Ideological Turing Test Makes the House of Lords
Over the summer I participated in teaching in a school, appropriately called the John Locke Institute. Rather like what the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham was describing in his home city, it tries to teach young people the idea of what the administrators of the course call “generous listening”. It is a lovely phrase. Generous listening means not waiting, patiently or impatiently, for the other person to stop speaking so that you can jump in. It means properly trying to engage with where they are coming from. If they use a loose word, do not pounce on it. Do not engage with their weakest argument; engage with their best argument.
The Oxford Union organised something they called “ideological Turing test debates”, where young people would be given a topical debate—should statues come down, should private schools be abolished—and you had to guess whether they really meant it. In other words, they had to master the other point of view well enough that they would have passed the Turing test and people would not have been able to tell whether they believed what they were saying. Is that not the sort of thing that all our schools and universities should be doing, in order to equip people to function in modern society? I fear that, when they do the opposite and say, “The most important thing about you is that you are female, white” or whatever it is, instead of teaching those countercyclical truths, they are teaching procyclical tribalism.
Dan Hannan is possibly the best public speaker I’ve ever seen in person. Full video of his speech:
HT: Martin Cox