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Lazzarone

Johnny 23' kritik (1NC shell)

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i'm puzzled at where exactly i'm wrong: are you saying that (a) i mis-tagged the card, (B) made an illegitimate cross-application between mitchell's and d&g's concepts, or © should refrain from quoting mitchell's earlier work, as he's since changed his mind? (...i'm prepared to defend myself on all three counts - just need to know which.)

 

as for this article, mitchell (with others) says that debate can serve as "a training ground for future advocates of progressive change". this can be true at the same time as it can be true that debate can serve as a training ground for "new graduates skilled in argumentation and deploy[ed] ...in information campaigns designed to neutralize public competence and short-circuit democratic decision-making" (mitchell, from the shell). that's not contradictory. both things can happen. hence the necessity of kritiks like these, which highlight the desirability of the latter happening rather than the former.

 

to elaborate: first, the article is specific to 'switch-sides debating', which j23 needn't take a position on, since the links in the shell are distinct from that - e.g., utopian discourse, commodity forms, focus on the state, etc. second, this 'direct refutation' amounts to three paragraphs summarizing a collective position ('it is our position...'), not mitchell's alone. third, their position fails to respond to the greene and hicks article on point, as the latter say (in a fashion that's very similar to spanos' email to debaters) that switch-sides debating supports imperialism abroad, not only 'suspect homeland security policies' domestically. fourth, the authors concede that greene and hicks' concerns are legitimate: "one need look only to the bush administration's framing of war as an instrument of democracy promotion to grasp how the switch-side technique can be appropriated as a justification for violence." lastly, if switch-side debating does check fundamentalism and absolutism, then we're demonstrating it. this article writes the kritik's 'solvency' as it argues that the 'debate about debate' can reign in micro-fascisms. well, this kritik is a debate about debate.

 

one footnote: i'm no liberal. when i read a sentences that ends with "the efficacy of academic debate as a training ground for future advocates of progressive change", what i understand that to mean is 'debate can produce liberals'. that too falls under the purview of this kritik. doctor lee could've been a leftist for all i know...

 

"Leftist organizations will not be the last to secrete microfascisms. It's too easy to be antifascist on the molar level, and not even see the fascist inside you, the fascist you yourself sustain and nourish and cherish with molecules both personal and collective."

Edited by Lazzarone

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"But that's the question. Are we, or rather, can we resist the micro-fascism? Is it the Der Derian/Nietzsche Security K all over again? Do we not just accuse others of micro-fascism as a warrant for our attempts to tear what they stand for down? Or is it something that inspires change, yet change moves us no closer to our goal than we were before?"

 

what 'goal'? what 'us'? ...the point is that certain unquestioned discursive practices carry micro-fascistic potential and that critiquing those practices can carry revolutionary/artistic potential. you do this to win a debate round, which is a synonym for reshaping the activity. that's the focus: changing the game, not the world. so, affirming an ethos of anti-fascism needn't entail a utopian telos - quite the opposite, in fact.

 

what about specifically within the round? The K obviously does not advocate we destroy debate as an activity, and therefore, some structure would still exist. Does the K call for a continuing dialogue, or just for us to rethink the status quo now? Because if it calls for a single questioning, then do we not reshape the activity into a new form of micro-fascism? I guess what I'm getting at is how do we know that what our criticism doesn't draw a parallel to the structure of communist governments of the past (I believe Marx says there has to be a turnover, ie socialism, where the government sets up things so communism will work. However, each time, the capitalist harms are destroyed, but replaced by new ones that comes from a quasi-communist, quasi-authoritarian status quo)?

 

With the Nietzsche, how do we know that what we're questioning is not just a rationale for our destruction of a part of the activity? How can we be sure that we are in fact fighting the micro-fascist lurkings, and not destroying things in the name of the fight against micro-fascism?

 

_

 

i responded to travis neal's post with one entitled 'vicious paper cuts', but i can't find it now, as the e-debate archives for may 2005 are missing. i'd say to you simply that if micro-fascism is the ever-present threat haunting all political action, then that's an argument for - not against - criticizing it at the level of (molecular) practices, not merely at the level of (molar) ideology. also, communism turned dictatorial in several nation-states for very specific reasons, so i'm not sure we can draw any profound universal (much less, ontological) lessons from the attendant horror, except the same one drawn from burroughs' short story: be more cautious with our experimentation and more rigorous in our self-questioning.

 

I saw that once I posted, but didn't have a chance to respond. I hope it comes up soon, as I'd like to read the rest of that discussion.

