Value resolutions do not preclude public policy inquiry
Thu Jun 14 15:10:59 CDT 2001
I want to agree with what Steve says below and add a couple of items. Same as Steve, these come from my own perceptions, and I'm not trying to flame anyone, particularly the topic committee who I believe made their honest best effort.
1) It also used to be common in CEDA to argue the same thing every argument text I've ever seen does: while it is interesting to separate topics into categories such as "value" and "policy" for the purpose of instruction on theory, in actual debates the
two are "inextricably entertwined" (can't remember where I first saw that term applied). In other words, you can't talk long about values without discussing the policy implications, and all policy decisions are underscored by values (thus the relevance
of the critique).
2) Debate used to be a lot more fun. I haven't shown the proposed policy topics to anyone who hasn't shuddered. I'm almost afraid to show them to my new recruits. Every single one of the non-policy topics is not only better, but vastly better, than an
y single one of the policy topics. "Back in the good old days" (I know that's a fallacy, but consider that CEDA had double its current population of active debate schools then) we used to construct resolutions and then teach debaters to discover argumen
ts relevant to gaining the adherence of the judge(s). Now, we construct topics according to what we perceive to be the favorite positions of debaters to run. I'll be ok if I never hear a PIC again, but I don't know what else to do (Bush DA?) on some of
the policy topics we have today, including this year's list.
Don't know the solution, but wish things were different than they are.
>>> "Woods, Steve" <woodss at william.jewell.edu> 06/14/01 09:32AM >>>
Just becuase the resolution is framed as a value question does not mean that
one cannot offer a policy in support of one's advocacy. ( or that you have
to talk slow and/or be stupid)
I think that there are some history interpretations that I am about to
present that could well be disputed, so I will acknowledge that the points
are from my experience.
Anyway, Plans emerged in CEDA as a means to diminish the ambiguity of a
team's advocacy. Teams were concerned with the potential bidirectionality
of claims made by affirmatives, and would ask for policy implications or a
model policy to help make the affirmative commit.
I often use as an example in my persuasion classes the issue of "family
values" in public discourse. While one could take Heidt's position, that it
presumes the truth of it's own claim, I think it requires a plan to
determine the exact meaning.
I could say I am the family values candidate due to the following platform:
Decrease the marriage penalty in taxes, and provide greater child care tax
credits. Then once in office I could take a stand against abortion, and
weaken laws dealing with sexual harrassment in the workplace becuase women
should stay at home anyway.
However, another candidate could run on family values and support gay and
lesbian adoption, the Family and medical leave act, and seek greater equity
in pay for women so they have more money to raise their children as single
So the assumptions of "family values" could vary quite differently, and I
would want to know what the candidate who runs on that issue really would do
in terms of policy to manifest those values.
So I go back to a point made often, in that you cannot seperate out values
from policy. I think this is one of the reasons for the rise in the
popularity of the critique as it causes persons to consider the basis for
their actions, not just the outcomes.
The value resolutions are more debatable and better worded than the policy
resolutions, they would be more fun and more interesting to debate. We
could still discuss public policy. Just becuase it is a value resolution
does not mean "no plan".
A simply worded resolution leaves a greater burden on the participants to
determine meanings instead of operating on the authoratative assumptions of
specific language in the resolution. The policy resolution wordings seem to
make many presumptions about reality for the debaters. I remember the good
old days when teams would link to critiques/value objections/ disads becuase
the affirmative had bad ideas, not becuase they were simply assigned one
side of the resolution or the other. We shouldn't demand that our
resolutions prevent stupidity. A team well aware of the objections embodied
in the wording of a resolution can use plan text and their evidence to avoid
taking personal responsibility for the flaw.
Anyway, just some thoughts,
Steve Woods, PhD
Current contact info (Until Aug. 1)
Liberty, MO 64068
816.781.7700 x. 5478
More information about the Mailman