[eDebate] dictatorial pedagogy = anarchy (reply josh)

Josh jbhdb8
Fri Jun 22 16:07:50 CDT 2007


KS: "evil"... "the bleak landscape you describe"... "like we are in some
Stalinist system"...etc. josh, you have this tedency of presenting your
opponent's arguments in the most unflattering terms possible. if i say a
growing minority feels unrepresented, it's not enough for you to point to
the inclusive nature of the topic process; you go on to misspeak for me as
claiming this minority
are 'oppressed topic victims'. this is more than annoying - it also makes
you look a fool. but this is by the way.

JBH: Are you being ironical?  You used the oppression and dictator and
fascist language....How in the world did I mislabel your argument - look at
the subject line - you wrote that not me....I look the fool?  I am not
trying to be rude at all....But you invoked the language of oppression,
fascism, and totalitariansim....To which I responded "It is not like that."
I dont think I used hyperbole as regards your argument at all....However, I
do sometimes tend toward that.  Everyone always tries to present their
argument/s in the most favorable light.  Did "Dictatorship" strike you as a
friendly or mild term for my position?

Now, beyond that...Yes, some people feel underepresented....And my direct
argument was that those underrepresented people have a TON of outlets to air
grievances and attempt to change the process.  I agree, some people still
get excluded, but that may be a superior system to when in which the quality
of education/debate declines markedly.  I have asked you pointedly to defend
the quality of this alternate system beyond the statement that "there is
always ground."

KS: what i'm suggesting is that the current system of topicality, whether or
not it accurately reflects the dictates of the majority, isn't working well,
and there needs to be an administrative discussion on other workable
alternatives which allow for the greatest flexibility of student discretion
while taking care of the pedagogical values i know you're as concerned about
as i am -- making sure everyone is on the same page; ensuring debate is as
educational as it can be.

JBH: I think you must have missed my response to Andy last night...which
responded to this exact argument.  If you want I will look it up and
backchannel it to you.  I know this is what you are saying...And, I have
directly answered it in other posts.

KS: let's make a distinction between how topicality functions in-round and
out-of-round (and i'll repeat what i wrote to ken). in-round, teams continue
to run cases that many in the community consider blatantly non-topical,
sometimes despite multiple loses, and topicality is run in most every round,
even against cases that most everyone agrees are facially topical.
out-of-round, a growing segment of the community feels unrepresented by
those who frame and dictate the topic... now, do you consider these
statements accurate or don't you?

JBH: I believe some people feel disenfranchised...I believe some are
disenfranchised.  This kind of misses the point.  My argument was that the
system of inclusion of any desire that anyone has would be WORSE than the
system of T.  I also made the argument that most of the things you are
calling "oppression" are hardly oppressive. You will say "thats non-U" which
I answered at length in the Ellis answer.  You will say doesnt make it right
to disenfranchise people...I would disagree, the inclusion of every point of
desire does not and will not make for good debate.  I do not believe a
"growing segment" believes what you are saying...I actually believe the
number is shrinking.  I further believe that SOME of the teams that do this
do it purely for reasons of strategery and not conscience which is a reason
your compromise will never be accepted writ large.

KS: so if topicality is a penalty, it seems to have little detterent effect
in itself, and the topic committee lacks legitimacy in the eyes of a
(frustrated) minority. no, it doesn't make you a stalinist for endorsing
this status quo; i simply want to know if you consider this situation
problematic, and if so, what you think should be done about it.

JBH: I dont think implementing the desires of that disenfranchised minority
would be good for the activity.  So, I intend to say "bad idea" when people
say we should broaden the process.  Its your job to convince me and the
other folks like me that debate would be better in your compromise world.  I
have asked repeatedly for this.  Topicality does, btw, have a deterrent
effect...You just called it "punishment" and Andy is constantly frustrated
by his teams losses to T (as are many of the no-topic folk) to the point
that they call people like me "dictators" (oh, hold on that was you) and

There is a minority in the USA who think murder is ok....Doesnt mean we
should broaden the criminal code to include their perspective....A lawmaker,
hypothetically, takes into account the ideas for changing the criminal code
and weighs them against the greater good/safety of the community that they
serve and votes accordingly.  I am willing to listen to your arguments
against my way of thinking...And in all honesty, used to check in for teams
like Fort Hays like it was my job even in T debates because I believe that
the best argument should win in a debate round....This is a discussion of
OUGHT not IS.  I also believe my point is that you can avail yourself of
this forum to convince people you are right, lead movements to change the
process, and if you win - who cares what I think.

