(sent to law courts)
1. What confuses here is the sense of "neutrality." If all that this means is forcing people to have center views or for forcing diversity in the offering of views in any community, neutrality is not "neutral" and is quite offensive. It reminds me of those who want the fairness doctrine on radio or those who want to outlaw hate speech or flag burning or what have you.
2. I think your model is outdated. If it comes to exemplar issues politics, the matter isn't about "debate," it is always about allegiance. All that one could ever obtain from another's show of allegiance is whether it is refined or insightful.
3. Neutrality in a glorified sense probably means "transcendent." Imagine four basic "brain states" in politics -- left, right, center or "transcendent." Transcendent would be someone who grew only to watch politics (or history), but never to root for it. One having this view would only analyze politics as they would any form of art appreciation. Becoming transcendent would be like watching football without a favorite team. Surely no one is required or expected to do this. But for those who reach that level of existence, their views should be both encouraged and protected.
4. What did you mean by this statement: "But what counts as a reasonable position, whether that by political science without statistics or opposition to affirmative action, is contestable." Surely you don't mean to say that if political science (or anyone) DOES have statistics, it has a "reasonable opinion." Or that lacking statistics somehow makes for a poor understanding. I hope your thought is not going into that camp. I had always thought you opposite to that view. I also hope you don't mean to say that opinions for affirmative action are always more reasonable as a rule than those against it. I can think of very silly arguments on both sides.
Regards and thanks.