Dec 20, 2011

The Great Debate -- Iowa Caucuses 20112

My pal Dick is my old high school debate partner, and I immodestly report we tucked a bronze or two in the trophy case. This post is a little obscure for anyone not familiar with formal debate, but, what the Hell. Some readers are. Others are free to move on until I get back to my favorite hobby, posting retro cheesecake and gun porn. :)


Dick emailed me a positive Christian Science Monitor  piece on Ron Paul. The reply:


Scene: The National Forensic League national final in traditional debate. PBS teevee cameras are rolling:

Paul is the first-negative speaker who spends his first three minutes admitting "need" but criticizing the  affirmative's analysis of the nature of the need. In his seven remaining minutes he presents an alternative solution, a counter-plan. Even if somewhat faulty, it boasts internal consistency, unheard of in either academic or political disputation.

Discombobulated, the second affirmative stumbles through disjointed short takes about the unfairness of trick cases. Second negative reestablishes the logic and real-world pertinence of its program. First affirmative has had time to recover a semblance of coherence as that term is understood by, say, Kingman Brewster and Teddy Kennedy. 

This is enough for the judges who, by training and experience,  have never in their  lives faced a problem to which the solution was not government-inspired. The  remaining rebuttals are largely  ignored. Decision for the affirmative. 

But the nature of debate is forever changed.  


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