“This debate is more than just about the debate—it’s about protecting the individuals in the community from people who proliferate hatred and make this community unsafe.”
In May, we highlighted a report by James Fishback on the changing nature of high school debates, for the worse. Debate judges are becoming overtly political and stifling debate, rather than encouraging it.
Now Fishback has published a new column on the subject, where he looks at how a debate can be lost based on posts on social media sites like Twitter.
A month ago, I wrote about the hijacking of high school debate.
Today, in Part II, I report that high school debaters can lose their rounds for:
— Referring to their female opponent as “Miss”
— “Micro aggressions”
— Their personal tweetshttps://t.co/sAVuubMVeY
— James Fishback (@j_fishback) June 26, 2023
Once again, Fishback writes at the Free Press:
Part II: At High School Debates, Watch What You Say
The NSDA has allowed hundreds of judges with explicit left-wing bias to infiltrate the organization. These judges proudly display their ideological leanings in statements—or “paradigms”—on a public database maintained by the NSDA called Tabroom, where they declare that debaters who argue in favor of capitalism, or Israel, or the police, will lose the rounds they’re judging.
This has fundamentally changed the culture of high school debate—or so scores of students are telling me. One of them is former high school debater Matthew Adelstein, a rising sophomore studying philosophy at the University of Michigan, who was a member of the NSDA in high school.
Adelstein told me that, in April 2022, he competed at the prestigious Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Kentucky, where he debated in favor of the federal government increasing its protection of water resources.
In his final round of the two-day tournament, Matthew was shocked to hear the opposing team levy a personal attack against him as their central argument. The opposing team argued: “This debate is more than just about the debate—it’s about protecting the individuals in the community from people who proliferate hatred and make this community unsafe.”
That claim of making people feel ‘unsafe’ is a common and tired trope in higher education. It’s nothing more than an excuse to shut down the free speech of others. Back to the story:
Then they pulled up a screenshot of a tweet from earlier that month, which Matthew had responded to.
The tweet read: “Name one thing that you, personally, feel is morally disgusting, but that you think, rationally, should be legal and accepted by society.” Matthew had replied: “Calling people racial or homophobic slurs.”
Suddenly, Matthew’s six-word tweet and an accompanying Discord message became the focus of the round, U.S. water policy be damned. You can read his opponents’ entire argument—a rambling 25-page treatise in a multi-font format with no real mention of U.S. water policy—here.
But what is most incredible is that this argument actually won Matthew’s opponents the round.
The truth is that the left no longer wants to debate. They would much rather discredit their opponents with this nonsense.DONATE
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