JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
"The art of disputing with dignity and decorum if it ever existed is a lost one"--Mr. Punch
This tongue-in-cheek article appeared in the sharp and occasionally cutting demi-satire English journal, Punch, or the London Chiarivari, in February 1, 1879. It has some fresh and poignant words for advice for quarrelers, which I think in today's vernacular would be applicable for debaters, and particularly the debater-like folks battling it out for their respective party's nomination for the U.S. presidency. It seems though that this present crew has gotten along using these rules without having necessarily been exposed to them.
In fear of being redundant and overstating the over-obvious, here are some of the most important rules to quarreling, according to Mr. Punch:
1) "In the first case as a sort of preliminary training for this pastime it is essential to divest yourself of all sense of good feeling fairness and self respect and get rid of all such fatal weaknesses as courtesy and openness to conviction ..."
2) "Secondly you must set up an opinion. We say set up advisedly because the establishment of an opinion like the purchase of a carriage is an act of pure volition and has no necessary relation to the intellect or conscience. The more arbitrary and irrational this opinion the better for the special purpose in contemplation. The conviction or assumption that you are the greatest Wisest and best of mankind is very promising principle to start with."
3) "You must then discover somebody of a contentious turn of mind whose pet opinion is diametrically opposed to your own. You will have no difficulty in this."
And so on.
And the rest of it, in situ: