The “Ultimate Goal” of debate

To aggressively resolve contradicting viewpoints, or to reach a middle point both sides can agree upon?

A small village with 10 families. 5 love chocolate but hate caramel, and 5 love caramel but hate chocolate. One day, the village is given 200 dollars to order a huge cake, and there is a conflict between the two groups about whether they should order chocolate or caramel. They fought and argued for days and days until one day they realized that they can order one small chocolate cake and one small caramel cake. 

When a group of people lives together, conflict between some people is inevitable because the rights of different groups of people always collide. When people debate on a social issue, the ultimate goal of the debate should not be to aggressively resolve contradicting viewpoints, proving each other is wrong and destroying the opponent. Rather, because the problem we want to talk about is a social issue, the goal should be to reach a middle point where both sides can agree upon and get protected to some degree. 

A social issue, by definition, is an issue that affects many individuals within a society and relates with social perception of people and their lives. However, a social issue is much more than that. Social issues directly deal with different groups of peoples’ rights. For example, whether the country should receive more refugees or not and how they should treat the refugees are social problems in recipient countries all over the world. In this case regarding refugees and their rights, the rights of the refugees and their protection conflicts with problems about security and resources. If a refugee is granted refugee status, the refugee cna get protected from violence and can receive basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, and also can receive a lot of help to assimilate into the society such as language education or assimilation training. However, if too many refugees are accepted in a short period of time without even having the time to go over thorough background and security checks, the security of the country may be compromised, and social phobia and discrimination among the citizens can get worse. There are always different viewpoints on social issues, each perspective taking the rights of different people and different problems into account. Therefore, the ultimate goal of a debate on a certain social issue should be to consider the different actors and their interests, therefore to reach a middle point where everyone can agree upon to a certain point. In the case of the refugee issue, the solution can be to accept more refugees to a certain degree where the security and background checks can be thorough and accurate for each refugee. 

In the village before, what if there is no smaller chocolate cake or caramel cake? The village has to choose which flavor they will order, and there is no middle way. In this case, the village will have to debate to resolve their contradicting stances, and eventually, one side will win over the other, and order one large chocolate or caramel cake. They can only satisfy one side of the debate. However, in real life, most social issues are not black and white. The debate on whether abortion should be legalized can seem like an issue where the affirmative side has to destroy the opposition or vise versa. However, the government can decide that abortion is allowed only in cases where the woman was a victim of a sexual assault and got pregnant against her will, and strictly keep control. In most, if not all, cases, there is some way to satisfy the interests of both parties that may seem to contradict. 

The western way of debating and resolving contradicting viewpoints may allow people to look at problems in new perspectives that they have never thought of before. However, too much of this, especially when talking about social issues, only makes the problem more aggressive and fades the focus into destroying the other side’s stance and winning, rather than to actually find a solution. When the solution reaches a middle point, that is when it can serve the interests and protect the rights of both sides of the debate.

Categories: Society

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