There was a shift in social standards that occurred in 1981, when conservatives took over the world. Rationalizers call it the new normal. Normal used to be normal, but it isn't anymore. Calling it the new normal is an attempt to justify it, but it can't be justified.
The new normal could not be clearly described; it was promoted by implication and examples, otherwise known as dog-whistle. Is not the need to conceal a proof of corruption? It should be, except that one of the elements of the new normal is the assumption that there is really an invisible superiority to it.
The best way to evaluate the point is to look at communication. The problem goes way beyond communication and includes behavior and purposes. But communication is the most immediate and open expression of the problem.
Communication demands certain things such as explaining claims. But not in the new normal. The real value of the new standard is supposed to be invisible, which means no explanations are necessary. The same is true for all elements of rationality. They used to be pre-requisites for constructivity, but now they are the oppositea corruption of the magic that springs from the invisible source of everything.
Explanation of evidence is replaced by endless trivia as distraction from relevance. Getting to relevance is impossible, because vulnerability is where the relevance is. Similarly, objective reality develops truth and exposes corruption. So subjectivity and values swamp every concern preventing objective rationality from occurring.
Ad hominem attacks are said to be inappropriate by any analysis, yet they are the bread and butter of the new standard. This point shows the total fakery of the new set of standards. There is obviously no justification in ad hominem attacks, but the promoters cannot function at higher standards. Their inability to rise above such self-evident corruption shows that the new normal is nothing but rationalized corruption.
But passing off the problem so lightly only guaranties its survivability, because its adherents totally believe in it. There is a concerted effort to redesign social standards around the new normal. It is a desperate struggle for change. The reason why is not inconspicuousthe adherents cannot function competently at rational standards and feel a need to lower the standards to their level. But they don't see it that way. They assume everyone else has the problem, and they have the answer.
An analogy simplifies the complexities. It's like the mafia becoming so dependent upon bank robbery that they assume it is the answer to everything, and anyone who is not a bank robber is an inferior corrupter hindering progress in solving everyone's problems by robbing banks.
What are Ad Hominem Attacks?
Truth is the only force corrupters cannot defeat. So they assume truth is an ad hominem attack. The definitive difference is objective vs subjective. Of course, corrupters cannot tell the difference between objective and subjective.
Therefore, the essence of this question, and to a large extent, the essence of the difference between valid and invalid communication, is the difference between objective and subjective. This difference is not in the essence of the words or the dictionary definitions. It's in the surrounding context.
Truth and the objectivity of words are both determined by the links to related realities. A network of consistent relationships determines what truth is. Isolate out a small part, and the truth disappears. It's like a box of auto parts. Only when they all fit together right are they an automobile. If not, they are just a box of parts.
This means there is no stand-alone truth made of a few simple words. Only a larger context determines whether words are truth. Corrupters will never develop enough context to determine truth, because truth is always working against them.
So an ad hominem attack is a subjective attack lacking the objectivity needed to be constructive. One element of constructivity that is missing in ad hominem attack is the lack of anyone's business. Personalized realities are no one's business. They are subjective. One of the striking features of the subjectivity of corrupters is that it is not their business. Personalized realities are that way.
An example is the way conservatives attack welfare recipients. It's none of their business what the problems of welfare recipients are. Supposedly, conservatives are forever going to put welfare recipients back to work. Their total stupidity shows up in the fact that there is no welfare system. Aid to Dependent Children was thrown out by Clinton in 1996; and it never did apply to single persons. So conservatives now attack food stamp recipients, as if someone were avoiding work to get food stamps. In other words, conservatives don't know what they are talking about, and it is none of their business. Most food stamp recipients pay more taxes than they get back in food stamps.