Interpretation: The affirmative must increase diplomatic and/or economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China

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T- china


Interpretation: The affirmative must increase diplomatic and/or economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

“PRC” is the official name of China

Oxford 16 – Oxford Online Dictionary, “People’s Republic of China”,'s-republic-of-china

People's Republic of China

Official name (since 1949) of China.

Violation – They don’t talk about china

  1. Ground - This kills any stable neg link ground and solvency deficits.

  2. Limits explosion – Aff explodes limits because by not specifying the People’s Republic of China

  3. Education – It’s important not to conflate geography with political institutions because real life policymakers wouldn’t confuse the two.

  4. Evaluate the plan in a vacuum – the way you interpret the plan should be on the words in it and not the advantages or solvency. It is the burden of the plan to be topical and it is mixing burdens when topicality is mixed into the advantages or solvency.

Our argument isn’t just ‘vagueness’ or ‘plan flaw’ – they have read a non-topical plan when read in a vacuum which is a reason to vote negative for fairness and competitive equity.

Any clarification is a subsequent and extra topical action at best – makes debates late breaking and impossible to predict all the shifts of the aff.



First, our interpretation:

The purpose of the debate is to answer the question: should the United States federal government substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China?

1. “Resolved” before a colon reflects a legislative forum

Army Officer School ‘04

(5-12, “# 12, Punctuation – The Colon and Semicolon”,

The colon introduces the following: a. A list, but only after "as follows," "the following," or a noun for which the list is an appositive: Each scout will carry the following: (colon) meals for three days, a survival knife, and his sleeping bag. The company had four new officers: (colon) Bill Smith, Frank Tucker, Peter Fillmore, and Oliver Lewis. b. A long quotation (one or more paragraphs): In The Killer Angels Michael Shaara wrote: (colon) You may find it a different story from the one you learned in school. There have been many versions of that battle [Gettysburg] and that war [the Civil War]. (The quote continues for two more paragraphs.) c. A formal quotation or question: The President declared: (colon) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The question is: (colon) what can we do about it? d. A second independent clause which explains the first: Potter's motive is clear: (colon) he wants the assignment. e. After the introduction of a business letter: Dear Sirs: (colon) Dear Madam: (colon) f. The details following an announcement For sale: (colon) large lakeside cabin with dock g. A formal resolution, after the word "resolved:" Resolved: (colon) That this council petition the mayor.

2. The “United States federal government” is the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branch—this excludes actions by smaller political units—like the people

Hogan, 2010

[Thomas, Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, THE FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES,] /Bingham-MB

The United States Constitution and the Federal Government The United States Constitution, adopted in ¶ 1789 and amended only rarely since then, is the ¶ ¶ supreme law of the United States. It established ¶ ¶ a republic under which the individual states ¶ ¶ retain considerable sovereignty and authority. ¶ ¶ Each state, for example, has its own elected ¶ ¶ executive (governor), legislature, and court ¶ ¶ system. The federal, or national, governmentis one of strong, but limited, powers. It may ¶ ¶ exercise only the powers specified in the ¶ ¶ Constitution itself. All other powers are reserved ¶ ¶ by the Constitution to the states and the people. ¶ ¶ This system of divided powers between the ¶ ¶ national and state governments is known as ¶ ¶ “federalism.” ¶ ¶ The Bill of Rights is set forth as the first ten ¶ ¶ amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees ¶ ¶ fundamental rights to the people and protects ¶ ¶ them against improper acts by the government. ¶ ¶ The rights protected include such matters as free ¶ ¶ speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to seek ¶ ¶ redress of grievances, freedom from unreasonable ¶ ¶ searches and seizures, due process of law, ¶ ¶ protection against compelled self-incrimination, ¶ ¶ protection against seizure of property without ¶ ¶ just compensation, a speedy and public trial in ¶ ¶ criminal cases, trial by jury in both criminal and ¶ ¶ civil cases, and assistance of counsel in criminal ¶ ¶ prosecutions. ¶ ¶ The Constitution established three separate ¶ ¶ branches of governmentLegislative (Article I), ¶ ¶ Executive (Article II), and Judicial (Article III). ¶ ¶ The three branches of the federal government ¶ ¶ operate within a constitutional system known as ¶ ¶ “checks and balances.” Each branch is formally ¶ ¶ separate from the other two, and each has certain ¶ ¶ constitutional authority to check the actions of ¶ ¶ the others.

