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Re: Gehrke's query on supporting militarism (fwd)
On Sat, 22 Apr 1995, Hovden Jan M wrote:
> There is one large difference in the two activities. A lawyers choice to
> argue a case has the immediate effect of putting someone in jail who may
> be innocent or to get someone who is guilty of a horrific crime off.
I rarely agree with the rhetoric of heads of state, but Bill Clinton just
made an enlightening remark on 60 Minutes a few moments ago. He said
(paraphrasing): When we as a people try and solve problems with violence
we begin to glorify and hold violence up as an appropriate response to
problem solving in our everyday lives.
I believe this may in a very common sense manner apply to the condition
of a critic sitting in the back of a room and signing their ballot to
choose violence as an option to solve problems. To indicate that a legal
analogy doesn't apply because it is meant to relieve a criminal of their
moral responsibility ignores whether or not their is a moral
responsibility of the debaters in the function of the communication act.
I am NOT saying that critics should impose standards that do not arise in
the context of the round. However, would that be so wrong?
> I think you too readily dismiss the benefits of arguing both sides of an
> issue. I know from personal experience that after arguing both sides of
> an issue, that I usually came away from the experience with my beliefs
> more firmly grounded. THe reason being is that I was confronted with the
> objections to my positions and was able to see what there weaknesses
> were. In the end I better understood my own position and because of that
> felt more strongly about it.
I think you fall prey to the your first objection. The issue of the
critique of violence is not being addressed here at all. The action of
the game is the only thing that seems to be in question. Throughout my
relatively short debating career there have been many issues that have
taken precedence to the "game" from within the context of it.
> In the court of law your decisions
> have real world impacts on real world people. In a debate context you
> don't. When a judge signs his or her ballot nothing happens. The
> position that won the debate is not seen as the more moral or ethical
> argument or even a true argument. It is just the position that was the
> best argument in the round. This is were the analogy falls apart.
WOW. I think this is a good example to remind us that fiat IS illusory
and nothing does change after the round. Precisely for this reason do I
put forward that the communication act of signing the ballot must have
meaning at some level in the action that it accords. Now, whether or not
that is who does the better debating - that is only possible to know
within the context of the critic in the back of the room.
responsibility to our discourse that I believe Amanda Marshall is
referring is something that in many ways we strive for when we engage in
critique issues within the round. There are two levels: First, the level
of discourse, whether it be sexist, domination oriented, or violent;
Secondly, what I believe to be the most important, the level of what is
the assumption behind the action to *solve* a problem, whether that be
violent or domination oriented or sexist. The difference is subtle but
very important. When the critic signs her ballot she says in effect that
policy X is superior. But why. It seems most often to come down to a
question of impact comparison. However, since as you pointed out there
is no impact that occurs outside the round, why not look inside the
framework of the round for an impact? This is what we advocate.
Amanda Marshall states:
> I don't think teaching argumentation should be
> > about teaching sofistry- the ability to argue any position in front of
> > any audience and prevail with no thought to the ethical implications of
> > your argument. I am not saying that there is any one right morality,
> > just that I think it is important to discuss it in the context of the
> > arguments being made.
I agree 100%. The question of what it is you are advocating through the
communication act of signing the ballot has consequences as to how you
percieve your world. Whether that world is within the debate context or
> I have a question about some of the inconsistencies I see in your
> argument. You seem to be saying that judges should not vote for
> positions they do not personally believe in. You also seem to be saying
> that debaters should not run positions that they do not believe in. The
> question I have then is what is the purpose of debate. If the critic and
> the debaters have differing world views, how can a debate occur. THe
> debaters can't adapt to the judge without compromising their beliefs and
> the critic can't vote for the team without compromising his/her beliefs.
> If this is true, it seems that a meaningful debate cannot occur. The
> team whose personal politics are aligned more closely with the critics
> are destined to win. I personally have an ethical problem with this.
> Why should a team be rewarded just because they have the same political
> beliefs as the critic. What if the other team worked harder, argued
> better, and were holding true to their beliefs? Why should they be punished?
The question of whether or not a teams politics aligns more effectively
with a critic's really doesn't enter into the equation much. I believe
that any skillful debater can evoke a ballot from a critic through a
myriad of choices in the round. Debate has been going on for centuries
and at times people with differing opinions convince one another to agree
for a moment. I think that you assume that if a team worked harder and
argued better they should win, unless they run a critique; which appears
to shatter your thesis of wanting to have a blank slate in the back of
Cal State Chico
p.s. Pierre has a new hat and his bald spot isn't getting burned.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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