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Everything posted by PhilIanDumer?

  1. Why are you still reading crappy k answers that from 2004? James isn't. That is because James probably cuts the best K answers of anyone in the country. If James was as good at debate as he is at cutting K answers he would have won the NDT. James is still pretty good at debate: he was top speaker (and second seed) at the D2 NDT qualifier, and managed to do pretty well this year debating with a freshman. But, he has always been better at cutting K answers. It has never been possible to read as good K answers as him--until now. James has gone through and selected 120+ pages of new K answers from this year--I can't stress enough how valuable this file is. This file contains many 2013 cards from books/obscure journals and they tend to be very good. Many of these cards have NEVER been read in a debate before. Post NDT some newer K arguments like OOO are likely to end up being passed down to your competitors and this file is a good way to be prepared for that If you DONT buy this file you will Probably lose to the K at the TOC/NFL nats Sound like a tool when you are reading old cards and everyone else has got shinny new k answers. You want this file. The only thing I don't understand is why this is only $6.
  2. Although I am not going to defend Nathan's interpretation, but I think that reading the eternal return as simply a "myth" or a "test" is a mistake. I think their is compelling evidence that Nietzsche actually believed in the eternal return. He repeatedly discusses it, and provides numerous proofs, in his notes. It is a mistake to read GS 341 as if N is positing the eternal return as a test. The section begins with a "what if" but the "what if" is in the context of "what if a demon came to you" not in the context of the demon saying "what if everything happens will recur again." The demon's statement is not conditional. The test is not how you respond to the potential of eternal return, but how you would respond to the knowledge of eternal return. Furthermore Zarathustra is all about the eternal return. Seriously, this is the book that Nietzsche thought was his best, and all through it the "doctrine" of eternal return is treated as if it were a real discovery about the world. I'm not sure it even makes sense for the eternal return to be a thought experiment about life affirmation, or an "informative myth" if it is not a true description of the world, but that's for a different post. Check out the works of Paul S Loeb for more on this issue. This is one of the place where Heidegger probably misread Nietzsche.
  3. Derrida's ethical position is probably closer to the classical utilitarian stance than Levinas (hence calculating the incalculable), but that doesn't make him a utilitarian. The "other Other" and "the Third" are generally the same concept in these things. I think the right way to think about Derrida's ethical work is not in terms of what decisions we should make, but how we should feel about those decisions. The problem of the Third is that in Order for us to be hospitable, we must always in a sense sacrifice some other Other. This is why Derrida speaks of the "gift of death," since our very ethical actions require a sacrifice. It is two easy to take the utilitarian or deontological position of "I made the right decision, it was for the greater good." The problem is by taking this stance we have rendered the call of those sacrificed as meaningless. I could talk more about Derrida's ethical thinking, but am not sure how it helps for answering Edelman. You really need to achieve three things in order to answer Edelman from a Derridian perspective: 1. Answer Lacan. Derrida's has a better approach to politics, etc. 2. Answer the "ethics of the death drive". The idea that we should embrace our destructive impulses is kinda bizarre, but key to Edelman's thought. Think about this, cut a few derridan's who talk about it and you will be find. 3. Impact turn the future. At some level this is easy. Edelman's argument boils down to this: quests to control the future--to make its unconquerable otherness into the same--end up requiring real violence against those who represent a threat to these visions of the future. Therefore edelman says we should, at least symbolically, destroy the future. From a Derridian perspective this is literally backwards. The future is the space of our own imperfection--the thing we cannot control. The proper radical stance is to embrace the Otherness of the future. You probably also want to defend a different model of queer politics. Hospitality, Otherness, and all that other derridan shit sounds pretty reasonable. Seriously, finding cards that make these arguments (including responding directly to edelman) is not that hard. Other possible strategies include defending a "politics of becoming" (Deleuze) or pure policy style futurism.
  4. Camus did not consider himself an existentialist, although I think Sartre thought of him as one. Hubert Dryfus has limited existentialism to only the pre-humanist ant-philosophical tradition of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger. So I think its reasonable to include these three. On the other hand, as far as I can tell the word "existentialism" doesn't appear until it was used by Marcel (a christian and follower of Kierkegaard) and then taken up by Sartre. Sartre's definition of existentialism is rather inclusive, since he seems to think anyone he likes is an existentialist, even the Christians. I hope I've illustrated that excessive attention to who is and who is not an existentialist is silly. The question of "was Nietzsche a nihilist?" requires a prior question "whats a nihilist?"
