Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Evaluating The New TP Resolutions

It's that that time of year again: the time of year for us Stoa people when the head Stoa people allow us a say in determining what we'll all be thinking about for a minimum of nine months starting next September. Of course, a lot of us started thinking about the resolution yesterday, really start to focus in the summer and keep thinking about it for years, but that's only the particularly nerdy among us. So, most of us.

Because I am currently a first year debater, I have never voted on a resolution before. I remember everyone getting excited about stuff last year, but I didn't realize just how interesting the whole process can be from the inside. Well, many of us find it interesting, myself included. However, we take it way too seriously for my taste at times. To paraphrase from one debater, we all are now debating about what to debate. Which shouldn't surprise you. We debate about everything.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be passionate about a particular resolution candidate. I myself am quite caught up in the excitement. The trouble is, arguing over resolutions is not that funny. Or happy. Or lighthearted or anything. For these reasons, and for your convenience and amusement, I have chosen to offer my own thoughts on each resolution option on the Policy side. You're welcome.

The Food One
or, as it is more formally known, 
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reform its food policy.

I had several immediate thoughts when I read this one.
First I thought, waaaiiit a minute. That looks awful familiar. Didn't they have that, or something very similar, as an option last year?
The answer is yes, yes they did.

Second, I think, Food?! I love food! I would totally want to run a case with a criterion of Net Benefits with an emphasis of chocolate, or "Chocolate Benefits," because Judge, at the end of the day, the team which warrants your ballot is the one which presents a world you would most want to live in, and clearly that world is the one with the most chocolate.
You could do that, right?

Then I think, no, you probably couldn't. The Food Rez ("Rez" is what us cool kids call the Rezolution) doesn't sound nearly as fun now. The cases would probably involve non-fun food and not candy. It seems less interesting.

My final thought is, Food policies? What food policies? but about 4 seconds on Google convinced me that we have a ton of food polices and a shortage of cases shouldn't be a problem. Even interesting cases, against all odds. In the course of a time period lasting approximately 8 seconds, I had become wary of and then suddenly more attracted to this resolution. But I can't make up my mind yet. We've still got two more choices.

The Military One

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reform its foreign military presence and/or foreign military commitments.

Right off the bat, like it. At first I don't know why, but I like it. Then, the serious debater who usually goes into hiding when I write posts like this thinks that this resolution could lead to a lot of cases that present very intriguing ideas crucial to the future of America and what direction we're heading. The LDer stuck on last year's resolution in me (legitimacy of government year) leaps at any rez that might result in arguments about the role of government (which is all of them ever, but this one in particular). The rest of me thinks it would be cool to talk about guns and stuff. That would probably come up. And tanks.

I really can't imagine a shortage of cases here either. We're far more likely to have the opposite problem. There are probably a bazillion of cases that us CHSADKS could think of in a week, and we have months! I feel like a lot of cases would have a lot in common, so having absolutely zero evidence specifically regarding a random, unheard of case may not be a problem for a researcher who's worth his salt and knows things about treaties and troops. I don't think the broadness is as problematic as one might originally think.

I notice this resolution doesn't include the word "policy," or any variation of it, which is weird and somehow intriguing. I also think this resolution is an attractive option for hipster debaters who want to run non-mainstream cases but still be Topical. It seems like it would be pretty hard to be not Topical (and also not ridiculous), with one exception: the
commitments thing is admittedly vague, but I'll leave it to the serious debaters who don't have amusing blogs to deal with that one.
So, less Topicality violations. That would be nice. Except for those who really get a kick out of running T every round, which I don't.

The Asia One
More specifically, Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially change its policy toward Taiwan, China, and/or Korea.

My favorite, favorite thing about this resolution is its usage of the word "and/or." (The last option had it too, but I notice it more here) I find that word inherently amusing. I use "and/or" a lot. Just search for it in the little sidebar thing and you'll see what I mean. There are so many wonderful ways to use "and/or" to make oneself seem funny, hilarious, indecisive, educated and/or contradictory. And the jokes would never get old:

"So Judge, because the United States Federal Government should clearly 
substantially change its policy toward Taiwan, China, and/or Korea, I would urge an affirmative and/or negative ballot. I mean, affirmative. Affirmative ballot. Thank you."

Well, ok, maybe they would get old. Then again, I'm probably the only one who would say something like that, so maybe not...

I also notice that this resolution includes the word "change." That's new. I don't know if it's important, but it's new.

I'm trying very hard to think of a policy that could be reformed involving all four countries (China, Taiwan, Korea x2) but nothing comes to mind. Not that I would expect it to. Anyway, it would be fun to find something. I kind of feel like most people would focus on China, but who knows? Maybe some club out there will run a case selling fighter jets to Taiwan or something. That could be interesting.

That's my take. You can go back to being a serious debater now. I hope I haven't upset anyone with my unreasonable optimism. Not that I really care. That's what this blog is for, anyway.

You're homeschooled. Choose wisely.

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