When was the last time you heard a really good debate on TV where critical thought was put into responses, and opponents actually went after the argument not the character of the person they were debating? When was the last time you saw “Robert’s Rules of Order’ actually used?
We often talk about how you should not discuss two things with strangers:
But why can’t we do this? The answer is simple: most people do not know how to have a constructive conversation, to many people this means seeing who can talk over the other person the loudest. That is not a discussion, and we see this example everyday from so-called ‘educated’ folks every day.
“A debate is, basically, an argument. That is not to say that it is an undisciplined shouting match between parties that passionately believe in a particular point of view. In fact the opposite is true. Debating has strict rules of conduct and quite sophisticated arguing techniques and you will often be in a position where you will have to argue the opposite of what you believe in.”
This has nothing to do with political affiliations, “liberal vs. conservative”, “Republican vs. Democratic”, and “Mars vs. Venus”. It is simple courtesy something that I have talked about before and will continue to talk about. We need to approach each other not as combatants, but as colleagues; not everything needs to be a confrontation. We also must be prepared to truly listen to what your fellow debater has to say and actually agree if you feel it makes sense (it is ok to change your mind on something).
Civil discourse, constructive debates, and the art of conversation; are they on the endangered list?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III