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"The K obviously does not advocate we destroy debate as an activity, and therefore, some structure would still exist. Does the K call for a continuing dialogue, or just for us to rethink the status quo now? Because if it calls for a single questioning, then do we not reshape the activity into a new form of micro-fascism?"

 

i'm not following you, so let's back up a bit...

 

we're participating in a game of giving and asking for reasons. in this game, a set of discursive practices have become doxa: that we should prefer theory to narrative; we should provide grand solutions to ready-made problems; we should level all politics to the question, 'what should the state do?', and so forth. in questioning these, we ask, 'what results from these assumptions?' and 'how can we think differently?'. by reading literature, we illustrate the dark underbelly of the will to better the world.

 

none of this entails destroying the activity, or even demanding that we stop playing the game. the very way you frame your question, however, indicates you may be hanging on to unwarranted presuppositions. you write, "some structure would still exist", as if debaters who run this argument are in some position to fiat debate-wide changes. d&g remind us that the structure isn't always what's most key, but the micro-political practices which prop that structure up often are -- you can abolish the state and people will still oppress each other, or you can keep the state and people may learn to respect each other's liberty; you can destroy debate and people will still spout flawed assumptions, or you can sustain debate and people may learn to keep dogmatism in check.

 

if micro-politics is key, then every round is key. i don't know what "a single questioning" means. the judge and your opponents aren't going to sit down and 'think real hard' about what you've said after your first speech. you are attempting to popularize some questions that have already been asked and will continue to be asked; you're one instance in a series. yes, this can reshape the activity in a bottom-up way. the game shapes itself win-by-win; it decides what passes for a good argument round-by-round. you're saying that what has hitherto been taken for granted as good argumentation no longer should be. ...but, how does this result in "a new form of micro-fascism"?

 

"I guess what I'm getting at is how do we know that what our criticism doesn't draw a parallel to the structure of communist governments of the past (I believe Marx says there has to be a turnover, ie socialism, where the government sets up things so communism will work. However, each time, the capitalist harms are destroyed, but replaced by new ones that comes from a quasi-communist, quasi-authoritarian status quo)?"

 

this history is a big part of what led foucault to reject utopianism...

 

"I think that to imagine another system is to extend our participation in the present system. This is perhaps what happened in the history of the Soviet Union: apparently, new institutions were in fact based on elements taken from an earlier system - the Red Army reconstituted on the model of the Czarist army, the return to realism in art, and the emphasis on traditional family morality. The Soviet Union returned to the standards of bourgeois society in the nineteenth century, and perhaps, more as a result of Utopian tendencies than a concern for realities. ... I would rather oppose actual experiences to the possibility of a utopia. ... If you wish to replace an official institution by another institution that fulfills the same function - better and differently - then you are already being reabsorbed by the dominant structure." : http://total.confusion.net/pipermail/cx-l/2002-June/000894.html

 

but this is exactly what we're kritiking! - we're not imagining another system, or contemplating utopia. we're acknowledging that there'll never be a final solution to the moral image of thought, that our own discourse is worthy of kritik as well. and all the better.

 

"With the Nietzsche, how do we know that what we're questioning is not just a rationale for our destruction of a part of the activity? How can we be sure that we are in fact fighting the micro-fascist lurkings, and not destroying things in the name of the fight against micro-fascism?"

 

we're condemned to attempt rational inferences based on partial information. we think we're fighting 'micro-fascist lurkings' for the reasons given by d&g and mitchell; we may be wrong. in any case, we're not destroying anything; we're cautiously experimenting. i believe, debate socialization to the contrary, that refusing to feign certainty is a strength, not a weakness.

 

"You have to keep enough of the organism for it to reform each dawn; and you have to keep small supplies of significance and subjectification, if only to turn them against their own systems when the circumstances demand it, when things, persons, even situations force you to; and you have to keep small rations of subjectivity in sufficient quantity to enable you to respond to the dominant reality. Mimic the strata. You don't reach the BwO, and its plane of consistency, by wildly destratifying. ...the BwO is always swinging between the surfaces that stratify it and the plane that sets it free. If you free it with too violent an action, if you blow apart the strata without taking precautions, then instead of drawing the plane you will be killed, plunged into a black hole, or even dragged toward catastrophe. Staying stratified - organized, signified, subjected - is not the worst that can happen; the worst that can happen is if you throw the strata into demented or suicidal collapse, which brings them back down on us heavier than ever. This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times. It is through a meticulous relation with the strata that one succeeds in freeing lines of flight, causing conjugated flows to pass and escape and bringing forth continuous intensities for a BwO. Connect, conjugate, continue: a whole "diagram," as opposed to still signifying and subjective programs.

