Best Political Science Debate Topics

“Man is, by nature, a political animal,” said Aristotle. What he meant by this is that the moment a human being is born, he is already rooted in the politics of his birthplace. By nature, he wants the best possible society for himself and the general public. By nature, he engages in debates with others in order to achieve that ideal society.

Nowadays, however, it seems that people want to remain apolitical. They say things like:

 

“Politics? I do not care about that.”

“I do not care who to vote next. They are all corrupt!”

“If you do not vote, you will not be responsible when your politicians screw things up.”

 

Given the current political climate, such sentiments are understandable. Many politicians make a lot of promises in their campaigns, but only a few of them actually deliver. Those who stay true to their pledges are met with great difficulty with resources and public satisfaction. 

People demand for a lot of things at once, but the good governor can only do so much. If he fails to do something good, shame on him for the lack of effort! If he does manage to push through, shame on him for not prioritizing the right things! Damned if he does, damned if he does not. 

Even more prominent are politicians driven by personal agenda. Elected in confidence, their true motives are confidential. They squeeze the public of their faith, extracting them of their resources, implementing prejudicial regulations that favor some and impair the others. The ideal politicians seek the common good—in reality, politicians do so unscrupulously. Educated as they are, they fail in moral principles. Excellence is present but honor is sorely lacking.

But most of all, there is reality as a whole. Education, climate change, crime, pollution, the economy—all ever-changing, ever-flowing, ever-evolving. No permanent solution, just temporary ones to keep some problems at bay while the others just keep piling on. In the ideal world, a competent government is needed, one filled with competent politicians who seek nothing more than the common good and who are willing to set aside their differences to work together. Such a government only exists in a dream.

The complexity of politics overwhelms the public, who seek only the best welfare.

Politics is a multi-faceted, complex subject. In sum, a political spectrum exists that allows people to determine to which side they are aligned. One is either economic-left or economic-right and authoritarian or libertarian, each deviation of the spectrum having its own say of what the ideal society is. But they always clash with each other as they each try to push their ideologies. In the end, there is no decision without compromise. Each solution leads to another problem—the conflict eternal.

Stuck in the crossfire, the general public suffers. Three choices are available for them: comply, cry out in vain indignation, or lay silent in cynical apathy.

What is the point of political debates?

Given all of that, it seems that there is no point in talking about politics, let alone scouring for the best political debate topics. Why talk about it at all if change is unattainable? Better to just not care about politics.

But change is possible, and political debates are relevant and significant. Vital, too, is it for an educated citizenry to come up with the best political debate topics in order to test the competency of aspiring leaders. Firstly, political debates allow people to exert their greatest mental efforts, drawn not only from knowledge in current affairs but also from the experience of simple day-to-day life. What results is a significant improvement in mental faculties. 

Secondly, political debates can become a source of knowledge. When two people engage in a debate, they learn much from each other about each other’s sides. Even more prominent is how political debates encourage one to go out to the world, to figure out what is going on with it.

Political debates are “self-feeding,” so to speak. Political debates make people want to know more about current events, which make them go back to doing political debates. If enough people do this, awareness and knowledge of the political climate will spread. What Aristotle said would come true: as a political animal, man would want what is best for himself and society through government. Together, society would put into power those that will ensure the best livelihood possible for everyone.

Lastly, it is impossible to not care about politics. Being apolitical is, in itself, a political stance. As Aristotle pointed out, human beings engage in politics everyday, whether in intellectual conversations or in something as simple as abiding by the law. Human beings, too, want the best attainable livelihood, and this they seek through an effective government. 

To be apolitical is to not engage in such a shared goal and to not contribute to it. Not only is it wrong to assume that being apolitical is the best and safest—it is dangerous to think so. After all, social welfare is the focal point of politics. Therefore, while one can choose to be neutral, he cannot stay neutral for long in the face of challenges facing society, which only morally upright politics can solve. 

Political debates, therefore, are important, now more than ever. More than mere banter, they serve to contribute to the search for what is best for society through government. This is best done by undertaking discussions on the best political debate topics now.

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel

How can a debate be political?

The realm of politics is enormous, so coming up with the best political debate topics is indeed a tall order. To say that it is only about government and politicians is a massive understatement. Politics does not exist within a vacuum, but it touches upon a wide array of fields:

  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Criminology
  • Ecology
  • Other fields

For a debate to be political, first of all, it has to talk about the government as its primary point of discussion. Secondly, it talks about how the government must react to a particular phenomenon. A generic example would be how the government should punish criminals.

Political debates usually follow the traditional format of debating. Of particular interest here is the stand of each side. The “For” and “Against” setup is completely applicable, but there are times when the debate can be imbued with stances within the political spectrum. The left-wing may talk about the justice system in a way that mitigates punishments on crimes of misdemeanor, while the right-wing would argue for a stricter punitive system that punishes such crimes.

Other subject matters would consider certain topics as obsolete, as in the case of medical science automatically ruling out any proposal favoring Andrew Wakefield’s infamous vaccine experiment. For politics, and political science, however, relevance does not fade over time. Political climate changes based on social realities which are, themselves, in constant flux. Past norms, once considered taboo, may become the norms of today—which may be dangerous, though take it as you might. 

The best non political debate topics can range from real-life issues to simple flashbulb ideas. The best political science debate topics, however, are those which touch upon the glaring issues that face the world today.

