[eDebate] Is it time to get away from Policy debate?

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Tue Apr 7 21:31:10 CDT 2009


I agree that we should have debated the U.S. involvement in the War on Terror
straight up at least two years ago. But, and I am the first to admit that I
cannot articulate the full extent of the problem, the policy debate community
is FAILING to address the critical problems facing the world. We are avoiding
these debates. It is either the topic selection process or, the mentality of
the community that focuses on USFG that makes us avoid discussions of deeper
issues.

Scott

Quoting JP Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu>:

>
> Is the US government really irrelevant to current problems?
>
> There are some recent blunders by the federal government that could have
> been avoided by full discussion & debate. Namely, the war in Iraq &
> deregulation of financial institutions.
>
> More debate about those decisions would have made them better.
>
> I'm not willing to give up focus on the USFG when it makes mistakes that
> are very relevant to our daily lives.
>
> I tend to think that our collective inability to really debate the Iraq
> war in public was an important "cause" of the current problem.
>
> Why run from the USFG given that failure?
>
> --JP
>
>
>
>
>
> scottelliott at grandecom.net wrote:
> > Before the backlashing begins, read it through. I am not complaining about
> > CEDA/NDT or even calling for the abolition of organizations in this post. I
> can
> > do that any time.
> >
> > Rather, I propose that we get away fromt he concept of "policy debate," and
> > shift over to "evidenced based" or "research based" debate. This would 1)
> more
> > accurately describe what we do and 2) it opens up the possibility for
> > alternative resolutions.
> >
> > 1) I have been observing and participating in 21st Century college "policy
> > debate" for the
> > past two years. Like most of you, I believe we are seeing dramatic changes
> in
> > the activity. Having watched elmination rounds at CEDA nationals, I swear
> that
> > I only saw one affirmative case that would meet the traditional S.H.I.T.S.
> > stock issues...especially in terms of traditional Topicality. The movement
> > toward critical affirmatives and the use of impact turns to topicality (and
> > yes, people do win these debates) makes a mockery of the term "policy
> debate."
> > (Maybe it should be mocked,however, it is not an issue I want to address
> > here.)What we now see in at least half of the debate rounds are nothing
> more
> > that Framework debates. Half of the community is wanting to present
> evidence and
> > arguments on whatever they want, even openly rejecting the requirement that
> the
> > USFG should be the agent of action, and the other half fighting a losing
> battle
> > to maintain old style standards for policy debate.
> >
> > If you do not believe me, I suggest looking to the two teams that were
> finals at
> > CEDA Nationals this year. (I cannot speak about the NDT. I was not there).
> In a
> > nutshell, telling people that we engage in policy debate is a misnomer at
> best.
> > I think explaining what we do as research and evidence intensive debate is
> more
> > representative of what we do.
> >
> > 2) This, to me, is the more important point. If we describe CEDA/NDT debate
> as
> > it is, rather than harkening back to the good old days of NDT, circa 1976,
> we
> > may very well open ourselves up to new possibilities for debate resolutions
> > that are more substative. As it stands now (sorry to pee pee on parades),
> we
> > are going to be pretty much stuck with a Russia topic this year. Having
> been in
> > Russia during grad school, I think I can figure out a case or two. But, I
> really
> > do not want to research it, coach it, or (JEEZUS!!!) have to judge 200
> rounds of
> > Russia--world going boom--for the next 8 months.
> >
> > The problem with policy debate, as it is currently framed, requires us to
> use
> > the USFG as an agent of action. On international topics, we end up doing
> some
> > sort of engagement with a set of countries. We have exhausted China, the
> middle
> > East, Europe, Native Americans. Now we are left with Russia and Latin
> America. A
> > lot of Latin America was covered on the Ag topic. Central Asia was covered
> (at
> > least by my squad) on both the Middle East topic and the Ag topic. So,
> almost
> > by default, we are left with fricking Russia.
> >
> > I look at all of the international problems facing the planet, and I would
> love
> > to work on another topic paper. However, each topic area I come up with
> becomes
> > an automatic "fail" because the current way of framing policy debate, and
> policy
> > debate resolutions, becomes a non-starter.
> >
> > Let me give you a list and any coach worth her salt can explain why a USFG
> agent
> > of action is always going to be a non-starter.
> >
> > 1) Proliferation (uh, Iran and North Korea are just two examples, CBW's
> etc.)
> > 2) Global Climate Change (anything the USFG does will always be a failure
> unless
> > China and India get on board)
> > 3) Sexuality (most of these issues are really within the purview of the
> > States--sometimes state counterplans do have value)
> > 4) Global poverty/overpopulation (Can the USFG really do anything?)
> > 5) Postmodernism;
> > 6) Science and Technology and the status of humanity in a post-human world.
> > (Again, what can the USFG do unilaterally?)
> > 7. Mass species extinctions;
> > 8. The collapse of the global capitalist economy.
> >
> > None of these topics can be covered in depth under the current method of
> framing
> > college policy debate. However, I posit that these are the exact issues our
> > students should be debating. trying to squeeze these topics with in Russia
> (or
> > Latin America, or China) does not provide for the depth of research,
> analysis
> > and argument that we should be striving for. Our students are facing a
> world in
> > which the United States Federal Government enacting a one shot policy just
> is
> > not realistic. I think it would be more realistic, and be of more service
> to
> > our students, if we choose topics that really addressed these global issues
> > full force, without trying to shoehorn them into the dead format of USFG
> > policymaking.
> >
> > Switching away from policy debate to evidence based debate opens up the
> space to
> > actually engage in debates that are timely and more in depth than what we
> can
> > accomplish under the standard "Resolved: the USFG should...." model.
> >
> > As it stands now, we are pretty much going to be stuck with Russia, blah,
> blah
> > blah....China gets pissed, blah blah blah, nuke war, Fem IR, blah, blah
> blah.
> >
> > In my alternative world, what would resolutions look like:
> >
> > Resolved: the anthropogenic causes of climate change should be
> substanitally
> > curtailed.
> >
> > Resolved: humans, through their institutions, should substantially reduce
> > anthropogenically caused global warming.
> >
> > Resolved: international non-proliferation or antiproliferation regimes
> should be
> > substantially enhanced and/or enforced,
> >
> > Resolved: global capitalism should be allowed to collapse.
> >
> > Resolved: continued scientific and technological advancement is desirable.
> >
> > Just a few concrete examples to start the discussion.
> >
> > Scott
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > eDebate mailing list
> > eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> > http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
> >
> >
> >
>
>







More information about the Mailman mailing list