[eDebate] On Stannards thoughts on Hicks and Greene

Josh jbhdb8
Tue Jun 19 15:35:39 CDT 2007


Look folks,

This is pretty simple.

Jim is saying, he doesnt like spending 2-5k to show up at a tournament and
not being able to prepare for ANY of the MILLIONS of possibilities in a NO
TOPIC world.  He is saying that there is a social contract that what will be
debated will be what was pre-determined through the democratic topic process
and that people who decide to do "whatever" are breaking that process.

As near as I can tell, the only answer made so far to the "democratic
process" argument is "Its not good Democracy."  How that makes topic anarchy
better is beyond me.  It is certainly true that for some Democracy can be,
in results, the same as in a dictatorship.  The difference is that they have
the opportunity to make a case for change (those advocacy skills we hear
tell so much about in these discussions). Lowering the bar even lower so
that everyone is selfish and nobody knows what to expect seems the
antithesis of community and even the attempt at democracy.

What it seems you folks want is to discuss whatever you want whenever you
want to discuss it.....We think that = bad debates and poor prepared
debate. In addition, we think it says to everyone else "Our
competitiveness/style is more important than your community."

In addition, Andy has made the "non-unique" arg....In other words, other
people are doing it so we wont stop.  This is about as persuasive as "other
people steal music from download sites so that makes it ok."  Excusing your
own bad behavior through the fact that other people also act poorly is what
they call "two wrongs" I believe.

Which leaves the "Fairness" questions.  First, Jackie is right to say "you
have ground" because there are still things to attack any time BUT

A) The difference between a prepared attack on those "perspectives" and an
"unprepared attack" is MASSIVE and ALWAYS MASSIVELY FAVORS THE AFF.  If you
are trying to claim that somehow because people who debate are smart and can
maybe come up with some BS to test the aff that "just might work" that is
not exactly what I would call "good debate."  Yes, my teams sometimes even
"win" these debates...whatever that means....and whatever "winning" in that
context means.

Jim and I have made the argument that such an approach = poor quality
debates/doesnt really test the affirmative.  Many have replied "well its not
impossible."  Not exactly the recipe for quality education.  In addition, in
no way do you reach your goal of students learning GOOD advocacy goals.  I
would hazard that traditional debate does a much better job of teaching you
advocacy skills even on subjects people dont want to debate.  At least you
have your ideas tested in a rigourous manner.

B) You might try to say that somehow this move is stable and that people
will prepare against the topic anarchy aff much the same they would against
any other aff.

1) Thats an awesome stance to take before the first tournament on a topic.
You get the benefit of being able to predict and prepare against everyone
else's affirmative (at least the topical ones) but everyone else has to "be
creative" against yours.  Awesome.

2) Can I even count the amount of times these types of teams change
affirmatives as soon as they think the circuit is catching up.  Once again,
back to unpredictable, no test, you win "because you are affirmative"
land...while you get to know what we will say ahead of time.

One wonders how exactly you become such a great advocate for things that are
important to you in such a world.

Of course, you will say "you topical teams change affirmatives too."  Yup,
but within a predictable topic - Jackie writes all the time about how he
hates that the topics now "predict the plans."  That means there is ZERO
chance this is even remotely an equal level of concern.

We can be as liberal, and cool, and accepting as we want to be as a
community.  For instance, I dont embrace the "you cant come" philosophy at
all.  However, its about time teams and coaches that choose anarchy admit
that there is NO argument for this being a fair practice or a good test of
arguments.

The best and only argument I have heard that even remotely justifies the
practice is that Democracy excludes Minority viewpoints and that inclusion
is a means of protesting/addressing that exclusion.

For many teams, this move is an obvious strategic way to not have to debate
the topic and still win (selfish).  For others, its a means of advocating
something important (selfish but not blindly so).  For some its both.  In
none of these cases does the team/program doing topic anarchy give much of a
care/worry about the competitive chances or preperation of the opposition
(community).

I dont think its fair to be suprised or mad when people, like Jim, who work
hard - work all summer to raise money - run a handbook company so he can
raise money - so his team can travel....Gets a bit tired of trying to
embrace something he finds antithetical to community...

Let me try it this way.  What about topic anarchy should appeal to Jim and
his students?  Why should he raise money to travel students and debate that
style?  If you want Jim to support what you do, its your job to convince him
that he should embrace your style too.  That the debate community would be
better in a world where everyone debated whatever they wanted to.

Josh

Josh



On 6/19/07, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> So i dont like my teams having to debate critcaly examine racism either,
> nor do i like "ben and i dont think torture is good"(what your team said
> against ours at fullerton and by far the most abusive thing we had to debate
> all year) I watch these debates with some frequency and almost never think
> the aff is very good, i usually think that questions of how you critically
> examine racism are quite effective and have seen your debaters destroy
> people on this in the past...I truly dont think critically examine racism is
> a very good argument if it has no praxis and method which are debateable...I
> think my problem with your approach is that you cut out better arguments to
> get rid of immenatly beatable arguments...i dont doubt you are innovating
> nor do i doubt you are doing the majority of the heavy lifting to revitalize
> debate in the northwest, but i really think you reducing the entrity of the
> opposition to the topic to its most abhorent examples , just as much as i am
> hyperbolizing when i say you are sehilding your studnets from democratic
> deliberation...ultimatly my argument is this, the current reality is an
> anarchic one, where because of the gesture you are making where all
> departures are equivilant, we as a community lack the analytical tools to
> compare the fairness of different approaches, to each other and to the
> status quo, we can either continue drawing illusory bright lines and foster
> another community split, or we can begin to devise standards that structure
> and evaluate deviations because abolish prisons as a defended policy option
> is infinitely more debateable than lets look at our history of
> genocide....im not saying ban prisons should be automaticaly allowed, but
> that to classify it the same as racism and rape are bad is the
> shortsightedness that is making more and more judges compelled by departures
> and less willing to reign them in when teams badly analyze whats wrong with
> it...
>
> On 6/19/07, Jim Hanson <hansonjb at whitman.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  responses below --------------
> >
> > jim :)
> > hansonjb at whitman.edu
> > ----- Original Message ----- *From:* Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com>
> > *To:* Jim Hanson <hansonjb at whitman.edu>
> > *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" [image: Smile emoticon] 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:
> > >
> > > jackie
> > >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > ------
> > > (Matt)
> > > , 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
> > >
> > >
> > > (Matt)
> > > "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)
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --------------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > -------------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > > ----------------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > -----------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > > -------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > --------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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
> > > injustice.
> > > --------
> > > 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.
> > > -----
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > >
> > >
> > > -------
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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
> > > beliefs.
> > >
> > > ------
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > ----
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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?
> > > -----
> > > (Matt)
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > Stannard
> > >
> > > -----------------
> > > Same goals, different paths.
> > >
> > > Peace,
> > >
> > > Massey
> > > _______________________________________________
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