Uneven debate is today’s reality


In the last issue of the Trinitonian, Ben Gonzalez wrote a piece arguing that internet-famous conservative polemics like Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro set up unbalanced arenas of discussion. Gonzalez’s idea of a ‘power imbalance’ got a little more tenuous with each new example — picking a topic is also necessary for fair discussion, and I don’t see how Steven Crowder’s spontaneous appearances could compare to Ben Shapiro publicly challenging Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to an organized debate — but for the most part, his point was one that I’d been wanting to make for some time. I was just surprised to see that this article was about conservatives.

Gonzalez is right about fair conditions making for better debate. However, the ‘power imbalance’ which Crowder sets up as an individual hardly outweighs the imbalance from which liberal universities like Trinity benefit as institutions. If a biased crowd is unfair, then I hope I could get a little sympathy from Gonzalez every time we have a public debate and I’m pitching assault rifles or a border wall to a sea of millennials. Crowder’s demonstrations and others like it are meant to punch through a greater existing imbalance on college campuses.

Conservative students rarely have the luxury of being Steven Crowder, who gets to pack up and leave the campus after a day’s work with a million new views in his pocket. He never has to engage those students ever again. The right-wingers who actually go to college get up the next day to face liberals who give their grades, fill their classrooms and write about the deep unfairness of Crowder in their school newspapers. This phenomenon is inevitable and isn’t as bad as Gonzalez makes it seem. The playing field will never be level, and we just have to be prepared for that.

With all that in mind, I’d like to announce that I’ll be sitting down to discuss weapons on Trinity’s campus all this week — all in anticipation of a super-secret Tigers for Liberty event which the campus will learn more about soon. Look for my table in Coates. I promise no camera crews or emotional belittling. I won’t even have a sign. Just look for the lanky guy drinking a strawberry Fanta and probably eating Taco Taco. Those who are interested in debating the topic can prepare as they wish and rest assured that the discussion will be quite casual and not spontaneous.