Question Announced January 1
Essays Due April 1
Finalists Announced May 1
Great Debate June 11, 2022

When you make an important decision, what do you consider in your assessment of pros and cons?  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?  Everyone has experienced navigating that balance between personal choice and social responsibility…so which do you think should be more important?

This is the question put forth by the Great American Think-Off committee (with assistance by public vote):

Which should be more important: personal choice or social responsibility?

The 29th annual Think-Off question is a challenging philosophical dilemma meant to inspire thinkers from all walks of life. Do you feel your personal choice comes first, or should sense of social responsibility take precedence?  We want to hear from you!

People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit an essay of no more than 750 words for a chance to win one of four $500 cash prizes and an expense-paid weekend in New York Mills to participate in the live debate to ultimately answer the question, determined by audience vote. Entrants should take a strong stand, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction. There is no fee to enter.

Essays are due April 1 and can be submitted in 3 simple ways:

  • PREFERRED: Online at
  • Email to
  • Mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567

We invite everyone to attend the great debate on Saturday, June 11, 2022, and cast your vote to answer this year’s question and determine the 2022 America’s Greatest Thinker. To purchase tickets, click below:

Get Tickets to the Think-Off >

Questions? Contact us at 218-385-3339 or