Archive for June, 2010

Meander Here

Posted in tactics with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kevin kuswa

2010 Addendum.  Meander Here.

The potential for some good interlinear comments about debate is immense on the “Putting the Kritik in Debate” web site.  Big kudos to Odekirk for putting this together and posting a series of high quality debate videos.  His “Take Up..” plea should be taken up in earnest and on all levels.  Izak’s explanation of the kritik’s sporadic relationship to truth and its esotericism is also extremely insightful, especially when combined with Pointer’s pragmatism and sense of strategy.  Both of these scholars and their posts urge a greater attention to detail, a return to the lost art of debating the text, and deepening the conviction to work hard.  Care about debate if you debate.

So maybe thinking about debate as a four-part articulation of “machinic rhetoric” (coming out of an earlier Rhizomes article) is not as helpful as it seemed a few years ago.  The vocabulary still lends a hand to discussions about capitalism and our ethical stance to larger institutions, but it doesn’t provide a place to stand and occupy a position.

Debating is about arguing and advocating—competitive deliberation.  So even if the debate apparatus is machinic AND organic (which it tends to be), where do we stand and turn?  Standing on an organic machine or a machinic organism is not an image worth forcing.  We need a sense of place that is about the place itself, the “where.”  And, in debate, there is a second “where”—the place gestured to in the debate topic, sometimes explicitly as in this year’s high school topic.  What are these places mentioned in the topic?  Where are they?  Is it a form of policing these places to describe their stability and contribution to a “scenario” without offering something about the history, the people, the geography, the culture, the aspirations, and the contradictions there?  Can we educate ourselves about these places in some different ways?

If “place” is a crucial concept—a key trope for debate—and we are talking about the place of debate, the place of the debate, and the places being debated about, then what’s next?  How do we talk about “place” and debate about other “places” in specific ways?  Is speaking for others akin to describing certain places in certain ways?

Debate needs oil to keep the machine going but debate can expose fissures in the fossil fuel economy to help lead the way to viable transitions.  The balance of all of this matters to the places we inhabit.  This place will see more on place soon.

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Emory IW vs Texas CM, Quarters at the Harvard College Debate Tournament, October 2009

Posted in Battles, beating Ks with a traditional aff, elimination round, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

3 parts:

constructives

rebuttals

decisions

a special thanks to all the participants!

Check out this awesome wiki!!!

Posted in camp, lectures, topic, Video with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

great work from Emory Debate (as always) on the high school topic lecture by one of the greatest coaches in the country, David Heidt.

Kritiking Reductions in Police and Military Presence

Posted in Battles, tactics with tags , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by kevin kuswa

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its military and/or police presence in one or more of the following: South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey.

You cannot do too much reading and thinking about the words in your topic and how those words relate to the positions you want to run.  Begin to link the way the words are defended and projected into an ideology that your authors are criticizing.  Let us go through some evidence and set up some arguments, remembering that you can win debates with a few solid cards—in fact you are more likely to win debates if you can explain a few pieces of crucial evidence as opposed to spewing through more blocks.

—-So, the affirmative is going to “reduce” military or police presence?  Really?  Reduce from where is order to augment where?  Reduce means to keep around with a lower profile—not eliminate.  We won’t really reduce our global military or police presence.  If we do, we’ll replace those troops with other troops and call them something else—peacekeepers, advisors, officials, non-military personnel etc.   It’s military presence (like turtles) all the way down.  You reduce “its” presence and someone else’s military or police will take its place.

Dochterman, Political Analyst, Writer for Aporia Journal, 2002 (Zen, An Anarchist Analysis of the Detention of Immigrants and War, post 9/11)

Policing instances of ill health, sordid living conditions, human rights violations, and “rogue states” become an affair of the American state, the U.N., and N.A.T.O. as well as the N.G.O.s that follow quickly after them. The civil wars that empire produces (as in the Phillipines), now often melded into the rubric of “terrorism”, thus provide more instances for America to go to war and regulate population flows and the material conditions of life, Westernizing what it can in the process. Agamben’s concern with the zoe (bare life) of the immigrant and refugee takes on a double significance. Empire’s wars and global capital will increasingly displace people and provide for violations of so-called “human rights“; however, it is such displacement that comes to be the concern of the war machine itself. This type of analysis helps to explain the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which without a clear short-term economic benefit (who thought Iraq would be “manageable” within a few months?) have more to do with extending empire’s capacity for biopolitical control. When N.G.O.’s and humanitarian institutions step in to occupied countries, the biopolitical regulation of “births and mortality, the level of health and life expectancy” swings into full effect. Introducing such seemingly innocuous organizations can radically alter the bureaucratic and at times, the cultural constitution of a country, and must be seen as the first step in neo-colonialist projects by the West. This central fact illuminates the otherwise mysterious bombings of the U.N. buildings and attacks on health workers in Iraq. These attacks send the message that it is not a question of one master or another, however benign, but a total rejection of the system of global neo-colonialism in both its military and bureaucratic guises. Thus, sovereign force, manifest in the U.N., N.A.T.O., the American military and carried out by N.G.O.’s, humanitarian organizations and “peacekeeping” groups comes to have a direct relation to the bare life (zoe) of the people of other nations, their living standards and their health. This is a biological infection of the “outside” of Empire by Empire.