3. “United States federal government should” means the debate is solely about the outcome of a policy established by governmental means

Ericson 3 (Jon M., Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts – California Polytechnic U., et al., The Debater’s Guide, Third Edition, p. 4)

The Proposition of Policy: Urging Future Action In policy propositions, each topic contains certain key elements, although they have slightly different functions from comparable elements of value-oriented propositions. 1. An agent doing the acting ---“The United States” in “The United States should adopt a policy of free trade.” Like the object of evaluation in a proposition of value, the agent is the subject of the sentence. 2. The verb should—the first part of a verb phrase that urges action. 3. An action verb to follow should in the should-verb combination. For example, should adopt here means to put a program or policy into action though governmental means. 4. A specification of directions or a limitation of the action desired. The phrase free trade, for example, gives direction and limits to the topic, which would, for example, eliminate consideration of increasing tariffs, discussing diplomatic recognition, or discussing interstate commerce. Propositions of policy deal with future action. Nothing has yet occurred. The entire debate is about whether something ought to occur. What you agree to do, then, when you accept the affirmative side in such a debate is to offer sufficient and compelling reasons for an audience to perform the future action that you propose.

Second, is the violation: the affirmative claims to win the debate for something other than topical action


Tailoring identity claims to common topics for deliberation is possible and desirable---the 1ac’s failure to affirm topical action impedes the debate---T is engagement, not exclusion

Amanda Anderson 6, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and English at Brown University, Spring 2006, “Reply to My Critic(s),” Criticism, Vol. 48, No. 2, p. 281-290

MY RECENT BOOK, The Way We Argue Now, has in a sense two theses. In the first place, the book makes the case for the importance of debate and argument to any vital democratic or pluralistic intellectual culture. This is in many ways an unexceptional position, but the premise of the book is that the claims of reasoned argument are often trumped, within the current intellectual terrain, by appeals to cultural identity and what I gather more broadly under the rubric of ethos, which includes cultural identity but also forms of ethical piety and charismatic authority. In promoting argument as a universal practice keyed to a human capacity for communicative reason, my book is a critique of relativism and identity politics, or the notion that forms of cultural authenticity or group identity have a certain unquestioned legitimacy, one that cannot or should not be subjected to the challenges of reason or principle, precisely because reason and what is often called "false universalism" are, according to this pattern of thinking, always involved in forms of exclusion, power, or domination. My book insists, by contrast, that argument is a form of respect, that the ideals of democracy, whether conceived from a nationalist or an internationalist perspective, rely fundamentally upon procedures of argumentation and debate in order to legitimate themselves and to keep their central institutions vital. And the idea that one should be protected from debate, that argument is somehow injurious to persons if it does not honor their desire to have their basic beliefs and claims and solidarities accepted without challenge, is strenuously opposed. As is the notion that any attempt to ask people to agree upon processes of reason-giving argument is somehow necessarily to impose a coercive norm, one that will disable the free expression and performance of identities, feelings, or solidarities. Disagreement is, by the terms of my book, a form of respect, not a form of disrespect. And by disagreement, I don't mean simply to say that we should expect disagreement rather than agreement, which is a frequently voiced-if misconceived-criticism of Habermas. Of course we should expect disagreement. My point is that we should focus on the moment of dissatisfaction in the face of disagreement-the internal dynamic in argument that imagines argument might be the beginning of a process of persuasion and exchange that could end in agreement (or partial agreement). For those who advocate reconciling ourselves to disagreements rather than arguing them out, by contrast, there is a complacent-and in some versions, even celebratory-attitude toward fixed disagreement. Refusing these options, I make the case for dissatisfied disagreement in the final chapter of the book and argue that people should be willing to justify their positions in dialogue with one another, especially if they hope to live together in a post-traditional pluralist society.

One example of the trumping of argument by ethos is the form that was taken by the late stage of the Foucault/Habermas debate, where an appeal to ethos-specifically, an appeal to Foucault's style of ironic or negative critique, often seen as most in evidence in the interviews, where he would playfully refuse labels or evade direct answers-was used to exemplify an alternative to the forms of argument employed by Habermas and like-minded critics. (I should pause to say that I provide this example, and the framing summary of the book that surrounds it, not to take up airtime through expansive self-reference, but because neither of my respondents provided any contextualizing summary of the book's central arguments, though one certainly gets an incremental sense of the book's claims from Bruce Robbins. Because I don't assume that readers of this forum have necessarily read the book, and because I believe that it is the obligation of forum participants to provide sufficient context for their remarks, I will perform this task as economically as I can, with the recognition that it might have carried more weight if provided by a respondent rather than the author.)

