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rhetorique

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rhetorique last won the day on May 23 2007

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About rhetorique

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  • Birthday 02/07/1990
  1. I think the most compelling way to explain reasonability is to say that the aff's only burden is to prove that their interpretation provides sufficient ground to ensure the negative a fair ability to compete in the round. Now, obviously what constitutes sufficient ground is a debate to be had, probably on the standards debate - it just means that the aff doesn't have to win that their interpretation is more limiting or provides better ground, but simply that their limits are not too large for the negative to research and that their ground provides competitive strategies for the negative. This means that even if the neg's claims that they've lost certain ground are true (say, they lose a particular CP or DA), as long as the aff is able to win that the lost ground is not vital to the negative's ability to compete, there's no reason to prefer the negative interpretion since the aff interpretation is sufficiently reasonable. I think this explanation makes sense because it only shifts the paradigm for evaluating the standards and voters debate - those debates still have to be had. It means reasonability isn't an automatic killer arg, but rather a way for the aff to gain leverage - I think this is equivalent to what winning competing interpretations does for the neg. I think this also provides a way to determine whether the aff is "reasonable" based on the debate that was had, rather than the judge arbitrarily evaluating whether they feel that the plan is reasonable (which is sometimes necessary when neither team explains why the plan is or is not reasonable).
  2. I love giving back to the community, and have volunteered my time on a number of occasions when I had extra time and the program or community I was helping out was financially pressed. I wish I was able to do this more often. That said, I sympathize with the OP - it sucks when you don't get paid at the agreed upon time. I pretty much agree with this: It's not true that "no one makes a living as a debate judge" - plenty of us use our income from judging to meet the gap between our scholarship money and our rent payments, or at least the gap between ramen and ordering Dominoes. I've judged more this year specifically because my rent has gone up and I need the extra money. It's easy to tell other people their budgeting priorities are off, but not as easy to maintain the pure volunteerism spirit when it's your money in question. Could we all get "real" jobs? Sure. But college debate is several times more demanding than high school debate, and college classes are (generally) more demanding than high school classes. It's hard to balance both of those, and even harder if you have to work. Judging provides a nice balance - it's flexible because you can choose to judge on weekends you're not competing yourself. Even people who DO have jobs can't work Saturdays if they spend them judging debates. Why shouldn't judges be paid? It seems only reasonable to me that a person giving up their time to perform a service should be compensated.
  3. But Democratic women and our allies aren't upset about this primarily because it's unconstitutional. We're upset because of the practical and moral implications of the amendment. It makes it substantially more difficult for women to access abortion, which is not only a necessary medical service but a right under US law. It ideologically marks abortion as not integral to healthcare, but as something above-and-beyond basic health service. Plus, making the compromise makes it clear that reproductive health and women's health as something the Democrats are willing to sacrifice, even though it affects 51% of the population. I probably support healthcare reform anyways, but the Stupak amendment didn't win over moderate Dems and it is a big deal if it makes it into the final bill.
  4. What good is a right if only the rich are able to exercise it? But even beyond that, why should we ignore the practical effects of this law, which are to make a fundamental right more difficult to access for many women who currently have this critical health service covered?
  5. Touche, which is why this is a complicated instance. The police officer had more power and privilege on the scene, but probably not in the public arena (because despite the brass speaking out on the officer's behalf, police chiefs/advocacy organizations probably aren't as influential as the president).
  6. Generally, at least within mainstream oppression studies, prejudice must be accompanied by power in order to rise to the level of an 'ism. White prejudice against minorities is pretty much always racist because it's pretty much always accompanied by power since our society is still culturally and structurally white supremacist, but minority prejudice against whites only constitutes racism if they have the privilege to back it up. So if it was a black cop prejudiced against a white suspect, that would be racist. But a black suspect's assumption that a white police officer is racist is likely just a response to perceived oppression, rather than an act of oppression in and of itself. Pre-empt: I think this is a useful distinction because power is what makes the difference between being a racist (or sexist, or heterosexist, etc.) and just being an asshole. Prejudice is probably bad, but everyone pre-judges to some extent - this only becomes uniquely problematic at a societal level when it unfairly privileges one group over another.