To summarize, a political debate consists of a discussion of the current government situation and the proper response that it must have towards particular phenomena.

Political debate topics

Determining what and how to debate about in politics can be difficult, given how broad and complex it is. The trick here is, again, looking at a particular issue, either in the past or present. While all topics about politics are relevant, some are more significant than others given the current political climate. The list of the best political science debate topics can change from time to time. As of now, below is a list of the best political debate topics that you can take up in your next political debate.

Politics in general

Politics in general

The current institution of politics is one filled with flaws, loopholes, and inadequacies. Political debates are necessary to fill in these gaps to ensure a fully-functioning political system. As political science is the main field of study concerned here, the following is a list of the best political science debate topics.

  • Should there be a standard set of requirements for an individual to be eligible for office (e.g. educational background, working experience)?
  • Should each state mandate its own laws?
  • A government official’s statements in social media: taken as official?
  • Should a government official be responsible for his statements in social media?
  • Does Martial Law infringe free speech?
  • Is the current voting system effective?
  • Abstaining from voting: beneficial or harmful?
  • Should voting be mandatory?
  • Is racism present and enforced in the government?
  • Is the president inevitably either left-wing or right-wing?

Politics and education

Politics and education

As the government is responsible for the creation and funding of educational institutions throughout its country, it is tasked with the enforcement of regulations to ensure productive operations. Significant to today’s political climate, what follows is a list of the best political debate topics in relation to education.

  • Is the zero-tolerance policy justified or too strict amid bullying incidents?
  • Is the No Child Left Behind Act in the US detrimental?
  • Should creationist public schools be banned?
  • Must the country abolish the tuition fee in schools?
  • Should the state provide free materials to students?
  • Should the education of a child, be it traditional or homeschool, be mandatory?
  • Do public school teachers get properly compensated?
  • Is the K-12 education system superior to the old curriculum?
  • Should the state enforce a standardized curriculum?
  • Should ROTC be mandatory?

Politics and crime

Politics and crime

“Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” How well does a country do it? Just enough or too far? When it comes to crimes, it is always politics that is thought to be responsible for policing it. Here is a list of the best political debate topics related to crime.

  • Is the war on drugs justifiable?
  • Is restorative justice an effective means of deterring future crimes?
  • Should the minimum age of criminal responsibility be lowered or maintained?
  • Which is more effective, ‘punitive justice’ or ‘restorative justice’?
  • Does the current punitive system enforce the division of social classes?
  • Should politicians be criminally liable for grave incompetence during calamities?
  • Should the death penalty be reinstated?
  • Must hate speech be punishable by law?
  • Is the sex offender registry effective in deterring sex crimes?
  • Is the current punitive system fuelled by political agenda?

Politics and the environment

Politics and the environment

The environment, rich in vital resources as it is, is not inexhaustible. Because of this, debates have to be made to determine how the government can regulate the use of the environment. Below is a list of the best political debate topics when it comes to the environment:

  • Should the state replace landfills with waste management plants?
  • Is the US justified in backing out from The Paris Agreement?
  • Should there be more state-funded conservatories for endangered animals?
  • Is the state justified in regulating animal hunting?
  • Are the current fishing policies sufficient in maintaining fishery businesses and marine ecosystems?
  • Should the state ban “inhumane” farm animal practices?
  • Should old cars be banned for causing more pollution than current cars?
  • Fossil fuels: to ban or not to ban?
  • Should the state sanction improper waste management by citizens?
  • Should the government regulate materials that are harmful to the environment?

Politics and foreign policy

Politics and foreign policy

Foreign policy is a sensitive topic. Cultures and interests differ greatly between countries. Interventions, therefore, have to be made with consideration under grave sensitivity in mind. Still, talks about the political nuances of foreign policy have been great in length. When it comes to foreign policy, here are the best political science debate topics.

  • Is Donald Trump’s wall constitutional?
  • Is Donald Trump’s wall effective in averting illegal immigrants from South America?
  • Was the US justified in entering the Vietnam War?
  • Did the search for the “weapons of mass destruction” by the US protect Middle Eastern countries?
  • Should the US be allowed to involve themselves in future wars where they’re not affected?
  • The assassination of Osama bin Laden: unconstitutional?
  • What are the parameters by which countries must abide to intervene in international affairs?
  • Does the UN have the jurisdiction to reprimand and to take control over a country, should its government prove errant and malign?
  • Are contemporary Germany and Japan required to give just compensation to those especially afflicted by the atrocities committed in World War II?
  • Would the US be justified in intervening with other countries’ affairs on the grounds of preventing future communist agenda?

The golden mean

Ideally, political debates end in reconciliation, whether in the form of a commonly agreed solution or an “agree to disagree” situation. But as it stands, political debates often end in further division and isolation. This is understandable: our stances in politics speak much of our outlook in life. If two groups of differing political stances clash, they would have a hard time reconvening.

Nevertheless, finding common ground should always be a top priority in every debate. One of the reasons why many debates end badly is that one of the sides close their ears to the other. In this case, the only objective there is to win. Yet, no victory ever really comes out of such debates, especially political debates.

The list above shows the best political debate topics—the best because, specific as they are, they touch upon multiple areas at once. Again, politics does not exist in a vacuum, but in a massive network existing within reality. This is something that has to be understood and taken into heart. There is no ultimate solution to everything. The last thing that is needed to solve the underlying problems in politics is further division. Instead, political debates must foster unity for the sake of society.

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