I won’t give my critique of the debate yet but will say that the criteria by which I award points (my point system could be formalized but wasn’t when I heard the debate on the car radio) include speakers listening to one another, demonstrating that they have heard the other side’s arguments and making direct, serious response to those arguments. I mentally deduct points for name-calling, straw men and the like.
- “We don’t need your kind around here!”
- “Go back to where you came from!”
- “Your ancestors stole this land from my ancestors!”
- “You are crowding us out!”
- “We’re taking over this place, like it or not!”
- “This land should have been mine/ours!”
- “I will not dishonor my grandfather’s name by resolving the feud he and your grandfather began!”
- “Everyone here shares equally, in good times and bad.”
- “We believe everyone should accumulate as much as he can, winner take all.”
- “Old ways are best. We hold to tradition.”
- “Times are changing, so change or get out of the way.”
- “We must take care of our natural surroundings. They are the basis of life.”
- “We should either send our garbage into space or colonize other planets ourselves when this one gets too polluted.”
- “Blood is thicker than water, and family is the paramount value.”
- “Nepotism in any form is a crime, and meritocracy is the only just basis for inequality."
- "There is no justice without complete equality."
- “We need more water for our crops...for our livestock...for our industry.”
- “You’re taking too much of our water and polluting our land, too.”
- “Our leader is better, stronger, more inspired than yours.”
- “We are bigger and stronger, so why shouldn’t we steal everything you’ve got?”
- "Science should be the only value."
- "Science is one value among several."
- “What you have, you stole from us, and we will never forgive you.”
- "You are not using your resources to maximum effect and don't deserve to keep what you have."
- "Your values are squalid, low-life and disgusting."
- "You people are selfish and greedy, and you only care about money."
- "The only value is land."
- "The only value is labor."
- "The only real value is happiness."
- "The only thing that matters is money...and power."
I'm coming back to add a Monday morning postscript, having received e-mail from a friend concerned, after reading this post, that I was exhausted, angry and depressed. Not at all. It is my philosophical turn of mind, along with many years of graduate school in philosophy. Argument fascinates me. Debate fascinates me. Unlike one of my sisters, I never got into formal debate exercises, but all week since hearing the radio discussion I've been wondering what criteria, if any, ordinary people (in the audience) use to judge winners and losers. Beyond that, the question of the truth of the matter nags at anyone who listens to the news and thinks about history, doesn't it?
Another postscript: The rest of my thoughts on this were posted the following day.
For a more carefree post, see my other blog.