[eDebate] Rules and Laws

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Wed Jun 13 23:35:45 CDT 2007

Beth states that if people don't like certain rules or laws, then they have a
right to violate them. Nice. The drug analogy is great. I live here in Dallas
where 28 kids, yes KIDS, have died in the past year from cheese heroin. I am
sure their parents would love to know that because some people think drug laws
are bad, the drug dealers should be able to deal that shit to their other kids
with no punishment.

I am sure  those that cheat on exams, plagiarize term papers, murderers,
rapists, and, yes, child molesters all appreciate the "do whatever you
personally feel like doing" philosophy. I am sure that strategic debaters will
also manipulate the "run anything you like, the topic is irrelevant" in order
to win debates. I don't think, however, teams blindsided by such teams feel it
is a good standard.

There are two types of anarchy. One type is where people work things out via
mutual agreements. That's fine with me. If two teams walk into the room and
tell the judge they want to debate something else, I am down with that.

The other type of Anarchy is where certain groups use power to violate norms or
laws, and impose thier will on others. This occurs in debate when teams agree to
debate one resolution, only to have a team in a particular round decide they
don't like the resolution and refuse to affirm. This is an imposed form of
anarchy that victimizes the opposing team. They did not have any input or
consent regarding this unilateral decision, but now they are the one's that are
being punished with a loss. But, hey, if you don't like the rules, break them,

I am the first person to complain about these resolutions. In fact, I have been
complaining about them for a few years now. I can agree with everything Jackie,
Beth and Andy have to say about the resolutions not giving them enough "space."

However, their alternative is worse than even the worst Mancuso et al imposed
resolution---affirmatives can run anything they want and fuck the negative if
they don't have a response.

And, let me tell you what those affirmative cases tend be--cases that are so
overwhelmingly affirmatively biased, that the negative will have little if any
ground to argue on the substance. Example: "Genocide in Darfur sucks." No shit,
I'd hazard to guess few judges are going to vote for the genocide good case
turns. Example: Rape and enslavement of women is evil. Yep, the negative better
break out their sado-masochism critique. Example: We need to build a space
colony because plantary extinction is inevitable. (O.k. most people have some
responses to this.)

I have never said that a non-topical affirmative team should be banned from
speaking or particpating. I have only stated that they should lose the debate.
The resolution in particular may suck. But the concept that teams from around
the country come together to debate a resolution--a mutually agreed upon
resolution (e.g  Rule of Law)-- remains valuable and should be protected. When a
team chooses to violate this agreement, the appropriate sanction should be a
loss. That does not exclude anybody from saying whatever they want, but it does
preserve the concept that people should come together to discuss a mutually
agreed upon topic area.


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