chesterton_shawThe Internet has given us unprecedented opportunity for a rich exchange of ideas. And there is certainly no shortage of forums offering to host such debate. Unfortunately, the opportunity to advance ideas is too often overpowered by the desire to rip open (metaphorically, of course) someone’s jugular.

The notion that debate can be both incisive and civilized seems to belong to a bygone era when intellectual foes like G.K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw could encapsulate the essence of individualism and socialism by debating the proposition “That a democrat who is not also a Socialist is no Gentleman.”

Following the Cato Institute’s “Cato Unbound” model, the Minnesota Free Market Institute’s “Be it Resolved ….” forum will host lively but civilized debates on issues important to Minnesota. Each month the Minnesota Free Market Institute will formulate a proposition and present essays by thought leaders taking affirmative or negative positions on the proposition. Before the debate pieces are published, each writer will have a chance to read the other’s piece and adjust his comments accordingly.

We also encourage your participation in the debate. Using the trackback feature, link your opinion on the debate expressed on your website or blog. Email comments are welcome. We’ll “trackback” as well and select the best commentaries and, with the author’s consent, post them as part of the thread of a continuing debate.

Our first debate will be posted soon. Subscribe to the Minnesota Free Market eUpdate to ensure you don’t miss it.