The Foucauldian counter-critique importantly emphasizes a relation between style and position, but it obscures (1) the importance or value of the Habermasian critique and (2) the possibility that the other side of the debate might have its own ethos to advocate, one that has precisely to do with an ethos of argument, an ideal of reciprocal debate that involves taking distance on one's pre-given forms of identity or the norms of one's community, both so as to talk across differences and to articulate one's claims in relation to shared and even universal ideals. And this leads to the second thesis of the book, the insistence that an emphasis on ethos and character is interestingly present if not widely recognized in contemporary theory, and one of the ways its vitality and existential pertinence makes itself felt (even despite the occurrence of the kinds of unfair trumping moves I have mentioned). We often fail to notice this, because identity has so uniformly come to mean sociological, ascribed, or group identity-race, gender, class, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and so forth. Instances of the move toward character and ethos include the later Foucault (for whom ethos is a central concept), cosmopolitanism (whose aspiration it is to turn universalism into an ethos), and, more controversially, proceduralist ethics and politics (with its emphasis on sincerity and civility). Another version of this attentiveness to ethos and character appears in contemporary pragmatism, with its insistence on casualness of attitude, or insouciance in the face of contingency-recommendations that get elevated into full-fledged exemplary personae in Richard Rorty's notion of the "ironist" or Barbara Herrnstein Smiths portrait of the "postmodern skeptic." These examples-and the larger claim they support-are meant to defend theory as still living, despite the many reports of its demise, and in fact still interestingly and incessantly re-elaborating its relation to practice. This second aspect of the project is at once descriptive, motivated by the notion that characterology within theory is intrinsically interesting, and critical, in its attempt to identify how characterology can itself be used to cover or evade the claims of rational argument, as in appeals to charismatic authority or in what I identify as narrow personifications of theory (pragmatism, in its insistence on insouciance in the face of contingency, is a prime example of this second form). And as a complement to the critical agenda, there is a reconstructive agenda as well, an attempt to recuperate liberalism and proceduralism, in part by advocating the possibility, as I have suggested, of an ethos of argument.

Robbins, in his extraordinarily rich and challenging response, zeroes in immediately on a crucial issue: who is to say exactly when argument is occurring or not, and what do we do when there is disagreement over the fundamentals (the primary one being over what counts as proper reasoning)? Interestingly, Robbins approaches this issue after first observing a certain tension in the book: on the one hand, The Way We Argue Now calls for dialogue, debate, argument; on the other, its project is "potentially something a bit stricter, or pushier: getting us all to agree on what should and should not count as true argument." What this point of entry into the larger issue reveals is a kind of blur that the book, I am now aware, invites. On the one hand, the book anatomizes academic debates, and in doing so is quite "debaterly" This can give the impression that what I mean by argument is a very specific form unique to disciplinary methodologies in higher education. But the book is not generally advocating a narrow practice of formal and philosophical argumentation in the culture at large, however much its author may relish adherence to the principle of non-contradiction in scholarly argument. I take pains to elaborate an ethos of argument that is linked to democratic debate and the forms of dissent that constitutional patriotism allows and even promotes. In this sense, while argument here is necessarily contextualized sociohistorically, the concept is not merely academic. It is a practice seen as integral to specific political forms and institutions in modern democracies, and to the more general activity of critique within modern societies-to the tradition of the public sphere, to speak in broad terms. Additionally, insofar as argument impels one to take distance on embedded customs, norms, and senses of given identity, it is a practice that at once acknowledges identity, the need to understand the perspectives of others, and the shared commitment to commonality and generality, to finding a way to live together under conditions of difference.

More than this: the book also discusses at great length and from several different angles the issue that Robbins inexplicably claims I entirely ignore: the question of disagreement about what counts as argument. In the opening essay, "Debatable Performances," I fault the proponents of communicative ethics for not having a broader understanding of public expression, one that would include the disruptions of spectacle and performance. I return to and underscore this point in my final chapter, where I espouse a democratic politics that can embrace and accommodate a wide variety of expressions and modes. This is certainly a discussion of what counts as dialogue and hence argument in the broad sense in which I mean it, and in fact I fully acknowledge that taking distance from cultural norms and given identities can be advanced not only through critical reflection, but through ironic critique and defamiliarizing performance as well. But I do insist-and this is where I take a position on the fundamental disagreements that have arisen with respect to communicative ethics-that when they have an effect, these other dimensions of experience do not remain unreflective, and insofar as they do become reflective, they are contributing to the very form of reasoned analysis that their champions sometimes imagine they must refuse in order to liberate other modes of being (the affective, the narrative, the performative, the nonrational). If a narrative of human rights violation is persuasive in court, or in the broader cultural public sphere, it is because it draws attention to a violation of humanity that is condemned on principle; if a performance jolts people out of their normative understandings of sexuality and gender, it prompts forms of understanding that can be affirmed and communicated and also can be used to justify political positions and legislative agendas.


