Often it is claimed that a country or group can't judge others due to similar mistakes made in the past by the group which is criticizing.

For example, I have seen people claiming that the UK can't criticize China's actions in Hong Kong because of the UK's actions in China with opium and the control of Hong Kong by the UK. Or, that countries can't criticize Japan for whaling because those countries used to also do whaling in the past.

Is this a logical fallacy, and if so, what is it called?

  • 1
    Maybe Genetic fallacy or Ad hominem. But no "logical" at all... Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 7:22
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    Tu quoque, literally "you too", a.k.a. appeal to hypocrisy, "intends to discredit the opponent's argument by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion(s)".
    – Conifold
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


No logical fallacy, but as stated an Informal Fallacy would be "Tu Quoque"

Basically a form of 'ad hominem', where instead of criticizing the argument, you are criticizing the person doing the argument.

Being a hypocrite does not discredit the value of the argument. Nor being the devil for that matter.


No, there is no logical fallacy. The fallacy is rather that politic discussions probably never proceed a strict logical line.

The circumstance that country A critizes a misbehaviour of country B that A made by itself in the past, could be used by A to argue, if country A at least ever admitted that it made that mistake.

So A could at least demand B to admit the mistake, because A did the same. This makes it difficult for B to argue against, using 'tu quoque'.

Depending what further consequences (e.g. apologizing to victims, paying compensation) A took for its misbehaviour, A could demand B to take the same consequences.

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