This is about atheism, but if you ever find yourself thinking, “both sides are as bad as each other” in any context, you are probably (but not definitely) wrong, for one or more of the following reasons:
- “Both sides” is an argument used when you know you’re facing justified criticism but you don’t feel capable of addressing those issues.
- “Both sides” is an argument used to position emotion-based opinions on the same field as fact-based arguments.
- “Both sides” is an argument used to pretend that a few extremists on one side represent their mainstream, while ignoring the extremists on your side, or how extreme your mainstream is.
- “Both sides” is an argument which advertises that you’ve put zero effort into understanding any of the issues, and yet have somehow found a way to be proud of this intellectual laziness.
- “Both sides” is an argument used to dissuade people from getting involved in issues they care about. This will necessarily favour the status quo.
The “both sides” narrative is poisonous to the public discourse, not so much because smart people mistake it for nuance, but because stupid people mistake it for thinking.