 

We are in a social formation; first see how it is stratified for us and in us and at the place where we are; then descend from the strata to the deeper assemblage within which we are held; gently tip the assemblage, making it pass over to the side of the plane of consistency. ... You have constructed your own little machine, ready when needed to be plugged into other collective machines."

Edited by Lazzarone

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"The K obviously does not advocate we destroy debate as an activity, and therefore, some structure would still exist. Does the K call for a continuing dialogue, or just for us to rethink the status quo now? Because if it calls for a single questioning, then do we not reshape the activity into a new form of micro-fascism?"

 

i'm not following you, so let's back up a bit...

 

we're participating in a game of giving and asking for reasons. in this game, a set of discursive practices have become doxa: that we should prefer theory to narrative; we should provide grand solutions to ready-made problems; we should level all politics to the question, 'what should the state do?', and so forth. in questioning these, we ask, 'what results from these assumptions?' and 'how can we think differently?'. by reading literature, we illustrate the dark underbelly of the will to better the world.

 

none of this entails destroying the activity, or even demanding that we stop playing the game. the very way you frame your question, however, indicates you may be hanging on to unwarranted presuppositions. you write, "some structure would still exist", as if debaters who run this argument are in some position to fiat debate-wide changes. d&g remind us that the structure isn't always what's most key, but the micro-political practices which prop that structure up often are -- you can abolish the state and people will still oppress each other, or you can keep the state and people may learn to respect each other's liberty; you can destroy debate and people will still spout flawed assumptions, or you can sustain debate and people may learn to keep dogmatism in check.

 

if micro-politics is key, then every round is key. i don't know what "a single questioning" means. the judge and your opponents aren't going to sit down and 'think real hard' about what you've said after your first speech. you are attempting to popularize some questions that have already been asked and will continue to be asked; you're one instance in a series. yes, this can reshape the activity in a bottom-up way. the game shapes itself win-by-win; it decides what passes for a good argument round-by-round. you're saying that what has hitherto been taken for granted as good argumentation no longer should be. ...but, how does this result in "a new form of micro-fascism"?

 

Nor am I sure. I'm sure I had somewhere I was going with that, but i don't remember.

 

"I guess what I'm getting at is how do we know that what our criticism doesn't draw a parallel to the structure of communist governments of the past (I believe Marx says there has to be a turnover, ie socialism, where the government sets up things so communism will work. However, each time, the capitalist harms are destroyed, but replaced by new ones that comes from a quasi-communist, quasi-authoritarian status quo)?"

 

this history is a big part of what led foucault to reject utopianism...

 

"I think that to imagine another system is to extend our participation in the present system. This is perhaps what happened in the history of the Soviet Union: apparently, new institutions were in fact based on elements taken from an earlier system - the Red Army reconstituted on the model of the Czarist army, the return to realism in art, and the emphasis on traditional family morality. The Soviet Union returned to the standards of bourgeois society in the nineteenth century, and perhaps, more as a result of Utopian tendencies than a concern for realities. ... I would rather oppose actual experiences to the possibility of a utopia. ... If you wish to replace an official institution by another institution that fulfills the same function - better and differently - then you are already being reabsorbed by the dominant structure." : http://total.confusion.net/pipermail/cx-l/2002-June/000894.html

 

but this is exactly what we're kritiking! - we're not imagining another system, or contemplating utopia. we're acknowledging that there'll never be a final solution to the moral image of thought, that our own discourse is worthy of kritik as well. and all the better.

 

Ok, so that's the whole "the K is aware it links to itself" thing?

 

"With the Nietzsche, how do we know that what we're questioning is not just a rationale for our destruction of a part of the activity? How can we be sure that we are in fact fighting the micro-fascist lurkings, and not destroying things in the name of the fight against micro-fascism?"

 

we're condemned to attempt rational inferences based on partial information. we think we're fighting 'micro-fascist lurkings' for the reasons given by d&g and mitchell. we're not destroying anything; we're cautiously experimenting. and refusing to feign certainty is a strength, not a weakness.

