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Quality of political debates

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  • Quality of political debates

    We took the luxury we enjoy of freedom of speech forgranted. So now we suffer intolerant, abusive attacks pretending to be open, well-reserched discussion. The best defence against tyrants, fools and bigots is vigorous debate, not trigger warnings, more legislation and eye-rolling denivration. Let's have less emotive language and virtue-signalling behaviour and more civil, balanced conversations.

  • #2
    could you give an example of what you mean?


    • #3


      • #4
        No. we need to start an ad-hominem discussion in case someone dares to have another opinion. This is so progressive.


        • #5
          Isn't calling some people tyrants, fools and bigots a kind of emotive answer in itself?

          This apart, there is a videast I like who made a serie of videos about debates recently. He talks about debating generally, not just about political debates and suggest some ways to make it working a bit better by pointing some issues and giving some solutions. Despite I find him idealistic or with trhe mentality of a cute care-bear sometime, I must admit that I agree with what he said most of time.

          He was encouraging people to show some modesty while debating using some words that doesn't make a sentence a dogmatic claim "he calls that "modestie épistémique" - epistemic modesty) such as "it would surprise me if.." or "I'd tend to think that..." or another I personally dislike "I can be wrong but...".

          Else, he was also encouraging poeple to take care of not "promoting themselves" while debatting which can be resumed into "it is not about you" one example that could be known from anglophones people especially is "taking the moral high ground"

          Another important point was to trry to have empathy, cognitive empathy, to the point to be able to explain to the person you're debating with his/her own point fo view with different (and maybe better) words.

          There are other points and I don't really want to list them all, neither I want to explain them more than that but just show that there are possible ways in order to get better debates and that they come essentially from us. For the francophones, I leave the serie of videos talking about the topic here (no subtitles availables, unfortunately) :


          • #6
            On the internet and among strangers:
            1) Most people won't change their minds as a result of civil and balanced conversation or of vigorous debate.
            2) Even if they do, for the most part their opinions have no impact on political outcomes.
            I'd rather treat such "political debate" as mere entertainment, stress relief, and performance for the benefit of those who already agree with me. At least it achieves something that way.

            Casual discussion among friends and family is a different matter, as is well-structured debate in a proper context, because although points 1 & 2 still apply, the other people involved aren't completely inconsequential, and upsetting them without good cause is often undesirable (though it can still be amusing). In this context I think the purpose is still not to convince people, but rather to use them as a tool to better explore and develop one's own ideas.
            Last edited by bsgsbkht; 06-14-2019, 03:30 AM.


            • #7
              Usually those who whine about "the quality of political debate" are at the losing end of debates and, furthermore, unable themselves to match in wit and humour what the other side is throwing at them.

              A corollary is so-called informal logical fallacy of "tone argument":


              In the end, what is being said rather than "how politely it is said" is what really counts.

              Politics in any case has always been - figuratively and literally - a blood sport. I'm actually rather suspicious of political figures at opposite ends of the spectrum when they are being "polite" and "nice" to each other. There's usually a big carcass somewhere that is to be consumed between them and hence the teeth are showing without the intention of attacking each other.