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

JP Lacy lacyjp
Wed Apr 8 20:27:23 CDT 2009


Your argument was: "We are failing to address critical problems facing 
the world because we keep focusing on the USFG."

My argument was: "One critical problem facing the world is the war in 
Iraq. How does focus on the USFG avoid the issue?"

Neither an Iraq topic nor a "US heg = bad" topic are likely.

The questions are: What creative debates would we miss about Iraq if we 
picked a USFG agent? What deeper discussions of key issues are we 
ignoring? What "garbage" are you talking about that avoids discussion of 
the war in Iraq? How would a "heg = bad" topic contribute to our 
understanding of current US policy toward Iraq?

--JP

scottelliott at grandecom.net wrote:
> Here is the turn JP: under the current method of framing topics, your example
> would never be chosen. Why? Because the issue is too narrow. The resolution
> would be framed, Resolved the USFG should substantially reduce its military
> commitment in Iraq. (By the way a modification, "Resolved: the USFG should
> substanitally reduce its military commitments" would be preferable to
> "Resolved: Russia--find a link.").
>
> Wouldn't a deeper discussion of, say, 'Resolved: United States hegemony is
> undesirable' address both Iraq and allow for deeper discussions of the key
> issues? I think it would open up a lot more space for creative, and topical
> debates, without having the same old garbage of USFG agent of action issues.
>
> Scott
>
>
> Quoting JP Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu>:
>
>   
>> Critical problem facing the world: We (the United States) are at war in
>> Iraq.
>>
>> How does focus on the US government avoid discussion of this issue?
>>
>> --JP
>>
>>
>> scottelliott at grandecom.net wrote:
>>     
>>> 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
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>           
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>       
>>     
>
>
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>   




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