—-Reforms in the military are extension of Biopower—the ceding of genocidal power to the false hopes of liberalism.  Economic liberalism and individual sovereignty are not possible through such a system.  Indeed, their path makes possible the extension of total control. 

Dean, Department of Sociology at Macquarie University, 2000 (Mitchell, Always Look on the Dark Side of Life: Politics and the Meaning of Life)

This thesis overcomes the successionist view of forms of power connected with our first thesis, even if it tends to reproduce its bipolar structure. The problem with the latter however it that somehow the source and point of articulation of sovereign and bio-politics seems to escape intelligibility. Why should our societies become ‘really demonic’ when they combine within themselves the powers over life with rights of death, or Hebraic understandings of the duties of the shepherd towards his flock with the virile and agonistic relationships between free citizens found within the Greek polis, as Foucault maintained (1981)? Can one simply make a virtue out of an absence of intelligibility of the articulation – is it the very heterogeneity of these forms of power that accounts for their devilish potential? Can we democratise sovereignty and use notions of rights to check the totalitarian impulses of bio-politics? Can we redress such despotic potentialities by an appeal to an outside of the sphere of limited government? At times Foucault appears to endorse such possibilities. At others, he seems to suggest that liberalism and democracy are flawed means for this task and that we should not become complacent. Perhaps, in this case, sovereignty can always return to an atavistic form as in Nazism, or liberalism can reveal its horribly illiberal side. Perhaps, to try another suggestion, bio-politics simply puts incredible technological means (the atomic, the biological and the chemical weapons and the organization of the modern military, and the applications of bio-science and biomedicine) in the service of sovereign powers – a kind of biotechnological account of genocide. If but perhaps Foucault has identified a problem and a language to investigate the problem without identifying how and why these elements form the problem. Before moving to a new thesis, let us note that there is one problem with the view that liberalism can act to check totalitarian administration of life. Both of the means by which it hopes to do so refer principally to nothing but simple existence. On the one hand, the economic rationality that provides a limit to government refers before all else to the means of the sustenance of life. On the other, the sovereign individual has rights, especially in the era of international human rights, simply by virtue of merely living itself. ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ reads the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If there is optimism in Foucault’s approach, it is one that cannot rely on a movement that checks the powers over life. The more liberalism and modern rights movements seek to defend us from the dangers of bio-powers, it would seem, the more they make possible its extension.

—-Working toward peace—a more secure world—is not about reducing the role of military force.  The practice of promoting peace has to take a certain form or it will be used to justify panoptic sovereignty and state control.  Attempts to operate within the current international system only serve to replicate the conflicts that result from it.  The norm of peace that develops from such actions results in humanitarian interventions in the name of the common good.  Their isolation of conflict and subsequent proclamation of a “new constraint on police action” is a giant performative contradiction.

Richmond, Department of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, ’01 

[Oliver P., “A Genealogy of Peacemaking: the Creation and Re-Creation of Order,” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political Vol. 26 No. 3, p. AOF]