Debate over a point of controversy is key to argumentative stasis—while many debates foster education and skills—focused debate on a LIMITED point of contestation BEST fosters decision making and advocacy skills—a model of debate that moves away from specific policy proposals results in competing truth claims that destroys the benefits of specific forms of advocacy

Steinberg and Freely 08

(David L., lecturer of communication studies – University of Miami, and Austin J. Boston based attorney who focuses on criminal, personal injury and civil rights law, “Argumentation and Debate: Critical Thinking for Reasoned Decision Making” p. 45//wyoccd)

Debate is a means of settling differences, so there must be a difference of opinion or a conflict of interest before there can be a debate. If everyone is in agreement on a tact or value or policy, there is no need for debate: the matter can be settled by unanimous consent. Thus, for example, it would be pointless to attempt to debate "Resolved: That two plus two equals four," because there is simply no controversy about this statement. (Controversy is an essential prerequisite of debate. Where there is no clash of ideas, proposals, interests, or expressed positions on issues, there is no debate. In addition, debate cannot produce effective decisions without clear identification of a question or questions to be answered. For example, general argument may occur about the broad topic of illegal immigration. How many illegal immigrants are in the United States? What is the impact of illegal immigration and immigrants on our economy? What is their impact on our communities? Do they commit crimes? Do they take jobs from American workers? Do they pay taxes? Do they require social services? Is it a problem that some do not speak English? Is it the responsibility of employers to discourage illegal immigration by not hiring undocumented workers? Should they have the opportunity- to gain citizenship? Docs illegal immigration pose a security threat to our country? Do illegal immigrants do work that American workers are unwilling to do? Are their rights as workers and as human beings at risk due to their status? Are they abused by employers, law enforcement, housing, and businesses? I low are their families impacted by their status? What is the moral and philosophical obligation of a nation state to maintain its borders? Should we build a wall on the Mexican border, establish a national identification can!, or enforce existing laws against employers? Should we invite immigrants to become U.S. citizens? Surely you can think of many more concerns to be addressed by a conversation about the topic area of illegal immigration. Participation in this "debate" is likely to be emotional and intense. However, it is not likely to be productive or useful without focus on a particular question and identification of a line demarcating sides in the controversy. To be discussed and resolved effectively, controversies must be stated clearly. Vague understanding results in unfocused deliberation and poor decisions, frustration, and emotional distress, as evidenced by the failure of the United States Congress to make progress on the immigration debate during the summer of 2007.¶ Someone disturbed by the problem of the growing underclass of poorly educated, socially disenfranchised youths might observe, "Public schools are doing a terrible job! They are overcrowded, and many teachers are poorly qualified in their subject areas. Even the best teachers can do little more than struggle to maintain order in their classrooms." That same concerned citizen, facing a complex range of issues, might arrive at an unhelpful decision, such as "We ought to do something about this" or. worse. "It's too complicated a problem to deal with." Groups of concerned citizens worried about the state of public education could join together to express their frustrations, anger, disillusionment, and emotions regarding the schools, but without a focus for their discussions, they could easily agree about the sorry state of education without finding points of clarity or potential solutions. A gripe session would follow. But if a precise question is posed—such as "What can be done to improve public education?"—then a more profitable area of discussion is opened up simply by placing a focus on the search for a concrete solution step. One or more judgments can be phrased in the form of debate propositions, motions for parliamentary debate, or bills for legislative assemblies. The statements "Resolved: That the federal government should implement a program of charter schools in at-risk communities" and "Resolved: That the state of Florida should adopt a school voucher program" more clearly identify specific ways of dealing with educational problems in a manageable form, suitable for debate. They provide specific policies to be investigated and aid discussants in identifying points of difference.¶ To have a productive debate, which facilitates effective decision making by directing and placing limits on the decision to be made, the basis for argument should be clearly defined. If we merely talk about "homelessness" or "abortion" or "crime'* or "global warming" we are likely to have an interesting discussion but not to establish profitable basis for argument. For example, the statement "Resolved: That the pen is mightier than the sword" is debatable, yet fails to provide much basis for clear argumentation. If we take this statement to mean that the written word is more effective than physical force for some purposes, we can identify a problem area: the comparative effectiveness of writing or physical force for a specific purpose.¶ Although we now have a general subject, we have not yet stated a problem. It is still too broad, too loosely worded to promote well-organized argument. What sort of writing are we concerned with—poems, novels, government documents, website development, advertising, or what? What does "effectiveness" mean in this context? What kind of physical force is being compared—fists, dueling swords, bazookas, nuclear weapons, or what? A more specific question might be. "Would a mutual defense treaty or a visit by our fleet be more effective in assuring Liurania of our support in a certain crisis?" The basis for argument could be phrased in a debate proposition such as "Resolved: That the United States should enter into a mutual defense treaty with Laurania." Negative advocates might oppose this proposition by arguing that fleet maneuvers would be a better solution. This is not to say that debates should completely avoid creative interpretation of the controversy by advocates, or that good debates cannot occur over competing interpretations of the controversy; in fact, these sorts of debates may be very engaging. The point is that debate is best facilitated by the guidance provided by focus on a particular point of difference, which will be outlined in the following discussion.


