Yep, we don’t need to argue, it’s patently true.
After all, these days we are constantly being told that one of the top threats to society is not climate change or fascism but people stifling debate. Some claim that by “no-platforming” controversial speakers, or calling pundits mean names on Twitter after they say something racist on Bill Maher’s show, we are facilitating a dangerous slide into illiberalism. If those pearl-clutchers are to be believed, the key to becoming a society of informed and sophisticated intellectuals is to hook ourselves up to an IV of pure debate, and let the heated repartee course through our veins until it leads us to fact-based solutions.
The article also has some positive suggestions.
Do not be tempted by the promise of easy satisfaction. Watching a debate can make you actively worse at understanding the nuances of a topic. If you want to really know about a subject, here’s my advice: read widely and extensively (and not just the books your favorite YouTuber recommends). Talk to people, patiently and fairly, rejecting your instinctual desire to win. And perhaps most importantly — take this from a veteran — do not reward former debate team kids with your attention. They are the worst type of nerds and they never share their snacks.
I’ve been trying to get people to do this for years. I get a call requesting a debate, and I say, I’d be happy to host a discussion with an audience, why are you making everyone waste half the time allotted with that other blithering fool? And then they hang up, because usually the people asking for a debate aren’t looking for an informed discussion, they’re looking for a foil to make the other guy look magnanimous and open-minded, and they’re bringing in an audience with a bias, anyway.