[eDebate] Reactionary Judge Philosophies Re: lacyjp at wfu.edu

Jean-Paul Lacy lacyjp
Fri Oct 12 02:23:33 CDT 2007


The original subject line should read "Reactionary Judge Philosophies"


At 12:36 AM 10/12/2007, Jean-Paul Lacy wrote:


>We've seen quite a few recently.
>
>They bother me. [Sort of...] While debate judging is inherently
>"reactionary," it need not impose a particular worldview, but educate about
>how people normally make decisions.
>
>Too many judges forget that each debate team is trying to win with the best
>arguments they have in their tubs.
>
>It is true that every debater wants to know their judges predispositions.
>No debater should have to debate in front of a critic making arguments that
>are doomed from the outset. I definitely empathize with those judges who
>hold strong convictions about arguments they'd rather not hear. Some
>arguments are fair game for one critic and out of bounds for another. Given
>that the ideal of 'open minded' judging is unreachable, it is obviously
>important for judges to indicate where their 'open minds' end. Fair warning
>to debaters is the best we, as judges, can do.
>
>Honestly, most of us could care less what side of the "consultation" debate
>you lie on, as long as you give the debaters prior notice. None of you are
>going to change your minds. Stating your predispositions is incredibly
>helpful: Your pedagogy is incredibly important to debaters, and debating
>within your preferences obviously helps debaters maximize the educational
>gain from each debate round.
>
>Sometimes though, judges predispositions go too far.
>
>One example: The K/Policy divide has become silly in certain important
>respects.
>
>Witness Northwestern's "Constructive Disengagement K:"
>
>Does it take a "K" judge to realize that the alternative is relevant to a
>policy maker with the power to implement the plan?
>
>Does it take a "policy" judge to understand that the "withdrawal bad"
>impact turns have to come to grips with the negatives "cut & run now"
>arguments?
>
>No!
>
>Does it take a genius to figure out that most "representations" K's have
>nothing to do with the plan's desirability?
>
>No!
>
>Unfortunately, I have seen or heard of too many debates where the policy/K
>divide stood in the way of judging these particular argument on its merits.
>
>In the end, this is a plea to understand two hackneyed arguments:
>
>1. Judge the debate you watch on its own merits.
>
>& 2. Open your mind at least enough to understand how an argument fits your
>precepts.
>
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