 

"You have to keep enough of the organism for it to reform each dawn; and you have to keep small supplies of significance and subjectification, if only to turn them against their own systems when the circumstances demand it, when things, persons, even situations force you to; and you have to keep small rations of subjectivity in sufficient quantity to enable you to respond to the dominant reality. Mimic the strata. You don't reach the BwO, and its plane of consistency, by wildly destratifying. ...the BwO is always swinging between the surfaces that stratify it and the plane that sets it free. If you free it with too violent an action, if you blow apart the strata without taking precautions, then instead of drawing the plane you will be killed, plunged into a black hole, or even dragged toward catastrophe. Staying stratified - organized, signified, subjected - is not the worst that can happen; the worst that can happen is if you throw the strata into demented or suicidal collapse, which brings them back down on us heavier than ever. This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times. It is through a meticulous relation with the strata that one succeeds in freeing lines of flight, causing conjugated flows to pass and escape and bringing forth continuous intensities for a BwO. Connect, conjugate, continue: a whole "diagram," as opposed to still signifying and subjective programs.

 

We are in a social formation; first see how it is stratified for us and in us and at the place where we are; then descend from the strata to the deeper assemblage within which we are held; gently tip the assemblage, making it pass over to the side of the plane of consistency. ... You have constructed your own little machine, ready when needed to be plugged into other collective machines."

 

So then the K is an experiment? Which is what you said when you were talking about how we have to gamble with ethos to hope for the change we dream of?

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yes, yes, and yes.

 

_

 

deleuze, 1969. (the logic of sense, p49)...

 

Any society whatsoever has all of its rules at once -- juridical, religious, political, economic; laws governing love and labor, kinship and marriage, servitude and freedom, life and death. But the conquest of nature, without which it would no longer be a society, is achieved progressively, from one source of energy to another, from one object to another. This is why law weighs with all its might, even before its object is known, and without ever its object becoming exactly known. It is this disequilibrium that makes revolutions possible. It is not at all the case that revolutions are determined by technical progress. Rather, they are made possible by this gap between the two series, which solicits realignments of the economic and political totality in relation to the parts of the technical progress. There are therefore two errors which in truth are one and the same: the error of reformism or technocracy, which aspires to promote or impose partial arrangements of social relations according to the rhythm of technical achievements; and the error of totalitarianism, which aspires to constitute a totalization of the signifiable and the known, according to the rhythm of the social totality existing at a given moment. The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator -- computers and dictatorship; but the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribes there [her] dream of permanent revolution. This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about.

Edited by Lazzarone

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8randon,

 

:P I've been running this argument for quite some time, though don't expect much. The critique is empirically true, in a very hardcore way. But most debaters aren't going to be accepting or even open to the idea.

 

I've grown accustomed to the idea that running this argument means acknowledging the community's general distaste for it (as evidenced by the massive amount of negative rep I'm receiving for doing so; it's not even acceptable in a meaningless virtual debate). It's part of the reason why I'm so keen to do it.

 

Ant

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i believe, debate socialization to the contrary, that refusing to feign certainty is a strength, not a weakness.

I think this is a generally very important notion to critique, so I hope you don't mind if I extend it (and deviate from it) for a bit.

 

My favorite thing Deleuze wrote/said (I can't even remember which) is just a fragment that's been bouncing around in my head too long for me to even remember where it came from (it may even be a figment of my imagination, or the remnant of an unremembered dream): [thought] is having the courage not to know what everyone else knows.

Certainty is a prohibition on thinking, a powerful force that shames us into the endless repetition of the same laundry list of truths (or the same argumentative positions and tactics, evacuated of any meaning by endless recitation). Because, after all, who wants to be so stupid as to not know what was long ago established fact?

Thought doesn't start with that magical moment of gestalt where it 'clicks' and disparate fragments of ideas, attitudes and vague notions take on some kind of consistency but with a breakdown (to the point of falling silent, of failing to speak when spoken to). Thought starts in delirium and confusion, when shit just doesn't make any sense anymore and it's not possible to make the same gestures that one was in the habit of making. It's only then that you can make a real movement (or leap, if you will...a becoming even).

This, to me, is what the 'alternative' has always been: casting a ballot for uncertainty. There isn't a utopian advocacy at the end of a critique, just a ballot that says "I'm not sure anymore." Critique is not an alternative, it's the process of undermining certainty.

I don't mean to say that critique is a purely negative process or that it's job is merely to subtract from truths until they are no longer truths at all. Critique isn't skepticism, but a way to open up new lines of flight that were previously foreclosed by certainty. It's worth remembering that, for Deleuze, all truths are the actualization of a virtual field, of a problem. Critique (or thought) obliterates ossified answers to problems that we've forgotten so that we might come up with new and inventive answers. Maybe the point of critique is to force truths to remember why they were invented and ask if they are still necessary.

 

And even in criticism there are no guarantees or certainties. It is, as kevin says, a cautious experiment. Maybe our criticism will fail utterly. It might even usher in something monstrous (though this might not be the worst outcome). But, though the risks are great, it is a worthwhile process.

