Political Debate, R.I.P.
Is debate doomed? After watching the three Presidential debates that barely affected the race one could easily say, “yes:”
It’s unlikely that debate will fully recover. Oratory is too battered — in the schools by a misplaced egalitarianism, in national politics by an anti-intellectual populism. It’s a shame. Crowds thrill to Barack Obama’s words, as they once thrilled to Ronald Reagan’s. That both men could be attacked as “mere” orators, as if words did not convey ideas, and as if ideas could not change the world, reflects a cynical side of America. As we debaters would say, Be it resolved: In the battle for good debate, the lesser angels of our nature are winning.
“For Argument’s Sake”