  5. What exactly do you have in mind when you say an existentialism K? Do you have a story as to what the argument might say? I'm assuming you're right now just interested in getting a better grip on existentialist thought, the problem is Existentialism isn't so much a philosophical system or movement as a set of recurring themes. That said, the philosophies of Sartre and de Beauvoir who were both lovers and study partners are often described as existentialist, a label they used to describe themselves. Although much closer than other Existentialists, Sartre and de Beauvoir differ in their radicalism, while Sartre presents a version of existentialism that makes every thing else difficult (logic, ethics, politics), de Beauvoir attempts to present a more applied existentialism. Both authors should be used if you really want to write an existentialism K. Sartre and de Beauvoir can be both very easy to read at times, and impossible at others. Although both very good writers, their philosophical works draw heavily on a mix of Heidegger and Hegel but interpret them in strange and often simply wrong ways ...which even for someone like me who likes this stuff and does it academically can be confusing to say the least. This existentialism is also called "humanist existentialism" to differentiate it from the explicit anti-humanism of Martin Heidegger, although this is not without controversy since Sartre saw himself as largely a Hiedeggarian (heidegger did not agree). Sartre's existentialism circles around a couple of central concepts. I exist--He gets this from Descartes (hence Heidegger opposition), but also from Heidegger's notion of Being. For Sartre my existence is the unquestionable truth about the world from which I can not escape. Hence I am condemned to be. Humanist existentialism starts with the slogan "subjectivity is the starting point" I am free--Again from Descartes, but also from Pascal/Kierkegaard. Freedom is understood not to mean physical freedom, but rather an absolute subjective freedom, that is that I decide what I think and do. This is considered inescapable hence the slogan "man is condemned to be free" Nothingness is a product of subjectivity--A knowing break from Heidegger, "nothingness" or "non-being" is understood not as really existing, but rather a product of what the subject mentally actualizes. For Sartre this ends up leading to the conclusion that everything that happens to the subject (interruptions of nothingness) is the choice of the subject, hence you choose to be born, you choose for earthquakes to happen, etc. From these Sartre gets to allot of the common themes of existentialism, but it is important to observe that his philosophy is really at odds with many other people described as existentialist, even though their is overlap. If you really are interested in existentialism try reading some of the fiction of Sartre, or the works of Camus, Kafka, or Dostoyevsky to get a sense of the world view and existentialist themes. For the philosophical side its best to understand French Humanist Existentialism is the product of two traditions The "philosophical" tradition from Descartes to Kant, Hegel, and Husserl. And the "anti-philosophical" tradition from Pascal to Nietzsche and Kierkegaard and culminating in the "semi-philisophical" Heidegger. (Note "philosophical" here refers to orientation, in particular their willingness to engage in speculative metaphysics and positioning with relation to problems of doubt and certainty) I recommend reading Pascal's "the wager", either "Zarathustra" or "Genealogy", and "Fear and Trembling" as a minimum before trying to tackle 20th century existentialism, but if you're set then "Existentialism is a Humanism" and "The Ethics of Ambiguity" provide a good introduction. Edit: existentialism is probably not so useful for answering critiques, although I'm sure it can be done. The problem is trying to not link to your aff.
