I woke up to Fred Wilson’s (AVC) post on intelligent debate. Wilson used a comment RBG made on Scalia (in light of his recent passing):

We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots—the “applesauce” and “argle bargle”—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. RBG

Fred went on to share the following of his opinion:

Debate and dissent are critical. If you can’t cite the opposing point of view on an issue, you may not have thought it through as well as you should.

Maybe the most important part of the title to this post is the word civil. Without civility (and respect), it is hard to have intelligent debate. Respecting those with opposing views, working to understand them, and listening closely to them is the key. Even if they don’t change your mind, they can reshape how you discuss and present your views. And that can make all the difference in the world.


I’ve noticed a social trend of us planting our heels in the dirt and refusing to budge on issues of importance. We boycott speakers that don’t agree with us. And fire off tweets to destroy those that share a position challenging of our own beliefs. We are hostile & attack the values, intentions and the character of those around us.

When we lock ourselves into positions we endanger collective progress. Liberals and Conservatives show this behavior. It is equally present in politics as it is outside. We force our morals and our code onto others.

Progress is inevitable but willingness to debate, decent and discuss gets us forward much more effectively & efficiently. It may feel right, almost righteous, to hold on to our positions and try to move them forward at whatever the cost.

Consider the future and the limiting stifling nature with that philosophy.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain


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