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I speak Mighty Truth, you Stand Up for Rights!

B T he D I S S E N T I N G

kites! We rise in Debate like gay Taliban


A CITIZEN .. canadians? FROM L ET T E R S TO .


EAR w homev er: Did I bore you in my last letter, in which I wrote about D e b at e ? Surely not, as I did everything in my power to entertain. I rhymed, conceived cunning analogies, put on a play, offered lively illustrations, both verbal and pictorial - because I know how valuable your time is. It is so valuable it may be exchanged only for entertainment. So I did everything but sing; how could you be bored? After all, I know that you are not one of those stuffed drones who lapses into a catatonic faint the minute it is proposed to ‘Look Into' something. You agree, I think, that there is cause to give some attention to this word, ‘D e bat e ' - not just because we use it but because it has been claimed that: “The word ‘d e bat e ' is being used as a cover for the desire to pass anti -abortion laws ." If the word ‘Debate' is being used “as a cover ," then it is not True Debate that is under the cover: it is a wolf in sheep's clothing. B E AV E R ' S.

Ah, the True Canadian emerges! As you wish, a w olf in beav er 's clothing . T HE BEAVER :

If you are speaking to Canadians I thought I should make an appearance. T HE DF :

Wonderful! I am also, if I may so flatter myself, a True Canadian. So let us expose together the wolf in Motion 312, if a wolf it is. Do you trust me to help with this? T HE BEAVER :

I am by nature very trusting. But I plan to keep my eye on you all the same.

for?' Can you claim to know What a Bread Knife is, and fall into embarrassed confusion when asked, ‘What's it for?' Should we take your word for it that, despite that, really you do know? I think not. T H E BEAV :

T H E BEAV : B e av e r -m a de

things too - also made for a purpose. Forget not the Beaver. No indeed; we include The Beav. This p u r p o s e is the very Reason that these things exist. What's the Reason for a Banjo? What's the Reason for a Debate? If you don't know what a Banjo or a Beaver Dam or a Debate were made for then you don't know the m a i n t h i ng about it, do you? - ( By the way, what is the purpose of a Beaver Dam?) T H E DF :

T H E DF :

Well, Canadians can learn. But here's my point... - by the way, am I boring you?

Do not let me get away with anything. Let us see, together, w h at T ru e D e b at e is and whether it is D e b at e , or a wol f , that Motion 312 has sprung upon Canadians.

hopelessness & ignorance of the PU BLIC EXPOSED n my last letter I charged the public with Ignorance about Debate. Citizen Beaver, are you insulted by that?



Call me B e av . Not insulted, no. I am reasonable you know, very cool - cooling effect of a northern climate. I don't fly off the handle, I'm not an e x t r e m i st . But I would like to see your evidence, because that headline we just read seems a little e xt r e m i st to me.

You're getting there.

OK, the point. What's Debate for?



Well, ask people, What is the Purpose of Debate? What'll they sayÉ? They will say, T H E DF :

Q the Purpose of Debate is to s p e a k ou t a n d de f e n d


The ignorance of Canadians.


T H E DF :

ou r s e lv e s

v e r b a l ly

ta k e a s ta n d ag a i n s t e x p l o i tat io n , b a r b a r i s m , b ack wa r dn e s s ,


T H E DF :

You'll have to do better than that. Why show up here if you won't talk? T H E BEAV :

Perhaaaps I agree.

T H E DF :

Come on! You are saying ‘perhaps' just so you can claim later, if things get sticky, that you never did agree. Stop being so cagey. Is it really so crucial never to make a wrong move, to be always i n t h e r ig h t ? Is that Canadian? It's a free country: you can change your mind at any time. So show some courage and nobly say what you actually think.


Well, maybe. But with you here we can surely fix it. T HE BEAV : e x t r e m i s m

T H E DF :


Yes, let's promise to keep our feet on the ground. I did say I would deliver ev idence o f p u b l i c i g n o r ance about Debate, but let me get there by way of a question. - Does a person know What Debate i s if he or she cannot tell us What Debate i s for? T HE BEAV : T HE DF :

Not really sure. Say more.

