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What I witnessed last week was not a debate. it was a cruel and wicked humiliation.  I am no fan of Joe Biden. But elder abuse is not on. This public display of deliberate sabotage makes me wonder how low the left will go in order to " win ' at any cost.  It was heartless, and it makes me wonder if they will do this to him, what are they prepared to do to you?

I did not see any hint of debating. I saw a political manouvre which had nothing to do with debating. In fact, it was a question and answer episode. So what is debating? 

Debating, as a formalised method of argument stretches back thousands of years. It has evolved significantly over time: in fact, today it is a distant cousin to its early beginnings. Debating was a critical skill in education, politics, and many professional fields. Today? Many use cheap tricks like ridicule and raised voices  and bullying. Hardly reasoned and thoughtful exchange of opposing points of view. 

The roots of formal debate can be traced back to ancient civilisations. One of the earliest and most influential traditions originated in Ancient Greece. The Greeks placed high value on public speaking and the ability to argue persuasively. The Sophists, a group of itinerant teachers, were among the first to explore the idea.  They taught young men how to construct arguments and persuade audiences, laying the groundwork for formal debate.


Plato and Aristotle further developed the art of debate. Plato's dialogues often depicted Socratic debates, where questions and answers were used to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas. Aristotle, on the other hand, wrote extensively on rhetoric, defining it as the art of persuasion and categorising different types of arguments and logical fallacies. It could almost be said it is the cornerstone of the courtroom - the ability to spin a good yarn to alter public opinion. 

Of course, some politicians used what I call the " gift of the gab " to great purpose: Hitler springs to mind. Sir Winston Churchill and such figures as John F Kennedy and the likes of Martin Luther King. 

Yet the gift of the gab is not debating. Not in the formal or normal sense of the word. But, just like courtroom words, modern debating is about persuasion. 

What role does truth play in persuasion? Sometimes, particularly these days, not so much. In fact, in modern media and politics, the Socratic debate that stimulated critical thinking and the hatching of new ideas seems a rather dusty relic of better times for humanity. Now, the rule of thumb is persuade, use falsehoods and fallacies to promote a desired conclusion. In other words, Socrates seems to have lost out to Aristotle in the 21st century. 


Debating was also prominent in other ancient cultures. In India, the tradition of debating, or "Shastrartha," was a crucial aspect of the intellectual culture. Philosophers and scholars would engage in structured arguments on various topics, often in the presence of kings or in public assemblies. Similarly, in China, Confucian scholars participated in debates to sharpen their reasoning and to advise rulers.

Debating as we know it today began to take shape in medieval and early modern Europe. The scholastic method, used in medieval universities, involved scholars debating theological and philosophical questions. This method emphasised logical reasoning and the careful analysis of texts. In other words, they did their homework. 

The first recorded debating society, the Edinburgh Philosophical Society, was founded in 1718. These societies provided a platform for intellectuals to discuss and debate contemporary issues. The London Debating Society, founded in 1830, and the Oxford Union, established in 1823, are among the most famous debating clubs that continue to thrive today.


In the United States, debating societies began to emerge in the 18th and 19th centuries, often associated with colleges and universities. The American Whig-Cliosophic Society at Princeton University, founded in 1769, and the Harvard Debating Union, established in 1892, played significant roles in promoting debate as an academic discipline.

The primary purpose of debating is to cultivate critical thinking, public speaking, and the ability to construct and deconstruct arguments. It teaches participants to think on their feet, to research thoroughly, and to articulate their ideas coherently. These skills are invaluable not only in academic and professional settings but also in everyday life.

When I was a youngster, my teacher encouraged debating as part of our weekly curriculum. He would give us our topic and we would then have to research the topic and be ready to stand up in front of the class and deliver our arguments. 

It taught us confidence. Self control. Researching skills. And humility and self respect.  There was no room for a tantrum or name calling. I will never forget the day that he gave us a topic about which I felt very strongly as a 10 year old. Quite what it was, I long ago forgot. But I do remember him assigning me as lead speaker of the team that had to argue the direct opposite of what I personally believed.  I was furious. But, being a stubborn and opinionated young person, I determined to research and argue and WIN. 

And win, we did. It was a hollow victory. I had, along with my team, argued so well that we had managed to prove that I was wrong. I remember going to him ( my teacher ) afterwards ) and telling him it wasn't fair. He responded by telling me that one day I would understand. 

60 years later, I do. I listen to the opposing point of view. I research. I learn. I listen. It is rarely that I change my mind, but at least I can say that I came to my belief from a position of knowledge and in full possession of the facts. Yes, emotion still plays a great and important role in my belief system. Yet I can at least say that I no longer come up with a lame and limp declaration that something " isn't fair " just because I do not agree. 

If only more people, particularly the leftie luvvies, could see that screaming, rioting, plastering ill advised graffiti on war memorials or statues is not indicative of a mature and reasoned argument. 

Surely, we would be better served as a society if our schools taught debating instead of brainwashing?  Critical thinking instead of guilt for deeds done centuries ago? 

Instead, we are faced with this. 


How well is this serving us these days?

So how about we get back to debating? Not question and answer sessions. Not robotic, unemotional word fests where there is no debate, no sad excuse for witnessing something that was called a debate, but was as far from a debate as eating a bug burger is from having a steak. 

Give me robust and witty, intelligent and energetic stab and thrust over a limp lettuce leaf being waved in front of a camera and posing as a debate. because, what we witnessed the other day was not a debate. It was a tragic display of an old man being wheeled out to make a fool of himself in front of the world. 

My old teacher would have been appalled. Humiliation, under any circumstances, is never justified or forgivable. Especially when he is the so called leader of the team. 

That this man is being wheeled out like a circus prop in the freak show is disgusting. 

I applaud President Trump for not taking advantage of the situation.  Biden's family? Well, you have humiliated and denigrated yourselves more than you have Joe Biden.  Shame on you. And it had nothing to do with his age. 


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