In a free society, healthy debate has shaped the thinking of the human race. Through discussion, we hear opposing sides of an argument, and through critical thinking, decide on which side of the argument we land. At worst, we come to understand and appreciate opposing positions.
Today, debate is a lost art. Generations have grown up uncomfortable with opposing viewpoints, believing that to disagree is to hate and to question is conspiracy. Never have I seen this more distinctly than in this past year.
Over the last year, we have been told to trust the experts who think one way about a pandemic, while denying the voices of experts who disagree. We listen unquestionably to Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who have told us for over a year now to keep our distance from one another and to wear a mask (any kind will do) in order to slow—no, stop—the spread of a virus with a fatality rate of a severe flu.
Doctors who disagree, arguing that these methods are actually harmful to society as a whole, are censured from social media and labeled as incompetent.
Why is there not thorough public discussion on the topic of how we respond to public health decisions? What are the pros and cons of wearing masks? What does the data say? What is the best way to optimize health? Where does the authority reside in making health care decisions for a healthy child? Why has there been no debate over the response to COVID-19? If these incompetent doctors are wrong, why not prove it through debate in the public square? It is through healthy debate that we are sharpened, our viewpoints are refined and we are able to work toward a better resolution.