Carleton’s in Missouri! Six of us spent our Friday afternoon/evening driving down to Columbia, where Mizzou is. Google Maps did not have its best performance, locating a fake Chipotle and leading the car down county roads that felt a bit too much like Stranger Things, but the trip was otherwise relatively decent. Because we don’t feel like writing up all six rounds for everyone, we decided to write about one team per round – which is why this might seem different from other posts!
Round 1: The United States federal government should enact legislation to significantly reform civil asset forfeiture.
Ani and Thomas were opp, and ran their Effective Altruism argument, which we’ll get into in more detail below. Their opponents read a plan text, and they said “fiat based plan implementation good,” and then immediately launched into a narrative performance, arguing that using the plan debate as a springboard into narrative was useful – which Ani and Thomas thought was a pretty cool methodology. Unfortunately, it was such a cool methodology that Ani and Thomas lost.
Round 2: The United States federal government should make public colleges and universities in the United States tuition-free.
Amanda and Carolyn were opp, and means tested the funding for colleges proposed by their opponents. Their opponents argued a semi-Keynesian interpretation where the money spent on even wealthy students would create economic growth. (It should surprise no one to hear that Ben and Josh ran Negative Income Tax on the same topic.) Fun fact from the round: apparently raising a child is “really difficult!”, which is probably a fair point, but y’know, whatever.
Round 3: Scotland should secede from the United Kingdom.
After seeing the topic, Carolyn got really excited to defend Scottish independence, before realizing that she and Amanda were opp. After their opponents argued that Scotland should secede due to the fact that they’re basically an English colony, comparing Scots to the Wildlings beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones, Amanda and Carolyn argued that Scots are blatantly prominent in British culture, with the pretty obvious example of Doctor Who, which went conceded – although Amanda and Carolyn ultimately lost. Historical fact of the day: The Scottish and English Union of 1707 was a parliamentary resolution adopted by both countries following the failure of a Scottish colonial mission which had over 25% of national wealth invested, leading to popular sentiment in Scotland looking to England for fiscal stability. #goodtimetobeaMARSconcentrator #jkitsalwaysagoodtimetobeaMARSconcentrator
Round 4: The United States federal government should implement a destination-based cash flow tax.
The tax geeks on the team celebrated #DBCFT before realizing no one wanted to actually debate it – which is a good time to discuss the Effective Altruists! Ani and Thomas, for the entire tournament, have advocated (independent of topic) that judges should vote for them in order to encourage people to talk about effective altruism, increasing the likelihood that people will do effective altruism – which is the best possible utilitarian outcome of the round. (Effective altruism is all about donating to super high impact charities, which Ani and Thomas have decided to measure in terms of number of people dewormed.) Ani and Thomas were opp. Their judge noted in her philosophy that she “didn’t really like kritiks”, which didn’t bode well, but Ani and Thomas forged ahead anyways. Their opponents argued that debating against Ani and Thomas made them less likely to be effective altruists, which is very unutilitarian. In her RFD, the judge noted “I voted for the neg. Which I’m pretty surprised by.” and mentioned that she had donated $25 to the De-Worm The World Foundation, which is pretty great. Side note for any readers: if you are interested in philanthropy or utility or whatever, consider effective altruism – here’s a link with more: http://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities
Round 5: The United States federal government should eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Continuing their trend of being broadly on the side they disagreed with, Ben and Josh were gov, and ran the topic as a plan. Their opponents focused on Global Warming as the main negative impact of EPA elimination, and Ben and Josh argued that eliminating the EPA would galvanize environmentalist opposition creating the greatest possibility of substantial change in environmental policy in the future. Try or die! They also argued that the EPA has perverse incentives, excessive executive control, and will be ineffective under Trump in any case, and so the best case when the presidency returns to the hands of someone who doesn’t think global warming is a hoax is to be able to replace the EPA wholesale rather than simply work with the existing institution. Surprisingly, Ben and Josh picked up.
Round 6: The United States Congress should pass legislation to protect undocumented DREAMers.
Guess what? Ben and Josh remain on their least favorite side of the topic. Josh got the chance to tap in to his long hidden K debater. After prepping a borders K (which is a pretty big step in itself!) Josh heard the phrase “policy paralysis” in round and decide to throw in an ableist rhetoric argument to boot! Two kritiks for the price of one! Their opponents ran the topic, which seems broadly pretty good, so Ben and Josh did their best to win impact level debates about borders. Alas, although it was honestly not a terrible effort, Ben and Josh did not win.
And then we got Thai food and everything is good! We have rounds tomorrow morning. I’d promise updates but looking back it’s pretty clear that I haven’t delivered on that promise before… But I can say that Josh and Ben won the Vocal Viking, so that’s cool!