[eDebate] Is it time to get away from Policy debate? (Even More Kuswa-Lacy Stuff)

Kuswa, Kevin kkuswa
Sat Apr 11 13:12:17 CDT 2009

more of the stuff not being read....

From: JP Lacy [lacyjp at wfu.edu]
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 7:59 PM
This is the primary barrier to change: People haven't been persuaded
that a non-USFG agent would be better. They are worried it might be
worse. Filling in some details can't hurt.

SURE, that's the idea, but you could help by being less pessimistic and by shifting your faith in the usfg-blankee to the innovative capacity of the debaters themselves over the course of a season.  I mean, really, aren't debaters together enough to have competitive debates on just about anything?  We are not asking for the "anything goes" topic at this point anyway, instead merely seeking a slight deviation from fifteen years of the exact same configuration.  The Mr. (sic.) Potato Head topic wording has been stuck with the "mustache option" for fifteen years, making it tough to really think a bit more about the choice of spectacle, ear-piece, hat, neckwear, potato shape itself, etc..

My analogy was a criticism of Americans who try to renounce their
nationality. It is easy to think about Hiroshima and say "I didn't do
that." The reality is that we live in a country that continues to
benefit from the post-war order that dropping the bomb created. I don't
understand how owning that reality is a means to sanitize guilt. I do
understand how hiding your nationality does.

USING "R: the USFG should" does not own that reality.  It may hide nationality.  This is kind of a wierd point of information that is easy to agree with and belies how everything gets projected on to this patriotism frame for you.  The debate community is not synonmous with "America" and it should not be treated that way.

>         "YOUR adherence to the USFG is GENOCIDAL"
> YES, in the context of the Rwanda example that YOU brought up, you were assuming that a lack of USFG action (bystander mentality) was primarily responsible for the killings and genocidal action in the region.  This is not exactly the case--in fact it was the same sort of colonial control and imperial logic from Europe that created the divisions between the people in the first place and then instituted mechanisms for mass killing.  You do not know this history--you simply believe the narrative of US inaction being the cause because you have already been conditioned to think that the US always has the solution (probably because you have been in debate for so long).  What would you have the US do?  You phrase is "stop the killing."  Do you know how the US tried to "stop the killing" in Vietnam?  The military razed villages so there were no more people to kill.  In Rwanda, the nation-state borders and attempts to coerce the people into identifying with Rwanda over other ethnic attachments was one of the reasons the violence was so extreme.  Your blanket homogenizing of the people in the region into "Rwandans" and your colonial assumption that outside trooops are the best way to solve the problem are the two kinds of thinking that provoked the nightmare in the first place.
And your contention is that the US could have done nothing at all to
stop the genocide? Spectating is a means of colonial control.

MAYBE the US could have "done something" and maybe that "something" is the problem or would have made things worse.  Would need some specifics on this--which you refuse to give.

1. JP, what would you have the USFG do to stop genocide?  What would you have had the USFG do to stop the killings in Rwanda?  Would it be a "NATO bombing of Bosnia"-type solution?

2. How would debate effectuate the policy specifics you provide when trying to answer question number one?

3. And, then, if you can somehow connect your view of debate to your little whine about "can't the US do something good?", tell us why the aff agent of action always has to be the usfg.

Spectatorship is imperial?  Your form sure as heck is....AND SO IS YOUR FALSE BELIEF IN NON-SPECTATORSHIP!   This is almost to the point where you are saying, "hey, let's advocate that the US does some bad shit just so we do not have to risk the consequences of not advocating usfg action at all."  Ridiculous.

> Let me ask you a question as a follow-up.  Who are you addressing the statement, "The USFG should..." to?  What power does the audience you are addressing reasonably possess?
The same audience that any debate resolution addresses. Among their
powers are to believe the statement, reject it, or reserve judgment.

NOT AN ANSWER.  Who is that?  Who is this audience?  What about the judge?  The ballot?  What is this "their powers" thing?  Are you converting the wonder-twin powers of fiat to democracy?  Gleek can come in and save the day by bringing the magic key to the public?  If only this mythical "debate audience" could bring itself to climb down from the sky and connect their reality to that of the usfg.  Talk about realism?  This really is those old "make your own adventure books" where the actual "choice" was always on page twelve where the book pivots on something really mundane like picking a number between 1 and 3 (A-spec.).   DAMN RIGHT--A little more healthy A-Spec debates and the US would not have gone to war in Iraq. :)

> The most important question I asked was never answered at all:
> Question: What is the advantage to any of the effects of abandoning the USFG you've listed? You make this argument yearly, what exactly are the advantages? So far, you've read some links...
> THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD ANSWER, especially when combined with the switch-side argument allowing you to maintain usfg discussion on the negative.  I would also add that we freeze our ability to plot out change in other contexts and we unnecessarily associate governing with macro-reform.
> The biggest issue, though, is that year after year we encourage debaters to DE-VALUE what they are actually doing (at the actual time of the debate) in FAVOR of reifying federal government action--the scholarship-fetish DA.  The effect of this is to turn debate into a "training day" model that exclusively looks toward certain types of "model-subjectivities" as the universal aim of all debaters and all debate programs.  Some models work better for some programs--it is not a surprise to see the same bad arguments being made with increasing ferocity as the writing on the wall becomes more and more visible.  This is not much more difficult than the statism position, yet there are still questions about what agency does when it is folded into "the usfg should."
You are right, & I'll echo the argument Ross makes: We are all policy
makers. We make important decisions. Debate is a way to make decisions.

WHEN ARE "WE" POLICY-MAKERS?  As we all debate/judge in the present or at some amorphous point in the future?  You assumption is about the future, short-circuiting our discussion of what we are doing now.

We pick the USFG as an agent out of convenience: its relatively
accessible, the amount of literature available in the US about Federal
Policy is well developed, its easy to understand arguments about the
USFG, the USFG makes important and controversial decisions.

YOU ARE RESORTING TO CONVENIENCE WHEN HIROSHIMA, IRAQ, RWANDA, AND VIETNAM are still on the table??!??!    Sick.  This does not justify our choice at all, it mocks the process, it prevents generations of debaters from more pedagogical opportunities (on a whim), and it links to all the imperialism arguments above.  What about the fact that debaters are not this agent?  What about some diversity in the agent itself?  You write and then put your hands over your ears and shout "I will not listen, I will not listen, I will not listen!" until you are ready to write again.  Come on...your roots as a JMU Duke should encourage more independent thinking than this.

None of which is to rule out non-USFG agents, just to say that it
remains to be proven that they work as well.

AHH--a hint of a beginning of a start of a fissure....let's check it out--the worse that will happen is that debates end up being a little different.

Plus, I always thought Resolved meant about the same thing as "We
Contend," or "We Believe."

ALWAYS thinking anything is a problem, let alone the meaning of the constant preface to the topics that you spend your life devoted to....what does "contend" or "believe" mean?  That "you" are what "you conjure up" in a debate round?  I think not.  And, "I think not," is different than both "not" and "the usfg should think not."  And, finally, when you talk about this, do not forget your colon.  When the colon opens up into the entire USFG, the required sanitization mechanisms (external fiat) are far more massive than a simple decontamination treatment plant.  When the colon opens up into itself, the agency of the speaker matters first (what do you eat?).


ps--there is NOT a giraffe in your colon.


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