October 11, 2011

Stop Using Big Words When Debating


Note: This is a political video concerning the #OCCUPY movement. You may disagree with the editorial slant. But, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here.

The people being interviewed in this video are smart. Undoubtedly very smart. In fact, they are likely thought leaders during their private conversations with friends. Yet, when they are presented with opposing viewpoints from people who actually know what they're talking about, their big words sound so incredibly empty.

And this video made me realize I do this, too.

Not intentionally. In fact, it's become subconscious. It's a way of getting the other person in the debate to submit to you - to realize they're up against an intellectual giant, and to back down. It's alpha dog, pack leader behavior for intellectual debate in the 21st century.

And we need to stop doing this.

Because when you enter debates trying to "win", you will cling to false presuppositions even after they're called out as BS. Your goal in debate should not be to be "right", but to determine what "right" is.