 

Deleuze:

 

"[C]oncepts don't , first of all, turn of ready-made, they don't pre-exist: you have to invent, create concepts... Philosophy's job has always been to create new concepts, with their own necessity. Because they're not just whatever generalities happen to be in fashion, either. They're singularities, rather, acting on the flow of everyday thought: it's perfectly easy to think without concepts, but as soon as there are concepts, there's genuine philosophy. It's got nothing to do with ideology. A concept's full of a critical, political force of freedom." (Negotiations, pg. 32)

 

"We sometimes go on as though people can't express themselves. In fact, they're always expressing themselves...Stupidity's never blind or mute. So it's not a problem of getting people to express themselves by of providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say. Repressive forces don't stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves. What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and even rarer, thing that might be worth saying. What we're plagued by these days isn't any blocking of communication, but pointless statements. But what we call the meaning of a statement is its point. That's the only definition of meaning, and it comes to the same thing as a statement's novelty. You can listen to people for hours, but what's the point? ...That's why arguments are such a strain, why there's never any point arguing. You can't just tell someone what they're saying is pointless. So you tell them it's wrong. But what someone says is never wrong, the problem isn't that some things are wrong, but that they're stupid or irrelevant. That they've already been said a thousand times. The notions of relevance, necessity, the point of something, are a thousand times more significant than the notion of truth. Not as a substitute for truth, but as the measure of the truth of what I'm saying." (Negotiations, pg. 129-130)

 

I think it's perfectly possible to a run a kritik without anything that would be called 'offense' in the traditional sense. You don't have to prove that the affirmative IS Dr. Lee (it's literature, after all, not theory!). You don't have to prove that the affirmative's advocacy is bad; you just have to expose it as irrelevant, pointless, uninteresting or uncreative. At that point there is 'only a risk' that casting a ballot to undermine the smug certainty of the affirmative's utopian claims might create something new and novel.

Maybe the status quo (whatever that is!) is innocent until proven guilty, maybe it's the affirmative's burden to be novel and creative (rather than theoretically net beneficial).

 

Edit: oops, almost forgot my usual disclaimer. Don't listen to me, I'm bonkers and have little to no idea what I'm talking about.

Edited by Zack

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(Note, I haven't read all or really any of this thread. I've only really read Zack's post, and I'm only really responding to that. So, if I seem like I have no idea what I'm talking about that is probably the case. I'm also not posting to be in any way argumentative, just to have a discussion. It seems like both me and Zack have a thing for late-night philosophisin')

 

Zack, you make some points about certainty. I might be mischaracterizing what you're saying, but generally what I took away from it is that we have to take steps to undermine things that we're certain in. The idea behind this is that we can break free from the nature of 'everydayness.'

 

Anyway, I've learned to think of things as not being bad. For example, technology, capitalism, and power aren't all bad in themselves, but rather the way they can be used can be bad. So I guess my first question is, are there types of 'certainty' that are necessarily something we want to avoid? Or do we want to just throw it all out at once?

 

So lets assume that we want to get rid of certainty in a single instance, like in the example of the ballot. Does that mean we take away some sort of new perspective on life after plunging into uncertainty? Or, are we perpetually uncertain, round after round, and idealistically this is how we should live our lives?

 

With those questions, is this sort of radical approach- whether in one instance or every, really productive? Couldn't there be a lot of knowledge about who we are, how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to the world that is taken away from the everydayness of things? Our patterns sure are the same, but the ways in which we establish them and the ways in which we view the world through them has to have a large part in the construction of our 'identity.' So what does an identity look like when it is in perpetual revolution, and a perpetual undermining of how it lives it's life. If we are always being towards a sort of revolution, what are we 'being towards' other than 'being towards' once again? Where can we ever ground ourselves? And even if our state of existence is a shallow type of identity, wouldn't that preferable to a state of revolution that never lets us form one in the first place?

 

Hopefully I'm initiating a good discussion, rather than a comparison of e-dicks. :)

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Holy shit, JD! Austin love, baby. I didn't think I actually knew anyone that posted on cross-x anymore. In any event, I think we're about to radically deviate from the direction of this thread, but perhaps not... The moderators can clean up if necessary.

 

I think I've mostly been unclear in what I mean by certainty (partly because I wrote a whole post about one sentence taken out of context).

 

I agree with you in saying that things aren't good or bad, just problematic and potentially dangerous. My reasoning is that the 'thing' in question is essentially an ideal abstraction, there is no 'capitalism' 'state' etc, just concrete assemblages with real relations of force. Given that we are fully integrated into these assemblages (in fact, we're working parts in a great many machines at once) we're forced to act within them based only on, to quote kevin, "attempt rational inferences based on partial information."

