[eDebate] Answering Sous Chef's Korcok and Ellis

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Wed Jul 18 09:20:43 CDT 2007

> My one concern is that your rhetoric seems to substitute the need for
> having Battle Topic in the Kitchen Stadium in lieu of playing in Hell's
> Kitchen.  I believe Battle Topic is a thorough and comprehensive plan which
> addresses all of the steps needed to concretely move us to a different topic
> in 2008.  Just wondering if my assessment is accurate and if it is, why
> would Hell's Kitchen be enough to substitute for my comprehensive proposal?

Well i think it is part of your proposal, to be honest i think that 2008 is
too early to mobilize the kind of support you are looking for, before that
ever happens there needs to be a means to democratize the various parts of
the process and to get people involved in the work of topic crafting. I
worry that without a more involved particaptory process we dont have a
movement for change we simply select a new group of priests to go into the
star chamber. While that is certainly essintial it falls back on similar
problems of the status quo if it does not first involve a more involved
electorate who has a direct hand in crafting the most important part of the
topic process.

If you, Jackie, Tuna and myself create a great collaborative topic paper,
> what increases the likelihood that it will win?

Well we would need to organize other people to be involved in the topic
process, we would need to listen to concerns about our potential topic,
discuss and address them, we would also need to clearly lay out the way
debate would look in a world under our resolution, and we would need to
involve people who are not us, who disagree with what we want, but like the
general direction. Would that ensure that our topic won? No. Nothing
reasonable is likely to ensure that our topic wins, but a more involved
democratic deliberative process makes it more likely.

  And if your argument is that the collaborative process will produce papers
> that cut across the debate ideological spectrum, I'm just wondering what
> evidence would suggest that it would actually pan out this way as opposed to
> different groups with similar perspectives on debate working together?

I think there will be some of both, but that cuts both ways, thats the
beauty of taking the process out of the hands of one person. Say our topic
choice is prison abolition and we have a group of potential wordings that
move toward our goals, JP lacy decides that he really likes the topic area
and that the benefit of debating it is more than a elegant topic and he
joins the group and adds a topic wording to the process that he feels is
likely to make the proposal more well rounded, now we can present a
controversy paper with a a variety of resolution types and wordings and then
the rest of the work in organizaing you describe can go on.

It also works the other way, if i am psyched about debating the middle east,
but dont like the suggested wordings i can add the r: the united states
should recognize the hammas governemnt to the middle east topic paper.

Now of course Mancuso and the ME group can  can choose to make rules that
prevent me from adding that resolutions i like to their paper, however that
becomes a documentable and scrutinizable choice in evaluating which topic
paper you like and again the political work you describe can go on with more
arguments. This is the game part of rules, if you make your rule process too
open you may have a lot of people but find it hard to produce compiled work,
if you make it too closed you may risk alienating people who look in to the
process of you crafted your topic.

Finally keeping the process open during the year, ads a layer to it, it lets
people see all aspects of the process and makes method more transparent. If
mancuso (just an example, not a dig) excludes people from contributing who
less wordy and wonky versions of topics that can, and has to become part of
the conversational deliberation about which topic to endorse.

Finally, even if great papers are produced, I have the same questions for
> you that I had for Chef Korcok.  Exactly who in the current debate
> ideological divide will shift their allegiances enough to produce a winning
> topic area vote?  The same is true for who on the current topic committee
> will be persuaded to produce solely non-policy resolutions after the problem
> area is written?

My suggestion is that the two processes right now that are in the hands of
individuals be made public and transparent, this would include the wording
papers. I think my arguments above address a little bit of the question of
crossing or closing the ideological divide but i think if people participate
more in the topic crafting process it is more likely that all sorts of
ideological divides can be crossed. writing topics, just like particapting
in a democracy is hard. Its easy enough to sit on the side and criticize the
process and form ideological ossifications, but some of those break down
when you start to actually follow the ideas to their conclusion. I have
learned this in crafting a different middle school topic each month for two
years and through that process my ideological blinders have become at least
different if not less blinding, currently much of the voting is driven by
people who understand and thus control the process, the more people involved
in topic crafting the more likely the political strategies you outline will

I think it is important that begin to move out of the theory stage of these
> discussions to more a more praxis-centered orientation.  These ideas need to
> be fleshed out and critiqued to their logical conclusion, which must always
> include how we get to the goal.  In that positive, progressive spirit, I
> will challenge critics and supporters alike to fully flesh out not only
> their criticisms of my proposal, but also, their alternatives as well.

One part of your proposal i think  i disagee with is the moving up of the
controversey areas, if i read you right you want the process to decide that
there are several options  and focus on those early on, i think that risks
over committing and avoiding potentialy important controversies. The lack of
iraq being debated this year is an example of how pre loading the process
already causes us to skirt core controverseys, putting more padding on that
risks that more.

What i would like to see is an open process as we have now that is public
and ongoing, that encourages not just particpation from members of the
debate community as we currently define but an expanded out reach to field
experts, normal citizens, polcymakers, and anybody who wants to contribute
resources and arguments to a topic. A campaign, where every body works until
feb 15 to compete to compile the best coalition of supporters, the best
network of people, and the best presentation.

Now every body will disagree on what the best is, however thats what makes a
campaign fun.

*Topic for the People! 2008*

Topic Process for the People Now!

*Iron Chef Warner*

 you left your spot in kitchen stadium ,  we are all in hells kitchen now.

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