  6. Zizek doesnt really have a simple revolutionary political program. What the alternative entails is a hard problem, not only for Zizek scholars, but I think Zizek himself. Its a major issue in several of Zizek's works, many of which were compiled in the Universal Exception. Butler and Stephens introduction to that book is a good place to start about thinking about what a zizek alt would entail. Doing nothing is the alternative to the false choice. What can we do about global capital at the level of action? Really, what action makes capital go away? So we are invariable stuck in the logic of either do this (play the game as a capitalist cog) or suffer the consequences. We either kill the terrorists or let them win. At its core the "do nothing" alternative is a momentary stop to the logic of action to open space for considering possibilities. Its not clear what the consequences of this are in the case of capitals hegemonic dominance (today I'm thinking something like Gibson-Graham, but it could be repeating Lenin, or Roosevelt--all we know is it won't be quite any of those). In the case of the need to act against terrorism its effects are a little easier to discern--not acting can be the space to question: what is really going on? How is it that this violence can occur so spectacularly? In that reflection we have to space to see and respond to capital, threat construction, etc. I don't think violence is key to transversing the fantasy, except that the idea we can act without violence is sort of questionable (see derrida). Thats probably a bigger can of worms than you want right now...if this is for debate, either find some simple non-zizek violence good cards, or claim to your changing the ideological coordinates makes violence unnecessary. Always outweigh revolutionary violence bad with refernce to the squo if you go for the cap bad type arguments.
  7. I haven't written any java in about a year, but I'm pretty sure you need another plus sign. Not that printing to stout gets you much on a web forum or in a debate round...
  8. Hylandd makes contradictory arguments in this thread: 1. Media editorial decisions (aka, not the government) and candidates choices as to what media outlets to provide interview (aka, not the government) constitute unconstitutional stifling of dissent 2. That the fairness doctrine which limits private actors ability to make decision as to what speech to promote in order to ensure that speech is not excluded from public discussion is unconstitutional because the individual selection of speech is protected. I’m conflicted on the fairness doctrine, but think the arguments commonly presented against it are bunk. The media corporations don’t own the airwaves, the license them from the government. The foundational doctrine is that they get freedom to promote what they want so long as they take steps to promote the public good and make good faith efforts to protect their listeners/viewers from obscene content. Even allowing for the free market philosophy of Hylandd et al, the fairness doctrine is totally within the government’s rights as owner of the medium. The problem with trust in the market when it comes to free speech is that what there is a market for might not be what the public needs. Now lets be clear, the market isn’t for audience, it’s an advertising market. As Bill Moyer’s points out, the advertising market for stories about the K street project and the influence of lobbying is small. People who are interested in lobbying effects on congress are not unified demographically in ways that make linked advertising easy. They also probably aren’t a very large group, so, what station would report about that rather than the latest celebrity story which draws a larger audience and is more easily linked to advertisers? Further, content that appeals to wealthy people will almost always provide a higher market value for advertising compared to content that appeals to less wealthy people. Upper middle class white males have disproportionate buying power and spend a lot of time listening to the radio instead of watching TV (commuting). Radio has an incentive to provide content that appeals to these audiences (Rush, Savage, etc.), but that content is not representative of the people as a whole, and means that marginalized groups who may also get most of their content from radio (say janitors) don’t get their content choices. So…markets aren’t fair guts your offense. As I said I’m conflicted. Net neutrality is another issue. What we want is that when someone advertises internet at a certain speed every packet gets delivered as top priority content according to that speed (That’s why we call them Internet Protocol packets). If ISPs want to offer other services (such as TCP acceleration for certain protocols) then they should be able to offer those services so long as they don’t limit the network neutrality of the Internet service. I’m totally into looking at radical chances in the way the Internet works. As someone who might do a thesis project involving a next-generation Internet, I would like every packet to get delivered fast, so that we can build global protocols such as data oriented networks. I also would rather Comcast not decide what are legitimate uses of a network and what aren’t.