When I say uncertainty (and I believe, though I cannot be sure, kevin means roughly the same thing) I mean this condition of partial information. To say, as you do, that things are not good or bad is itself an admission of the condition of uncertainty that I'm referring to. As kevin says, certainty is feigned. It is not a condition that we choose.

I mean, let's break this down with a concrete example (I'll use the ballot, since you mentioned it): after you run your nutty Heidegger biz and pick up a ballot with it, are you certain of what happened to yourself or others in the round? Let alone what the (far reaching, if near invisible) consequences of that ballot will be. In this sense an admission of uncertainty is a check on dogmatism and (I think) very dangerous utopian claims of mastery.

 

On the question of permanent revolution and whatnot:

 

It's worth clarifying that the pairing certainty/uncertainty is not identical to the pairing belief/skepticism. I get the sense that it is this second pairing that you're referring to when you talk about the problems that arise with the sort of revolution always yet-to-come. I am not arguing that we ought to undermine all truth for all time. There is, in fact, a kind of dogmatic certainty implied by this kind of nihilistic skepticism that I take issue with. Specifically, that truths are of no use if they are not eternal.

Uncertainty in my mind is a critical orientation towards truth that treats it as a localized response to a concrete problematic field. You know that Foucault 88 card that I love so much? The one that everyone who has ever written anything about Foucault has quoted at least nineteen times? "[T]here are no reforms as such. Reforms are not produced in the air, independently of those who carry them out...

A critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. [that is, certainty is not necessary to make use of a given truth] It is a matter of pointing out what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest.

We must free ourselves from the sacrilization of the social as the only reality and stop regarding as superfluous something so essential in human life and in human relations as thought. Thought exists independently of systems and structures of discourse. It is something that is often hidden, but which always animates everyday behavior. There is always a little thought in even the most stupid institution; there is always thought even in silent habits. [that is, every truth is a response to a problematic field...even if it is, from the very start, a stupid response]

Criticism is a matter of flushing out that thought and trying to change it: to show that things are not as self evident as one believed, to see that what is accepted as self-evident will no longer be accepted as such. Practicing criticism is a matter of making facile gestures difficult. [though, perhaps, not impossible. and perhaps the same gesture made with great care isn't even the same gesture, or at least has a very different meaning and effect]

In these circumstances, criticism (and radical criticism) is absolutely indispensable to any transformation. A transformation that remains within the same mode of thought, a transformation that is only a way of adjusting the same thought more closely to the reality of things can merely be a superficial transformation.

On the other hand, as soon as one can no longer think things as one formerly thought them, transformation becomes both very urgent, very difficult, and quite possible."

I'll elaborate on this last bolded section out of brackets, since it's going to be a bit lengthy. The first thing to notice here, I think, is that Foucault links criticism and transformation. It seems insignificant if we take this link to be merely incidental or even causal, but I think the point is that criticism and transformation are, in fact, part of the same project (call it freedom or politics or whatever). It may seem like Foucault is arguing for some kind of crazed skeptic who just wants to destroy truth (well ok, I think by now most of us in debate know that's really not the case...but some folks think it is). Closely read, I think Foucault is arguing that criticism and transformation form something of a virtuous circle where criticism becomes useful when transformation is necessary and where transformation becomes necessary because criticism exposes the hidden violence of the assumptions we have not yet considered. So to answer your question, permanent revolution is not simply an ideal to work towards, but a condition that always already exists. It is the genesis both of the institutions that we oppose and the means through which we oppose them.

This only seems nihilistic if you lose track of the value of actively living this revolution, rather than being unconsciously subjected to it. Freedom isn't a potentially eternal state that we ought to realize in the world, but something we can practice daily. Remember, da-sein's condition of possibility is temporality. (God I hope I didn't just manage to butcher Heidegger in a single sentence) It's a terrifying, dizzying experience to live on moving ground, to be a nomad...but it's a valuable experience.

So, when should we be uncertain? Always. When should we seek to obliterate a truth? When it has ceased to be a useful tool. When is that? We cannot know, which is why we are always experimenting in thought and why we must always be cautious and ready to assume the consequences of what we will. "We can never be sure if we are strong enough, for we have no system. Only lines and movements." (D&G in ATP, last page of Of the Refrain...too lazy to look up the exact wording or page number)

 

Does that answer your questions?

Edited by Zack

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Hahaha, I felt the same way when I saw your post too, Zack. When do you move for UNT? We definitely need to get a case of beer and a pack of cigarettes and hang out some night before you do.

