[eDebate] Ledewitz terrorism link to Morrison

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Sep 7 13:48:47 CDT 2006


I sent a response to Josh, but probably forgot to cc edebate.

There is a distinct difference between seeking clarification from an author for
"education" sake and seeking "clarification" to secure a strategic advantage in
debate competition.

Your key response is that because you "published" the conversation on e-debate,
it is now somehow "fair" or democratic.

I disagree. It is unfair because the teams relying on evidence published without
solicitation are now being hammered by evidence that was produced for the
specific purpose of winning debate rounds.  Answer me this, but for the debate
proposition and the fact that the evidence in question could be used against
your team in a round, would you have asked for the "clarification?" I think
not.

Example: So, my hypothetical team is getting pounded round after round by some
pretty
sweet cards. Let's say it is a card saying the Supreme Court has overturned
Quirin on the precedent that is the link to all of your advantages and/or
disadvantages (nevermind that Scalia said it too). So, in effect, 1/4 of the
affirmatives are now screwed.

So, I then e-mail the author for a "clarification." She responds, "Well, of
course the Supreme Court did not technically overrule Quirin."  Now I have a
specific indict to all of your no link/inherency arguments. It is a way of
ginning up an answer to win a debate. That you published it for others to use
does not remove the taint. Rather, it just furthers the results of the original
unethical conduct.

This simple one sentence statement solicited by a debate coach, debater, can
have huge impacts within a debate round. For example, the affirmative can argue
that they are technically topical and technically have inherency in order to
claim X small advantage. However, because Quirin was effectively overruled
three months ago, all of your substative law based disads are not unique. Have
a nice day, game over. (Example: Quirn's precedent no longer is recognized in
status quo, but it was not officially overturned. Plan specifically and
publicly overturns Quirin--this increases/decreases Bush's credibility, etc.
The plan does not really change the law. But the effect of the plan would have
politcal consequences.)


Education. This, like the the term 'Justice' is the last refuge of scoundrels.
Anything, ANYTHING furthers "education." Buggering a 10 year old boy furthers
his "education." It does not justify the original unethical conduct.

Let's say that I have a high school debater come to me and ask me to write him
some great cards on the public service topic. So, in response to his request, I
write an opinion article in the Dallas Morning News or in the Dallas bar
Journal. In the article, to please the student, I make flaming comments like
"we must have mandatory public service in the U.S. or the planet will implode."
Now the student did not write the article and it is published. Is it ethical for
him to use it to win debate rounds?

Similarly, I have plenty of colleagues, former professors and ex-collegues who
are experts on the law. If I were coaching, would it be ethical for me to call
them up and say, "hey, i need you to write an article on Quirin that says X."
Assuming she actually writes it and it gets published (no different than
responding to an e-mail in my mind), is it ethical for me to use the evidence
in a debate round?

We all know from public opinion polling 101 that a person can easily shape a
response based on the way a question is asked. Thus, the argument that one is
merely asking for a "clarification" is bogus. the way the question was asked
can easily result in an answer that supports my competitive position. I am sure
that if I wanted to, I could frame a series of question to professor Ledewitz
that would lead to an opposite conclusion--that VAWA IS necessary to stop
global terrorism.

Example:

Wouldn't you agree that how America treats women under the law effects our
international human rights leadership?

Yes.

Wouldn't you agree that VAWA sent a clear message that the USFG cares about
stopping violence against women?

Yes.

I read an article that said other countries were thinking of modeling our VAWA
before it was overturned. Wouldn't you agree that if other countries were
trying to model VAWA, that VAWA was having some influence on other countries
human right policies?

Yes.

Wouldn't you also agree that if the U.S. has more influence with other
countries, there is a greater likelihood that we can get more cooperation from
them on a range of issues such as human rights, the war on terrorism and
women's issues?

Yes.


Now, I have just ginned up my own little link story and got a professor to agree
with it. I "publish" it in the name of education on edebate. Does this mean it
is ethical for me to use it to win debate rounds? It meets your "education" and
"clarification" standards, but something about it stinks to high heaven.

Scott








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