[eDebate] Confusion-Reply to Bryson

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Fri Jul 20 12:30:30 CDT 2007

Bryson Writes, and I endevour to sow confusion:

I'm from the days post-merger so a lot of this conversation is over my head.
I've got a few questions because I'm young (not dumb) and don't know any

1) What would be the net benefit of 2 topics over 1 topic? Sounds like an
increased workload in scouting and research to me.

2) If the topic is really a non-policy topic, then how does that affect the
activity of "policy debate"?

3) Scott Elliott mentioned CEDA's purpose and then talked about the 2 topics.
I'm sure that CEDA's sole purpose isn't to provide 2 topics (one policy and one
not) so what was he talking about when he spoke of "CEDA's purpose"?

Benefits of Two Topics:

1) Creates a clear break from NDT. NDT passed a resolution that if CEDA adopted
a single, year long policy topic, NDT would use the the CEDA topic. Like a
chubby 30 year old virgin, CEDA dropped its knickers on the first pass and has
been getting screwed ever since.

2) Smaller, focused and timely debate topics when you go semester by semester.
YOu can actually debate: "Resolved: The United States should immediately
withdraw military forces from Iraq" for a semester.

3) More issues to be debated. Mike Korcock has covered this. Policy topics are a
straight jacket. Two topics allows for the possibility that an alternative topic
can be chosen.

4) Overall, more flexibility and the ability to attract more students to
debate--you get two bites at the apple with two topics. A novice can enter the
spring semester on relatively even ground. With the current NDT monolith topic,
few students can compete after September. A varsity debater can even take off a
semester and come roaring back in the Spring. If the Fall topic, for whatever
reason, sucks, there is a possibility that the Spring topic will be better.

5) Topic burn out. Let's face it--no matter how the topic committtee tries, the
resolution gets worn out over a year. Yawn!, Need I say the Courts topic? This
year's topic will be the same way--the final month of competition will be
little more than cutting updates to positions that have been run since October.

A Non-Policy topic's implications:

1) Creates a de jure break from NDT because NDT is committed to a year long,
POLICY topic.

2) Creates real critical debate ground. Let's face it, the K is a sophsitcated
outgrowth of the standard value objections applied to policy topics.

3) Often value topics ask the correct questions that policy topics NEVER seem to
grasp, or are easily ignored.

Example: The current morass of Mid-East Resolutions--this hyper technical
bullshit we will soon be forced to debate or leave to debate parly.

Non-Policy alternative: Resolved: On balance, the United States Federal
Government's relationship to Isreal is detrimental to the United States
national interests.


Resolved: United States foriegn policy toward Islamic governments is detrimental
to this nation's national interests.

And, if you think the Mid-East just generally sucks, then next semester we
change topics to, for example:

Resolved: Substantial regulation of genetic engineering would be desirable.

On CEDA's mission. Frankly, I am not sure CEDA does have a mission anymore. I
have wondered what its mission was and is since the merger was first proposed.
Ede cited the CEDA mission statement in an earlier post. I will defer to that.
But, I was brought up to believe that CEDA evolved as an organization to
promote research based argumentation and debate, sponsoring intercollegiate
debate tournaments for students of all levels of interest and experience. For
over a decade of CEDA, there WAS NO CEDA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. There was an
end of the year tournamnet in Reno or Vegas that became a default national
championship, but not one per say.

And, for those that disagree--which I am sure there are plenty--I ask the
question of you--Why does CEDA even exist? If an orgnaization has no
philosophical goal, then it is merely a hierarchy for hierarchy sake. If the
goal of CEDA is not to be an adjunct to the teaching of argumentation in
college, then I don't think it should exist. If it is not a vehicle for
INCLUDING more college students in argumentative competition, and the resulting
motivation to do research and think about critical issues facing our world, then
I don't  think it should exist.

If the goal is to pick the "best policy debate team" in the country, there is an
organization that has got the hammer lock on it (NDT) and CEDA's efforts are
merely duplicative. If CEDA merely exists to host a National Tournament, then,
again, it is redundant to the NDT. If CEDA exists to tabulate regional and
national rankings so people can have pissing contests or justify their budget,
then, again, NDT has got you covered. Pay your fees and Jim Hanson will be more
than happy to put your school at the bottom of NDT spread sheet of regional

WHat does CEDA stand for that distingishes it from NDT? Does it really need to


More information about the Mailman mailing list