For intellectual stimulation, I try to wtach the deep and pretentious whenever I can. Oxford does not fail to disappoint. Their debates suck ass. Recently, I watched the debate about whether God exists which is stupid question. Which one? Which version? A few weeks ago, an angry atheist pointed out to me that I am an atheist about all gods except the Christian one as if I had never heard that argument before. The first answer is that almost all gods are nature-based polytheistic gods whose primary role is to influence the natural world. They’re not close to the religions focussed on philosophy and morals. The debate between those much fewer gods is a debate of normative teleology, much more than ontology. It is then less of a contest between Darwin and Merlin about magic and more between Gandhi and Tolstoy about philosophy.
This blog doesn’t always hit but I try to do my best at the most challenging philosophical questions. Like, I recently took on whether we can objectively define the usually subjective concept of creepiness. I got into whether natural rights exist or whether they are social constructs often useful to the ends of human happiness. I get into what can be done to save liberal democracy. It is curious that those intellectuals haven’t debated, explicitly, theories on saving liberal democracy. That one is an obvious debate to have to the point I believe their reason for not doing it is intentional. It is the same reason they don’t do comparative religious philosophy and, instead, debate the existence of magic.
Ultimately, the Oxford Union doesn’t want to offend people and it also wants sell to the lowest common denominator. Their target audience is not the well-read but the general public. Socially constructed rights in utilitarianism versus natural rights in deontology is way too brainy for the clickbait they produce. Saving liberal democracy, for another example, is a question that is way to esoteric for most people to understand and involves ideas that would offend many of the people in attendance. Most of the answers require personal sacrifice among everyone since the answers require a lessening of individualism in almost all cases. It’ll go down as well, if truly pondered, as the maliase speech by Jimmy Carter. They will debate many things but it is an unsaid agreement that they will never debate a question whose answer may require the sacrifice of comfort.
When all is said and done, they range from moderate Keynsians to moderate social democrats with no novel ideas about anything and nothing they ever say would change society, at all. The inherrency of rights debate would be very useful to the public discourse since the gun rights people use deontology but if rights are imagined for the social aim of human welfare, then that argument doesn’t work. The Oxford Union needs to have smarter debates and debates that will change society for the better.