 

I'll respond to your post later tonight, though. I'd do it now but it's about time for me to go to my insane three and a half hour spanish class. I might end up killing myself before I finally get back.

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Alright, now I'm ready.

 

I dig your explanation of partial truths and the like, and how we take concrete facts away from half-truths. But I don't understand why this would necessarily be a -bad- thing. Wouldn't the gaps in truth be filled by your own imagination/identity? Lets give an example. Say I'm a guy who loves cats, excessively. I have no idea how the world came to be in the first place, so I construct a myth about a cat who created the Earth. I take various natural phenomena, like thunder, and associate that action with a giant cat in the sky. Clearly in this process I'm using half-truths because I really don't know how to Earth came to be. But I take what knowledge I do have, for example that there is thunder, and then fill in the gap with the idea that thunder comes to be because the great Cat in the sky is coughing up a hairball.

 

In fact, we could just ditch the whole cat example and just use greek or native american mythology as an example of this. Their knowledge of events in the world was not 100% accurate, so they filled in the gaps with fantastical stories. Now what should be important is not that they were 'wrong' in their stories, but rather the stories themselves reveal the aesthetic and the identity of the people who told them. So in short, is it possible that our assumptions of whole-truths from half-truths is just a way that we express, or even understand our identity in the first place? (That isn't too clear. I'll probably wrap my head around the concept a bit better later on and phrase this differently.)

 

The rest of your post also makes a lot of sense, but it also leaves me with two more questions. You said that we should obliterate a truth when is ceases to be a useful tool. Well, in the context of a debate round, how has debate ceased to function?

 

Also, you talk about a transformation, but what would this be a transformation into? We have to break with out conceptions of what is 'true' to change, I dig that, but what are you changing to? You talk about freedom, which would make sense because you could in this paradigm be free from the control of other people, but like I said in my first paragraph, wouldn't this type of perspective divorce you from yourself, as well as from other individuals? Is freedom just another word for nothing left to lose? :P

 

And you got Heidegger pretty right in that one sentence, almost. Dasein's 'condition' for possibility comes from Dasein's ability to understand and think about it's own existence. Dasein's 'motivation' for possibility comes from temporality and 'the world.' But thats all semantics, you had the right idea.

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ok. so i was wondering if anyone would like to collaborate on a google doc or whatever to make this k ld-friendly. i would be really interested in trying it out. if ur interested pm me.

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william spanos, english professor at binghamton unversity. 2007. (e-mail conversation, quoted in: joe miller's 'cross-x: the amazing true story of how the most unlikely team from the most unlikely of places overcame staggering obstacles at home and at school to challenge the debate community on race, power, and education'. page 467.)

 

_

 

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 of 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 intact. A revolution in the debate world must occur.

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deleuze guattari 87 (ATP p 30)

 

A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb "to be," but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, "and. . . and.. . and. . ." This conjunction carries enough force to shake and uproot the verb "to be." Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are you heading for? These are totally useless questions. Making a clean slate, starting or beginning again from ground zero, seeking a beginning or a foundation—all imply a false conception of voyage and movement (a conception that is methodical, pedagogical, initiatory, symbolic...). But Kleist, Lenz, and Biichner have another way of traveling and moving: proceeding from the middle, through the middle, coming and going rather than starting and finishing.25 American literature, and already English literature, manifest this rhizomatic direction to an even greater extent; they know how to move between things, establish a logic of the AND, overthrow ontology, do away with foundations, nullify endings and beginnings. They know how to practice pragmatics. The middle is by no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed. Between things does not designate a localizable relation going from one thing to the other and back again, but a perpendicular direction, a transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its banks and picks up speed in the middle.

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some notes: http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1643635&postcount=4

 

on this essay: http://74.125.45.104/search?q=cache:-zxJZetFctAJ:www.scorat.com/up2/files/Deleuze,%2520Guattari%2520-%2520Toward%2520Freedom.rtf

 

one direction this might lead is this: only kritik affirmatives are legit. in terms of realism, it's more important to highlight the problem area than to pretend to enact a quick-fix. ...haven't thought through all the particulars, but this would also reverse the role of the negative - not to negate the resolution by finding fault with one particular case of solving it, but to negate the resolution as a problem: 'it's a false problem' or 'here's the real problem' or 'you misframe the problem; the way you talk about it makes it worse', etc...

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So it's taken me 4 hours to read this then 2 weeks to read both volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

 

First off, I'm a political science and philosophy major and open policy debater at UCLA and would love to run this kritik.

