Is “Civil Debate” Actually Useful?

Is “Civil Debate” Actually Useful?

This video is sponsored by Audible. For quite a while now, there’s been
a debate within certain political circles about, well, debate. A couple years ago, many of my
YouTube colleagues pondered the merits of debating the ideas of the
Alt-Right. Some people argued that it was
necessary to take harmful ideas to task in a public arena, while
others feared that giving any kind of platform to these people would
cause more harm than good. And these kinds of conversations
seems to pop up over and over with no real resolution. Whether we’re talking about the
worst ideas of the Alt-Right, or other kinds of political anxiety,
there’s still a tension between those who think that some political
topics are simply beyond debate, and those that think that no such
concept even exists. Now obviously, talking about
politics and social issues and things of that nature is something
that is necessary. But if it’s not
done in an effective way, it becomes unproductive, if not counter-productive. So then we must decide, when is
debate useful, if it is at all? And should progressives and
leftists be doing more of it? Hi, I’m T1J! [WEIRD VOICEOVER:] Follow me! [T1J:] So, there’s been kind of a campaign
over the last few years to try and convince people, especially
people on the political left, to embrace civil debate with people they
disagree with. NPR recently published an article
expressing advice about how to have conversations with political
opponents without ending up killing each other. The article was mostly fine, but Many people on twitter who almost
certainly didn’t actually read it took offense to its title. For some people, politics seems to
be a game of good versus evil. So
the concept of common ground with political opponents seems
unthinkable. And some people are astonished by the
mere suggestion that they should have to ever defend their
positions. If you can’t tell by my tone, I
think this is a pretty faulty mindset. If you ever reach a point
where you feel you are beyond scrutiny, and your ideas and the
things that you believe are self-evidently true and can never
be challenged, you’re probably f*ckin up. Whether or not you choose to
participate in debates, you should always be open to the idea that
your perspective could be more evolved. Because it probably could. That’s kind of the nature of being
an imperfect human. But also I find it interesting that
when some people hear the phrase “political disagreement” they
automatically think of Neo Nazis and transphobes, and the worst examples of
extreme politics. Because a political disagreement can mean
a debate about the merits of
Universal Basic Income, or about whether a city should build a new
library. The fact that so many people think
about politics as this extreme black and white heroes versus
villains situation does a disservice to nuanced discourse. This is not Avengers. You ain’t
Chris Hemsworth. But one thing that is missing from
the NPR article is an argument for why civil debate is even necessary
in the first place. Like, why should we debate, and why
should we be civil when we do it? If you have come to believe
something, especially if that belief is based on earnest
truth-seeking or even your own lived experience, it’s very unlikely that someone
will change your mind about that in a debate. And is civility so great anyway? Revolutions aren’t civil. The Civil
War wasn’t civil, ironically, but it seemed inevitable and
necessary. A lot of people are prononents of
debate because of this concept known as
“The Marketplace of Ideas” It’s an extension of the general
support for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The idea is that we allow everyone
to express whatever thoughts and ideas they believe, and then we
debate those ideas, often in front of the public eyes, and the best
and most true ideas will naturally gain the most favor and be adopted
and accepted by society, in a similar way that the best products
generate the most demand in a capitalist market. The problem with this is that it is
demonstrably not true. In either
case. Artificial demand for inferior
products can be created in many ways, such as advertising or other
more underhanded methods. Likewise, the ideas that become
adopted by a society that values free expression, are not
necessarily the best or most true. The Pew Research Center found that
Americans are the most tolerant of free speech out of the 38 countries
they polled. Although to be fair this was in
2015, before Donald “The Media is the Enemy of the People” Trump
became President. However, Americans have more
widespread doubt than many of those other countries about things like
the efficacy of vaccines and evolution, even though they are
proven facts. So obviously, more free speech does
not necessarily lead to more truth, which seems to imply that more
debate doesn’t either. In fact, it
may have the opposite effect. I should say, that I am a huge free
speech guy. While I don’t think the
best ideas naturally rise to the top, I do think that a robust free
speech policy allows the best ideas to be heard in the first place. And I think it’s important for
speech and expression to be protected because sometimes the
best ideas are unpopular, and it takes a society a generation or
two, or ten, to realize that they were the right ideas. It just becomes our job to make a
convincing case. And that’s kind of the problem with
debate anyway. If all you needed to win a
debate was to be right, or even just to
have the most sound argument, then debates would be easy, and the
world would probably make a lot more sense. But in reality, the only thing you
need to succeed in a debate is to be convincing. Which doesn’t require being right,
or making good arguments. Here’s the thing, humans are stupid. We like stories and narratives and appeals
to our biases more than we like facts and
logic, and if we’re not thinking critically, we can very easily
convince ourselves that they’re all the same thing. And this applies to people of all
political affiliations. This is why people like Ben
Shapiro, who in my opinion rarely makes compelling arguments, is
widely considered a great debater. Because ironically, Mr. Facts don’t
care about your Feelings, is a master of tapping into people’s
biases and emotions. And I suspect that he knows this,
which is why he is usually enthusiastic about participating in
debates. Even though I’ve never been shy about my own
progressive values, I generally try not to make my videos too partisan,
but in reality, it seems to me that the political right, at least in America,
is much more concerned with ideals and
traditions than they are with, data, or practical outcomes. Now, I do think there is a growing segment
of the modern left that seems to be more based on emotions and moral judgments;
but fortunately for them, most of their ideas are backed to some
extent by data. For example, you may fight against
systemic racism, because you are emotionally and morally invested in that idea,
but at the same time there is tons of data that demonstrates the
existence of systemic racism. So even if you have never done any
research on this topic, the data still supports you. I feel like it’s not the same for
the right. Most concepts that are
associated with conservatives and the right wing, at least in America such as
supply side economics, anti-feminism, or
upholding religious values; generally aren’t consistent with
facts and data. I think this is one reason why
