In Defense of both-Sideism
Both-sideism," whether presented as an explicit argument or, more commonly, concealed within an implicit reluctance to criticize one's own "team," has gained significant popularity in recent times. Although intended as an insult, it ironically holds a certain merit. In reality, both-sideism often serves as the rhetoric of a fanatic, as evidenced by historical precedent and plain common sense.
A glance at early Soviet history unveils that the Both-sideism critique is essentially modern-day American terminology for a concept rooted in Bolshevik jargon. In the USSR, terms like "right deviationist" or "left deviationist" were employed to brand any criticism of the Party's policies or its leadership by fellow Communists. To question a policy, program, or leader was to acknowledge that the Party was not infallible, and dissent from the Party's stance was considered the gravest of sins. Whether the criticism held merit or not, it was seen as fortifying the party's adversaries, thus justifying its swift suppression.
By simply applying labels to arguments, the Party could avoid engaging in substantial debates on contentious issues. The labels themselves became a means of asserting control, irrespective of the external realities. This practice gave rise to a Party that regrettably did little more than echo the absurdities propagated by its leaders.
Hence, Both-sideism is not an endeavor to defend a policy or engage in reasoned debate. It merely asserts that criticism weakens the party and should not be tolerated. It epitomizes the belief that the party's strength and success are the only matters of significance.
In a totalitarian, repressive government that has caused the deaths of millions of its citizens, it's evident why such reasoning was adopted. However, in a democracy, it is nothing short of poison. Moreover, it identifies the speaker as a party zealot who should never occupy a position of power.
A commendable leader should embrace a "both-sider" mentality. They must acquaint themselves with the arguments on both sides of a discussion and comprehend the perspectives of the opposing camp. Someone who deems it wrong to entertain opposing viewpoints or cannot fathom how anyone could disagree with their opinions on a matter is, in essence, a fanatic. Consequently, their opinions hold little value because they lack a comprehensive understanding of the topic, unable to appreciate the merits of opposing perspectives.
Individuals who ignore and summarily dismiss the arguments of those who dissent from their views inadvertently confine themselves to an ideological prison. Such individuals fail to grasp the repercussions of their actions and become blindsided by the predictable consequences of their decisions. This ignorance sets off a cascading chain reaction they are oblivious to.