On Debates of Ideas
Today’s debates are terribly tame. From Charlie Rose puff pieces to debates on the CBC, we rarely see a discussion get heated or see a person truly pressed to explain the foundations of their ideas. This lack of in-depth criticism led me to start the Fight Club politique.
Our first event discussed “If Québec becomes an independent country, the Island of Montréal should declare itself a city state”. The discussion was animated and intense. In the room we had 25 people from across the political spectrum, anglophone and francophone, federalists, socialist sovereigntists, socialist federalists and even more. Just having that variety of opinion in a room was fun. Of course, nothing conclusive came of our 90 minute discussion, but the evening ended with the room divided on the motion – which means it must have been an even handed fight.
Our next event will likely try to tackle Prostitution laws in Canada. Last year, the supreme court struck down two and a half articles of the criminal code that deal with prostitution issues. The court has given the government one year to introduce legislation to bring the criminal code into line with the charter. This landmark decision create a new question, “what should prostitution law look like?”. Should it be modeled on the Nordic model or the legalization of prostitution as done in Australia, New Zealand and other places, or something else?
In preparation for more intellectual battles, I highly recommend the AlJazeera English debate show, “Head to Head“. From the episodes I have seen, you get a fantastic mix of panelists with diametrically opposed views and a very well prepared host who leaves nothing on the table. The discussions and arguments that emerge from the conflict demonstrate the complexity of the issues at hand and leave some bloodied. To train yourself for our next Fight club politique, take a look at the discussion with Richard Dawkins, Tariq Ramadan and Shlomo ben Ami. Great stuff!
Hope to see you all in May to discuss the hot topic of prostitution law, dive into moral and ethical dilemmas and propose something concrete that uses social science and ethics to help women and society move forward!Published on March 30, 2014
Fight club politique and other news
Despite having started a number of articles, I have not been able to finish much lately. My energy has been focused on Québec Ouvert, where we just launched I Vote for Transperency 2014 for the current provincial elections, Nimonik where we are expanding and growing our operations and finally, on a new project titled Fight Club Politique.
The political debate club is an idea that came up while reading some excellent books on the american and french revolutions (For Liberty and Glory and A short introduction to the french revolution). The idea is to have an open discussion on political issues of the day, to draw local leaders into an intellectual brawl and to have a good time. More than anything, it is an experiment.
So far, I have not determined the exact format, location or structure, I think something will emerge after a few rounds. The first proposed debate topic will likely be, “If Québec seperates from Canada, Montréal should declare itself to be a city-state”. Should be lots of fun, hope you can join!Published on March 10, 2014