Their “Us vs. the State” mentality convinces debaters-some of the most capable advocates-that engagement is impossible-hurts real world movements

Their method of individual advocacy DIRECTLY trades off with the ability to engage with global institutions and problems—only our framework solves—they collapse into ME-SEARCH rather than research—destroying the potential benefits of debate

Chandler 9

(David Chandler is Professor of International Relations at the University of Westminster, “Questioning Global Political Activism”, What is Radical Politics Today?, Edited by Jonathan Pugh, pp. 81-2)

Today more and more people are ‘doing politics’ in their academic work. This is the reason for the boom in International Relations (IR) study and the attraction of other social sciences to the global sphere. I would argue that the attraction of IR for many people has not been IR theory but the desire to practise global ethics. The boom in the IR discipline has coincided with a rejection of Realist theoretical frameworks of power and interests and the sovereignty/anarchy problematic. However, I would argue that this rejection has not been a product of theoretical engagement with Realism but an ethical act of rejection of Realism’s ontological focus. It seems that our ideas and our theories say much more about us than the world we live in. Normative theorists and Constructivists tend to support the global ethical turn arguing that we should not be as concerned with ‘what is’ as with the potential for the emergence of a global ethical community. Constructivists, in particular, focus upon the ethical language which political elites espouse rather than the practices of power. But the most dangerous trends in the discipline today are those frameworks which have taken up Critical Theory and argue that focusing on the world as it exists is conservative problem-solving while the task for critical theorists is to focus on emancipatory alternative forms of living or of thinking about the world. Critical thought then becomes a process of wishful thinking rather than one of engagement, with its advocates arguing that we need to focus on clarifying our own ethical frameworks and biases and positionality, before thinking about or teaching on world affairs. This becomes ‘me-search’ rather than research. We have moved a long way from Hedley Bull’s (1995) perspective that, for academic research to be truly radical, we had to put our values to the side to follow where the question or inquiry might lead. The inward-looking and narcissistic trends in academia, where we are more concerned with our reflectivity – the awareness of our own ethics and values – than with engaging with the world, was brought home to me when I asked my IR students which theoretical frameworks they agreed with most. They mostly replied Critical Theory and Constructivism. This is despite the fact that the students thought that states operated on the basis of power and self-interest in a world of anarchy. Their theoretical preferences were based more on what their choices said about them as ethical individuals, than about how theory might be used to understand and engage with the world. Conclusion I have attempted to argue that there is a lot at stake in the radical understanding of engagement in global politics. Politics has become a religious activity, an activity which is no longer socially mediated; it is less and less an activity based on social engagement and the testing of ideas in public debate or in the academy. Doing politics today, whether in radical activism, government policy-making or in academia, seems to bring people into a one-to-one relationship with global issues in the same way religious people have a one-to-one relationship with their God. Politics is increasingly like religion because when we look for meaning we find it inside ourselves rather than in the external consequences of our ‘political’ acts. What matters is the conviction or the act in itself: its connection to the global sphere is one that we increasingly tend to provide idealistically. Another way of expressing this limited sense of our subjectivity is in the popularity of globalisation theory – the idea that instrumentality is no longer possible today because the world is such a complex and interconnected place and therefore there is no way of knowing the consequences of our actions. The more we engage in the new politics where there is an unmediated relationship between us as individuals and global issues, the less we engage instrumentally with the outside world, and the less we engage with our peers and colleagues at the level of political or intellectual debate and organisation.