commentators like Ben Shapiro are so enthusiastic about
debate; because you don’t need to have facts on your side to be
effective. I was watching a stream a few
months ago where two online figures, Destiny and Hasan Piker,
who are both left-leaning to some degree, were reviewing a debate
that Piker had recently had with conservative pundit Charlie Kirk. And Destiny who has had a lot of
experience debating right-wingers was giving Hasan notes on how he
could improve his debate performance. Pretty much none of his tips were anything
like “make sure you have your facts straight!” or “make
sure your arguments are logically consistent!” It was all stuff like, “don’t let
him pivot away from this statement!” or “end your statements with strong
words!” And I found this super
enlightening. See here is the thing about debate. Debating is a unique skill that
only a small percentage of people have any idea about how to do
effectively. So it really doesn’t make sense to
encourage this universal embrace of debate for debate’s sake. It’s
impractical and doesn’t really help anything. In fact, a poor debate performance,
especially one in front of an audience, can even harm your
cause. And watching that Hasan Piker clip,
I remember thinking to myself, “this is so exhausting!” Sure, being right, and having the
facts SHOULD be enough. But again — stupid
monkey brain. Isn’t that right Sir Applesauce? (horse neighs) Now when it comes to civility, I
can sympathize with that. I’m a big
fan of civility. In general, if you’re not being
civil, there’s a good chance you’re being an asshole, and it’s not okay
to be an asshole, even if you’re right. Civility is also very useful in
debates. Because being civil makes
you appear more reasonable and more credible, and thus more convincing. The problem with calls for civility
is that they are not usually applied, nor enforced practically
or consistently. Most people have personal stakes in
political topics, and for some people it’s literally life or
death. So if you tell someone “let’s
debate about whether or not you and/or people you care about
deserve to live or to have rights. And you better be civil!” That’s
somewhere between unreasonable and just plain cruel. I’ve also noticed that calls for
civility are disproportionately levied at the left, while
commentators on the right seem to be allowed to be as shitty as they
please. So say, if a person intentionally
misgenders a trans woman to her face, and then she threatens to
whoop his ass, and you’re only upset with her, you’re being
inconsistent with your call for civility. And I see this kind of thing all
the time. In fact I think many of
these right wing provocateurs specifically take advantage of this
immunity the press and public seems to have given them to being civil. Some ideas are inherently uncivil. If you’re arguing that a person’s
identity is invalid, it doesn’t matter if you say it calmly with a
nice haircut, that’s incredibly disparaging. [BILL:] Do you always have to fight with everybody? Can’t you just get along —
[MILO:] I don’t! We were having such a nice time, but you always
invite such awful people on your show! They’re so stupid! [BILL:] They’re not–
[MILO:] No, come on, you need to start inviting higher IQ guests. [BILL:] These are very high IQ —
[LARRY:] Wait, hold on Bill. [to milo] You can go f*ck yourself, alright? (crowd applause)
But the thing about it, it’s often not even said calmly, yet people
still rush to condemn the left for being uncivil, or make fun of them
for being “triggered.” Even more frustrating is when their
incivility is acknowledged, but speakers on the left are urged to
basically tolerate it, lest they become even more uncivil. I mean, fascists are already
killing people, not sure how much more uncivil you can actually
get. But if you say something
infuriating, it should be no surprise to you if someone gets
angry. Calls for civility are just
generally disingenuous concern trolling. And I know I said that being civil
can help you make convincing arguments, but honestly so can being angry. Here’s my thing: all that shit I
just said notwithstanding. Debate
is effective. Undeniably. It’s usually not very effective at
changing the mind of the person you’re actually talking to but it can be
extremely effective at reaching out people who are listening. And I think that’s why the right
loves to debate so much. Progressives often have this smug
incredulity where it’s like “you should already know better, I
shouldn’t have to explain it to you” and I’ve even been guilty of
that, and maybe it’s even true sometimes. But it’s damn sure not convincing. Neither are insults or social media
callouts. But you know what is? Arguments. If you’re good at making
them. Even more convincing than making
arguments is demonstrating why opposing arguments are wrong,
especially in real time, in front of a person who is actually making those arguments. People like myself who talk about
politics publicly a lot often get challenged to debates, and I’ve always thought this was
pretty obnoxious, because it’s very clearly designed
to be a spectacle. Like, ‘Political showdown tonight
at 9!’ It never feels like an honest
search for truth, it’s just content, really. But over time I’ve come to believe
that there’s no reason why the left shouldn’t use debate as one of its
tools, considering so many of our political discussions happen online
in front of an audience. This may sound weird, but I think
political debates very rarely in and of themselves get us anywhere
closer to the truth. Honest, private 1 on 1
conversations are very good if everyone involved comes in good
faith, but public debate rarely looks like that. Public debate is all about
convincing the audience, particularly those who are on the
fence. And I don’t think it matters if
there are 3 people listening or 300,000 people listening. And like I said, you don’t have to
have the facts on your side to be convincing. But wouldn’t it be good for the
world if the most convincing debators were the people who did
have the facts on their side? While we do have stupid brains that
resist anything that confronts our biases, there are still people who, at least
eventually, will change their minds when confronted with enough
evidence. But that evidence should probably be
part of a story. It has to
presented strategically, and not just condescendingly shouted on
Twitter. It would be great if we could find
a way to reprogram millennia of human conditioning, and don’t get me wrong,
I 100% think we should be encouraging critical thinking
and developing those skills. But in the meantime, there’s human
lives at stake. And I also understand that there are some
people on the left who have no real interest in trying to
make the world better, or may have lost their optimism about the whole
thing. Some people are just fed up and
want to yell at people on the internet. And I mean,
that’s frustrating, I don’t think that’s a good way to be, but I guess
those people are not the target audience of this video. So carry on, I guess. But for those who actually want to
try and make things better, and expose people to your ideas and convince
people that they are the right ideas, it would be unwise to disregard tactics that
are actually effective at doing those things. I’m starting to think that debate is probably
one of them. But DAS JUS ME DOE. What do you
think? Thank you for watching, and thanks
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    Coffee Caesar

