[eDebate] On Stannards thoughts on Hicks and Greene

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Tue Jun 19 14:13:16 CDT 2007

responses below --------------

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Andy Ellis 
To: Jim Hanson 
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] On Stannards thoughts on Hicks and Greene

Jim a few questions

1) in your selfish shortsighted fantasy world in which you create a policy only circuit how would you make it so we didnt come to your tournaments and disrupt your attempted move to insulate your students from open democratic deliberation. 
-------------"selfish"  lol. okay.
------------- I'm not sure there is a way to stop the anti-topical crowd from attending but here are some potential ideas: 1) invite only certain teams and judges (yes, as practically implemented, someone would have to make this decision; I'm down with that as long as there is a clear standard of willful violation of the topic); 2) don't give ceda or ndt points to teams that willfully ignore the topic (I mean, I already won't give parli teams ndt sweeps points because they don't follow the topic); 3) attend only tournaments where there is a predominance of teams and judges that believe in following the topic; 4) make reciprocal arguments that expose to the anti-topical crowd how unfair their arguments are in the hopes that they will choose to be topical (a waste of time in my mind but one option); 5) enforce the ndt's rule that topicality is a voting issue; I know that is hard to stomach for a community willing to be open to any good reason but I'm willing to view that rule the same way we view time limits--when a team says "topicality is oppressive" or anything reasonably resembling willful violation of the topic, they lose.
------------- I am NOT insulating my teams from "open democratic deliberation." I am insulating them from your vision of open anarchic deliberation. I've said that before. I want teams to have indepth preparation on a democratically chosen topic. the anti-topical approach destroys that democratically chosen community. so, if I insulate my students from your anarchy, I am happy for that--I'll repeat: it is a waste of time to debate "racism should be critically examined."

2) how can you possibly think this is a good idea given what you have watched happen in the northwest....
------------- well, first of all, gonzaga, ups, us, portland state, and hopefully new this year eastern washington do things just fine from my perspective. if they did switch to anti-topical, I would not be willing to support the few local tournaments that we have--I just wouldn't have our teams compete at them. I am not so enamored with the names "ceda" and "ndt" and "policy debate" to participate in them when they are NOT ceda, ndt, and policy debate. there is a healthy parli circuit in the northwest and I can just have our teams travel less or elsewhere, obviously, within budget constraints.
-------------- second, as I said, my choice of tournaments is constrained by our budget. at the same time, if I chose to skip a tournament because it had become too anti-topical leaning, and that caused/contributed to that tournament falling apart, I can't say I would feel some kind of guilt that I had "fractured" the community or ruined teams ability to participate (although I might for the topical teams remaining). I mean, if others aren't going to be restrained by the democratically chosen topic, I'm surely not going to feel constrained about which tournaments I choose to attend. 
-------------- like I said in one of my other posts--"progress" involves the entire community. y'all can "disrupt" and not debate the topic but that has consequences too. if you want to do that, know that you are indeed disrupting the community including starting a causal chain where teams like mine may very well say "not doing this anymore."

On 6/16/07, Jim Hanson < hansonjb at whitman.edu> wrote: 

  two questions for you:

  1. you/your team is negative. the affirmative case is "the usfg has 
  committed atrocities against native americans with multiple examples of
  these harmful acts." what arguments do you/your team use against this case
  (focusing, I'm assuming, on ones that maintain your convictions)? 

  2. a conservative christian straight male joins your team. I'm assuming you
  let him compete. :) he wants to argue bearden, mead, and us heg good. after
  3 years on your team, it is clear, he isn't changing--he remains a 
  conservative christian. do you let him compete for his fourth year even
  though you are quite certain that he will become a conservative leader that
  you apparently despise?

  jim :)
  hansonjb at whitman.edu

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: <debate at ou.edu>
  To: <edebate at ndtceda.com>
  Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2007 6:56 AM 
  Subject: [eDebate] On Stannards thoughts on Hicks and Greene

  Hi Matt,

  Interesting post and definitely deserves a response.

  , Hicks and Greene's critique has several problems: First, as J.P. Lacy once
  pointed out, it seems a tremendous causal (or even
  rhetorical) stretch to go from "debating both sides of an issue creates
  civic responsibility essential to liberal democracy" to "this 
  civic responsibility upholds the worst forms of American exceptionalism.

  I understand the explanation.  Debate is great for society, but can be used
  to uphold, mold and creat individuals with a certain 
  perspective needed to maintain the "american way of life" over other ways

  "Second, Hicks and Greene do not make any comparison of the potentially bad
  power of debate to any alternative. Their 
  implied alternative, however, is a form of forensic speech that privileges
  personal conviction.

  I can't speak for either Hicks or Greene, and do not want to be interpreted
  as such.  I have my perspective how this falls into 
  my larger view of the world which I will share.  I don't think that there
  will ever be no debate.  There will always be debate, in
  many different forms and styles.  I think the question then becomes about
  how debate can also be used to mold a specific 
  type of culture.  My view of debate is to move forward, not with the old
  CEDA topics per se ? "violence is a justified response
  to political oppression"    but to have something where we see a problem
  area, we choose an actor (I grant USFG at this point) 
  and we tell that actor to fix a problem.  How we fix it should be debated
  out in debates, not pre-researched in my mind
  (whole different topic)

  The idea that students should be able to preserve their personal convictions 
  at all costs seems far more immediately tyrannical,
  far more immediately damaging to either liberal or participatory democracy,
  than the ritualized requirements that students
  occasionally take the opposite side of what they believe. 

  I am not sure how this is tyrannical to say they should have a choice?  I am
  not saying they shouldn't say things they disagree
  with ever, I am saying they should have that choice.  Some people want to be 
  pulled to the middle.

