Before starting anything it is imperative not to "set ground-rules" but instead to remind of those that are eternal. First and foremost: fact - truth - logic are the polestars. Feelings and sensitivity are largely subjective and manipulative; they are to be eschewed if they require abandoning truth. Teaching our children that it is acceptable to lie as long as other suburbanites (you can find their "opinions" on the first page of the NY Times) can find some reason to do so is patently wrong. Otherwise we pave their way to a very warm afterlife.
Second: debate is an art under attack here in the Atlantic northeast. Intelligent people thrive in debate; educated people not so much. It is too much of a temptation for the latter to try and pass off themselves off as the former. Thinker v. "remember-er": one can adapt to most any situation, the other not so much. However, the educated will always greatly outnumber the intelligent. Which completes the circle on this second point.
Third: intelligence is gifted; education inflicted.
Fourth: A recently departed friend was fond of saying "the good people of the South and West will save this country from itself". I agree 100%. However, as I watch New Jersey remove the "o" from "country" I add "or not".
Fifth: I am a member of a longstanding organization (Federalist Society) which holds our constitutional values & protections dear. However, for reasons too involved for Day One, here especially in this part of the country, our values are becoming shackles that are de facto fifth column enablers.
Review: if you are incorrect ... don't speak. Ad hominem attacks = "I'm wrong"; "Listen to me, I have a college degree (or two, three)!" = "I'm wrong but my credentials should intimidate you!" and finally "I have very strong feelings about..." = no need to listen, that person is wrong.
June 14, 2019