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Debate • Posted: Oct 04, 2020 02:02:51Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

While “Freedom of Speech” is generally regarded as the freedom to voice personal opinion, “debate” is more generally understood to be forum for the presentation of contrasting opinions, ideas, plans, proposals, and/or the interpretation of facts. Debate assumes a third party will audit the debate and decide a winner. But, on what basis should the winner of a debate be decided?

Is the “winner” the side that yells loudest and longest, drowning out the other side?

Is the “winner” the side that bristles and fumes and hisses the most menacingly?

Is the “winner” the side that laughs with the most derision at the other’s presentation?

Is the “winner” the side who whines the most and assert that they have been and continue to be the most grievously misjudged?

Or, is the “winner” the side that endures the most indignities hurled by the other with the highest degree of grace and resilience?

In short, is the “winner” to be decided purely on emotional identification and sympathy for one side over the other? If so, what of the issues? What of the facts? What of the consequences to be suffered from ideas, plans, and proposals offered, or not offered?

Debate was invented to be a less bloody, more civilized, more edifying alternative to war. But debates only work if auditing parties understand, willingly promote, and celebrate the benefits of debate over war. If on the other hand, auditing parties understand, promote, and celebrate debate as equivalent to combat and war, but with fewer combatants, then debate’s intended purpose and benefits are lost. We are back to tribal warfare with head bashing and scalp taking the only goal. What the inventors of debate dreamed of for humanity en mass may now have been proven a failed delusion, it’s promises empty and forgotten for far too many.

If all this be true, a bitterly distasteful old reality has been successfully and dishearteningly revived.

One might assume the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom to voice one’s opinion, ask questions, and peacefully demonstrate was intended to level the playing field and encourage all citizens to participate in our democracy. But, the 2010 US Supreme Court Citizens United decision equating money with speech has significantly unleveled the playing field by freeing richer citizens to yell louder and stronger through many more channels than poorer citizens regarding the merits of any issue common to all of us. That decision quite literally allows those with the biggest loudest most self-serving tribal bullhorns, virtual and not, to squelch nearly all semblance of true open edifying debate across this land.

Fuck debate? By legal decision and public support, the “winner” shall hence forth be determined by brute force?

You tell me. Should that situation be allowed to stand as hallmark of these United States?

Thursday, October 10th, 2019
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