    Check out the YouTube video "My descent into the Alt-Right Pipeline" by Faraday Speaks, it's good insight into the Alt-Right and why debate with them can be very helpful

    Also, good video!

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    The problem with debating fascists is that if you win, you get nothing out of it, you're not going to convince anyone. If you lose, there's a fucking mosque shooting. The stakes are uneven, and "civil debating" the right and giving them a platform can, will, and has gotten people killed. There's not much value in just saying people should get better at debating, as those who have an interest in that do it already and those who can't need to be aware that they are not arguing with people who are there in good faith.

    And while debate can change minds, the fact that success or failure at debates has little to do with truth makes it a pretty shoddy tool. There's better alternatives, like explaining the situation WITHOUT having bad faith actors present at all. You didn't learn science, math, or music history through debate, you learned it through education, where someone taught you and you were open to learning. You didn't sit there and try to convince the teacher that 2+2=5.

    Debate's most useful when you're either arguing with someone who wants to be convinced or you think you've got an audience you can steal from.

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    If you're going to live in a democratic society, you HAVE to agree to civil debate. It's just one of the necessary weaknesses of the system.

    Facts are discovered and interpreted by humans who are flawed and have personal biases, even the experts, which means that unless you declare someone to be an unquestionable source of truth, you have to convince the majority of your beliefs, yes even the ones based on facts.

    A huge problem with the argument that you make in this video is that you assume your position is correct and that debate is supposed to be a tool to bring other people to your position rather than one to use to find truth. People SHOULD be forced to defend what they believe is their identity or what they call their basic rights. Just because you feel something is true, doesn't make it true, and if you have the data to back up your beliefs you should be able to present it in a convincing manner.

    Like you said, this unfortunately ultimately leads to a system that doesn't always accept truth, but what's the alternative? Forcing people to just accept the "right" belief system is tyranny. We have a long bloody history proving that this way of thinking doesn't work. Right now the social justice community is mostly on top, but what happens when the radically religious or racist gain power? Should we just lay down and accept whatever the "prime authority" dictates?

    Or are you advocating for violence in this video? Do you want a civil war? The side you're against is the one that makes up the majority of the military and is supported by the NRA. You're advocating for weak minorities AGAINST the strong majority. Debate is your best option.

    I know it's hard and painful and sometimes unfair, but because we live in a free society made up of people who are allowed to make their own choices, you HAVE do your best to convince the other side of what you believe to be true, even if it it means not all of your beliefs are accepted by the majority.

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    Lost me at "some ideas are inherently uncivil", paired with "for some people it's literally life or death". Sorry, but we all know you're talking about the US, and we all know which issues you're talking about, and it basically negates your entire argument about civility. It's not like anyone is arguing for putting black people in death camps.

    Milo is a perfect example of incivility from the right, which makes that particular point valid. You should have stayed on that track. You would have the perfect explanation for everything that's wrong with debates, and what they're actually good for.

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    could someone tell me what feminism is actually,whom what i read it´s getting the political vote,then equal pay and that´s gotten so why things like Duluth model etc.
    Supply side absolutely yeah Reaganomics work the oppositeway.

