LD – Mar/Apr ’16 – Promoting democracy in Middle East

The Ignatius article gives a specific pro-democracy number that Affs should find useful:

Ignatius – Don’t give up on young Arabs

Should we be promoting democracy in the Middle East if we aren’t doing that good a job of it ourselves? And is press freedom necessary for democracy to work properly?

Norris – US elections ranked worst among Western democracies – Here’s why

The ‘deep and disturbing decline’ in global press freedom

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FX/NX/LD/PF/CX – Extemp Files updates

The Extemp Files were just updated, through Wednesday. This includes the Elections and Supreme Court folders.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is gradually being populated. For PF the Economic Crisis – US folder is where I tend to file infrastructure and domestic economic inequality articles; for CX, see the China folders. (For the current CX topic, look for the previous Terrorism-Surveillance folders.) Also see specific posts for the event in question.

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 25,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy or share the folder (so that you get the updates as soon as I post them). Students who want to share the folder will need to have an OK from their coach – I don’t want to step on the toes of any coaches who prefer other methods of team research. (Several coaches already share the folder, if you’re a coach and are interested.) Specific topic subfolders can be shared as well.

Debate in the national news (normally pretty rare)

Virginia – Debaters boycott state championships at Liberty U over Falwell’s anti-Muslim remarks

So, what would you or your team do if it were in this situation? Does your squad have any Muslim members, and would that impact your (or your team’s) decision to attend/compete or not?

Here’s a value debate that’s real-world, not LD. And it brings home the fact that life is a constant election, in which you vote with your actions.

 

LD – Mar/Apr ’16 – Promoting democracy in Middle East

Thoughts from judging this topic (including the final round at State):

The question of type of democracy isn’t coming up in rounds. It should. Everyone seems to be assuming that democracy only comes in one flavor, and that’s not the case.

There’s a lesson from the arguments for literacy that applies here. Early readings in college (a design-your-own major program; mine was free schools and open classrooms) emphasized why people liked being literate – it gave them more control over their environment, and the way they were able to interact with the world. Literacy allowed a level of interaction, and by extension control, that they couldn’t find while being illiterate. The desire of people to be able to influence the forces that act on their lives is pretty fundamental and universal – and is often why democracy is popular.

Compared to other forms of government, the ability to influence governmental decision-making via democracy translates to more control of one’s environment – even if that influence is imperfect.

As an Aff on this resolution, that’s essentially what you’re arguing, though few Affs will state it that directly. This is why the following article, originally posted in February, is important.

Hamid – The Future of Democracy in the Middle East – Islamist and Illiberal – The Atlantic

Even if the form of democracy is imperfect (illiberal), promoting it is still important because it moves people closer to being able to influence the forces that act on their lives. It may not even cover all people (see: America, prior to the Voting Rights Act), but covering some/most is better than no one being covered at all.

With most Affs going for what is, in Political Science terms, liberal democracy, the question of the conditions necessary for liberal democracy to succeed comes into play. For most Negs, it should be easy to argue that many areas in the Middle East don’t have the necessary conditions for liberal democracy to succeed (which is why pinning down the type of democracy the Aff is talking about is important).

Roger Cohen’s article discusses the reasons to favor, and the conditions necessary for, liberal democracy. The latter are of use to a Neg refuting an Aff liberal democracy case – they describe conditions that don’t exist in the Middle East; Cohen discusses the Arab Awakening failure specifically in these terms.

Roger Cohen – The Death of Liberalism

On the other hand, if you’re an Aff arguing for democracy even if it’s illiberal, and run into an attack arguing that necessary conditions aren’t present, then the Cohen article lets you argue that supporting illiberal democracy is all we can really expect, given that most places don’t qualify for the liberal democracy label any more (see: U.S. and certain E.U. countries).

PF Apr ’16 – Income inequality

The Pro case in a nutshell (from yesterday – not in the Extemp Files yet):

The Case for a New WPA – The Atlantic

The making of a Con case, in three parts: show the problem (pages 5-7), provide the means, show that the means work. (The latter two might not need to be done at all, or at least until the second or later Con speech – it would depend on what attacks the Pro side makes.)

Brady – Bernie Sanders wants the US to stop having the highest child poverty rate among rich countries – Here’s how you can do it

Farrell – A Financial Times columnist says that taxes have nothing to do with fairness – Here’s why he’s wrong

Holtz – The Panama Papers prove it – America can afford a universal basic income – The Guardian

So, government employment programs or direct transfers? The respective articles support the success of both types of programs – at least in certain situations. What are the limits of the effectiveness of the different approaches? Investing in direct payment for childhood anti-poverty programs shoots for a long-term benefit – would this eventually narrow the income inequality gap? Employment provides a more immediate benefit – but does that address the income inequality question?

 

FX/NX/LD/PF/CX – Extemp Files updates

The Extemp Files were just updated, through Wednesday. This includes the Elections and Supreme Court folders.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is gradually being populated. For PF the Economic Crisis – US folder is where I tend to file infrastructure and domestic economic inequality articles; for CX, see the China folders. (For the current CX topic, look for the previous Terrorism-Surveillance folders.)

 

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 25,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy or share the folder (so that you get the updates as soon as I post them). Students who want to share the folder will need to have an OK from their coach – I don’t want to step on the toes of any coaches who prefer other methods of team research. (Several coaches already share the folder, if you’re a coach and are interested.) Specific topic subfolders can be shared as well.