What has tended to occur since the end of the Cold War is that peace operations have aimed at the reconstitution of states and their frameworks. From Cambodia to Somalia and Yugoslavia, the official focus guiding peace operations was the creation and recreation of Westphalian states in order to democratize or solve humanitarian problems. In former-Yugoslavia and perhaps in Kosovo and in East Timor, the focus was on creating new states, but ones that were ultimately based on ethnic majoritarianism. This tendency emphasizes the fact that states underpin the international system, conceptually and physically, and the key organizations through which peace operations occur, and the end result is the replication of that system. As with previous approaches, third-generation approaches depend on containing violent conflict with a regime of truth in which it is claimed that the balance between management and resolution, order and justice, has shifted toward the resolution of conflict through human-security discourses. However, such approaches still tend to be acultural, give rise to the possibility of intervention without consent, based on Western models of neoliberal democratization and human rights as universally prescriptive. The hybridization of monodimensional approaches to ending conflict has raised several new and familiar debates. The first significant question relates to the type of order that hegemonic powers with sovereign claims to truth and knowledge use such approaches to ending conflict to reify. In the Westphalian system, such an approach was applied to preserve the statecentric order, territorial integrity, and very basic human rights. However, it was also applied to preserve a systemic balance of power that resulted in the positivist aspects of order taking precedence over the normative, state security taking precedence over human security-a negative peace. Have third-generation approaches moved beyond this-from the Westphalian into a post-Westphalian order? Francois Debrix has shown how the United Nations can be compared with a panopticon in which global observation and surveillance, not to mention intervention, occurs to endorse and simulate certain forms of order propagated by its dominant members and by the universal claims of the Charter within the context of their claims about forms of global governance and globalization. (53) These practices are aimed at normalizing the practices of sovereign states within the international system (and a latent international society) and their representations and the activities of the social groups located within these structures. Generally speaking, the different approaches to making peace are victims of a performative contradiction in that the assumptions that lie behind them may prove to exacerbate the issues that lie at the heart of the conflict.]

—-Finally, they appeal to the state to resolve a dilemma created by the state.  They are a mask, a perfectly benevolent mask on the state’s monopoly of power (“But,” they whine, “we reduce that power”).  No, they don’t—they make it less visible and harder to detect. The symbolic interaction between the appeal and the consequences is the ability to wage war—an ability that becomes a capability that becomes an inevitability.  They cannot solve and the case harms are replicated. 

M. Duffield, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Lancaster, ‘04 (Mark, Carry on Killing: Global Governance, Humanitarianism and Terror)

Bio-politics emerged with modernity to form the basis of state power.  It is concerned with validating, supporting and promoting the life of the nation (Foucault 1998).  For the purposes of this paper, bio-politics is the regulation of life at the aggregate level of population.  Bio-politics exists in the governmental technologies that both discover and act upon the varied biological, demographic, health, social and economic factors and mechanisms that constitute life as aggregated species-life.  Global governance, however, is a specific form of bio-power.  It is a power over the life of populations conceived as existing globally rather than nationally or territorially.  More specifically, it is a power over populations experienced as territorial or local illustrations of a particular global species-type.  This is how we know, for example, ‘refugees’, ‘economic migrants’, ‘internally displaced’ the ‘chronically poor’, and so on. In relation to global governance, those technologies and strategies that constitute ‘development’ are an essential expression of international bio-power. Bio-politics, however, contains an intrinsic and fateful duality.  As well as fostering and promoting life it also has the power to “…disallow it to the point of death” (Ibid: 138 orig. emph.).  In making this bio-political distinction, racism plays a formative role (Foucault 2003; Stoler 1995) FQUOTE “” .  This not only includes its nineteenth and early twentieth century biological forms, it also involves its contemporary cultural, value and civilisational re-inscriptions (Duffield 1984).  Race and its modern codings underpin the division between valid and invalid life and legitimates the measures deemed necessary to secure the former against the later.  In this sense, bio-politics is intrinsically connected with the security populations, including global ones.  This duality moreover underlies the paradox of bio-politics: as states have assumed responsibility for maintaining and developing life, wars have become increasingly more encompassing, devastating and genocidal for the populations concerned.  The awesome power to unleash limitless death presents itself as a cynical counterpart, …of a power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavours to administer, optimize, and multiply it, subjecting it to all precise controls and comprehensive regulations.  Wars are no longer waged in the name of a sovereign who must be defended; they are waged on behalf of the existence of everyone; entire populations are mobilised for the purpose of wholesale slaughter in the name of life necessity: massacres have become vital (Ibid: 136). As the managers of species-life, since the end of the nineteenth century states have been able to wage total wars that have pitched entire populations against each other in cataclysmic struggles to the death.  What is at stake in modern war is the existence of society itself.  Genocide consequently emerges as a strategy “…because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of population” (Ibid: 137).  Although the ending of the Cold War raised hopes of a ‘peace dividend’, the diagrammatic form of bio-power was to be re-inscribed in the ‘new wars’ of the 1990s and confirmed with the declaration of war on terrorism.