  9. Hardly. Lacan actually translated a fair amount of Heidegger into french. Heidegger was a major influence in lacan, and Heidegger actually demanded a meating with the master near the end of his life. You are correct that they seem rather opposed much of the time, but I wouldn't suggest you read one without the other. Lots of theorists discuss the heidegger/lacan realtionship, but the best in Alain Badiou whose work is more or less a three way meating between Heidegger, Lacan, and Cantor. Badiou is also continental philosophies current chief badass. Its silly to call it all "standpoint epistemology" but these perspectives are not radically opposed, just different. Part of me wants to be Derridian and say: "science is just a tool" while part of me wants to be Deluzeian and say "nothing is just a tool, tools always change us." Medicine doesn't seem to have obvious terrible consequences yet is enacted on a global scale. Computers don't seem to have terrible consequences yet are certainly enacted on a global scale. Do we exclude these from the realm of science? I really like Haraway's discussions of science (i have issues with some other parts of her work since I generally like to have the subject as part of theory, but whatever). Science is not innocent, it comes with a whole set of messed up western racist sexist heterosexist elitist capitalist packaging. But so does philosophy. So do I. So does Heidegger. So does Lacan. So does Plato. So does "nature." So does Marx. As she puts it: From one perspective, a cyborg world is about the final imposition of a grid of control on the planet, about the final abstraction embodied in a Star Wars apocalypse waged in the name of defence, about the final appropriation of women's bodies in a masculinist orgy of war (Sofia, 1984). From another perspective, a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point. Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters. Cyborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate; in our present political circumstances, we could hardly hope for more potent myths for resistance and recoupling. I like to imagine LAG, the Livermore Action Group, as a kind of cyborg society, dedicated to realistically converting the laboratories that most fiercely embody and spew out the tools I think Zack's post says most of what I want to say far better than I can say it, so one final thought: whats the alternative? A world completely devoid of science? Might the project of enacting such a world be not only violent, but technological? If its not a world devoid of science what do we keep?
  10. Haraway would probably agree with both of these arguments. She is a self described heideggerian who likes lacan a lot. She explicitly makes the "nature doesn't exist" arg in the cyborg manifesto and much of her recent work is addressed to the first argument (although she is much more levinasian these days). That said, she is an advocate of standpoint epistemology which makes me doubt your claim that they are radically opposed. "Science" is not innocent (why should it be? "nature" isn't), but that doesn't mean it is powerless or evil. What I think is fascinating is that science always seems dependent on prior taxonomy--yet science is still incredibly productive. To put the consequence of this in analytic terms--the predictive power of a theory is not entirely limited by the use of non-testable assumptions.
  11. I don't have the cite for the miller article on me. I know i've read it though. He has some specific case of a debater emailing an author and then forwarding that it on to edebate. I'll look for it. My belief is that some Fullerton teams also ran an argument that involved them contacting all their authors some years back, probably around the college energy topic. I'm not sure about this. I think there is an emerging consensus arising about the ethics of these issues. 1. The email conversation should be posted in a centralized place in its entirety. Posting should be named. This solves the "everyone emails the author" args since the research is all easily accessible, the community shares validation/original research responsibilities. 2. The debater should have to ask permission before posting. 3. People should post exchanges they have with authors even if they don't produce useful cards. 4. Fabrication of exchanges should be an exclusion from the activity level offense, just as fabrication of evidence is now (with the same kinds of exceptions of course). Really, I don't check every card everyone in debate reads. Even as a school finding every card on the case list is outside our capabilities, yet we have trust in the combination of three things 1. That some other person in the community will look up any particular card. 2. That every card read has a publicly assessable citation, making validation trivial. 3. That a combination of social norms and high penalties would make falsification of evidence unthinkable for the vast majority of college teams/debaters. It is only the second that is limited somewhat by email generated evidence. Disclaimer: I have never read email generated evidence in debate (except for emails by the author to edebate). I still think its a good idea.
  12. I think the best cards and explanation are probably actually in Spivak's introduction to Of Grammatology. Its a better argument than most.
  13. This thread is funny considering the popularity of the Mitchell evidence where he says that emailing people and reading those email exchanges is better than other forms of research so long as you distribute the text--that's what happened. The reason is that we actively produce research rather than just find it--it allows for new engagement, new arguments, and greater agency. The unequal distribution to access to evidence is a very real problem in debate. Big libraries, computers with scanners and OCR, and database accounts are only available to a privileged subset of the population. The only good argument is the ability to cheat--to say you've had an email exchange that didn't happen, or to not disclose an email exchange that isn't strategic to you. These are serious considerations, but can be dealt with by demanding integrity. Trolling these conversations really isn't necessary.
  14. Tools aren't necessarily technological. A chair can be part of US--aka an authentic relation to Being. Reading QCT without contextualizing it to division one of Being and Time will give you a really f-up view of H-digger IMO.