  7. You ask "is this the type of PR our community needs" as if everyone was taping their frosh recruits' mouths closed and peeing on them. Is there anything to indicate that this hazing problem has anything to do with the community at large? Or even, fuck, that this story's about policy debaters and not some PF/LD/Congress kids? I mean, it seems fair that they got in trouble, and what they did is obviously messed up, although the settlement figures seem a little ridiculous to me. But I fail to see how this is anyone's responsibility but those directly involved (who seem to have been punished for their action/inaction).
  8. I was taking "pro-life" to mean "the majority of people who call themselves pro-life." I was more articulating a moral position that I think is consistent with both the values of the average person who considers themselves "pro-life" and condemnation of Tiller's murder. I think the average person puts a fetus somewhere less than a born person on a sliding scale, it's just that most people who call themselves "pro-life" consider the fetus close enough to a born person that they have a right to life. I think many people recognize that right to life is complicated when the right to life of the fetus conflicts with the right to life of someone else - thus why most reasonable people support mother's life exceptions and why many reasonable pro-lifers are uncomfortable with or condemn the murder of Dr. Tiller. I think you're right, though, that most people in the pro-life movement probably do have extreme views on the value of fetal life, and that those beliefs support violence against abortion providers.
  9. You can believe the fetus has value (and therefore be pro-life) without thinking that it has so much value it justifies killing a human being (especially when that human being is performing therapeutic abortions either for the life/health of the mother or because of fatal defects in the fetus). I mean, you'd also have to believe in other reasonable things like mothers' life (and probably health) exceptions, but hopefully most people have at least that much of a conscience.
  10. Obama's pro-Sotomayor video is up: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/introducing-sotomayor
  11. Refusing to answer status questions is a really vacuous way to waste a CX, just like debating to fuck with people is probably doesn't provide the best model of debate. Wanting to read fun arguments is understandable, and writing strategies to fake out the other team is a strategic decision. Neither of those things is equivalent to refusing to answer basic explanatory questions. That just makes you an obnoxious asshole at best, dishonest at worst.
  12. If the question is "Is this position uncondo?" and you say "sure" even though it isn't, that's lying (or at least being dishonest). The other team shouldn't have to psychoanalyze your facial expressions to figure out something as simple as argument status. There's plenty of room for messing with the other team without intentionally misanswering simple questions. You should be able to win debates without having to actively fool your opponents about what you've read. I think being deceitful is proof that someone's not the best games player - if someone's really good, they demonstrate an ability to win on arguments, not CX tricks.
  13. I think this phenomenon is most attributable to the nature of the intellectual class and the nature of the academic profession. Academia measures success differently than other professions. In academia, your success is determined by your good repuation among your peers; in business, your good reputation among your peers is determined by your success. (By this I mean, success in academia is measured by the quality of your work as perceived subjectively by your peers. The amount of money your writings make is nearly entirely irrelevant to whether your work is considered quality, with factors such as peer respect, usefulness to other authors, innovativeness, etc. matter much more. This is in contrast to feilds like business, where the amount of money you make is the means of determining whether your work is quality; a good business is one which makes money). The idea of evaluating work based on its usefulness instead of its production of capital is implicitly an anti-capitalist one, because it holds that the supreme value rests on usefulness in a qualitative sense rather than usefulness in terms of capital production. Academia is also in many ways a collaborative field. Academic interactions are largely based on persuasion and discussion, and professors become successful by writing work which is found useful and relevant by other people and by helping their proteges, students, and school become successful. As an academic, in order to do your job, you necessarily have to find value in the work of other people in your field, because academic work relies upon drawing out useful ideas from the work of others and incorporating others research into your own (even if it also relies upon finding something to criticize in others' work). In the business world, you seek to undercut the competition; in the academic world, you seek to use the ideas of the competition. Even though competition exists in academia in the form of competing for jobs and for status, it is mitigated by the fact that the primary reward being sought (status) is elastic and not scarce, and by the fact that the competition for jobs is based more on gaining the elastic reward of status (ie, jobs that confer the greatest reputational benefits (rather than the jobs that confer the greatest material benefits) that are most prized. Essentially, most academics would choose to work at Harvard or MIT even if they could make more money working elsewhere.) It's also mitigated by the fact while getting a job in the first place may require you to compete, once tenure sets in, competition for jobs essentially disappears from the academic's field of consideration. The necessity of conscious collaboration, or at least the relative lack of competition in the conventional sense seems to be more accommodating of an anti-capitalist way of looking at the world (given that capitalism is based on the idea of competition for scare resources.) Additionally, the professor does not rely upon utilizing capitalist ideas in order to be successsful. Professors are free to criticize the capitalist system and to run their classrooms in non-capitalist ways, because their main currency is ideas. It is just as easy for a communist professor to be successful (if not easier); this is notsomuch true in the business world, given that it is much harder to run a business in a non-capitalist way, and there are strong incentives to rely upon capitalist ideas. In these ways, it seems to me that academia fosters an atmosphere which is post-scarcity and anti-capitalist. That atmosphere probably fosters ways of thinking which are contrary to capitalism and which rely more on post-scarcity economics. Edit: Also, I think the idea of status-based motivation encouraging post-scarcity economic perspectives is validated by the free-software movement. Hacker culture is another social atmosphere that considers peer respect garnered through useful work the primary motivation and way of relating, and the free software movement explicitly professes post-scarcity anti-capitalism as a result of this.
