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The Great American Think Off is held annually and provides a venue for everyday philosophers to share their views on a predetermined topic.

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center announced the 2022 Great American Think-Off question to be “Which should be more important: personal choice or social responsibility?”

The question was selected by public vote. All are invited to submit an essay answering the question by April 1. When writing the essay, consider pros and cons and think of how each site impacts one personally.

The 29th annual Think-Off question is a challenging philosophical dilemma meant to inspire thinkers from all walks of life. The essay and debate competition is held each year in rural New York Mills. The contest is free to enter and open to all.

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 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. 

The four finalists will be announced on May 1 and each will receive $500 plus travel expenses, along with a chance to win the title of America’s Greatest Thinker at this year’s annual debate held on June 11.

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

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The Great American Think-off winners get a cash prize.

About the Great American Think-Off 

Now in its 29th year, The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people. Designed to bring philosophy down from the ivory towers of academia and accessible for all, the contest has received national acclaim including coverage by C-SPAN, the New York Times and The Today Show. 

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, located in the rural farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills, Minnesota, sponsors this annual philosophy contest and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Cultural Center is a rural hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.

To get a better sense of the Think-Off, find details, historical information, and a list of the past 28 years of questions and winners on the event website