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    Not with Black people, as they are clearly too unintelligent and driven fundamentally by emotion rather than logic.
    You can see this most clearly in videos like this one, where there is an attempt to undermine the very concept of debate as being useful.

    The obvious objection being – without debate what the hell else is their but war and conflict (things which are unsurprisingly endemic in Africa)?

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    I’m a big proponent of civil debate’s ability to persuade and to arrive at the truth, but I agree that a literal verbal back & forth in front of a crowd in real time is just about the worst debate format there is. In that setting, it DOES usually turn into a verbal showdown over who can spit the most hot disses and applause lines. An ideal debate format in my opinion would be written out, to give both parties time to formulate their arguments, fact check, & be precise with their wording, and between two people who already respect each other, so that they’ll sincerely listen to what the other person is trying to say and are less likely to use bad-faith tactics. This still is far from guaranteed to find the truth or to persuade people, but it definitely lends itself to a higher quality discussion than most alternatives. Downside of written is that you lose the meaning that comes with inflection and emphasis though. A lot of your criticism only applies to literal debate halls rather than the broader idea of sincerely engaging with someone who disagrees with you.

    I also think you hit at an important point early on in that politics is rarely the Good Team vs the Evil Team because every person is hugely flawed and biased and ignorant about other perspectives. You should always allow for the fact that you’re in the wrong, ESPECIALLY if you’re the kind of person who is skeptical of “the Marketplace of Ideas”. The more likely other people are to fall for terrible ideas that flatter their biases, the more likely you are to do the same, right? We’re all running on the same hardware after all.

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    Want to view something scary prior to the present time we live in? Type "Mgs2 Artificial intelligence dystopia" user decoy octopus and be prepared for a profound moment.

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    Carlos Jesus

    This is not about civil, is more tribal politics…
    Oh, and where is the institutional racism data? Because, most of the time "we" call arguments/data/prove for that, no one can pinpoint nothing, just circular logic that there is!

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    Eric Ohm

    I love this channel, it's sort of a canary in a cole mine. This guy is exactly the face of academic regression. When your so indoctrinated with ideology you dont even recognize reality in front of you. "Debate just means the person is more convincing", and what makes an argument convincing? Is it logical, is it backed by facts? The left is bad at debate, that's a fact but instead of questioning their positions and arguments; this guy assumes it must be a natural limitation of civil debate itself. Wow, your delusional dude. This guy is basically saying your not smart enough to understand when someone is being rational in a debate.

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    Renard Leblanc

    @3:20 "The market place of ideas…" Dr. Layman has a great video on this. Upshot is, people suffer confirmation bias, and the open marketplace allows people to go looking for bad arguments that confirm their existing opinion, rather than correcting their misconceptions.
    The "Political Right" is inherently conservative, meaning that they prefer to hold on to old ideas, even after being proven false, because, well, "let's not change things, because we don't like change and the familiar is comfortable."
    I'm a big fan of civility and all, but I'm also a fan of throwing milkshakes at crypto-fashies. It's not like anyone gets hurt, right? For that matter, I'm also a fan of graffiti as public protest (not so much vandalism, but I'll still take a broken window over civil injustices… property damage doesn't bother me nearly as much as systematic human abuses).
    The problem with debate is that it's not so much about "who's right," but rather "who is better at debating." eg; a gish gallop is a dishonest tactic, but it looks like you pwned your opponent. In live debates, you can just make up facts, on the spot, and when your opponent responds with "that's a lie," it just… sounds like a schoolyard response, no matter accurate the assertion may be. The audience probably isn't going to bother fact checking either, if the "fact" confirms their bias.
    Some of my favourite youtube debates include: Aron Ra vs. Kent Hovind video responses, King Crocoduck vs Kent (Lotta neat physics facts came out, in a fairly digestible way, and Crocko was fully prepared for every one of Kent's tactics), and Sargon d' Akkad vs that guy from The Majority Report… (Sam Seder or Michael Brooks, I fergit who off the top of my head, but it was savage… glorious).
    The "Is Debate Useful" Discussion, w. PhilosophyTube and Contrapoints, is a great examination on the subject. Xexizy also has a pretty good video on Leftist stances in debate, and whether "leftist ideas are just too sophisticated for debate format."

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    Nathan Rockwell

    Maybe not debates, but I've definitely had my mind changed on topics I was very passionate about, even set in my direction, never the less had my mind changed by other people. In like everyday conversations..

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    Michel De Bruyn

    "Debating", the way we see it on Youtube anyway, is a highschool extracurricular activity with delusions of grandeur, and is pretty much a USA only thing anyway.

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    Hosy Kamikaze

    politics are like sports for a lot of people. entertainment. a need to be a part of the winning side. to feel superior or smarter. stand out or feel good about themselves. or at best to guarantee their own benifits.
    sadly, for most people, it's not really about changing the world.

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    Richard Lopez

    I live in New York (currently).
    I post crap here:
    I advertise the crap I post and lie to people here: [email protected]
    My email is this: [email protected]

    Assuming you read these comments and I haven't made myself out to be a spokesperson for the Confederate Freak Party of Donald Trump's (short-lived) America, I'd be happy if you wanted to say anything you like about all those internet cesspools I just mentioned.