  14. I agree with most people on this thread that science is good and useful in many ways, while also being problematic and worthwhile to question in many others. One area of science that hasn't been specifically discussed in this thread is social science, and it is the one I'm most skeptical of. While theoretically it may make sense to study humanity systematically and with "verifiable" data, the way social science typically plays out is not so ideal. The way social science filters into the public discourse causes it to be sensationalized and distorted. Even when a study is scientifically sound, it is often over-interpreted by a chain of scientists, social theorists, and reporters. Correlation is used to suggest causation, and empirical study is taken to indicate stable facts about humanity rather than a temporal description. Extrapolations of the data are cloaked in the scientific legitimacy of the data itself, giving theories of human behavior even loosely connected to social science the aura of fact when they are actually interpretation. Some great examples of this: http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=976787, http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=983576 I also find treating psychologists and therapists as partial to knowledge about humanity the rest of us are not educated enough to possess troubling, and I am somewhat concerned about social scientists impulse to pathologize psychological abnormalities. I know several people who have seen therapists (legitimate, credentialed ones with all the right degrees) and found that while they were helpful in some ways, they really did not know much more about people than anyone else. Psychologists are simply people with a bit more conscious exposure to the study of how human beings behave, and ordinary citizens with a high social IQ can be just as helpful for people with more moderate forms of disorders such as depression, social anxiety disorders, OCD, etc (and those are the disorders most frequently treated by psychologists and general therapists). "Talk therapy" is not exclusively the purvey of specialized experts. (I concede that psychiatrists have a more credible claim to expertise - clearly if someone is going to be handing out medication they ought to have a medical education - but I do think it is important to question the role of drugs in treating mental illness, what precisely mental illness is, and why we consider it more objectionable for someone to self-medicate with marijuana than it is for someone to accept a prozac prescription from a psychaitrist.) I also think that mental illness is treated as something much more concrete than it actually is. I think there is a tendency to reduce it to biological factors, when social factors often play an equally important role (particularly in common, moderate disorders). ADHD is a diagnosis often improperly attatched to behavior that is well within the normal range of child behavior, and many people experience depression. Homosexuality was previously considered a gender identity disorder, and social science has historically inaccurately dealt with women (see For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English for a really excellent criticism of the ways in which science has been improperly used and suggestions on how to continue to use science as a resource while correcting these flaws; see this summary article: http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revikoch_95.htm for a less insightful and well documented but much shorter version). We already know that the parts of the brain that are most frequently utilized by a person will grow larger in that person and dominate more of their thought processes, so why do we assume that brain abnormalities in people who are depressed are due to chemical imbalances, rather than assuming that a depressive way of thinking causes the chemical imbalances? Is it possible that people can consciously alter their thinking and manage disorders successfully in that way (this is certainly the case for some people - the kind that quit smoking without chemical aid, the kind that deal with social anxiety through personal coping strategies, etc)? I'm not sure I agree with the conclusions a lot of this question-asking may imply, but I certainly think social science should be viewed with more of a skeptic's eye than it presently is.
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