Kritiking is Debating is Kritiking

Posted in Manifestoes with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by kevin kuswa

Ok, Zak of the “eye,” let’s roll.  These arguments do not require some sort of flight from clash or refusal to flow.  Let’s flow the “Kritik is Esoteric” post, a brilliant message by the way, and see where we are.  “Where are you and where do want to be in ___ years?”  Take Ode’s phabulous advice and jump on in….starting with:

Initiate the Liar’s paradox and lie.  It is not a lie because it says it is.  The point here is that the critique involves paradox—and it does.  The argument that “we need to jump out of debate” to understand our own positionality is a simultaneous call  to “jump further into it.”  This is certainly paradoxical, a conundrum of the best kind because there is no way out if you do not want to quit.  Do not quit.  Good Marxists work hard.

From the ability to lie about not lying, we travel through an excursus on self-referential action.  The snow is white because it refers to itself as Snow White.  This sounds too flimsy, too relative, too “we said it, therefore it is true” kind of feel.  This feel finds itself rescued, suddenly and provocatively, with the claim of the post:

The Kritik is Esoteric.

What?  Why?  Does this not feed those who would unfairly catalog the kritik and push it to the periphery, to the outside?  Those detractors need not feed—at least they should not feed on the carcasses of innovators who pushed the critique into the plausible, the mainstream, the non-esoteric. 

The Kritik is Esoteric…to some, Intrinsic to Others.  Kritik is Debate, To Kritik is a verb, To Kritik is to Argue…with convention and get up again and again and again to argue more.  Strauss to Socrates requires Socrates’ dying, being executed.  He had big thoughts and conceived of the picture and the frame, not the philosopher who is a historian of people thinking…

The kritik is Debate is Kritik is Esoteric.

 The contention here—and it is a good one—is that the Kritik has a “meta” distinct from the “meta” offered by counterplans and disadvantages.  This is a place tio stop and think and explore.  What is the “meta” coming from most counterplans and DAs?  Primarily the meta is that of an imagined policy-maker outside the room making decisions in the abstract, one of which is to decide whether the hypothetical adoption of the legislation represented by the plan is a good idea.  The “meta” of the critique (or the style of critiquing), by contrast, is that debaters are who they are.  Debaters are debaters and that is why they matter—the things they say are coming from scholars, students, intellectuals, thinkers—DEBATERS—and therefore matter.  The matter of things, things matter.  Debaters can make argument from themselves about others as long as the starting point is recognized.  Kritik is Acknowledgement.

This is the climax of izak’s wonderful post.  It is hidden but uncovered, silent but forceful: the chain of thinkers is not crucial, but it sets up the idea that critiquing involves a link to the debate itself, a process of assessing the consequences or value of “in-round speech-acts.”  Critiquing does not begin with a claim about something taking place outside the round.  This is basic, but revolutionary.  It means standpoint comes first and the question of what the government should do in some unknown future is secondary.   Yup.  This paragraph is key.

Now we back off and wind down, asserting a few more points but really letting the earlier ones digest.  Hopefully, it will come out ok even if it is more of the same.  Deep Ecology and meat eating are compatible if the meat is part of the cycle of life and death and interconnected with the consumers of the flesh.  Eskimos eating meat is different than the rush for cheap caloric intake through what we call fast food.  CAFO meat is not all meat, if it matters.  The point made and well-phrased, here: what do we do with this?  Doing is thinking is being is not esoteric.

Another hidden truth: the meta is the same, even the eternal recurrence of the same, and we cannot separate, nor should we.  Esotericism is timeframe, magnitude, and impact.  Account for these beginnings and start the steamy stream of lies.

This post is a lie if you want it to be.

The Esoteric and Critique

Posted in Manifestoes with tags , , , , on June 10, 2010 by izak

Critique is paradox. It demands that we change ourselves and yet settles for the ballot.

Let us consider the statement, “I lie.” Strange things happen in self-referential situations: if the statement is true, then it is false. Conversely, if the statement is false (here one must remember that this is precisely what the statement is saying), then it is true. Thus, one may conclude that the Liar Statement is true if and only if it is false. Given some noncontroversial assumption of excluded middles (i.e., the assumption that the statement has to be either true or false), then we can further conclude that the statement is both true and false. Despite over two thousand years of attention, philosophy is yet to agree on on a way out of the paradox.