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    Conservatism as a position and a disposition it largely about controlling what can impact you so you can continue to have what you have. A conservative mindset doesn’t want to be subject to logic because it can’t control what logic is going to determine. Same with scientific evidence or public progress. It’s why conservatism and religion synergize so readily, because religion is wholly controlled by factors internal to it.

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    Richard S.

    Thank you for this video. It's good that you don't shy away from speaking your mind on controversial issues.

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    Abstract Concrete

    Debates are verbal boxing matches. Who wins is usually one who has most charisma. Example – from times past – Thunderf00t vs Ray Comfort. Tfoot got owned. Twice. In spite of being pretty much completely in the right – facts wise. Destiny is a good debater. Sargon is terrible one. Sargon lost a debate to Kristi Winters, twice. And Kristi is also a bad debater.

    EDIT: BTW. Getting someone to get physical, or generally threatening, is a legit debating tactic. As the clip of Shapiro and that trans woman whose name escapes me clearly show. She came up as a bully. Ben was merely edgy.

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    Clutch Bangstrip

    I am genuinely not convinced that debate is necessary. It legitimately does not solve REAL world problems.
    Arguing with a Trump voter ain't gonna get Michigan's water clean and it damn sure ain't gonna get us to end the wars in the Middle East and Africa. We have to focus on political corruption. Majority of Americans already agree on 80% of the issues. Only 18% of Americans think shit like abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. So who are you really debating?

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    Despicably Irascible Rapscallion

    Debate is a VERY ineffective tool at arriving at truth. A good debater can lie his way to victory, every time.

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    Mick Nik

    to be fair in real life if someone claims to be Socrates or the Next Jesus Christ usually you just walk away.

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    Marxist Soccer

    I'm really disappointed I didn't see this before. It's honestly one of the best videos I've seen on left YouTube in 2019. It's actually very similar to things I've been saying for quite a while. While the right is wrong, irrational, and not supported by facts, the left seems to refuse to attack the right's weaknesses by being superior to them in all these ways and being confident doing so.

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    Cassandra Delenne

    I like the video, but I've got an issue, and it's a big one. What if we lose the debate. What happens if we are debating people's right to exist and we fuck up. It's one thing to argue economic policy but when human rights are what's on the docket things get really dangerous really quickly. In an ideal world, where people's right to exist wasn't an issue, I'd agree with you 1000%, but when black people are getting murdered by police and trans people are getting murdered and the perpetrators keep getting away with it, debate is dangerous for us, and it's never dangerous for the right.

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    The calls from the right for leftist to be “civil” typically amounts to gas lighting. “Don’t call me an asshole when I’m an asshole; that’s not civil!”

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    thats why i try to have conversation, it doesn't not have the same connotation as "debate" does. i say that and then i get what happened to me today. Now im a left leaning person but i find talking to people on the right genuinely seems to go better then when i try to talk to far left people. that concerns me. Hell i was even dehumanized and called a nazi etc etc just today by far left people for trying to talk about a bill that would give migrants better living conditions and general life necessities. Even them thinking i was not "one of the tribe" got them dog piling with their buzz words and slander. When i was literally upset about the same thing they were upset about. they seem so much more worried about sticking to their buzz words and and being elitist and know it all's then confront that they might not know as much as they think they do or even to a lesser existent that they may actually be mistaken. living in the bubble they made for themselves really makes discourse difficult.

    Now maybe that last idea i had is more related to censorship of discussion spaces of ideas that are not to their liking. Thats why censorship of the commons is bad because you dont get to debate bad ideas and have them challenged you just wash them away from the main street but in the alley people are not being challenged. their just hanging with their buddies who think just like them. this goes for both sides of the spectrum in the more radical ends.

    Idk great topic, maybe im just overly grumpy with how my day went. anyway thanks for always being your awesome self Janitor.

