Both sides do it?

One common refrain in many opinions about hot issues is that ‘both sides do it’ or making a false equivalency to portray both sides of the issue as equally culpable and demote the issue to just a minor difference of opinion. Paul Green says Enough of the tut-tutting on Zimmerman

“One annoying thing that keeps popping up in the conservative commentary is the “now, to be sure Zimmerman is no angel” meme. … Knocking Zimmerman for his supposed “overzealousness” ignores the fact that he was doing a job he had volunteered to do: supporting law enforcement by serving as a neighborhood watch captain. His community had experienced a rash of property crime that prompted, according to a report in The Daily Beast, his neighbors’ “decision last September to start a neighborhood-watch organization, which was initiated by Zimmerman himself. The burglary of Olivia Bertalan’s home was just one of at least eight reported over the previous 14 months-several of which, neighbors said, involved young black men.”Slagging his efforts as “amateur sleuthing” is like calling an attempt to extinguish a home fire with a garden hose “amateur firefighting.”

As to the “series of reactions” it “set in train,” at whose door may most of those reactions be laid — principally, the decision to initiate physical violence in the first place? On no one other than Trayvon Martin.”

The Zimmerman case is providing dividends for comparing and contrasting reality to ideologically based fantasy.

Another example is by Ilya Somin on the troubling implications of unanimous SCOTUS decisions. “Such overreach, though, has become a part of our political culture. Administrations of both parties are often unwilling to accept constitutional limits on their authority…” — this is a measureable thing and it would be interesting to see if the measures actually showed the equivalence asserted.

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