  15. Lamer than synergy's old ethanol "puppy" avatar.
  16. the critique forum has more people viewing because it has deeper discussions (generally about philosophy more than about debate) and generally less trolling. Its also the only point for these discussions when say "current events" and "disadvantages and counterplans" have a lot of overlap, as do "theory" and "topicality and procedurals" or "help me" and "novice center" Just sayin
  17. The problem with philosophical realism is that it can't handle either of the material critique of the subject (Nietzsche) or the idealist critique of "existence" (Berkeley). Heidegger largely addresses this, which is why he might be the most important 20th century philosopher. A place to start with Heidegger is instead of strait ontology think some epistemology. Heidegger imports a quasi-Nietzschian idea of "truth" as something that is always contingent. Instead of looking for factuality then it makes sense to study facticity or contingent factuality. Dasein is not "Das Sein" but rather "Da Sein." Being and Time division one is largely a study of Dasein qua Daein or Being qua Dasein rather than the states Being qua Being, if that makes sense. Dasein means roughly human Being, but more precisely its a Being-there or a Being-here, think of it as Being situated or Being aware. Being-in-the-world, rather than simply Being part of the world, so Dasein is the kind of Being that is constantly interpreting the world. Okay, I may not be very clear, but do you get a sense of it now? The reason facticity is so important is that every time Being is invoked ("the sky is blue" implies "the sky is") its invoked from perspective, so its always contingent. Its Dasein that is the location of this contingency, and so it is Dasein which has to be the starting point of philosophical inquiry. Did that make any sence at all? I have yet to read Intro to Metaphysics, but plan to soon. Being and Time is an insanely important book, but it also makes Kant and Hegel look kinda easy which should terrify people. The Dreyfus book "Being-in-the-world" is pretty good at explaining division one, but it ends up reading Heidegger as to much of a psychologist and not enough of a philosopher, so you should read at least some excerpts from Being and Time itself. Its also nice to read some of the latter parts of the book... The problem with Heidegger is that he doesn't realize how important difference is, but thats a discussion for another time.
  18. So most of the time the most important things you do on a k are: k turns case, k solves case, alt defense, alt defense, and alt defense. But, that is not always the case. If you can win the debate with out the alternative, why would you go for the alt when most of the aff args are structured to be disads to the alternative? I think this is the reason why not going for the alt can make sense. But, I should be clear--i've gone for the k a lot in my debate career, and the vast majority of the time its been the: "alt solves everything" version of k debate. Why is 2NC counter-planing bad? 2NC CPs are tight--unlike almost every other new 2NC argument you don't run the risk of getting stuck with 5 or 6 mins of 1AR impact turns. That is assuming you're not putting all your eggs in one basket new in the 2. The neg should always win conditionality. You need to control UQ at all levels...this is the what separates okay debaters from almost okay debaters.
  19. Okay, I kind of agree with you. But, this line of attack was not really much of a problem for us for a couple of reasons. 1. Its a hard story to tell--I remember a conversation one year at camp about how to avoid making theory arguments sound like: "well give you the links to your disads, but you don't get to counterplan." 2. The counter-plan was worded to sound less like we were cheating "except for the increase that would go to the philippines." 3. We were much better prepared on this question than most of or opponents. One of the affs we debated using this strategy was the "home country volunteer aff." Since that aff recruited people from the Philippines thats what we picked out of. Although I think against other affs we were cheating (strategically), I think it was all legit against this arg. One last thing--our CP was not plan plus--we decreased the total number of new volunteers recruited. We did not just ban the peace corps in one country (a clearly not competitive counter-plan). If anyone would like help on winning either side of what synergy inaccurately calls normally means counterplans, I would be pleased to provide it, but its way outside the scope of this thread. P.S. Its generally not a good idea to say "you have no idea what you are talking about." The disad question served a strategic function on the theory debate--if you can't see that than I think you are doing what the psychologists call projecting...
