IQ2 Debates: Raise Your Issues Knowledge in a Single Hour

Many of us in the tech industry fancy ourselves experts on politics and various types of policy–especially taxation. We feel our positions are backed by fact when in fact we’re relying mostly on shadows of other people’s statements.

Given the fact that this is often the best we can do with complex topics like taxation and global warming, I’ve taken to listening to NPR’s Intelligence Squared debates, which are Oxford style with a defined proposition and to people arguiing on each side. I’ve been listening to them and recommending them for years, and I do so again now.

The debaters are world-famous personalities on both sides, and the rules are simple: they poll the audience beforehand (doesn’t matter the mix at that point), and whoever moves more in their direct wins.

I strongly urge you to listen to or watch this debate if you spend any time “authoritatively” discussing taxation. It’s liberating to know how little we actually do know about the issues we debate so much, and if you’re going to make your mind up based on other people’s digestion of content, and their subsequent regurgitation of it, then this is absolutely the way to go.

Some argue they just “go for the raw data”, but that’s usually a load of stinky. Interpreting raw data for complex issues takes years of study and training. When an ignorant person full of bias looks at “raw” data, they see their own beliefs reflected back at them. Nothing more.

I urge you: add the Intelligence Squared debate podcast to your rotation. You’ll come away far more informed, regardless of our position.

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