Speaking & Debate

“Learning without thought is labor lost.”
Confucius, Chinese philosopher [551–479 BC]

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I found several definitions.  Here is one at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking – “Critical thinking is a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. Critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic method of Ancient Greece and in the East, to the Buddhist kalama sutta and Abhidharma. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions….”


Groupthink is a study of the power of peer pressure and the desire to conform.  If you ever wondered what causes blind trust and obedience in a leader that creates Nazi death camps, or a leader that intentionally weakens the country he has promised to protect, here are psychological studies that demonstrate how to create “sheople” (sheep+people; follow-the-crowd people).

  • http://www.groupthinkfilm.com – Groupthink is a phenomenon wherein people seek unanimous agreement in spite of contrary facts pointing to another conclusion. – “The groupthink phenomenon has contributed to countless disasters….”
  • http://pointsandfigures.com/2010/11/27/interesting-video-on-psychology-and-group-think – “Where is the line between good and evil?  It seems to me that governments can cross that line far easier than individuals.  Communism has killed millions.  Nazi’s and Fascists have executed millions.  The Spanish Inquisition.  The Romans executed millions.    The tyranny of government has been a constant throughout the ages…. Milgrom’s experiment post Holocaust is pretty compelling.  He conducted it in the 1950′s.  It is taught in business school to illustrate what happens with groupthink.  Groupthink is a very interesting psychological phenomena….”
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?pagewanted=all – January 15, 2012 – The Rise of the New Groupthink By Susan Cain – “Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist.”
  • http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/groupthink – groupthink – a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxlxycRsDAA – Groupthink History


The following are for middle school and up.  They demonstrate the power of negative socialization.


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“Of course the people don’t want war.
But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy,
and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy,
a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
~ Herman Göring  at the Nuremberg trials

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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization,
it expects what never was and never will be.”
Thomas Jefferson (Ford, writings of Thomas Jefferson, 10:4)

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“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Albert Einstein

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