A debate works best when it’s aimed at the heart of what divides the opposing sides. In politics, one might settle for an uncomfortable compromise, but, in the debate, we want students to be able to make the case for what they actually believe. The goal is to offer one’s position as an invitation, an open door for one’s enemy to walk through.

After some discussion, the students organizing a debate on their campus settled on “Resolved: Abortion is justifiable on the basis of expected disability.” The first speakers were arranged in advance, but there seemed to be one speech made in silence, before the debate formally began.

A blind student had entered the room, one hand on his cane.