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    Think Critically

    The fact that the merits of debate are debated shows how important debate is? There is literally nothing more fundamentally necessary in a society that is to have rules. Without debate you either do not have rules or do not have rights. One problem here is the fact that politics and debate are confused. Politics is the process of using any means at your disposal to get your way. Debate is about coming to an understanding on reality. The point here is that you present your understanding and they present theirs and this means that the best idea CAN rise to the top. It isn't magic. It does take people owning that an argument is superior. The problem here is you demonstrate a trend toward relativism, as do many, perhaps most Americans at this point. This relies upon the premise, fundamentally that there is no knowable truth. The problem here is that people in such a camp are easier to manipulate with politics (perception). Do not expect the person you debate to remain rational in spite of the fact that rationality is essential to honest debate. Let me use your transgender civility point. Your presumption that a person is uncivil when they do not acknowledge a trans persons gender is not being incorrect. That they are a gender that they are objectively biologically not is itself a point that apparently the left, via yourself, and many others of course, considers to be disrespectful for them to not automatically agreeing with you on. Such a presumption is…incredibly presumptuous. Civility is not breached by failing to accept a shared delusion but even if it where not a shared delusion you would still have to debate that such a thing warrants not only that they should be able to claim they are a gender they are not, a falsehood, and also that someone else should be obligated to share their delusion. To put it into perspective imagine that you are obligated to claim a belief in God that you don't have. I realize all this is probably sounding pretty right wing now but that's where your video leaves me with regard to having to correct you. Check my comments on Peterson or Shapiro and you will know that I am not. To cap it off, the left functions in an echo chamber. I know it has been said but it is true. The left, as an aggregate is utterly intolerant to dissent and debate. Tell me what that psychological profile suggests? In simple terms that's a dictator, admittedly via tyranny of the masses but that is no better than a solitary one. Both produce disenfranchised and unjustly punished outliers. Simply said, the left and the right have both departed from rationality and honesty….for decades. Most right-wing people do not engage in debate. They engage in politics structured to look like debate. You can tell because when they do fail to counter people, which presumably they are not accustomed to having happen, because the left does not engage in debates, it takes them a considerable amount of time, most of them, if they ever do, to acknowledge that they have lost the point, and revisit their ideas, which in an honest debate format, would happen as soon as they couldn't counter your point. But we can hardly criticize the right for this when the left doesn't even engage in debate. And what the left does is totalitarianism. Identity politics is an excellent example, as the people who espouse them have not acquired perspective or argument from the other side AT ALL and institute these ideas top-to-bottom in society (top in this case being university, not CEOs). All without ever having entertained the simplest of arguments as to why that might be false. When you conduct a study and ignore large parts of the data (which is what this is speaking to) you have not conducted an honest study. The left relies on studies, but they do not rely on honest studies. What is the problem with identity politics? The problem with identity politics is that the stated purpose is to eliminate prejudice, and all they do is reverse it. They seek to create new victims and new dominant groups. And if you're curious how that is aside from the obvious, the very fact that they are unchallengable in spite of evidence of one's eyes or otherwise makes them so. It's just a new religion, which is to say it's straight out of the right wing backyard. Only it isn't for the people that are predominantly in the right wing. It's for the people who aren't. That isn't justice. That isn't honesty. That's politics. There is no word that is farther from honesty than politics. Even people in academics with credentials who disagree with the party line for things like identity politics are suppressed. Imagine how intolerant they are to a "layman", no matter how able? Debate is not an expert skill. One does not do better at debating. One does better at politics. Lying is a skill. When one argues one's observations, as is found in debates, until such point as they are shown to be false, what is measured is not one's ability to debate, but the content of truth contained therein. That you confuse politics with debate and have not until now, perhaps, recognized that debate is about discovering truth, is what speaks to the fact that you are a relativist, a very common condition in today's day and age. To be clear, right-wing people tend to be objectivists, which are not better than relativists. They are equally flawed, only in a slightly different manner. Relativists essentially do not believe in truth. Objectivists believe in truth but like to remove relevant variables from the data. Both oversimplify, both overgeneralize, both are intolerant to disagreement. People who play politics rather than debate do offer some very condescending arguments, absolutely. Exhausting as it is, you have to field every single one or accept the mantle of tyrant. If you were capable of knowing whether or not a person's different idea had merit before they share it, you would be omniscient. This is why we need debate. The left doesn't really believe in diversity. The truth is they hate it every bit as much as the right. In case it wasn't clear, I am neither. I would prefer that we all stop using a bunch of buzzwords that are just political footballs and debate everything- so you can see why I found fault with your video.

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    Think Critically

    I should add…a reason debate is so valuable is because as a truth seeking tool, it is capable of reaching conclusion science cannot meaningfully reach or cannot reach in timely manner. For debate to be truly meaningful though it has to be open to all. Our hierarchical structure, including the realm of "experts" denies the best ideas on any number of subjects because there are legions of insightful people not in position to make their position known. Science is bad at compound problems for instance, then there is bias in what is to be studied, especially when determined by few people, how to study it, tremendous biases found here, who funds the studies further taints the brew and on and on. I have debated many people. Guess how likely I am to get an opportunity to debate people with authority? And the relationship between my successes and my future opportunities to debate others is inverse..which of course means that is the realm of politics, though it should not be.

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    Think Critically

    One last thought, leftist ideas unchallenged through debate but passed down through University, for example, or legal changes, will literally shift people right because people are concerned about their autonomy and such. It is easy to think that those are just bad people but the left is renowned for preferring nurture to nature which shows its error twofold in this point. Ignore debate at your peril. In case you are curious it ignores how significant nature is as well, and having done so it nurtures its own opposition.

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    Glitchy Me

    Kind of funny, given that Ben Shapiro walked away mid interview by a BBC journalist. He loves civil debate, until he actually is faced with an experienced journalist.

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    Roxanne Vicious

    I agree with the positive and negative qualities of debate you laid out — and in the end my opinion is close to yours, in that I do think debate can still be an effective tool for human progress. I just want to add that I think the real danger of debate these days is the further spreading of these bizarre conservative revisionist propaganda and fear-based pseudo logic — which seems to be so tempting for our idiot species that I think there might be more harm than good coming out of these debates thus far. To turn it around, the left need to see these debates as not only a chance to state actual facts, but to give a PERFORMANCE which will help dissuade people from being reactionary twits. We need our drama kids to start leading the fight, working with our laborers, activists, journalists, scientists, and academics to really pack as powerful a punch in debates as possible. That's my opinion.