And – Anti-Politics dooms their project, threatens the planet, and cedes politics to the Right.

Boggs ’97 (CARL BOGGS – Professor and Ph.D. Political Science, National University, Los Angeles -- Theory and Society 26: 741-780)

The false sense of empowerment that comes with such mesmerizing impulses is accompanied by a loss of public engagement, an erosion of citizenship and a depleted capacity of individuals in large groups to work for social change. As this ideological quagmire worsens, urgent problems that are destroying the fabric of American society will go unsolved -- perhaps even unrecognized -- only to fester more ominously into the future. And such problems (ecological crisis, poverty, urban decay, spread of infectious cannot be understood outside the larger social and global context diseases, technological displacement of workers) of internationalized markets, finance, and communications. Paradoxically, the widespread retreat from politics, often inspired by localist sentiment, comes at a time when agendas that ignore or side-step these global realities will, more than ever, be reduced to impotence. In his commentary on the state of citizenship today, Wolin refers to the increasing sublimation and dilution of politics, as larger numbers of people turn away from public concerns toward private ones. By diluting the life of common involvements, we negate the very idea of politics as a source of public ideals and visions.74 In the meantime, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The unyielding truth is that, even as the ethos of anti-politics becomes more compelling and even fashionable in the United States, it is the vagaries of political power that will continue to decide the fate of human societies. This last point demands further elaboration. The shrinkage of politics hardly means that corporate colonization will be less of a reality, that social hierarchies will somehow disappear, or that gigantic state and military structures will lose their hold over people's lives. Far from it: the space abdicated by a broad citizenry, well-informed and ready to participate at many levels, can in fact be filled by authoritarian and reactionary elites -- an already familiar dynamic in many lesser- developed countries. The fragmentation and chaos of a Hobbesian world, not very far removed from the rampant individualism, social Darwinism, and civic violence that have been so much a part of the American landscape, could be the prelude to a powerful Leviathan designed to impose order in the face of disunity and atomized retreat. In this way the eclipse of politics might set the stage for a reassertion of politics in more virulent guise -- or it might help further rationalize the existing power structure. In either case, the state would likely become what Hobbes anticipated: the embodiment of those universal, collec- tive interests that had vanished from civil society.75

Moving away from anti-politics is vital to check extinction

Small ‘6 (Jonathan, former Americorps VISTA for the Human Services Coalition, “Moving Forward,” The Journal for Civic Commitment, Spring,

