says the right denies science by being skeptical of climate change, yet they think there is more than two genders!

In fact, this point seems to have been made several times on Twitter already.

Breaking this down, there is two main implications:

  • Man-made climate change is not real
  • "There is more than two genders" is unscientific, i.e. there is only two genders

By these implications (views being held by the person who made the point), one can construct a corresponding:

The right-wingers says non-binary genders are unscientific, yet they think climate change is a hoax.

Note that this point is not necessarily more valid (if we ignore the science behind non-binary genders), as the original point can be derived as well.

This kind of point seems to be made increasingly often. I see it all the time on political Twitter. I have seen it a handful of times from left-wing accounts, but I usuaully see it from right-wing accounts. The property most of these have in common is its use as a rhetorical tool of deflection of one's own hypocrisy; it is however rarely pointed out how it can be turned against themself easily.

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