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    Jesse Bogdonoff

    I am definitely apart of the left segment that just goes on to yell at dumb conservatives. I gave up on trying to convince those idiots a long time ago. Good video though!

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    As a woman you get called hysterical the second you let the other person's insistence on the fact that you're a second-class citizen get to you. Yeah it makes me emotional when you feel entitled to have a debate over whether or not I should be allowed any type of autonomy you dumbf*ck.
    I just discovered your channel and I really like it so far, keep up the good work!

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    Lady Grey

    Here's how I view it. I'm personally not interested in debating someone because I feel they aren't actually interested in vigorous and honest debate. If they respond around the lines of "why won't you? are you a coward?" it has the same energy as "why won't you fuck me, you frigid?". They want to get pleasure from the experience and don't care if you're getting the same enjoyment out of it.

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    Derek Raynaud

    Debates are useful when the opponent t is debating. The debators on the left need to be able to call out logical fallacies, faults in arguments like using a straw man argument or sea lioning. That is LITERALLY how Trump dominated the republican debates, it wasn’t a debate, it was a political improv show.

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    Tim de Visser

    I'm noticing that debate is a very specific way of dealing with disagreement, and it is not the only option. A debate is almost necessarily a contest of skill and knowledge of those participating. In my opinion, ideas always take a backseat in debates. Debates are about framing certain beliefs as noble, true and above all relevant. You can have a completely true and coherent worldview, but a debater acting in bad faith can press you into a corner, make you look uncertain or defensive, and come across as the winner of a debate. Of course, censorship is not the only alternative to debate. But I do not think that all ideas are worth the effort of debating them. Some ideas simply destroy our capacity for good faith arguments. If my opponent believes that I am fundamentally untrustworthy because of my ethnicity, or even worthy of death, there is no honest debate to be had. Also, it is much easier to say nonsense that sounds convincing than it is to explain why it's nonsense.

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    Well for me it depends, I won't debate racism because it's ridiculous, I won't debate trans people being real because it's already proven.

    Most conservatives don't debate, they just tell you how wrong and stupid we are. While the think being a wannabe Nazi is cool.

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    Ditzy Rose

    Every time I see a political debate where the 2 sides start interrupting each other mid-arguement, I want to slam my head into a wall.

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    Shina Devon

    I do not think that debate in a public space is useful. I think it just adds to the divisive undercurrent that pervades our society. No one I have ever seen publicly debating either left or right comes with respect and interest for what the other has to say. Even if you convince everyone in the audience of your fact-based opinions, you still leave behind the people who are vehemently arguing against you. To move forward as a human community, we cannot take a "majority rules" attitude when it comes to important issues.

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    Ryan Barr

    Totally agree. I've never liked debate as a format, because it doesn't feel like a method for finding truth, but rather a method for determining who's better at debating. More casual conversation will always, in my opinion, be more honest and productive.

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    European here, can an american please admit how fucked up capitalism is?? selling your soul because you broke a finger is a pretty fucked up way of living

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    George Papandreou seaking in favor of taxing the rich is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
    He and his family destroyed their country and he is so weak a debater the he is obviously put there to lose the argument.
    The rich win again.
    ps. if you dont know the term pasokification, look it up

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    That Ben Shapiro conceals his own dogmatics beliefs by the use of hyperintelectuallism. He's sure very intelligent, but his conservative temple didn't come from.facts bae

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    i love your videos..

    BUT OMG when talking about debate and having Papandreou on the screen i just cannot keep it together… As a greek i just.. hahah it's hilarious!

    But great video nontheless =)

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    Liberals aren't strategy-minded, and that's something we need to overcome. Conservative thought-leaders are so cynical, disingenuous, and manipulative, whereas I think for the most part, whether a liberal is a highly rational person or someone who operates purely on emotion, the commonality is that we actually *care*. That makes it so frustrating to debate with Shapiro-types.
    But I think it's our responsibility, as people who actually want to see positive change happen, to think about strategy and to beat them at their own game. If they are good at persuasion, we need to be good at persuasion. We can't stand on our high horse and condescend, even if we have every reason to feel disgusted and look down on their attitudes and behaviors.

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    Ben Shapiro: smiles asymmetrically

    Me: "Somebody call doctorwife–this man is having a stroke!"

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    Alexis Mitchell

    Very few things or situations are zero-sum. Divergent opinions doesn’t necessarily mean one ideal is better than another. However, there are exceptions to that; it’s imperative that we acknowledge the difference.

