Words Poorly Used #73 — Debate and Argument

Somebody wake me up when there is a true debate, not some tricked-up reality show imposter.  Of course, presidential debates have never been — either presidential or debate.  But I have listened to some more formal debates recently.  Tom Woods debated Michael Malice on whether Alexander Hamilton was a hero of liberty.  And Anthony Gregory has debated MP John Browne on whether Winston Churchill was a warmonger.  If I look at the Etymology Online web site, I find that “debate” actually comes from “beat down.”  In other words, it is not a constructive activity to participate in or to observe.  It is fight club for tongue lashers.   As you may know from reading my alter ego, Verbal Vol, I am pursuing a newly arisen interest in nonviolent communication, or NVC.  The whole idea of debating seems counter to NVC.  For awhile I had toyed with the idea that a debate was a mutual pursuit of truth, a seeking of accord.  But I stand corrected — it is distinctly adversarial.  I will cling, however, to the idea that argument is “the bringing forth of a proof” but not necessarily through debate.

Kilgore Forelle

Save as PDFPrint

Written by