A popular solution, inspired by Tarski’s Undefinability Theorem [see his “The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages,” in Logic, Semantics, and Metamathematics (Clarendon Press: 1956)] is to postulate that self-reference is a special case in classical logic. That is, the statement isn’t speaking about the natural world whose truth could be assessed by Tarski’s archetypal account of truth: the sentence “snow is white” is true iff snow is white (a strange parallel to the opening of the Tractatus). Rather, the statement is speaking about language itself—so the solution to the paradox is to assume that language refers to the world and metalanguage refers to language. If the Liar’s Paradox is a statement in the metalanguage, then it seems that its truth value is neither true or false, so the contradiction mentioned above does not arise (this is essentially a mangled and over-simplified version of Kripke’s argument in “Outline of a Theory of Truth,” inJournal of Philosophy 72).

So what does this have to do with the K? One cannot divorce critique from the context in which it occurs—there is always something negative and destructive about the process of critique, and this is the sense in which we can speak of the parasitic structure of critique. “Theory” was once the same way—it was a response to arguments in debate as they were formulated, and it destroyed old paradigms of evaluation and competition before founding more familiar forms of debate we encounter today. I don’t know if “Conditionality Bad” had to overcome the hurdle of the framework argument in its own heyday, but the K makes a parallel move: critique is not merely talk—it is talk about talk.

A distinction between arguments that occur in debate and arguments that occur about debate should therefore be drawn for the moment. I do not think that this is controversial—at one point, before the advent of “competing interpretations” as a whole framework for evaluating theory arguments, “Conditionality Bad” was more an accusation that the other team didn’t so much as say something bad but rather did something which should not have been allowed. Abuse, abuse! And the K? Zero-point, zero-point!

This is a long, rambling way to introduce the main thesis of this post: the critique is, by necessity, esoteric. I think that it is easy enough to show (in four short paragraphs, no less) that the critique is different from other arguments insofar that it is a meta-argument (an argument about argument). We can grant that other arguments like disads and counterplans are often supported by meta-argumentation (the notion that the winning uniqueness argument is the one that post-datesassumes the meta-argument that this is how we are supposed to value uniqueness claims), but this is a trivial observation as the very nature of argumentation is to sift out “poor” argumentation by reference to argumentation itself. What makes the meta-argumentation of critique different from the meta-argumentation in vanilla disad or counterplan debates is its esotericism. It is easy enough to show that, as debaters, we can both debate and debate about debate. However, what the critique is allowed to say is qualitatively different from what theory about disads and counterplans already say about how we should argue.

Enter the scholarship of Leo Strauss. Okay, only some of his work—I’ll “strategically” dismiss arguments like Drury’s that Strauss was illiberal and elitist. I want to focus on his notion that philosophy is esoteric. Let us consider Strauss’s conception of the birth of political philosophy: the execution of Socrates. Strauss makes a distinction between scholars (those of us who, while generally calling ourselves philosophers, meticulously catalog and reference the works of greater minds) and great thinkers (e.g., a Socrates, someone who boldly and creatively addresses “big problems”).

In his Persecution and the Art of Writing, Strauss maintains that in order to get by, many great thinkers have hidden their “true teachings” in their writings. This might be to get around religious or political persecution, or this might be a pedagogical tactic used to engage the reader in dialogue. In any case, the real meaning of a philosophy is hidden—and I would submit that this love of hiding comes from the fact that politics must be protected from political philosophy as the latter rightly engages those “big problems” which threaten to undo the masses’ fascination with prevailing political mythologies (and here, perhaps I am reading too much Nietzsche into the question—that the belief in progress Nietzsche encountered in his own time was soon to become yet another fable, and that the only way “out” so to speak was to embrace these kinds of fable instead of running toward the oh-so-deadly truth).

Esotericisms abound: Aristotle wrote the way he did because he feared that “Athens might sin against philosophy yet a second time”; Pseudo-Dionysus could not publish under his (her??) own name because of the radical nature of religion outlined there; Augustine had to write to give political justification for the fall of Rome; Descartes (and much of modern philosophy, perhaps) had to make sure to write a scientific philosophy with just enough room in it left for God (and into what strange shapes this God is twisted!–the principium individuationis, the ground of “practical” reason, Nature itself, one big-ass monad, Geist, even a corpse). Worse still, one can always find an esotericism if one looks hard enough.

Thus what the critique is allowed to say about debate is absolutely key to understanding what makes the critique different from other arguments. If critique becomes too radical, a framework argument can easily exclude it from accessing the ballot. If critique is too conservative, a framework argument can easily include the object of critique (generally speaking, the aff) so as to either permute or outweigh the critique. This is what makes critique different—it is not the fact that the argument has an alternative (that is a counterplan) or that the impact is about rights or genocide (that is a disad) but rather that the link is to something that was done in the debate round rather than to something which is advocated (the plan). In other words, if the framework argument does not apply, then one hasn’t found critique.

