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I’m right and everyone else is wrong. That’s ‘debate’ today.

Sabelo+Jupiter
Sabelo Jupiter

Sabelo Jupiter

Sabelo Jupiter


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By: Sabelo Jupiter

Former Loyola student

Debate is dying. In this day and age it has become almost impossible to have a productive dialogue with anyone you disagree with. Why? Here’s two main reasons.

First off, people are not learning anything at the ends of these debates. Nowadays, no matter how “understanding” each party claims to be to the other’s viewpoints, everyone is convinced they are right. So when people say that they are hearing the opposite party out, what they really mean is, “OK, I’ll humor you. Let me pretend to actually consider your point so that I can say/convince you of mine.” And with the current zeitgeist, this is understandable. We no longer seek knowledge as a means to make sure that what we think is not wrong. Instead, we seek knowledge in order to affirm whatever beliefs we already stand behind.

Secondly, people have just gotten way too good at debating. Despite all of the statistics and data that one may have been exposed to about how “dumb” the average american is, the reality is that we are smarter than ever. According to the American Psychological Association, America’s mean IQ has risen 30 points since 1900, meaning that the average american today has a higher IQ than 95 percent of Americans 100 years ago. Also, our mean education level has never been higher. According to data collected by the American Census in 2015, a 88.4 percent of americans 25 and older have completed high school and 58.9 percent have completed some college or more, staggering numbers considering that in the late sixties we were clocking in at just around 50 percent for high school and even less for college.

So what does any of this have to do with debating? Well there seems to be this idea in our society that “good ideas will always prosper,” essentially saying if two people have a reasoned debate, then s/he who is on the right side will obviously win because, well, good always wins. Of course we should be at a place in society now where we realize that this is just not how it works, and that rather than “s/he with the best idea” winning the debate, the result is more consistently, “s/he with the better debate skills” winning the debate.

And what happens when someone wins a debate? Well, their point, no matter how fueled by misinformation or ridden with fallacies it may be, starts to make sense, and sooner or later you are out in the streets spreading this “bad idea” around to your friends and family, convinced you are right because the speaker “made good points.” And of course how could you fall for bad logic? I mean just look at how smart you are.

In order to restore educated dialogue to its former glory we need to stop trying to change the world for a second and first figure out what we need to change in ourselves.

Question each and every one of the ideas you hold dear. Really put some scrutiny in this because everyone has something they are dead wrong about. Seek out some information from someone you disagree with. Truly find out why they think about things the way they do and guys, please, for the love of God, listen to them.

Often times, people find that nobody was even wrong about anything per se, and actually, both parties tend to uncover large amounts of misunderstanding between the two of them.

So go ahead. Expose yourself to “stupid” ideas and opinions. The world will not end if your ideology turns out to be wrong.

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I’m right and everyone else is wrong. That’s ‘debate’ today.