Tuesday, January 09, 2018

In which we roll 'em, roll 'em, roll 'em

The United States should abolish the capital gains tax? That’s the PF resolution for February. I like it. First of all, it will push education of everything surrounding capital gains taxes, and then the politics of taxes, and why some things are taxed at one rate and other things at another rate, perhaps benefiting the haves over the have nots, etc., etc., etc. Much more satisfying than, say, the LD plea bargaining topic. I find that one forces debaters to go weird, rather than facing something head on. I’ve talked about it before. Given that plea bargaining is the only way the US justice system can work, abolishing it seems a bit…overwrought. I talked to Alston about it recently, and he took partial blame/credit for it being on the list. I think Vaughan also claimed partial credit. I think they’re both crazy, but that’s maybe why they’ve still got their heads way into LD and I don’t. Haven’t for a while, actually.

I wonder if we’ve learned yet how to conduct PF. The rolling topic machine forcing you to start researching the next topic before you’ve debated the last one is an interesting problem. It’s obviously solvable for students willing to go the distance—just work really, really hard—but one of the things I like about PF is the possibility that students might debate without going the distance. That is, it can be one of their activities, not their end-all, be-all. More debate to more people, in other words. But how does one keep students involved in that revolving door of resolutions? The activity probably ends up attracting and retaining students who like attacking new ideas regularly, but who have the ability to build a structural approach to debate itself that stands despite the rezzes. But at the same time, this can lead to a repetitious approach that is thin and, well, a little boring.

Not my problem anymore, of course. Me, I’m gearing up for Bigle X, although at this point, that mostly means planning dinner. All the students and judges are in place, and JV and I don’t even have to get up early on Saturday, since round 1 is at 9:00.

So civilized…


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