Well, ‘I S ' and ‘i s f or ' are sometimes related: as follows. Can you reasonably claim to know What a Banjo is, if you become mute and befuddled when asked, ‘And what is it

etc.) .

... Don't you agree?

All right then, I agree: that is what I w o u l d s a y Debate is for.

makes me nervous. I am not the Eagle, which likes such ridiculous heights!

aga i n st

b a d i de a s ( to p r e s e rv e h u m a n r ig h t s ,



Now there's a Noble Woodland Creature! Well then, how about this? Say I d r iv e a t r u c k across the country blazoned with billboardsized images of destroyed fetuses. Is that Debate? T H E BEAV :

Oh no, that's not Debate, because how do you answer back? That's something else. T H E DF :

28 JULY 2012


You tricked me!!

What are you talking about? That wasn't my definition; it was


‘I suppose'? Seriously, how can you just ‘suppose'? Is wishy-washy Canadian? Look, Debate is a m a n -m a de t h i ng ; it's not an Organic Substance: and m a n -m a de t h i ng s are things m a de f or a p u r p o s e .



the definition you agreed to just a moment ago: s p e a k i ng ou t aga i n st e v i l . The people who fixed up that truck were using it to do just that: to s p e a k ou t aga i n st e v i l , f ig h t f or h u m a n r ig h t s ( rights of the unborn) , sta n d u p aga i nst ba r ba r i s m , etc. No?


I suppose.

T H E DF :





Well, I think I agree. It is showing something that is relevant to Debate, but not itself Debating. But look: you have just said it's not Debate, but i t i s Debate according to

But I asked you, What d o you think Debate is for, and you said ‘Umm', so I took a guess at what you might think. And then I asked you if that wa s what you thought. And then you didn't want to commit. T HE DF :


But why?



Goodness, you are holding back now!


Yes, yes, I held back!

I'm weak.

Could we have a Time Out?

( Beav, this isn't looking terribly good, you

know. OK, realism: the Canadian Beaver is weak. But, really, the Canadian Beaver is strong. I am in your corner. The Canadian Beaver, O Noble Woodland Creature, is not afraid to say what it thinks, and even make a mistake, and be corrected no less! It has Honour . It admits a mistake if it makes one. If I ask, ‘Is XY Z what you think?' just say if i t i s or i t i s n 't ! Do you have the Courage to say that What looks true, Looks true? Yes, you do! I left it up t o you : to agree, to disagree, to put it in your own way.... Didn't I? T HE BEAV :

You did.


So let's rewind and try again. My question was...) Why do we have Debates? If it's T O S P E A K O U T AGA I N ST E V I L , a truck can do that, so:

Q e it h e r

the Purpose of Debate i s to s p e a k then a truck can conduct Debate) ; ou t AGA I N ST E V I L ( and


O R , driving a truck i s n ot Debating

( and the Purpose of Debate i s m o r e t h a n s p e a k i ng ou t aga i n st e v i l ) .

And how about this: say you ma r c h d ow n t h e st r e et h o l d i n g a s i g n : is that Debate? Deep down, what do you think? T HE BEAV :

I think it isn't.

T H E DF :

I agree with you. It is hardly meaningless to stand in the street holding a sign. It is doing several useful things.

Q It is a s s e r t i ng you r b e l i e f s ; Q it is i n s i st i ng u p on what you believe; Q it is e x p r e s s i ng you r ou t r ag e at t ho s e you t h i n k a r e w rong T HE BEAV :

- agreed?

Yes, agreed.

Marching is all of that, but that isn't Debate. It is more like parading the positions that you will Debate when you get around to Debate. It is the pre-game show. T HE DF :

OK, now what about this?

I believe that ‘X i s R ig h t ' . You show up at my Summit with signs saying ‘ X i s W rong ' ? So far, this is not a Debate; it's just ‘he says, she says' - a standoff that isn't going anywhere because it is ... a standoff. So, wanting to advance my case, and show the rightness of my position, I come down and tear-gas you: Is that Debate? Oh no, that's anti-Debate. You don't drive your opponent away in a Debate; you engage with your opponent. T HE BEAV :


Again, agreed! - By the way, bored yet?