  20. "Solvency deficit" isn't an argument. Honestly, our strategy just took advantage of the stupidy of most peace corps affs on that topic--that they were willing to defend an increase in number of people serving in all countries. Or, to be more precise, that they were willing to say that in cross-x. The. Most. Empirically. Denied. Argument. Ever. Also, we were playing the game on the question if capitalism was good or not, at least during the block. In the scheme of things, the spill over argument would have a very low risk compared to our specific impacts, while it would be less clear that capitalism in general was an absolutely good thing. I'm assuming your talking about me. Getting them to say they increase would happen in all countries where the peace corps currently operates was essential. The next cross-x question was: "so when we read a disad to Belize, or the philippines, you won't shift out of it?" We were also highly blocked on theory--including a t argument about redistributing personnel. I'm not sure what a legit tournament is. Does Berkley count? If so your statement has been experimentally falsified... I wont pretend I was as successful on that topic as I was on previous ones, but this strategy worked. We employed it about 5 times, and lost only one of them. The one debate we lost (to the Asad's in quarters of Gonzaga) ended up being the time frame of their terror arguments (which were Philippines specific) outweighing our deforestation arg because we gave them too much of the terror leads to backlash game. I seriously mishandled this debate in the 2NR, going for way to many impact scenarios. In your defense, Burshteyn (a man I deeply respect, but I won't get sidetracked) didn't like our strategy much either, but only because 1. he thought it was link turn-able, but he hadn't seen the lit 2. We read new impact scenarios in the block, opening us up to impact turns like warming good. Its also very similar to strategies employed by Southwestern in college. I have little interested defending strategies I used in high school. Many of them were really bad (ah, the memories of the UN topic) but still consistently won rounds. None of them were unbeatable by thinking teams. The point was to say that capitalism can be disad, and that cutting UQ evidence for your cap arguments can be useful. This thread has had a lot of stupid posts ("the kritik takes the link and impact arguments from a disad...") so my advice to people is don't accept dogma--THINK!
  21. Look, we would read evidence saying that capitalism will callapse. Thats called impact uniqness. THe thing is that to win the link you also need link UQ. Normally ks get thiere link uq from the alternative, but if you arent going for the argument as any sort of methodological critisim it can make more sence to get that UQ in a more strait up way--in this case by counterplaning the agency that does the plan increases away. This makes sence because the links were to the agency. Note: this is not something we did very often, but we did have some success with this strategy. At that point in my debate carrier I was only arguing cap bad. We wanted the debates to be impact turn debates, because that was the place we were best (we lost two debates on the impact turn that year, but lost many more on perms, link turns, framework, and loosing the timeframe to case). Okay. First our links were Philippines specific (the MIM 99 ev that says that the peace corps reversed previous anti-capitalist revs in the Philippines is hella tight). Since our argument was Arroyo bad/CPP good links about how Arroyo uses the peace corps to increase her own power were also effective. But, our links wouldn't have to be philippines specific--since the impact was. Remember that a disad is a question of risk (even if Ankur says it isn't), even a very low risk disad has value in a debate when the counterplan solves the aff and avoids the disad. Especially if it can get extinction and has a good timeframe... Can you come up with an offensive answer to this strategy? Cap good? Do those cards talk about the philippines? Do you or anyone else have evidence that says that the CPP is bad at preventing deforestation? Or cards that say deforestation good? Do any of your nano, space, trade, competitiveness, growth, or transition arguments assume a world where only one country goes socialist. Our argument was a lie, but a very strategic lie. The literature was on our side, and the way our arguments were formed worked to our advantage because all the offense the aff thought they had went away.
  22. Yes. it kills the "cap inevitable" arg, which is essential to winning the impact debate. Lots of sweet cap k strategies rely on controlling UQ. For example: One can run a capitalism k not by saying that the plan leads to a world of cap, but by engaging in debate the way the aff does makes us more effective capitalist subjects, robs us of our agency, prevents collective action, etc. In response the affs like: dude, thats a good thing because cap is here to say. So if you win that cap is not here to stay... On the National Service topic we ran cap as a disad alot. This happened in two ways: 1. We would read it as a k in the 1NC, the aff would either impact turns or link turns, run framework, and answer our link argument with: the organization we fund is here now. We would concede framework and kick the alt, and read UQ ev about how the rev is coming now. We would get out of the link non-unique arg by 2NC counter-planing to ban the agency. 2. Against peace corps cases we often read a DA about how a socialist rev was going to happen in the Philippines. We could find borderline propaganda cards that would be like "the rev will happen in exactly one month." We then just had to pick out of Philippines, and we could solve case and have this big cap impact. The trick was wining that capitalism in the Philippines was bad even if its good in general (we accomplished this with a specific deforestation argument that had multiple extinction impacts).