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    A real issue is when a debate has a side that is not there to discuss, but purely to try to make the other side look bad. ahem shaprio and all his buddies ahem All too often, there's not even a thought for entertaining the ideas that the other side is bringing to the table, it's just about dodging and trying to trap the "opponent." I'd love to see civil discussions between different schools of thought where everyone was actually civil and respectful of others' thoughts, but they're few and far between. And MUCH too rarely are they conversations worth having – I wish we could reach higher on the ladder than the bare bones "are minorities actually treated badly" or "do trans people exist" topics that just go round in circles because somebody with a lot of privilege refuses to acknowledge there might be anything outside of their own bubble.

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    Gábor Csernák

    Without debates always the richest party will win.
    I'm from Hungary, and in here there's a multiple party system (not just left vs right), and always the Fidesz and Orban Viktor wins. They never debate, but they have all the media.
    Orban debated once, and in that time the left won, so since then, the Fidesz never debates, and in the media they just say they are right and their party always wins.

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    Blank Blank

    I dont see the logic, if you think the people you are debating are hateful and evil people with sinister intentions, wouldn't you want to expose that fact ?

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    Nemo Sundry

    In the marketplace of ideas, too many debate-obsessed people have not thought about the fact that it's one of the most rigid and least useful forms of communicating around, and is almost never used unless people want to fight with words. Conflict mediation is much better, and that is all about meeting needs. When it comes to what people believe, Nonviolent Communication (the language of conflict mediation) shows us their beliefs are the tip of the iceberg and fundamentally don't matter here. If you are curious and want to know another's beliefs, you will have a conversation. That too is the opposite of debate. Otherwise, when you dig deep enough below the events, feelings, and hit the universal needs, you will find new information and totally new ways to meet those needs, and resolve conflicts. Sometimes there is an impasse, then the strategy is to walk away.

    I once talked to a guy who seemed convinced autonomy was non-existent unless a person was all-powerful, despite the fact that without limitation there is no differentiation and therefore no choice. I finally had to stop and say I'd rather have a conversation than a debate. He said "but how do you understand if you don't debate?" I was completely blank at that. I had never encountered something so ridiculous. It was only hours later when I thought: he has it backwards. How do you debate if you don't understand?

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    John Beale

    Makes sense to me. I think direct personal discussions can be enlightening if participants want it to be. OTOH, I have never seen a worthwhile political discussion on Twitter and I suspect it's simply not possible.

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    I've always felt that debate is more useful for the audience than convincing the two opposing debaters. An honest debate is an honest display of each-others ideas and perspective and left for the audience to decide (aka "the market place of ideas" le meme). I think if the format of the debate is more a display of idea, and maybe a Q&A afterwards, a more honest conclusion is reached by an audience. Not the rampant screaming we see nowadays. Maybe I'm nostalgia blind, but I remember feeling that with many of the old atheist debate videos with Sam Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins etc. (though they had their problems most definitely) they were more honest. The ones where polls were taken before and after, along with Q&A's from the audience, felt like good ideas were being exchanged and convincing many people in the audience. Anyways, honest debate is good, spectacle is bad.

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    The left has the moral high ground that is why they are called out when they are 'uncivil'. It is a double standard in society. The right is already suspected of being douches so it doesn't come as a shock. They aren't lowering their standards of morality so it doesn't register as 'off' in peoples minds. However, it does come as a shock when the left does it because it is more rare and people don't assume the left is capable of going low. The goal of the right is to get the left to wallow in the mud with them, hence the desire for debates and absurd ideas to be heard.

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    Nathan Weese

    Well said. debate is a skill and does not make one right. It does make for spectacle , but not much else.

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    Kevin Carroll

    I think debate can be useful in general, but I do think that if you are going about it in a classic debate strategy that it has the potential to put both ideas on the same playing field as if they both deserve equal consideration. IMO a more effective strategy is to go at it more like Destiny where it still has the spectacle of an "ownage"/"change my mind" debate, but the whole time he's trying to pull out and analyze the core beliefs. This slightly buffers the potential down side of debates (because you aren't exactly giving the implementation view full consideration since the focus is on the building blocks), and viewers might see that their less extreme views are built on the same building blocks as the self proclaimed white nationalist being debated, and people credit him all the time for pulling them out of the radicalization vortex bc of it.

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    Moto Giant

    What a GREAT video! I have been working on an idea for a game show that FORCES people, not only to be civil, but to support (with facts) their ideas. I found you on Malia AuParis
    and your comment about being from Birmingham (me too) drew me over. I would like to discuss my idea with you to see what you think? I think we desperately need some way of connecting with each other, rather than moving further apart. Will send a link if you are interested in seeing the game-show test?

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    Farid Bachir

    You are too manichean. If we listen to you debates are only well intented leftist against fascists who happen to be great at debating.

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    Sam Hall

    In the UK we have a TV show called Question Time, it involves a panel of varying representatives of different political views with questions taken from the audience. It's all for show, nothing is ever resolved. Some people get a nice round of applause every now and then, but then sometimes people with sensible views get booed and people with ludicrous, irrational emotionally charged views get the loudest cheers. Nothing of any worth ever really comes from it.

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    Da Infinity Stonks

    As a right winger from a right wing household I like debates so I can personally have my points challenged. I need them challenged, which is why I enjoy civil debates.

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