KS: i have two proposals on the table that you haven't weighed in on. please
notice that i'm engaged in exactly the process you suggest for me, i.e.
trying to convince people that these are good ideas for all involved. [i
should say beforehand that the majority's views aren't things that drop
naked out of the sky, anymore than your admiration for your teachers
preexisted your being taught; debate's socialization practices shape how
participants think about debate to such an extent that persauding debaters
may be even more difficult than persauding ordinary citizens in a democracy
(who, by and large, usually wait for crisis before acting proactively). and
i think it's confusing when educators like you say to participants "you can
suggest alternative types of resolutions, alternative means of choosing
resolutions, campaign openly to remove people from the topic committee, run
for the topic committee, run a slate of candidates..." yet you don't mention
that participants can't change

JBH: Yes, I know you made proposals as did Andy...even responded to them
(the much mentioned response to Andy last night).  And I realize you are
trying to persuade people. I even think thats a good thing...Lord knows I am
only stating my opinion and making arguments and not in any way assuming I
am right per se.

KS: the fact that there will be a topic committee and it will set a topic.
all the choices debaters are given hide some underlying meta-choices they're
never permitted to alter, no matter how many
folks they can persaude.]

JBH: No, actually you could amend the constitution to get rid of the topic
committee and topic...change the make-up...whatever you want to do....We
dont have hard and fast rules and there are procedures through which any
individual can avail themselves of many avenues of change.

KS: anyway, my own proposal is two-fold (hardly some 'grand vision for a
better world'). -- 1st -- more judges should weigh procedural abuse
arguments as round-determative (generally, the community should take
topicality more seriously, not just another typical argument to play games

JBH: Most people who argue for a judge to vote negative on T are asking for
the judge to determine the round on T.  If I remember correctly, your
innovation was to suggest that the judge should vote aff if the aff is found
T.  My answer to this is the same as I have made to many of these other
suggestions - it makes the procedural handmaiden to education....If you
think a case is not-T and it turns out to be T you shouldnt forgo all other
benefits of the discussion simply to deter people from running T unless they
are really sure they will win.  And, more important, many times a team is
not T and the judge either doesnt have a rigorous standard for T or decides
Not T affs are good....Are you really saying the reverse voter is a good
idea in these instances....and if so...WHY?  Finally, this has never been a
discussion about semi-T cases...Its been a discussion about non-T cases.

KS:  -- 2nd -- more debaters should run open debate positions (of which
creative commons public licensing is an example) that implicitly could argue
for an alternative, more bottom-up framework to setting topics. i'm guessing
you've heard both of these ideas from me before, but i can sketch them out
in more detail if you like.

JBH: If the majority of the community agrees this is the way to set
topics...OK with me.  Now, my question, again, is for you to prove that the
system of doing this through non-democratic means creates a better world of
debate then having to avail yourself of the democratic process in order to
get to this change in how topics are decided to become the rule.  If you are
asking if I think its a good or bad idea thats a whole different question.


"If your argument is that we wont always discuss EVERY SINGLE controversy
that might be interesting in the world at any one time...Ok, you win."

no, my argument is that you should try to discuss as many controversies as
debaters want to discuss AS LONG AS the forum can provide alternate means of
ensuring a predictable discussion.

on 'fair ground as a voting issue', "You are doing a classic Po-Mo slip up
here which is to assume that because something is indeterminate it therefore
is entirely indeterminate. Not true, substantial is not meaningless as a
term it just defies precise meaning.Those are not the same thing. You can
research a subject and determine what the controversies in the literature
are and use that to devise the BEST division of ground. Is it a perfect
system no, but why make the perfect the enemy of the good (as they say)."

the burden of proof is on you here because you're the one who claims to be
doing something good in dividing up ground as evenly as possible and you're
using the indeterminacy to disguise a lack of consistent standards for
measuring how good the framers are at doing what they do. in any case, you
dropped the last line of my argument: "even if it worked (which it doesn't),
it only makes everyone equal, and *cancels creative differences*". another
josh put it a more succintly:

"People's obsession with 'fairness' or 'competitive equity' is misguided.
One of the most valuable things about debate is adapting to unfair
circumstances. If the neg runs conditional CPs, get better and deal with it.
If the aff doesn't specify their agent, figure out something else besides
your same old agent CP. This is what the policy world is like; you've got to
react and deal with tough situations."


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