Avionics News June 2019 - 14

In this monthly column, Ric Peri of the AEA's Washington, D.C., office, informs members of the latest regulatory updates.

B Y

R I C

P E R I
A EA V I C E P R ES I D E N T O F G OV E R N M E N T & I N D U ST RY A F FA I RS

The Art of Debate
O
n a recent flight, my seat partner, Bill, engaged
with me in a classic "locked in an airplane"
conversation. Flying from New Orleans to
Baltimore following a long weekend at the New Orleans Jazz
and Heritage Festival, the conversation started with the best
restaurants and sights of my adopted city. This followed with
"what do you do?" Of course, you say anything about aviation
today and the subject quickly turns to Boeing and the Max 8
(not realizing it's the Max series: 8, 9 and 10). And then, as
we approached Baltimore, the subject turned to the dysfunction of Washington, D.C.
Now we could debate the level of dysfunction all day,
but it raised an interesting observation - the current state
of affairs where one side only wins if the other loses. Bill
asked, "Has the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., affected
how the agencies operate?" This last question truly had me
thinking: Are we losing the value of debate?
As a child, I remember an occasional answer to my constant barrage of questions to be simply, "Because I said so
..." Sometimes, that is the right answer at the right time.
When life or limb is in jeopardy, it isn't the time to have a
discussion about why an action is necessary. However, I hear
the "because I said so ..." more and more these days, and that
is troubling. Today, we don't actually hear "because I said
so," but rather "because my order says so," which is often
presented with such authority that there is no further debate.
Nick Sabatini, the former FAA associate administrator for
regulation and safety, stated in July 2004 that "As a citizen,
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avionics news

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june

2019

you have the right to question your government."
In a paper published by the University of Albany (New
York), the benefits of debate are listed along with the highlights of what debates are not:
*	 Debates are not wars.
*	 Debates are not arguments.
*	 Debates do not mean one team must win and one must
lose (both can be successful, or both can be losers).

... the willingness to hear
others' arguments, and to
respond to them.
And I would add that debates are not personal. They are
never a personal attack to the opposing position. On the
contrary, debating is an essential tool in helping to develop
critical thinking skills. Debates are essential in understanding
both sides of a coin.
In a 2016 article published in The Guardian titled "Why
Debating Still Matters," the author states that "the art of
debate involves mastering skills of obvious intrinsic value:
the confidence to speak in public and make sense; the construction of a logical argument; the ability to read an audience's reactions; and, perhaps most importantly, the willingness to hear others' arguments, and to respond to them."



Avionics News June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News June 2019

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Avionics News June 2019 - Intro
Avionics News June 2019 - No label
Avionics News June 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News June 2019 - 1
Avionics News June 2019 - 2
Avionics News June 2019 - 3
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Avionics News June 2019 - 5
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