Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The most uncomfortable post I've ever had to write.

I was never an expert in the social sciences. Sure, I took a few courses of sociology, but I mostly just slept through those classes (as I am notoriously wont to do) and got by on my charming good loo- I mean, stock knowledge and rational thinking. Same thing went for debate, especially the socio-legal ones. You won't see me debating higher theory or referencing Focault or Stiglitz or whoever great mind is in vogue this particular season. I'm what I'd like to call a blue-collar debater.

Which explains the glass ceiling that I've already reached in debating (and no, Nicolo, I'm not pulling a Cabrera).

In any case, my limitations being what they are, that doesn't stop me from reading up on issues and making up motions and basically just thinking what kind of things would make for a good, balanced, interesting debate. It just stops me from participating in the more complex ones that I think about.

And if there ever was a complex socio-legal debate that is way over my head, it's this one.

Horrible mutations aside, what are the arguments for/against consensual incest?

Possible motion being,

"This house sees nothing wrong with non-reproductive, consensual incestuous relationships."

Here's a good point,

To prohibit two people from having sex because their offspring may be "defective" or "inferior" is to adopt the standpoint of a eugenicist.

My brain cannot go deeper than seeing the issue though. Hell, I feel dirty just posting this.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bill Bennet and the Daily Show

for those of you that I've bugged to watch this particular episode of the Daily Show since last night, you'll understand why after watching this clip.

Bill Bennett (your traditional Republican personality) was the guest on last night's episode promoting his book, 'America: The Last Best Hope', and the discussion goes towards gay marriage.

Jon Stewart then embarasses Bill Bennett live on tv.

The discussion itself was good. Bill Bennett, complete and total humiliation notwithstanding, gave decent points to ponder. Jon Stewart just had better ideas that were better explained. Nevertheless, the whole gay marriage debate was able to get the proper framing and nuancing that it was supposed to get.

Some choice quotes:

Jon Stewart: ...why not encourage gay people to join in on that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?

Bill Bennett: Gay people are members of families... they already are members of families. They're sons and daughters-

Jon Stewart: -And that's where the buck stops? That's the gay ceiling?

Bill Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man or a woman.

Jon Stewart: I disagree, it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

Take note of that point. In a debate, that's an issue that you have to establish early on. Otherwise, the debate gets bogged down in technicalities and tangents, much in the same way an abortion debate can get bogged down on the question of whether or not a fetus is a living person or not.

More to the point, homosexuality as a human condition takes you on a very different path of argumentation as compared to homosexuality as a random fetish (which, I reccommend no one takes as a premise).

Nevertheless, both are arguable at this time, so either way can go depending on the debate. Makes you wish there was actually some evidence about this, huh?

Which brings us to my favorite part of the discussion:

Bill Bennett: How do you define marriage? Where do you draw the line? Immediately on the heels of this debate, Jon..

Jon Stewart: Don't go slippery slope with me, that's ridiculous.

Bill Bennett: No it isn't. What do you say to the polygamous?

Jon Stewart: You don't say anything to the polygamous... That is a choice to get three or four wives, that is not a biological condition that 'I gots to get laid by different women that I'm married to', that is a choice. Being gay is part of the human condition, there's a huge difference.

Bill Bennett: Well, some people regard their human condition as marrying three women...

Jon Stewart: ...Then let's go slippery slope the other way. If government says I can define marriage as between a man and a woman, what says that they can't define it as between people of different income levels, or they can decide whether or not you are a suitable husband for a particular woman.

Bill Bennett: Because gender matters in marriage. It's mattered in every human society, it matters in every religion...

Jon Stewart: Race matters in every society as well.

Barado. Another reason to develop a man-crush on Jon Stewart.

This particular discussion also gives me an idea for a possible motion for gay marriage with its own nuances (in other words a stock motion... with at twist!),

This house believes that marriage should be defined by governments.

What's particularly tricky about this motion is that it leaves opposition vulnerable to those infamous 'strategic' set-ups people keep talking about.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

America's turning into the Philippines one day at a time.

Was the 2004 election stolen?

Read the article closely. You'll notice how some of the ways in which Bush (allegedly) stole the 2004 election are variations of the Philippine tradition of dagdag bawas. The Republicans are turning America into a republic... a Banana Republic. Better start wearing khakis (corny, I know. So sue me).

It's counter point.

Some further analysis on the US Election System here, here and here.