[eDebate] answers for jim's 2 questions..

helwich at macalester.edu helwich
Sat Jun 16 18:38:48 CDT 2007


After reviewing Jackie's reply to my previous questions, I have a couple of questions and thoughts.

1. In my work with non-debater politicians and activists, I am frequently told that the biggest "value-added" that my partner (also a former debater) and I bring to a project is an ability to accurately articulate and vigorously defend the ideas of our opponents. These persons also find it immensely valuable to be able to practice defending their left-of-center beliefs in simulated debate and discussion settings. 

2. How does verbalizing an idea change one's beliefs? When I prepare candidates for a debate, I often play the role of their opponent (almost invariably white/male/conservative). After these sessions, I do not find myself more sympathetic to the RNCs platform. No one in the room thinks that I have become a born-again neocon. 

Asked another way, what is the difference between analyzing competing ideas in your head and out loud? This might be a tricky question for you to address, since if language truly structures/constrains thought, how does verbalization meaningfully differ from cognition?

3. Something Jackie said in his reply to Jim struck me:
"BUt i know being around my team they also learn how to include ethics within their decision making process."
 Are you implying that non-critical teams normally do not consider ethics in their own and/or public decision making processes?

One value I find to switch-side debate around government policy is the ability to argue AGAINST the government/system/man half the time. In a world where no one is structurally required to ever defend "USFG" or "CE," will we ever get to test our arguments about what they are bad?

best,
dch
umn

PS: I do a mean Pawlenty impersonation.
PPS: I am not defending "racism good" resolutions. I think Eli did a good job of explaining why I needn't do so in a previous post.








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