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If someone responds with criticism of his country by pointing to some other less tolerant country and saying, 'See that country? That's called intolerance. And here's you criticizing us.'

What is this logical fallacy called?

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    It is classically called 'Tu toque' (which basically translates "You too"), even when the person pointed at is not 'you' but a third party. – jobermark Feb 19 '16 at 17:46
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    This sounds like a combination of tu quoque (appeal to hypocricy) with the fallacy of relative privation (appeal to worse problems) discussed here philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/24622/… – Conifold Feb 19 '16 at 19:11
  • Contrary to the two above comments I do not think it is the logical fallacy of Tu Quoque ('I know am but what are you!?') but @Conifold is correct that it is the logical fallacy of relative privation as it does fit the bill. What happens in StackExchange when the comments have answered the question? – igravious Jun 28 '16 at 21:53
  • Through in a segment from the argument 'ad hominem' and that's the package. CS – Charles M Saunders May 17 at 15:58
  • It's called "Tu Quoque" [Too-Kwokweh] meaning "You too". – SmootQ Jun 16 at 20:56
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The comments suggest two fallacies, relative privation and/or tu quoque.

Bo Bennett describes relative privation as:

Trying to make a scenario appear better or worse by comparing it to the best or worst case scenario.

And ad hominem (tu quoque) as:

Claiming the argument is flawed by pointing out that the one making the argument is not acting consistently with the claims of the argument.

Since the arguer is pointing out "some other less tolerant country" rather than claiming the opponent has the fault, relative privation looks like a closer match to this situation.


Bennett, B. Ad Hominem (tu quoque). Retrieved on May 15, 2019 from Logically Fallacious at https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/11/Ad-Hominem-Tu-quoque

Bennett, B. Relative Privation. Retrieved on May 15, 2019 from Logically Fallacious at https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/155/Relative-Privation

  • Striking that we have three answers all so different. +1. – Geoffrey Thomas Jun 16 at 17:58
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It is the fallacy of relative privation; the "not as bad as" emotional appeal mixed in with a false dilemma.

"A is not as bad as B, therefore you ought to only worry about B."

"We have to fix either A or B, but A is not as bad as B, therefore we should only fix B."

"I am not as bad as them, therefore you don't really care about the problem and are just bullying me."

Basically, it is the claim that you ought to only fix the worst thing first, and that trying to fix a lesser (easier) problem first is morally wrong.

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The text box puts a much narrower question than the one in the title.

Anyhow :

If someone responds with criticism of his country by pointing to some other less tolerant country and saying, 'See that country? That's called intolerance. And here's you criticizing us.'

I'm inclined to classify the ruse of pointing to some other less tolerant country - assuming tolerance and intolerance are the substantive issue - as a case of ignoratio elenchi.

The tolerance or intolerance exhibited by one's own country is a matter to be determined by reference to the institutions, practices, and laws of one's country. One's country does not cease to be intolerant merely because another country is more intolerant; I think that's a logical truth.

To shift the question of the intolerance of one's country to a consideration of another country involves ignoratio elenchi because it ignores the sole relevant question, to be determined wholly by reference to the institutions, practices, and laws of one's country, of whether one's own country is intolerant.

Reference

Aristotle, Soph. El., vi.168a17 sq.

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It’s a bit more complicated. If you’re beating your wife, pointing to someone who kills his wife is no valid excuse.

However, if the police is coming after you while ignoring the murder case, then everybody is right to complain about this. Including the wife beater.

If your behaviour is bad, you should fix it even if others behave worse. But if someone complains about your behaviour while ignoring someone else’s worse behaviour, it is entirely justified to ask why that is.

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