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The Right Stuff: Rules of debate gone with rise of political shouting

By Earl Heal :Published July 18, 2022

My first formal debate was on a high school team in 1949 arguing the quality of the Soviet education system.

Rules then would deduct scoring points if an argument was not completely true, and politeness was required. Anger among competitors was not tolerated. While in college, I frequently watched college debates though I did not participate. Since college, I have consistently employed that style of debating informally as it ensures civility, fun and education.

By those rules, there is no loser. If I have stronger arguments, I win; if my opponent has stronger arguments, he wins the debate, but I have gained knowledge. Sadly, times have changed. Debate is a dying art. Discussions with someone who shares your beliefs is comfortable but has little educational benefit because you probably repeat the same arguments. If the other person has different beliefs, he will probably reject any real facts you present and may insult your education, your ancestry and your ability to contribute to society.[...read more]

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