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CR, self interest, and Isaac
I will answer this post even though it will do no good. Throughout this
ongoing conversation, and I mean virtually from the beginning of the
topic discussion, those against a CR topic have been (1) assuming we are
accusing them of racism and will continue to use this unsound strategy
as long as it provides a rhetorical advantage throughout the year; (2)
spending little time answering specific arguments (though this has
recently improved tremendously); and (3) advancing a cynical, almost
nihilistic view of the NDT/CEDA community and our motives for things
ranging from topic choices to argumentive strategies to whatever squirly
wank we go for in the last :45 seconds of the 2AR. I hardly expect this
post to answer Isaac, or anyone else, since I don't feel like a real
conversation is taking place. Doubtless Isaac would be as quick to
blame me as I to blame him and the rhetoric and hostility of many other
anti-CR posts, and I accept some of that responsibility, and admit that
I AM being political, but then again, Isaac claims that we are all
selfish, so everyone can decide for themselves whether it's worse to be
openly political or to be an ethical egoist.
A few minutes ago, Tex wrote:
the claim that small schools should not vote for se asia and this
"selfishness" claim are indeed valid. the intent of my original
post was not to claim that cr supporters have some elaborate plan to
brainwash the enitire community into voting for the cr topic.
I have no quarell with Tex's ground concerns. Ground may very well be
an illusion (has anyone bothered to answer Meany's posts?) and I think
that we will always find ground for topics we like; eventually some of
us will also be forced to like the topics we have, and find the ground
anyway. But Isaac might have a problem with Tex's clarification of
intent, for Isaac writes:
> Once again I think that the CR group (if there is one I guess) is
> claiming that we have to debate CR in order to be better people. Why?
> Debating a topic will certainly make one more aware of the importance
> the problem area but I do not know why it will transform us into
> people. Either Matt is saying that we are horrible people to begin
> and need to be educated by those dedicated to CR or that we will
> learn more abour domestic problems i.e. HUMAN RIGHTS abuses.
1. Never said we "have to debate CR in order to be better people." Nor
has Rob or John or Laura or Lucius K or Sean or Tracy Gonos. We've all
simply said we feel CR WILL make us better CR advocates (a desirable
characteristic, for heck's sake!); not better people in every way and
not exclusively but, we feel, with conviction, debating a CR topic.
2. Never said "we are horrible to begin with," but I will concede that
we lack an understanding of basic civil rights law and many, many, many
people in the debate community would like to know more about it. THE
REAL SURPRISE IS WHY NO OTHER TOPIC HAS THIS LEVEL OF PERSONAL
INTEREST!!! Or at least, why no one has bothered to express that
interest. (Our openly personal or proactive advocacy is always assumed
to be bad, some reason for suspician of our motives and our logic).
> Why would SE Asia not serve this same function of education. What
> about the recent stories about the Nike factories? Are these not an
> affront to the
> realization of global civil rights abuses. Sure there will be more
> discussed than this, but it will certainly be a part of many debate
> rounds. Also, why would education of international problems be so
> worse than discussion of our own misdeeds. Advocates could arise
> this topic as well. Analee (I know that this a horrible butchering of
> her name and I apologize) went to Mexico after that topic from the
> research that she had found and studied. Oh but wait, her work does
> count since she went somewhere else in the world and helped.
This is a very good start. If Isaac and others are willing to concede
that educational potential is a "voting issue," then we would love to
continue this discussion. In any case, we should always TRY to turn any
topic into an opportunity for the kind of growth that comes from trips
to Mexico, or internships at the ACLU, or trips to China and Indonesia,
for that matter, right Stacey?
> Second, there is an abundance of literature about any of the topics
> have been proposed. You just have to go to a library and find it. If
> you think that CR will get people off of L/N then you are wrong. Yes
> there law review articles about CR but there are also many about the
> foreign policy sphere.
I agree that there is always an abundance of literature. I also think
we should spend less time trying to read links, brinks and impacts into
the literature we read, and start letting the literature determine the
arguments themselves. As a judge, I am less concerned about
"specificity" in the literature than with the debaters' ability to
connect the literature in some strategically sound way.
Advantage one for me, though, will always be that legal literature is
argumentive literature. In other words, legal topics are designed for
and through argumentation itself. Very little QUALITY evidence exists
on lexis's news base concerning Civil Rights. Most of it is
conclusionary and due to the spacial constraints of the mass media
cannot get deeply into the issues.
Frankly, though, I don't care where people GET their arguments from. A
domestic topic will contract the topic literature at a "flat" rate which
will qualitatively influence both large and small schools. I think it
will force better debaters at all levels to read their literature more
> When we can not find something in the KSU
> library, we get it from KU. It is one of the best libraries in the
> and it will be for any topic that is chosen.
That's great, dude!
> Those schools with law
> schools will have it even easier. Guess that means that we had better
> not vote for it (and CEU) since we do not have a law school and only
> some of the law reviews. Being the best means finding the evidence in
> anyway possible and under any topic there will advantages for those
> go to find it. For some schools it will be harder than others, but
> will be the case NO MATTER which topic chosen. If space is it, you
> betcha that I will be over in Lawrence fighting those Jayhawks for
> plethora of space journals in their science library.
No, I argued earlier that just about everyone has access to a Law
Library, physically or electronically. Granted, the same constraints
will exist as now, but at least Civil Rights would provide a
type-specific literature base.
> Also, why should some schools be punished for being able to find cards
> that others do not have. That is the name of the game. We are
> in an activity that hinges upon research, and those that have the best
> often do pretty well. Why is everyone so afraid of debating an
> international topic, it will have domestic implications beyond Clinton
> that is what is so important.
1. No one should be punished for successful research, or for anything
else (unless they want to be punished).
2. I am not so much "afraid" of debating an international topic as of
missed opportunity of debating CR. I was one of those few saps who
loved the Mexico topic, bidirectionality and all. I just want to debate
a topic that is relevant to the my life and the lives of those around
me. The fact that it provides a consistent, made-for-debate literature
base is also compelling.
> Finally, to say that schools do not vote for a topic out of self
> is just a lie. When squads vote, they vote for a topic that will
> interest them and be what they perceive as the best for those
> I am voting for an international topic because that is what I like.
> off of the moral high horse. You are voting for CR for research
> right, hmmmmm.... sounds like a self-serving choice to me. If it is
> to educate yourselves, go get some law reviews and start reading
> when SE Asia/Treaties is chosen, you will be knee-deep in
> research. Sorry is I sound a little perturbed, but once again the CR
> do-gooders are trying to distort theirs and others intentions. I
> that Tex is at least being open about why he is voting for the topics
> his choice. Et tu Matt?
Niet, Comrade Isaacski. This whole issue is out of line. Even Tex
realized the difference between selfishness and commitment. Not all
squads vote for "their own interests" as narrowly defined by the
possibility of debate success or personal pleasure. Some do and some
don't and sometimes there is the opportunity to do both. Perhaps some
people will rank CR first and SE Asia second because they are slightly
more concerned about CR's political opportunities than SEA's
debatability opportunities, maybe the other way around. Maybe people
will rank CR second because it meets all the argumentive criteria (it is
a legal topic for hecks sake) and provides an interest to the voter
slightly less than Space.
Isaac calls us "do-gooders." Isn't that a line from the old Adam
Actions taken in "self-interest" are still committed to a multiplicity
of values which determine the motives of the self-interested act. It is
in my interest to be a "do gooder" concerning CR advocacy, because it
will teach me and my colleagues more about a world many of us want to
change. If that is "selfish," then so is the refusal to vote for CR
because you don't want to be called a racist.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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