I had a misspent youth. Not primarily because I haunted South Dakota pool halls, although I did some of that, but because I devoted most of my energies to high school and college debate. Paul did, too: we became friends as members of the Dartmouth debate team. Competitive debating had its faults, but there was never any doubt that facts, evidence and logical argument were all that counted.
So this headline really hurt: High School Students Disqualified From Debate After Quoting Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson. Sadly, the story is even worse than the headline.
A pair of Utah high school seniors lost a debate round because they read quotes from Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, who were deemed “white supremacists” by the judge.
Layton High School senior Michael Moreno and his debate partner, whom The Daily Wire will not name, were participating in a round with a topic relating to immigration. The specific topic of the round was “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on legal immigration.” …
Instead of arguing in the affirmative, Moreno told The Daily Wire, the other team read a “slam poem” about how terms like “legal” and “illegal” are dehumanizing. In documents provided to The Daily Wire, these students quoted from numerous professors critical of assimilation and the notion that immigrants must act American to live “the good life.”
“Promises of citizenship and the ‘good life’ force non-normative subjects into a slow death, working towards the unbelievable goal of the American dream,” the students said.
Apart from being idiotic, the affirmative team’s presentation did not conform to the rules of policy debate.
Moreno and his partner responded by arguing the other team did not actually articulate a position. The structure of this debate allowed for the affirmative to propose a plan and then have the negative argue against that plan. Since the other team did not propose solutions to reduce restrictions on legal immigration, Moreno said, his team had nothing to argue against and claimed this was unfair.
This is correct. The affirmative team must offer a specific plan that implements the broad terms of the resolution. If they don’t do that, they should lose by default.
Now we get to the usual, disgusting leftist cant.
The other team, during the cross-examination section of the debate, said Moreno and his partner could not talk about fairness because they were “white males.” Moreno said he then speed-read through quotes from Shapiro and Peterson pertaining to identity politics. He specifically cited comments Shapiro made at the University of Connecticut on January 24, 2018, where he said: ‘Evil things are still evil even if I’m a white well-off religious man and good things are still good even if I’m a white well-off religious man …. My identity has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.”
Arguing that the race or gender of one’s opponents entitles you to victory is more antithetical to the principles of debate than anything I can imagine. Yet, in this case it worked.
The judge ended the round after Moreno’s quotes from Shapiro and Peterson, as the other team continued to affirm that they had no standing as “white males.”
The judge, who before the round told each team not to be racist, claimed Moreno and his partner’s “evidence” and “saying things like ‘your identity doesn’t matter’” were actually racist. The judge then joined the opposing team in claiming it was Moreno and his partner who turned the debate into a discussion of “identity politics” and claimed Shapiro and Peterson are “racists.”
After another 10 minutes of this kind of back and forth, the judge said Moreno and his partner lost the round.
It is enough to make you weep. If you follow the link, there is a video that was made by one of the “losing” debaters. He is obviously a sharp young guy. Watching the video reminds me how fast you need to be able to talk to participate in a timed event. More importantly, this episode demonstrates that there is no bastion of reason that liberalism cannot infiltrate and pervert.