Having fun. Continue.

IN A DEBATE you will talk to each other , brush off no question ( answering every one ), tell the truth , give reasons , & consider the evidence or you are exposed as A BIG BABY T H E DF :

Well then, how about this? You come to me and say that your river has dried up, because some factory upstream has diverted it into its cooling tanks, so your lodge is now sitting in the middle of a sun-baked mud hole. I say to you, ‘Well, look, sometimes there's drought: a natural phenomenon, no one's fault!' Are we having a Debate? No, you are not even responding to what I said! T HE BEAV :


But I am telling the truth! I am making an important point about water loss! T HE BEAV :

Bully for you! But you aren't responding to what I have said. In a Debate you don't just say stuff, back and forth - you don't just say true things that suit you . It's a h u m a n e xc h a ng e between you and m e . I start a c o nv e r sation ( about that factory and my pond): that's the discussion we are having. Now, you continue it! T HE DF :

What if I don't want to?

Yes, that you don't want to is perfectly clear, but you are pretending that you are Debating! You are a Fake Debater, wearing the mask of a Reasonable Listener, when all you are doing is protecting your own interests by ignoring me and shutting my question down. That's not Debate. T HE BEAV :


Beav, well said! I do think you are onto something. Yes, Debate i s no t just defending opposed interests, is it? Someone raises a q u e st i o n , to be answered... T HE BEAV :

About my water and your factory!

... and that question must be answered, whatever our respective interests. Agreed? T HE DF :


Yes. You pa r t ic i pat e i n t h e D e -

bat e , not cook up some o t h e r D e b at e you'd

rather have. If you back out then you aren't talking to me and you have run from Debating. Well spoken. - But look, say I want to talk about something else. When you start talking about your water, I start talking about Corporate Rights. T HE DF :


But you aren't addressing the subject.

Well I say you should address my subject, and it's Corporate Rights. Why does one Debater get to lock in the subject? T HE DF :


But my issue is the important one.

T H E DF :

It isn't the important one to me. Why do you get to decide which issue is important? T H E BEAV :

All right, here's the solution. I will talk about your issue, Corporate Rights. Maybe you think they will back you up. Maybe they will ( in which case I will go after your Corporate Rights) . Let's look at the evidence and see just w h at i s t h e ca s e , just what rights a corporation has. Because I suspect it has no right to injustice, and taking all my water is unjust. But now there are t wo t h i ng s to discuss. I will talk about your issue and you will talk about mine, which is that I have no water because of your factory! And you will look at the evidence that shows w h at i s t h e ca s e with my issue and my water! T H E DF :

Ah, so a Debate is a conv ersation

in which a l l t h e r e l e va n t t op ic s raised by both sides are considered. - So, let's say I do stick to your issue: I say, ‘But there is plenty of water left for you.' T H E BEAV : t h e t ru t h ,

Fine, now you are not t e l l i ng because there's no water left at all.

T H E DF :

OK, so to have a Debate we also have to tell the tr uth . But say that I, in my government office, believe that you have water, while you, who came direct from the scene, claim that you haven't. We are sticking to the topic, and are both telling the truth, as we believe it to be, so: we are having a Debate. T H E BEAV :

All right, but the Debate is still on; we have reached no Conclusion. Our Conclusion can't be that I d o h av e wat e r and I d on 't h av e wat e r . There aren't two realities. It is one way or the other. Don't Canadians believe in fac t s ? There is somewhere we can go to see what is what. T H E DF :

So it's no t w h at you t h i n k and that matters; what matters is the way things ar e . In this case, one of us knows about reality and the other one... w h at I t h i n k


... is having it his way, the big baby .

T H E DF :

Well, yes, if you aren't ready, are not adult enough, to face reality then ... I think you are quite correct. - So how do we see who knows about reality - or as we used to say,

who is right? T H E BEAV :

I take you to my dried-up pond.

