[eDebate] What's in a name?

Richard A. Garner richardgarner
Wed Apr 8 16:19:43 CDT 2009

"because the topic was agriculture subsidies and everyone just assumed there
would be sweet K ground. Shocker, there wasn?t."

Actually, the topic committee's strategy of critique-inclusive area writing
since Indian Country, particularly beginning with the 'withdraw from NATO'
part of the Europe topic, has been extremely successful. CAFOs attracted
nearly all of the critique-affirmative teams this year; in fact, almost all
of the teams that ran critical affirmatives and didn't run CAFOs would have
run affs that didn't conform to normative interpretations of the topic in
any case.

I did not see CEDA Finals, as I was not there. However, my understanding was
that OU was aff., and my additional understanding is that they ran CAFOs all
year long. I may be wrong. However, their aff was CAFOs, and they usually
said subsidizing them was bad. They had a robust theoretical defense of that
(see: Marting Heidegger), but if you would have said CAFOs are a good
practice, would they have shirked that discussion? Would a negative have
taken it up in the first place? I don't know for sure, but I think the
answer to both of those questions would generally be 'No.'

I only interject because this has been brought up several times, and I doubt
the asummptiveness of this assumption.


On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM, Abers <catspathat at gmail.com> wrote:

> While there is clearly a vocal group of debaters who want to distance
> themselves from the federal government, I think this discussion discounts a
> lot of debaters who actually like talking about and directing the focus of
> their speech act towards questions of federal policy. I would absolutely
> agree that there are problems with the USFG fetish, but the solution
> proposed to completely eliminate federal government action from the
> discussion seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Scott Elliott
> points out that at CEDA people did not want to debate the topic; yes because
> the topic was agriculture subsidies and everyone just assumed there would be
> sweet K ground. Shocker, there wasn?t. And by K ground, I don?t just mean
> affirmatives that exclusively defend federal government action. The problem
> with the agriculture topic, for the k affirmatives, was the literature
> discussing alternate ways to view subsidy policy either from different
> perspectives or in alternate philosophical frameworks wasn?t there. However,
> frequently this literature does exist and it?s possible to read affirmatives
> that, rather than explicitly defending federal government action as an act
> of imagination where congress passes a law etc etc, counter define what the
> ballot and debater?s relationship to the statement of the resolution should
> be. I think these affirmatives, like our broiler chicken aff or Towson?s
> Palestine aff that they read on the Middle East topic, show it?s possible to
> discuss perspectives on and about different policy actions taken by the
> federal government without being assimilated into it or whatever while still
> retaining a (at least somewhat predictable) relationship to the topic that
> the negative can prepare for.
> This seems, at least to me, to be the middle ground. Essentially its; here
> is the resolution, how can you as a debater educationally relate to it. This
> leaves debaters who want to pursue affirmatives that follow a more
> traditional rout (though traditional is probably a bad word to use
> considering I don?t think debate affs in the 1980s had 14 extinction
> scenarios and probably read a bunch more inherency cards) an avenue to
> debate how they would like to. Gives ample K aff ground based in ?topic
> literature.? And preserves debate as a forum for political awareness about
> what the federal government is doing. Debate is basically the only place,
> besides possibly the daily show, where I as a student, feel compelled to
> figure out what exactly the federal government is doing with the money we
> give them. At risk of starting another debate, we live in a place where
> individual input can actually affect government proceedings and policy.
> Don?t we as individuals who support a government have some responsibility to
> educate ourselves about what that government is doing? If debate is not the
> place, does not serve this function, why should we even be doing it. Seems
> like we should be out being real activists. Which, to me, all comes back to,
> how do we know what to protest, which is where I think the importance of
> ?policy? in policy debate arises.
> Abe Corrigan
> Gonzaga Debate
> On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM, Alfred Snider <alfred.snider at uvm.edu>wrote:
>> Scott Elliott says change the name.
>> It is a little disconcerting because many debate formats debate about
>> policy issues.
>> Some have said to call it "cross examination" debate, others say
>> "research" debate.
>> Yet, other formats have cross ex and not every "policy" debate in
>> CEDA-NDT has evidence.
>> A proper name would make things clearer to those outside but break our
>> link with past debaters who use the policy moniker.
>> I would like to agree with Kevin Kuswa and others that a serious problem
>> is the USFG fetish.
>> Some years ago I wrote a topic paper using the agent "we." By this I
>> would mean those people in the room who were debating about an idea. Not
>> that they should go out and implement some plan, but that for the
>> purposes of this debate they were the objects of persuasion.
>> The term in the worlds format is "This House" which means the same thing
>> as we, as it refers to those gathered in that room.
>> I would prefer we or This House, and as illustrated by the discussion so
>> far, then we could have a choice of agents. Let's face it, USFG does not
>> equal
>> Another concern is the unwillingness to debate the topic. Yes, that is a
>> problem, for preparation, for publicity, for training judges, for
>> bringing in new coaches, for a lot of things. I like the freedom of
>> speech aspects, though.
>> I will be interested in following this discussion.
>> Tuna
>> --
>> Alfred C. Snider aka Tuna
>> Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics
>> University of Vermont
>> Huber House, 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA
>> Global Debate Blog http://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com
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