Anton Howes, Director of the brilliant Liberty League, has compiled a series of handbooks for setting up Liberty League societies at universities. The four handbooks, uploaded today just in time for the new university year, are: Setting up a Society Handbook, Tabling Handbook, Events Handbook and Convincing / Debating Handbook.
The fourth is particularly interesting and it should be required reading for anyone who tries to have a political argument during university. These are just a few points (paraphrased):
- If you’re abrasive, arrogant and argumentative, people will naturally be defensive and look for ways to prove you wrong.
- Have some humility, be respectful and be nice! After all, you might be wrong, so question your premises too.
- Recommend a book but rather than “You must read this, it is all true,” go with something like “You might find this interesting – let me know what you think.”
- Brush up on your history
It was at university that I started to identify my political beliefs and one of the main things that helped was the way the left always argued.
Whenever debates about politics arose, it was usually with a few ardent self-proclaimed socialists or communists, always proclaiming how liberal they were. After a few exchanges in debate they’d resort to arrogant, abrasive, rude insults. They’d ignore history, lack humility and then resort to telling me I was wrong.
It wasn’t always like that, but at least for me, that made up about 90% of any political debate during university.
The Liberty League’s handbooks are aimed at libertarians, but they really should be required reading for anyone about to debate politics. It would lead to a much healthier debate.