 

At this point I've taken extensive notes on both volumes and made note of almost everything of relevancy posted on this forum. I truly like to understand the philosophy I argue before I take it to debate, I've done this with Heidegger and Essentialism.

 

My problem now is that I've amassed such a wealth of information on D&G I'm not able to whittle it down to concrete debate context. So far I have this table of contents in the file I'm creating:

 

1. What is Fascism?

2. The Perm Debate

3. Commodification of Literature

4. Argument is War

5. Clerks in a Maze

6. Links

7. Impacts

8. Answers To:

 

That still leaves me with 60 pages of random notes and these areas that need to be covered:

 

1. The Alternative

2. The Role of the Ballot

3. On Certainty

4. What does the world look like post-K?

5. Rhizomatic Knowledge

 

I know it's a lot to ask but can someone help me compress or organize all of these idea into a concrete debate file so that I can contextualize it in debate as opposed to spitting garbage?

At this point it's almost as if I see 4 different arguments in the K but that won't fly inround.

 

Any and all help would be welcomed and appreciated and I know this site is for HS debate but most college policy forums aren't very good and some of the members of these forums seem very knowledgable.

 

Thanks alot

 

Babyface

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So it's taken me 4 hours to read this then 2 weeks to read both volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

 

First off, I'm a political science and philosophy major and open policy debater at UCLA and would love to run this kritik.

 

At this point I've taken extensive notes on both volumes and made note of almost everything of relevancy posted on this forum. I truly like to understand the philosophy I argue before I take it to debate, I've done this with Heidegger and Essentialism.

 

My problem now is that I've amassed such a wealth of information on D&G I'm not able to whittle it down to concrete debate context. So far I have this table of contents in the file I'm creating:

 

1. What is Fascism?

2. The Perm Debate

3. Commodification of Literature

4. Argument is War

5. Clerks in a Maze

6. Links

7. Impacts

8. Answers To:

 

That still leaves me with 60 pages of random notes and these areas that need to be covered:

 

1. The Alternative

2. The Role of the Ballot

3. On Certainty

4. What does the world look like post-K?

5. Rhizomatic Knowledge

 

I know it's a lot to ask but can someone help me compress or organize all of these idea into a concrete debate file so that I can contextualize it in debate as opposed to spitting garbage?

At this point it's almost as if I see 4 different arguments in the K but that won't fly inround.

 

Any and all help would be welcomed and appreciated and I know this site is for HS debate but most college policy forums aren't very good and some of the members of these forums seem very knowledgable.

 

Thanks alot

 

Babyface

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‘Critical’ practices aimed at increasing potentials for freedom and for movement are inadequate, because in order to critique something in any kind of definitive way you have to pin it down. In a way it is an almost sadistic enterprise that separates something out, attributes set characteristics to it, then applies a final judgment to it — objectifies it, in a moralising kind of way. I understand that using a ‘critical method’ is not the same as ‘being critical’. But still I think there is always that moralising undertone to critique. Because of that, I think, it loses contact with other more moving dimensions of experience. It doesn’t allow for other kinds of practices that might not have so much to do with mastery and judgment as with affective connection and abductive participation. {The non-judgmental} requires a willingness to take risks, to make mistakes and even to come across as silly. A critical perspective that tries to come to a definitive judgment on something is always in some way a failure, because it is happening at a remove from the process it’s judging. Something could have happened in the intervening time, or something barely perceptible might have been happening away from the centre of critical focus. These developments may become important later. The process of pinning down and separating out is also a weakness in judgment, because it doesn’t allow for these seeds of change, connections in the making that might not be activated or obvious at the moment. In a sense, judgmental reason is an extremely weak form of thought, precisely because it is so sure of itself.

 

-- http://www.21cmagazine.com/issue2/massumi.html

 

...in short, in the words of deleuze, the point is 'to have done with judgment'.

Edited by Lazzarone

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Ignoring the easy perm and the already-discussed link turn for a second...

 

The difficulty I have with kritiks that claim real-world benefits for a neg vote is that, at the end of the day, a neg vote (or an aff vote, for that matter) is just a circled set of three letters. A judge vote doesn't change anything except who has a chance of advancing to the elim rounds. The judge should vote for whoever has the best policy option in the fiat world, not whoever does more in the real world.

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Really? ahahahahahah. You're a god if that's true.

Well - if you're reading it for debate reasons then yeah it's possible.

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Well - if you're reading it for debate reasons then yeah it's possible.

This is the only time we have ever agreed. If you don't want to take anything from D+G, and are just kind of blowing through for cards, it goes very quickly.

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