The objective of debate: to diversify opinions

by Sam Hansen

Opinion Editor

As Opinion Editor, it is my first and primary hope to spark diverse and passionate debate. To quote Noam Chomsky’s “The Common Good,” “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…”

I have no desire for passivity or obedience. I have a desire to spark and fan the flame of passion in those that are affected by my section because I believe that passion is central to living a full life.

As a person, friend, brother, peer, and captain, I strive to push those around me to live their lives to the fullest extent possible. I live to aid others in becoming the best possible versions of themselves.

In this vein, the vein of creating passion and enriching lives, I wrote a controversial article last week. I decided to pick up a torch, alight with the eyes of scorn, disapproval, and avowed distaste, and wave it across the entire back page of my section. I attacked feminism.

I did not attack feminism in the traditional sense it is attacked. I did not argue that it should or should not be. I did not argue on the moral grounds of feminism. I chose not to look at immediate consequences or immediate causes. Instead, I attacked feminism on the terms of natural selection in the terms of a macrocosmic scale of time.

It wasn’t until after I heard that Unity was upset with the article that I realized the generalizability of my argument. Hypothetically, you can take the argument I made against feminism and apply it to any orientation that does not adhere to the heteronormative mating structure.

I want it to be known that I support individual’s rights. My best friend is gay. My best columnist is an avowed feminist. The peer with whom I worked on my article is bisexual. These are people I love, care about, and support unendingly. I do not believe in the argument I made before Spring Break; however, I believe it was an important opinion to add to the debate, albeit unpopular.

That being said, I stand by what I said and will defend my article. To refer back to Mr. Chomsky, I do not wish to limit the spectrum of debate in my section. In fact, I wish the exact opposite. Understandably so, feminism is a touchy subject to argue against. How can one argue that more freedom for any type of individual is bad? I do not know. Thus, I chose not to argue on whether feminism is good.

The purpose behind my argument was not to attach moralistic claims to feminism. It was to broaden the entirely limited spectrum of debate that was fiercely and elegantly presented. I hate passivity. I hope Curiosity was awakened within those who read. I hope some, if not all, who read were forced to think twice about the validity of feminism. Again, I will not apologize for what I said.

I will not apologize for inciting the passions of those devotees of feminism that are published on the back page of this week’s issues. I know Miss Weisenfluh and Miss Olek well. They are intelligent, eloquent, and determined women whose success I do not doubt. The feminist movement is largely responsible for my lack of doubt (to be sure, the young women deserve some credit for their own efforts).

If you still do not believe in what I’ve done, I ask you consider a historical event in which an unpopular side was defended. On March 5, 1770, an atrocious event known as the Boston Massacre resulted in the deaths of both civilians and soldiers. Afterwards, the soldiers were put on trial. This was during a time of stark disapproval for the British and their military. When it came time for the soldiers to stand trial, they needed lawyers. James Madison, a future president of the United States, stepped forward to defend the soldiers in court. Under Madison’s defense, six of the soldiers were acquitted. His defense was wholehearted. Even if he did not believe in the cause of the soldiers, he believed in the value of a criminal defense.

Perhaps we should look at Clara Barton too. During the Civil War, Barton cared for wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict, regardless of what was socially acceptable. After being named Superintendent of Nursing for the Union Army, she visited Confederate hospitals. She delivered medical supplies and administered care where she could in these Confederate hospitals. She was considered part of the Union Army, but Barton believed more in the care of people’s injuries than she cared about whether her actions were politically correct.

Granted, I am not James Madison or Clara Barton; I evoke their images to put some frame around my cause. My article was not even close to politically correct. Hell, I do not even believe that macrocosmic evolution is a reason to stop being feminist. With that said, I am willing to make and defend a politically incorrect argument because I believe in the value of a good debate more than what people think of me.



  1. I think you should revise your arguments along with your personal morals.

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