What will be the challenges of the new millennium? And how should we equip young people to face these challenges? While we cannot be sure of the exact nature of the challenges, we can say unequivocally that humankind will face them together. If the end of the twentieth century marked the triumph of the capitalists, individualism, and personal responsibility, the new century will present challenges that require collective action, unity, and enlightened self-interest. Confronting global warming, depleted natural resources, global super viruses, global crime syndicates, and multinational corporations with no conscience and no accountability will require cooperation, openness, honesty, compromise, and most of all solidarity – ideals not exactly cultivated in the twentieth century. We can no longer suffer to see life through the tiny lens of our own existence. Never in the history of the world has our collective fate been so intricately interwoven. Our very existence depends upon our ability to adapt to this new paradigm, to envision a more cohesive society. With humankind’s next great challenge comes also great opportunity. Ironically, modern individualism backed us into a corner. We have two choices, work together in solidarity or perish together in alienation. Unlike any other crisis before, the noose is truly around the neck of the whole world at once. Global super viruses will ravage rich and poor alike, developed and developing nations, white and black, woman, man, and child. Global warming and damage to the environment will affect climate change and destroy ecosystems across the globe. Air pollution will force gas masks on our faces, our depleted atmosphere will make a predator of the sun, and chemicals will invade and corrupt our water supplies. Every single day we are presented the opportunity to change our current course, to survive modernity in a manner befitting our better nature. Through zealous cooperation and radical solidarity we can alter the course of human events. Regarding the practical matter of equipping young people to face the challenges of a global, interconnected world, we need to teach cooperation, community, solidarity, balance and tolerance in schools. We need to take a holistic approach to education. Standardized test scores alone will not begin to prepare young people for the world they will inherit. The three staples of traditional education (reading, writing, and arithmetic) need to be supplemented by three cornerstones of a modern education, exposure, exposure, and more exposure. How can we teach solidarity? How can we teach community in the age of rugged individualism? How can we counterbalance crass commercialism and materialism? How can we impart the true meaning of power? These are the educational challenges we face in the new century. It will require a radical transformation of our conception of education. We’ll need to trust a bit more, control a bit less, and put our faith in the potential of youth to make sense of their world. In addition to a declaration of the gauntlet set before educators in the twenty-first century, this paper is a proposal and a case study of sorts toward a new paradigm of social justice and civic engagement education. Unfortunately, the current pedagogical climate of public K-12 education does not lend itself well to an exploratory study and trial of holistic education. Consequently, this proposal and case study targets a higher education model. Specifically, we will look at some possibilities for a large community college in an urban setting with a diverse student body. Our guides through this process are specifically identified by the journal Equity and Excellence in Education. The dynamic interplay between ideas of social justice, civic engagement, and service learning in education will be the lantern in the dark cave of uncertainty. As such, a simple and straightforward explanation of the three terms is helpful to direct this inquiry. Before we look at a proposal and case study and the possible consequences contained therein, this paper will draw out a clear understanding of how we should characterize these ubiquitous terms and how their relationship to each other affects our study. Social Justice, Civic Engagement, Service Learning and Other Commie Crap Social justice is often ascribed long, complicated, and convoluted definitions. In fact, one could fill a good-sized library with treatises on this subject alone. Here we do not wish to belabor the issue or argue over fine points. For our purposes, it will suffice to have a general characterization of the term, focusing instead on the dynamics of its interaction with civic engagement and service learning. Social justice refers quite simply to a community vision and a community conscience that values inclusion, fairness, tolerance, and equality. The idea of social justice in America has been around since the Revolution and is intimately linked to the idea of a social contract. The Declaration of Independence is the best example of the prominence of social contract theory in the US. It states quite emphatically that the government has a contract with its citizens, from which we get the famous lines about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Social contract theory and specifically the Declaration of Independence are concrete expressions of the spirit of social justice. Similar clamor has been made over the appropriate definitions of civic engagement and service learning, respectively. Once again, let’s not get bogged down on subtleties. Civic engagement is a measure or degree of the interest and/or involvement an individual and a community demonstrate around community issues. There is a longstanding dispute over how to properly quantify civic engagement. Some will say that today’s youth are less involved politically and hence demonstrate a lower degree of civic engagement. Others cite high volunteer rates among the youth and claim it demonstrates a high exhibition of civic engagement. And there are about a hundred other theories put forward on the subject of civic engagement and today’s youth. But one thing is for sure; today’s youth no longer see government and politics as an effective or valuable tool for affecting positive change in the world. Instead of criticizing this judgment, perhaps we should come to sympathize and even admire it. Author Kurt Vonnegut said, “There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: only nut cases want to be president.” Maybe the youth’s rejection of American politics isn’t a shortcoming but rather a rational and appropriate response to their experience. Consequently, the term civic engagement takes on new meaning for us today. In order to foster fundamental change on the systemic level, which we have already said is necessary for our survival in the twenty-first century, we need to fundamentally change our systems. Therefore, part of our challenge becomes convincing the youth that these systems, and by systems we mean government and commerce, have the potential for positive change. Civic engagement consequently takes on a more specific and political meaning in this context. Service learning is a methodology and a tool for teaching social justice, encouraging civic engagement, and deepening practical understanding of a subject. Since it is a relatively new field, at least in the structured sense, service learning is only beginning to define itself. Through service learning students learn by experiencing things firsthand and by exposing themselves to new points of view. Instead of merely reading about government, for instance, a student might experience it by working in a legislative office. Rather than just studying global warming out of a textbook, a student might volunteer time at an environmental group. If service learning develops and evolves into a discipline with the honest goal of making better citizens, teaching social justice, encouraging civic engagement, and most importantly, exposing students to different and alternative experiences, it could be a major feature of a modern education. Service learning is the natural counterbalance to our current overemphasis on standardized testing. Social justice, civic engagement, and service learning are caught in a symbiotic cycle. The more we have of one of them; the more we have of all of them. However, until we get momentum behind them, we are stalled. Service learning may be our best chance to jumpstart our democracy. In the rest of this paper, we will look at the beginning stages of a project that seeks to do just that.


