Debating is something I know I have the ability to do but refrain from doing so anyway due to several reasons. And when I say debating I mean the school debating competition scene or “parliamentary-style” debating.
To me, that sort of debating is not really practical. Granted, it does teach you about what debating is all about and its usefulness in life, but it also gives participants a watered-down version of the actual thing. This is because, as far as I’m concerned, no one would really limit themselves to three points-of-argument only and for a set amount of time. They would rather interrupt you with their thoughts at any given time and, if they have nothing else to do, bombard you with long-winded rants that may or may not be relevant to the original argument.
But, what I’m talking about today isn’t about what school debates teach you to do in life, it is about what school debates teach you not to do in life. More specifically, spewing out statements and arguments that are detrimental to your stance or credibility as a person.
To put it in layman terms: Shooting yourself in the foot
About a few weeks ago, my economics class was invited to see a debate on public goods and privatisation by the neighbouring economics class. We were there to act as adjudicators and timekeepers as their class did not have enough people to do the job. Anyway, the Opposition side had a huge advantage over the Government side as they gave out stronger arguments than the Government. It did not help the Government at all that the supply of fluent English speakers it that class was disproportionately distributed between the two.
Anyways, it was time for the second last speakers for both sides to speak up. Government was predictably passable at best whereas Opposition was mesmerising the floor with confident and charismatic rebuttals. Their speaker was instantly the crowd favourite-until he decided that disregarding the well-being of the poor entirely in favour of “freedom of choice” for the rich. To be fair, it did enlighten me in the sense that I finally knew where Donald Trump’s popularity stemmed from: Sheer confidence and conviction of his statements mixed with pure daftness
And like Donald Trump, he immediately became very unpopular with the majority as boos and hisses were hurled at him. Sure his argument really did hold weight, but to go out on a limb and favour the rich elite over the poor?
That, my friend, is what I call shooting yourself in the foot.
Should you wish to shoot yourself in the foot, do consider the following:
Please do not shoot your actual foot
It has to be spectacular; ( Refer to Xbox One vs. PS4 E3 2013)
Not just any old bad statement would do- build up to it with actual meaningful arguments to catch the crowd unawares
It is an art-be creative! You *might *be able to trump the competition! (I’m sorry for terrible pun)
Don’t do it. Ever.