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Making Lincoln Douglas Debate Great

At its core, Lincoln Douglas Value Debate (LD) is for arguing the “big ideas”. Ideally, LD causes us to dig deep into society's most significant philosophical and moral questions that have been wrestled with for centuries; ideas like freedom vs safety, individualism vs collectivism, economics vs environment, and nationalism vs globalism.

LD seeks to answer the question, of how society should IDEALLY operate, rather than how it ACTUALLY operates. When we engage in value debate we should be looking beyond both mere emotionalism and strict application debate, striving to dispute the underlying philosophical ideas of the topic. We should be asking ourselves questions like: How did society arrive at the conclusions under which we currently operate? Do these conclusions have assumptions that have inherent benefits, risks, or dangers? How did the worldview of influential thinkers/philosophers inform their reasoning?

The ultimate goal for Stoa students competing in LD is to gain lifelong tools that will equip them to dig deep into any topic and understand the origin of the ideas that influence how modern society views a particular topic. Armed with that knowledge, students will be equipped to defend the truth against ideas that are destructive to our society.

In order to help families explore the world of philosophy and historical thought leaders, the debate committee is compiling a list of helpful sources including books and original source documents. This list will be made available on the Stoa website in the near future.


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