Loudly Screaming Norsemen In Mankato

The Carleton Debate Team has traveled to sunny Mankato for the Vocal Viking tournament, breaking a nice streak of not making it to a tournament during fall term!

Two teams are here: Carolyn Grahn/Thomas Redding (Carleton Grr…) and Ben White/Josh You (Carleton Why?) We’ve had three pretty fun rounds so far!

Round 1
“This House would increase the value of college education.”

Carolyn and Thomas were Opp this round and had what they thought was an invisible plan: The Triangle.

da triangle

If Gov had increased grants, they would have countered free college. If Gov had called for free college, they would argue for only increasing trade schools. If Gov had argued for increasing trade schools, then they would go one of the other two positions.

Sadly, this beautiful picture was desecrated by their opponents, who defined “this House” as the government of Germany, who would give students the ability to choose between Gymnasium and Realschule.  We of course ran topicality (because who knows about German high schools???–Actually Thomas knew some things).  But we also ran trade school advantages because giving kids the choice to go to college will undervalue trade schools, or at least that’s what we said.  The gov provided one argument that if kids were given choice about higher education that they would be happier.  We responded that if people aren’t taking blue collar jobs then there will be higher unemployment and that makes everyone sad.  Unfortunately the judge did not see it that way.  I guess happy unemployed kids are good too.

Josh and Ben were also Opp. Given the variety of possible plans, Josh decided to reprise the tried-and-true strategy of going all the way right and prepared a libertarian NC that argued that government intervention in higher education is inherently wrong because it’s a violation of property rights. Luckily for them, the gov’s plan ended up being banning for-profit schools and providing free community college, which actually had a somewhat compelling link to the NC (otherwise, he would have had to say something about taxes being slavery or what not). In the LOC, Josh read the aforementioned NC and a convoluted T shell that had two violations linking to two contradictory definitions of increase value (banning for-profit colleges fails to raise the value of for-profit degrees, but increasing community college enrollment decreases the average value of college degrees). He also read a CP about mandating transparency for for-profit schools and ending government subsidies for loans to for-profit schools, only he forgot to read the second plank in the CP text (he referenced it later in the speech, which is good enough, right?). Ben had the good sense not to go for T and to go hard for libertarianism, providing a compelling argument for why for-profit colleges ought to have the right to exploit misinformed veterans. Because everyone should have the right to make bad decisions. How else could Ben get through Fridays at Carleton?

Round 2:

“This house prefers the walking dead to flying monkeys.”

Carolyn and Thomas had a (good) bye, and watched Ben and Josh’s round.

Ben and Josh were gov and decided to interpret the topic literally, arguing that a zombie apocalypse solved for all harms in the quo by ending the neoliberal order in a fiery orgy of death.

But actually, Ben and Josh took a much less reasonable approach to the topic, defining the walking dead as survivors of medical issues who might have otherwise died and flying monkeys as “the diseases that come and carry people off of the yellow brick road that is life.” Logically, this demanded the creation of a single-payer health system. After a PMC so organized it might have been in German, the opposition (from Stolaf! boo hiss) ran the states counter-plan with a politics disad. Ben’s MGC argued that there really isn’t any uniqueness for a politics disad, but also did lots of solvency comparison. Most critically, Ben talked about the implied politics disads in state legislatures, bemoaning the lack of attention to these issues (which we would never be guilty of, of course.) After the LOR went all in on magnitude outweighs from the disad, Josh reprised his time in LD and closed out the debate with a passionate defense of damn socialist commie nonsense.

Round 3:

Carolyn and Thomas were government with the topic “This house would change the way politicians are paid.”  We said that we would tie congressmen’s pay to Congress’s public opinion.  We said this would be better because it would provide incentives for the government to respond to the will of the people and cooperate.  Carolyn said that the impact would be people would have greater faith in the government (and she cited The West Wing and House of Cards to show the change in public perception of Washington).  The opposition were die hard idealists who believed that politicians should do things because they are right not because they are getting paid.  Also they expected us to have all the details of how to implement the plan now, which we didn’t have because we only had 15 minutes to prep.  Thomas did a great job in the MGC telling the opposition we needed to accept that politicians are selfish and that this was a debate about ideas not to actually create policy.  They also mentioned that Abraham Lincoln didn’t have approval ratings when he was trying to get the 13th amendment passed.  We were confused but finished the round by reminding the judge that because they did not run a counter plan all we had to improve America a little bit.  Of course we were restoring hope in the American dream up in there.

Ben and Josh were opp, and their opponents decided to end pensions for former congressmen and presidents in order to reduce the national debt. Ben and Josh discussed the incentive systems of democracy, arguing that guaranteeing stability for former politicians makes it more likely that they won’t be corrupt or influenced by moneyed interests in any way. This is reflected by American democracy’s current total isolation from influence by money, providing really strong uniqueness arguments. In a battle of who had the tinier link story, the debate ultimately came down to a question of fundamentals. Is fiscal responsibility as important as democratic equality? And how will this tiny change influence either?

Also of note was a team trip to Ragstock that resulted in Ben wearing a cowboy hat for the rest of the day.

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