And this is a strange situation, no doubt, for a community whose mission is the clarification of personal values and the progress of argumentation in general. I am reminded of some old CX-L posts from a former Oak Harbor debater which detailed his/her revulsion at seeing peers eating meat after having read about the Deep Eco K. This debater also probably would have gotten ulcers after reading too much Lifton, but luckily a commitment to eating well probably prevented this. At the end of the day, these posts (which, as a novice debater, I excitedly read in rounds as “K cards”) mused on an interesting version of the Liar’s Paradox in debate. If someone read the Deep Eco K on you and one of the links was to the fact you ate meat, how would the judge handle this? Worse still, let us say that despite running the Deep Eco K you in fact ate meat (and, say, are totally unaware of critical defenses of meat-eating in the literature such at Plumwood’s criticism of vegetarianism) and a “performative contradiction” argument was made regarding the permutability of this link. How would the judge handle this? Nowadays, the personal lives of debaters are shielded from the ballot through the employment of framework arguments: the judge probably reasonably asks him/herself “What does this link have to do with the plan?” Despite all of the excellent scholarship done on the question of standpoint epistemologies, it seems as if debaters are rarely willing to bring their standpoints into the debate unless there is some positive strategic value (and thus the confession becomes just another appendage of the permutation).

I do not like the position critique therefore finds itself in debate. Truly radical notions about transforming not only debate but the people who participate in the activity are marginalized via discussions of the plan. Now, I understand that the plan itself is generally a proposal to change how people live their lives in the status quo. But herein lies the problem: as commentators on the status quo, we often divorce ourselves from both the way we construct and are constructed by the status quo. That is, one of the greatest assumptions of the framework argument—that it is possible to judge a debate round “objectively” in the sense that we could consider the round itself as a special or unique kind of writing about the status quo—defeats the framework argument outright. That is, if objectivity were possible for the critic, then the special kind of link forwarded by the critique becomes “more true” than the arguments made within traditional debate. Granted, this relies on the assumption that the critique’s link argument is won, but this is perhaps the strategic beauty of the critique (the link is almost always there—it is a matter of outweighing which is a problem) The permutation is just an apology for the object of critique, not a defense.

A strategic aside, then. Consider the situation where a straight-up affirmative runs up against a “performance” neg. Usually, on the permutation, the negative will say that the affirmative isn’t a performance (whether this implies mutual exclusivity or something is usually left for me as a judge to decide). This argument demonstrates the neg’s inability to come to terms with the theoretical implications of performance theories: if the neg is right, everything is a performance. In fact, one of the main internal links to the performance K’s impact is that certain performances are excluded from the banner of legitimacy in the status quo—so the neg replicates this structural harm of the status quo via their argumentation in the debate round. The correct answer should be that the affirmative did in fact perform their argument but that this performance is a bad one. Given the tension between making normative statements and the monolithic nature of the kind of links people like to run nowadays, I can understand why some would be loathe to make this kind of argument. It gets worse when a team like Weber State refuses to make their religious arguments about the other team—debate is particularly American in that we have a strange tendency to simply assume that “different strokes for different folks” is a ethico-political yardstick for evaluation. Weber runs the God K and the other team doesn’t think for a moment that their personal beliefs really have a part to play in the debate round. It gets worse still when a team runs a Nietzsche K and their opponent’s response to the “no value to life” contention is “blunts, bitches, and forties” (perhaps I am too jaded by what children think the value to life is nowadays)–and they generally get away with this!

To return to the topic of esotericism, then, the critique necessarily esoteric for two reasons. First, it uncovers the hidden truth of the object of critique (the link level). Second, it itself contains a hidden truth which must love to hide lest the critique become the object of political persecution (what OD calls the “assimilationist model” of critique). I am not advocating a return to the old equation of arm+brick+window… (though, given all the commentary on esotericism in this post, I wonder if I can even be taken seriously at this point). Rather, I am calling on all those so-called critique debaters to account for their beginnings, to ask themselves why they debate the way they do. Then, I am calling for more lies. Every critique should be called the Lie. Everyone should understand that when critique actually happens in the debate round, nobody is allowed to recognize it.

This post is a lie.

CEDA NATIONALS 2010: FINAL ROUND

Posted in Final Round, Video with tags , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

 

Skipping around works better if you let the whole video load…