  23. Considering that the current college topic includes almost all of the Oceans Topic, I think mediafire would be a good gift to the community.
  24. I'm planning on a major in computer science and have just started seriously cutting cards for my 6th year in interscholastic policy debate. Oh, and not only have I been an internet user since before I can remember, my parents were probably the first couple to meet on a computer network in human history. I think all this talk of Mr. Miller (I'm sure I have more personal relationships with people with PHDs than 99% of the people on this board, and have decided to generally avoid honorifics except in special circumstances) "not understanding internet culture" or even "not understanding debate culture" ridicules. Mike Miller was at one time one of the people most closely associated with the speed and evidence oriented movement in debate that lead to the forming of current practice. He was both the top speaker at the NDT and an NDT finalist. But, as far as I can tell he has never claimed that makes him qualified in the current debate community. Mike Miller represents a segment of the community that we have lost: that is those who are successful in the community, go on to careers where they use skills learned in debate, and then return to the community. Look, I'm from Oregon. I know what debate looks like when its only institutional support comes from old timers who want to change everything back to the way it was in the good old days, and where its only competitor believe that only the most hip emerging arguments from the national circuit are good debate. Mr Miller could represent salvation for a community that is plagued by undeniably decreasing numbers and support. The enormous number of former debaters who have gone on to law, business, or the academy is our greatest asset outside of our current participants. For us to court these people to learn the changes in debate practice and theory so that they can become competent volunteers as coaches and judges or even just convincing them to donate to the community we must embrace them. Few are going to be as adamant about supporting the community as Mr. Miller, or as willing to adjust to the new reality. If people like Tomak and Dan who have been in the community for some time can't figure out a way to be supportive of people like Mr. Miller, why should we ever expect anyone outside of the activity to support debate at all? You might say we don't need outsiders. You'd be wrong. I debated for an unfunded program through out high school--let me tell you: it sucks. I was incredibly lucky, my parents could pay the hundreds of dollars for me to go to national tournaments. Most kids are not that lucky. In a world where local debate is all but non existent, quality debate education is very expensive. Former debaters are our best potential source of funds for debate, but they are also more than that. Many of them (and other community members) could become judges and coaches. Learning to understand fast speech or even the majority of the theoretical issues in debate is not that hard--most novices do it in a year, while some accomplish it in a two week camp. The real difficulty is not finding people who get the structure, conventions, or speed of the activity; our challenge is finding people who are able to really grasp evidence analysis, and who have a deep knowledge of how argumentative persuasion works in practice. Many times in K debates arguments are impacted in terms of the debate community. It seems to be increasingly popular to suggest that the debate community really isn't all that important. "No impact to the debate community," as synergy put it. I think this is silly. The ranks of top litigators are filled with former debaters. Because of my unique social location I know a very large number of academics, many of them have told me of careers in policy debate. My great aunt who founded a company that must now have hundreds of employes was a debater (in a woman's league). My aunt who was an assistant director at the whitehead institute when they completed the human genome project was a debater. My own interest in debate was sparked in part by a group of my brother's friend that included the future founder of the roosevelt institute (http://rooseveltinstitution.org/) and top operative of the oregon bus project (http://busproject.org/). Former presidents from Nixon to Clinton and even the younger Bush were all accomplished debaters. Karl Rove and Adlai Stevenson employed the same dedication and tactics in debate as they did in politics. If we could learn to work with instead of against former debaters do any of you really think the funding problems that are so prevalent in the community would continue? My guess is that most university presidents, and even probably a large portion of high school principles have debate backgrounds. The amounts of money we are talking about would be tiny to those in power in washington. Yet we have persistent budget problems. The rate of program death remains substantially higher than new programs are formed. Why? Could it be that the very people who are in positions to help our community feel alienated from the community because of attitudes like those in this threat. Not only do they see an activity that seems alien, but rather than honest attempts to educate about the changes and the benefits of those changes we tell them "you can't understand it. you have nothing to offer."
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