Evidence, yes! But what if I won't go? Or I suddenly raise a new issue? T H E DF :


Then once again you have quit the Debate. The person who balks when we get to the evidence - the person who w i l l no t g o f orwa r d , t o e sta b l i s h a n d s e t t l e a p i vo ta l p oi n t of fac t ( is there water or is there not) - looks to me like a Loser. It looks like he knows that the evidence will show him to be Wrong, and so he runs away. Like a Baby. T H E DF :

What if I won't go (I balk at Debate) and because I won't go you denounce me, as a Corporate Devil? T H E BEAV :

dry pond and you say, you have a r e a s on no t t o ? Let's hear it - this better be good. T HE DF :

Here's my reason: ‘Your so-called evidence is irrelevant,' I say. T HE BEAV :

Not good enough. Perhaps you have a point. But it is pretty obvious that looking at my pond is relevant! So we are all waiting to hear your explanation. T HE DF :

OK, here it is. I say, ‘Your socalled evidence is irrelevant because you have c on f u s e d t h e i s su e !' And all of my supporters nod in agreement when they hear this, because they know that this is True! T HE BEAV :

But I don't know what you are talking about! Aren't you Debating me? Do you enter a Debate to win points from your own side? It is a c o nv e r sat i o n , in which you e n gag e w it h yo u r o p p o n e nt . The job is to m ak e m e nod in agreement. You have to try to change m y v i e w s - on the basis of s e n s e not nonsense, truth not lies, ev idence not assertions & slogans! You say the evidence is irrelevant? Well explain how. You say I won't understand? Well, if I can't understand how a ‘c on f u s ion of i s su e s ' makes looking at evidence irrelevant, it isn't my case that looks bad; it is yours!

the knowledgeable beaver! T HE DF :

My goodness, deep down, Noble Beaver, it seems you know a lot about Debate.

Q Is it just a s s e r t i ng

you r b e l i e f s ?

No. Utter nonsense can be asserted! When does the asserting end? You put a stop to any asserting of nonsense by Debate - by exposing what is not true. Does a s s e r t i ng you r b e l i e f s move you to a c o n c l u s i o n ? No. Insist on whatever you like - but now the Debate begins and you have to show that what you say is true, and sensible. And to do that you have to answer all the questions you are asked. T HE BEAV :


Q Is it just insisting on what you be lieve ? Is it me exclaiming that I am right, you are wrong? Is it me saying this is true, that is false? No, no - saying it is true is not showing it is true. Get around to the r e a s on f or b e l i e v i ng what you say ( evidence, arguments) and then we can see what is what. T HE BEAV :


Noble Creature, what a mouthful you have spoken! The p u r p os e o f d e bat e is just as you have said: t o e sta b l i s h t h e T ru t h a b ou t e v e ry i s s u e t i e d u p i n t h e D e b at e ,





l e a d t ho s e pa r t ic i pat i ng

s i de s ,


. . . to s e e w hat

ca n b e s e e n by a l l .

There are Canadians who know that we Debate to free ourselves, Together and Collectively, of false beliefs held on all sides of an argument. The National Hero knows this well, though he does need a little prompting. I am, etc. Next issue: t h e w o l f

And a Baby.

T H E DF : ( Always

the Baby, with you.) Fine, yes - but is that Debating? No, but you ended the Debate when you would not see the evidence. What more can I do if you won't do the one thing we have to do to continue this Debate? T H E BEAV :


Ah, but what if I of f e r a r e a s on for refusing to look at your evidence? T H E BEAV :

All right. But the burden's on you. My pond is dry; you say it's not: that's the thing we need to settle. I say, come see my


D i s s e n t i n g f u t i l i ta r i a n . b l o g s p ot. c a

Dissenting Futilitarian no. 8  
Dissenting Futilitarian no. 8  

Issue 8 of a newspaper for Canadians who are thinking (bothering to) about the 'Human being Motion' (Motion 312)