  Third, as I have suggested and will continue to suggest, while a debate
  project requiring participants to understand and often
  "speak for" opposing points of view may carry a great deal of liberal 
  baggage, it is at its core a project more ethically
  deliberative than institutionally liberal. Where Hicks and Greene see debate
  producing "the liberal citizen-subject," I see debate
  at least having the potential to produce "the deliberative human being." 

  I agree debate is good, what scares me is when people like one of the US
  state house reps gets these amazing skills from
  debate and then use them to take away all the rights of those from Mexico.
  We teach decision making, but not how to 
  approach this ethically.  This cant be practiced if the game is rigged,, or
  say ethics/values are already chosen and implicit.
  The fact that some academic debaters are recruited by the CSIS and the CIA 
  does not undermine this thesis. Absent healthy
  debate programs, these think-tanks and government agencies would still
  recruit what they saw as the best and brightest
  students. And absent a debate community that rewards anti-institutional 
  political rhetoric as much as liberal rhetoric, those
  students would have little-to-no chance of being exposed to truly
  oppositional ideas.


  I agree that debaters get access, and some them have a huge impact on 
  society.  What scares me is when debaters become
  decision-makers and real peoples livelihoods become "impacts" and defending
  things you know is wrong becomes politics.

  Moreover, if we allow ourselves to believe that it is "culturally 
  imperialist" to help other peoples build institutions of debate and
  deliberation, we not only ignore living political struggles that occur in
  every culture, but we fall victim to a dangerous
  ethnocentrism in holding that "they do not value deliberation like we do." 


  I guess this is an issue of interpretation.   I have a former debater and
  close friend who works on the west bank helping to
  promote debate in the area we know as the Middle East.  He is Jewish, so 
  traveling is dangerous.  If he were to promote topics
  saying "Israel is a legitimate state" and made the Palestenian children
  argue pro-Israel, would that be good debate?  No, not in
  my mind.  However, that is not the process nor the goal, nor even close to 
  the topic choices, and so I don't really think I
  myself would say promotion of debate globally is bad,  it just depends on
  what model we export.
  If the argument is that our participation in fostering debate communities 
  abroad greases the wheels of globalization, the correct
  response, in debate terminology, is that such globalization is non-unique,
  inevitable, and there is only a risk that collaborating
  across cultures in public debate and deliberation will foster resistance to 
  domination?just as debate accomplishes wherever it
  goes. Indeed, Andy Wallace, in a recent article, suggests that Islamic
  fundamentalism is a byproduct of the colonization of the
  lifeworld of the Middle East; if this is true, then one solution would be to 
  foster cross-cultural deliberation among people on
  both sides of the cultural divide willing to question their own
  preconceptions of the social good.
  I got no disagreement there.

  Hicks and Greene might be correct insofar as elites in various cultures can
  either forbid or reappropriate deliberation, but for
  those outside of that institutional power, democratic discussion would have 
  a positively subversive effect.
  We can read such criticisms in two ways. The first way is as a warning: That
  we ought to remain cautious of how academic
  debate will be represented and deployed outside of the academy, in the 
  ruthless political realm, by those who use it to dodge
  truthful assertions, by underrepresented groups, of instances of material
  I see this live, on a daily basis where I live.  My example above is about 
  the politician who uses debate skills to help get Pat
  Buch's backing.
  In this sense, the fear is one of a "legalistic" evasion of substantive
  injustice by those privileging procedure over substance, a 
  trained style over the primordial truth of marginalized groups.

  I think the categorizing of procedure over substance is very relevant, but
  not the only part of the decision calculus that has to
  be developed.  I am not sure how the margninalized groups are the only
  substance, but I think that is just your example.

  I prefer that interpretation to the second one: That the switch-side, 
  research-driven "game" of debate is politically bankrupt
  and should give way to several simultaneous zones of speech activism, where
  speakers can and should only fight for their own

  I don't think this is what I am envisioning when I see debate that is absent
  the poison of the current the process.  Like I said, I
  cant speak for Dr. D Hicks or Dr. Ron.

  As Gordon Mitchell has pointed out, such balkanized speech will break down 
  into several enclaves of speaking, each with its
  own political criteria for entry. In such a collection of impassable and
  unpermeable communities, those power relations, those
  material power entities, that evade political speech will remain 
  unaccountable, will be given a "free pass" by the speech
  community, who will be so wrapped up in their own micropolitics, or so busy
  preaching to themselves and their choirs, that they
  will never understand or confront the rhetorical tropes used to mobilize 
  both resources and true believers in the service of
  continued material domination.
  I think this is where everyone double turns themselves or contradicts
  themselves.  You are saying people should not have to 
  confront those who claim, say "racism is bad" or "sexism is bad".  But then
  people will miss out on have to defend racism good
  or sexism good, -- you know, the other side.   I am not against switch side
  debate per se, but against politically motivated 
  topics that put the game over the participants.  If you really believe
  switch side good, to understand racism is bad we need to
  defend racism.  Or is this only true of certain topics?  You can substitute
  colonialism or sexism or homphobia for racism.  It is 
  just one example I am using, and not making accusations at Matt.  You have
  to go negative, so you can only "preach to the
  choir on the affirmative".  In the status quo, the moderates  and
  conservatives get all of the advantages I am saying the 
  radical/leftists/liberals should have.   Is that really that unreasonable to
  ask the one type of excluded perspective get the same
  grounds to advocate a solution to a problem that they think might work?
  Habermas's defense of the unfinished Enlightenment is my defense of academic
  debate: Don't throw the baby out with the
  bathwater. Instead, seek to expand this method of deliberation to those who
  will use it to liberate themselves, confront power, 
  and create ethical, nonviolent patterns of problem resolution. If capitalism
  corrupts debate, well, then I say we save debate.


  Same goals, different paths.


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