Friday, March 6, 2020

Great Debates for ESL Advanced Speaking Class

 A little background... So I ran for Mayor of my hometown, Redondo Beach, back in 2013...


There were also some serious moments...





Nevertheless I lost, yet won 1,275 votes, 10.3% of the electorate. My friend Quinones, who helped out on the campaign remarked, "You know they've done tests and typically anyone who's running gets 10% of the electorate, I mean even if Satan is running, he'd get 10%
I shot back, "Yeah, but not 10.3%!"


I can't necessarily say that I wasn't a sore loser...



But that's not what we're talking about today... we're talking about THE ART OF DEBATE

First off, let's make it clear what we're not doing....



Or even this...



Unfortunately this is what now often passes for debate.... or this....






However, a long time ago the Romans had it figured out... here's from Reddit-

The Catiline Orations, by Marcus Tullius Cicero, are perhaps one of the earliest examples of great rhetoric being used in politics. It's not a debate as such, because it's mostly Cicero outlining his case that Catilina was planning to overthrow the Roman Republic. And the points he made were debated in the senate.
Topically, Catilina was seen as a populist, representing the poor and disenfranchised Romans, while Cicero was very much a man of the establishment.
Yet back then they had rules for debate, a barrier one shall not cross, they are called LOGICAL FALLACIES-















An impressive analysis of typical logical fallacies found in the Trump era can be found here-

And in those aforementioned debates-




This website goes into more detail:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

Since then debates have evolved or perhaps devolved...

Regardless, here are some notable exceptions in the ART OF ARGUMENT-

POLITICAL DEBATES

LINCOLN DOUGLAS DEBATE - 1858

The Abraham Lincoln - Stephen Douglas debates are definitely worth looking up. Really set a clear format for public political debates we still use today. Also known for bringing a little known lawyer from Illinois to national attention. Among the topics debated was the issue of slavery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln-Douglas_debates

KENNEDY vs. NIXON DEBATE - 1960


This was the first televised debate. Oddly enough, people listening on radio thought Nixon won the debate, while people watching on television thought Kennedy won the debate. Kennedy went on to be gunned down in the street like a rabid dog, compliments of the CIA.



But I digress... It's not always politicians that go head to head. There have also been some remarkably civil and thought-provoking debates by notable writers and thinkers... 


Buckley, obviously defeated and on the ropes, finally lost it in another debate with Chomsky....



Flash forward- I don't know that things have gotten any more civil but it certainly seems they've gotten more pointed and determined... take the recent MUNK POLITICAL CORRECTNESS DEBATE....


For those pressed for time, here are the highlights....




So how does Peterson do it?



Know full well that people's minds are typically not changed in any given moment... rather, ideas are like a virus...


Get to know forms of debate dating back to the Romans...































Then again, what have the Romans ever done for us....


Today emotion often wins where the Roman's would have argued that logic ought to prevail...



This was later proven to be a hoax perpetrated by the daughter of a Kuwaiti diplomat as a pretext to invade Iraq back in 1991... Sadly, it doesn't end there....


Crocodile tears. As Voltaire said, "if you can get the people to believe absurdities, they will commit atrocities."

On the other hand, I have read that a good argument is typically 20% to 30% emotion, 60% to 70% logic, and 10% credibility. I think that holds up.

One other thing, these are always smart things to throw into a debate:

Shocking Statistic
Ask a question of the audience
Tell a personal story, annecdote
use Similies and Metaphors
Use Humor
Give a shit

Let's practice lateral thinking and being devil's advocate-
For example what is your opinion on GMO foods or population control?

Great. Now today's topic is Gun Control or the Prohibiting of Smoking in Public... Decision time....

Lastly, here are some examples from my past life, in chronological order...




Then onto District 3 City Council debates (Canidate's Forum) circa 2015...


And then there was 2017. coming in 3rd in a 5 way race... funny how (despite advice from friends) the less serious I got, the better I did... something about being true to yourself, I guess....


FULL VERSION  OF 2nd DEBATE

SNIPPET



FOOTNOTE: Here's a DOCUMENTARY about my first run for office (which initially was the purpose for doing so)...



Thanks

Didn't mean for that to be a lesson in egotism

Was instead just trying to show that if I can do it 

So can you!

Afterall...

I ain't that special

well...

maybe a little retarded...

I'm not saying nothing... I'm just saying I know a tad about debates...

I'll be running in the next election in 2021...

You've been warned...


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