For years, I’ve been getting this constant urging to debate, debate, debate. We’re supposed to engage creationists in debate. We’re supposed to battle Nazis in debate. We’re supposed to meet bad speech with more speech, which I guess is fine, but why the fuck is the form of the speech supposed to be debate? Debate is a weirdly specific and artificial mode of interaction, it’s often not particularly effective at engaging people, and it never settles anything. I’ve noticed that creationists often prefer to set up debates, because all they’re doing is bringing in a foil who will be ignored while their chosen insipid viewpoint is given equal status with serious, scientific positions.
So why are we giving in to them and doing debates?
Now here’s a beautiful argument that addresses that issue.
Hey folks, today I'd like to talk about the alt-right, debate, and Scary Terry.
If you're a fan of Rick and Morty, you'll probably remember the Freddy Kruger inspired but legally distinct character of Scary Terry, and his "You can run but you can't hide, b***h" catchphrase. pic.twitter.com/5WA5nekfty
— Sloth Ms. Fizzle (@CaseyExplosion) January 19, 2018
Hey folks, today I’d like to talk about the alt-right, debate, and Scary Terry.
If you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you’ll probably remember the Freddy Kruger inspired but legally distinct character of Scary Terry, and his “You can run but you can’t hide, b***h” catchphrase.
He’s mostly known for saying “b***h” at the end of every sentence, but it’s a key plot point that he keeps repeating “You can run but you can’t hide” because Rick and Morty eventually evade and defeat him by not taking his advice, and hiding from him instead of running.
And now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with anything, let alone the alt-right and debate?
Well, it’s in reference to the talking point that all leftist “SJWs” have to do is debate the alt-right, rubbish their arguments, show them up, and you’ll defeat them!
So when Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, or any other alt-right figurehead says “debate me, that’s the only way you’ll defeat me!” you need to ask yourselves one little question:
“Since when are we taking this guy’s advice on anything?”
The fact is, you can engage with their arguments, you can debunk their claims, make a mockery of their ideas, all without their involvement! Their participation is not required in any of this, you don’t need to help give them an audience for this, they are broadly irrelevant.
The alt-right, the neo-nazis, their currency is attention, they need it to thrive and for their ideas to spread. You can engage with that, without giving them an audience, without granting them participation in the process.
You don’t need to ignore them, you don’t need to stop engaging with their ideology or their rhetoric, but you do need to stop handing them the megaphone they crave. Don’t take their advice and let them set the rules.
Spencer calls for a white ethnostate, and “peaceful” ethnic cleansing.
Ok, let’s debate the idea. It’s absurd on it’s face. What happens to POC who don’t want to leave their homes? There could be no establishment of an ethnostate without violence, so it is a threat of violence.
So, remind me again why I’d need Spencer’s participation to rubbish his ideas?
It is far more effective to cut people like him out of the conversation entirely, talk about his ideas without having to deal with him, or anyone like him, in a debate setting.
Giving them platforms, agreeing to their debates, you’re just being a useful idiot and spreading their ideology for them.
I like it. Cut ’em off. Don’t bestow them the credibility of sharing an equal footing with you. There are terrible, stupid, discredited ideas out there, and the appalling nature of their arguments is not a good reason to elevate their representatives. Tear them down without promoting their proponents.
No more debates.