Monday, 30 September 2013


I was once the very keenest of debaters; I could argue anything convincingly-whether I was educated on the topic or not and whether I agreed on the topic or not. I remember one particular Mace debate in secondary school where the motion suggested the voting age be move to 16. Two teams argued for and two against. I was proposing the motion and a girl from the other proposing team came to me after and wanted to chat enthusiastically about our shared passion for politics and the right of young people to influence how our country is governed. I had to explain that actually I wouldn't want a vote and that I knew less than nothing about a politics (a fact that has hardly changed despite being a well-educated student now-though I do think we deserve a right to vote and make a point of not voting on topics I haven't first educated myself about!).
The point I am blundering towards is that almost anything has points to support it and points to tear it down. War has its upsides, peace has its downsides; sadness can have benefits and happiness has some drawbacks. I find this an oddly reassuring thought because what this says to me is that there are no wrong answers. The only wrong answer is one you cannot support with at least one coherent argument. Not necessarily a fact, but an argument. I like nothing better than a good debate, because in a debate each person gets to say their piece, they are afforded one or two rebuttals of the opposition and then an objective third party decides not who is right, but who better supported their claim. If we argued like this in the real world there would be far fewer violent verbal spats because you are not trying to create an argument by beating down the other persons opinion-you merely both present your perspectives for consideration. If only we could be so civilised!

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