[eDebate] T and the "one true case"

Patrick J. McKenzie pjm1
Mon Sep 30 01:22:29 CDT 2002


Just want to throw my two cents in here, even though I won`t be debating on
the topic this year (hard to do it from Kyoto).

I tend to agree with Mr. Cushman on this one.  It isn`t that this community
finds oppression of women unpersuasive.  Oh no, far from it.  The silent
majority here not only buys the argument that it is pervasive and severe,
they also buy that any action to lessen it is an a-priori good.

And therein lies the rub.

I think from the tenure of this discussion that Ms. Turley (apologies in
advance for spelling) would classify opposing CEDAW, on any grounds, as
continuation of the patriarchal project.  Most of the debate community
agrees with you.  Granted, there are good arguments against the treaty
(Saudi Arabia signed it -- need I say more?), but few, very few, people are
willing to make them.  Which is why, as many people have pointed out, it is
untopical.

That said, your political preferences aside (God only knows I would prefer
to be debating "Repeal Roe v. Wade" for 95% of my debating career), it is
fundamentally unfair of you to change the rules in midstream for your own
advantage.  I think the community (I so hate that word) went through enough
topicality stretching last year when a good portion decided that
the "control" burden was so odious that they wouldn`t go within 200 miles
of it.  However, and this is key, THAT was at least arguable.  CEDAW might
have been close to getting into the topic, but at the end of the day close
only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and WMD.  Biomedical Ethics was
also "close" to being the topic, and there are some great kritical
arguments on how it is key to life on Earth (and, if I have learned nothing
in 2 years of debate, it is that there exists an author for whom ANY given
topic is cricial to life on Earth), but pulling out a Ban Cloning aff in a
round is terribly abusive to the other team.  For that matter, if you want
to take contempt of the topic selection process to its natural conclusion,
you could run literally any case you want and claim that its exclusion was
only because of <insert debate curse word here>.

Moving away from the specific CEDAW issue here, I`m not a big fan of the
kritical aspects of debate because so much of it seems to me self-righteous
posturing.  Judges continue to vote for it for a variety of reasons, not
the least of which is that it is rank pandering to their political biases.
Absent some basic structures, oppressive though they may be, to keep this
in check, everyone would spend half of their debate careers arguing neg
on "Resolved that the USFG will oppose the Holocaust".  Pat yourself on the
back for your strength of convictions, but the Aff, on this topic, is not
the proper forum for them.

Patrick McKenzie








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