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infernsoft

Multiple positions/worlds is inherently sexist/racist/etc..

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One of the arguments Spanos makes in his email to Joe Miller is similar to that. He says that the reason policy debate produced neoconservative politicians is because it teaches us to deploy arguments as if we're merely scoring points, without considering the real human weight of those arguments. I think the strategy of reading multiple conditional arguments which we can simply kick is one of the best examples of this.

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The greater point is that we are only on this earth for a truly small and limited amount of time, and it decays our body and spirit to say things we don't believe. This concept scales small and large and is timeless. Its a waste of time to gain useless factoids about subjects we have no involvement in. And, on the other hand, it trains us about why this is not useful and why it hurts us, so later on in life we can live with compassion and wisdom. You don't need Spanos or any other philosopher of person to point this out to you.

 

And, on the level of debate, I don't think your argument makes any sense. Having a couple positions, say a critique and a disadvantage, that operate on levels of "the way you are doing this is not useful" and "if you do this policy action x or y will occur" is not inherently anything, unless one of the arguments makes sexist or racist assumptions. Saying that complexity, or seeing an affirmative case as having faults from multiple perspectives is inherently sexist/racist is a stretch of the imagination. You might be better of saying that since the aff has to uphold the case from the perspective of it being a good idea to pass, that the negative has to hold a consistent opinion of why it should not pass. If they aren't even sure if its good/bad idea by having multiple contradictory arguments, why vote for them? But again, debate theory can be made up in any way just like anything else.

Edited by Met4physica
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One of the arguments Spanos makes in his email to Joe Miller is similar to that. He says that the reason policy debate produced neoconservative politicians is because it teaches us to deploy arguments as if we're merely scoring points, without considering the real human weight of those arguments. I think the strategy of reading multiple conditional arguments which we can simply kick is one of the best examples of this.

 

That sounds like exactly what i'm looking for. where can i find this email? I tried googling...but that didn't help.

 

Thanks a lot! :)

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William Spanos in Joe Millers’ book Cross-ex (pg. 467) 2004

 

Dear Joe MIller, Yes, the statement about the American debate circuit you refer to was made by me, though some years ago. I strongly believed then --and still do, even though a certain uneasiness about "objectivity" has crept into the "philosophy of debate" -- that debate in both the high schools and colleges in this country is assumed to take place nowhere, even though the issues that are debated are profoundly historical, which means that positions are always represented from the perspective of power, and a matter of life and death. I find it grotesque that in the debate world, it doesn't matter which position you take on an issue -- say, the United States' unilateral wars of preemption -- as long as you "score points". The world we live in is a world entirely dominated by an "exceptionalist" America which has perennially claimed that it has been chosen by God or History to fulfill his/its "errand in the wilderness." That claim is powerful because American economic and military power lies behind it. And any alternative position in such a world is virtually powerless. Given this inexorable historical reality, to assume, as the protocols of debate do, that all positions are equal is to efface the imbalances of power that are the fundamental condition of history and to annul the Moral authority inhering in the position of the oppressed. This is why I have said that the appropriation of my interested work on education and empire to this transcendental debate world constitute a travesty of my intentions. My scholarship is not "disinterested." It is militant and intended to ameliorate as much as possible the pain and suffering of those who have been oppressed by the "democratic" institutions that have power precisely by way of showing that their language if "truth," far from being "disinterested" or "objective" as it is always claimed, is informed by the will to power over all manner of "others."

 

This is also why I told my interlocutor that he and those in the debate world who felt like him should call into question the traditional "objective" debate protocols and the instrumentalist language they privilege in favor of a concept of debate and of language in which life and death mattered. I am very much aware that the arrogant neocons who now saturate the government of the Bush administration -- judges, pentagon planners, state department officials, etc. learned their "disinterested" argumentative skills in the high school and college debate societies and that, accordingly, they have become masters at disarming the just causes of the oppressed. This kind leadership will reproduce itself (along with the invisible oppression it perpetrates) as long as the training ground and the debate protocols from which it emerges remains in tact. A revolution in the debate world must occur. It must force that unworldly world down into the historical arena where positions make a difference. To invoke the late Edward Said, only such a revolution will be capable of "deterring democracy" (in Noam Chomsky's ironic phrase), of instigating the secular critical consciousness that is, in my mind, the sine qua non for avoiding the immanent global disaster towards which the blind arrogance of Bush Administration and his neocon policy makers is leading.

 

WVS

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The greater point is that we are only on this earth for a truly small and limited amount of time, and it decays our body and spirit to say things we don't believe. This concept scales small and large and is timeless. Its a waste of time to gain useless factoids about subjects we have no involvement in. And, on the other hand, it trains us about why this is not useful and why it hurts us, so later on in life we can live with compassion and wisdom. You don't need Spanos or any other philosopher of person to point this out to you.

Pass me the blunt. I need a hit of whatever you're smoking.

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