2022 Great American Think-Off question released

What is more important: social responsibility or personal choice?

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center has announced the 2022 Great American Think-Off question, selected by public vote: Which should be more important: personal choice or social responsibility?

Those who want a shot at debating the question in front of an audience have three months to think about it and write a winning essay. The deadline to respond is Friday, April 1. The contest is open to thinkers from all walks of life.

In its announcement, the center elaborated on the question.

"When you make an important decision, what do you consider in your assessment of pros and cons?" it said. "Certainly you think about how that choice will affect you personally…how about its impact on society? Which is more important to you: your personal gain/loss, or a sense of responsibility to the whole?"

The Great American Think-Off is a philosophical essay and debate competition held each year in New York Mills, about an hour north of Alexandria. It began nearly 30 years ago. The contest is free to enter and has received thousands of entries from all 50 states as well as from other countries.


Essays should be no more than 750 words. Four finalists will be announced May 1. Each will receive a $500 cash prize plus travel expenses and participate in the June 11 live debate to ultimately answer the question, determined by audience vote. One winner will be named America's Greatest Thinker.

Entrants should take a strong stand, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction.

For additional contest details, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

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