Switch-side debate fosters an ethic of critical reasoning and inquiry that requires listening to the argument of others—this affirms a method living that solves violence

Roberts-Miller 3

[Patricia, Associate Professor of Rhetoric at UT Austin, “Fighting Without Hatred: Hannah Arendt ' s Agonistic Rhetoric”, p. asp//wyo-tjc]

Totalitarianism and the Competitive Space of Agonism Arendt is probably most famous for her analysis of totalitarianism (especially her The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem), but the recent attention has been on her criticism of mass culture (The Human Condition). Arendt's main criticism of the current human condition is that the common world of deliberate and joint action is fragmented into solipsistic and unreflective behavior. In an especially lovely passage, she says that in mass society people are all imprisoned in the subjectivity of their own singular experience, which does not cease to be singular if the same experience is multiplied innumerable times. The end of the common world has come when it is seen only under one aspect and is permitted to present itself in only one perspective. (Human 58) What Arendt so beautifully describes is that isolation and individualism are not corollaries, and may even be antithetical because obsession with one's own self and the particularities of one's life prevents one from engaging in conscious, deliberate, collective action. Individuality, unlike isolation, depends upon a collective with whom one argues in order to direct the common life. Self-obsession, even (especially?) when coupled with isolation from one' s community is far from apolitical; it has political consequences. Perhaps a better way to put it is that it is political precisely because it aspires to be apolitical. This fragmented world in which many people live simultaneously and even similarly but not exactly together is what Arendt calls the "social." Arendt does not mean that group behavior is impossible in the realm of the social, but that social behavior consists "in some way of isolated individuals, incapable of solidarity or mutuality, who abdicate their human capacities and responsibilities to a projected 'they' or 'it,' with disastrous consequences, both for other people and eventually for themselves" (Pitkin 79). One can behave, but not act. For someone like Arendt, a German-assimilated Jew, one of the most frightening aspects of the Holocaust was the ease with which a people who had not been extraordinarily anti-Semitic could be put to work industriously and efficiently on the genocide of the Jews. And what was striking about the perpetrators of the genocide, ranging from minor functionaries who facilitated the murder transports up to major figures on trial at Nuremberg, was their constant and apparently sincere insistence that they were not responsible. For Arendt, this was not a peculiarity of the German people, but of the current human and heavily bureaucratic condition of twentieth-century culture: we do not consciously choose to engage in life's activities; we drift into them, or we do them out of a desire to conform. Even while we do them, we do not acknowledge an active, willed choice to do them; instead, we attribute our behavior to necessity, and we perceive ourselves as determined—determined by circumstance, by accident, by what "they" tell us to do. We do something from within the anonymity of a mob that we would never do as an individual; we do things for which we will not take responsibility. Yet, whether or not people acknowledge responsibility for the consequences of their actions, those consequences exist. Refusing to accept responsibility can even make those consequences worse, in that the people who enact the actions in question, because they do not admit their own agency, cannot be persuaded to stop those actions. They are simply doing their jobs. In a totalitarian system, however, everyone is simply doing his or her job; there never seems to be anyone who can explain, defend, and change the policies. Thus, it is, as Arendt says, rule by nobody. It is illustrative to contrast Arendt's attitude toward discourse to Habermas'. While both are critical of modern bureaucratic and totalitarian systems, Arendt's solution is the playful and competitive space of agonism; it is not the rational-critical public sphere. The "actual content of political life" is "the joy and the gratification that arise out of being in company with our peers, out of acting together and appearing in public, out of inserting ourselves into the world by word and deed, thus acquiring and sustaining our personal identity and beginning something entirely new" ("Truth" 263). According to Seyla Benhabib, Arendt's public realm emphasizes the assumption of competition, and it "represents that space of appearances in which moral and political greatness, heroism, and preeminence are revealed, displayed, shared with others. This is a competitive space in which one competes for recognition, precedence, and acclaim" (78). These qualities are displayed, but not entirely for purposes of acclamation; they are not displays of one's self, but of ideas and arguments, of one's thought. When Arendt discusses Socrates' thinking in public, she emphasizes his performance: "He performed in the marketplace the way the flute-player performed at a banquet. It is sheer performance, sheer activity"; nevertheless, it was thinking: "What he actually did was to make public, in discourse, the thinking process" {Lectures 37). Pitkin summarizes this point: "Arendt says that the heroism associated with politics is not the mythical machismo of ancient Greece but something more like the existential leap into action and public exposure" (175-76). Just as it is not machismo, although it does have considerable ego involved, so it is not instrumental rationality; Arendt's discussion of the kinds of discourse involved in public action include myths, stories, and personal narratives. Furthermore, the competition is not ruthless; it does not imply a willingness to triumph at all costs. Instead, it involves something like having such a passion for ideas and politics that one is willing to take risks. One tries to articulate the best argument, propose the best policy, design the best laws, make the best response. This is a risk in that one might lose; advancing an argument means that one must be open to the criticisms others will make of it. The situation is agonistic not because the participants manufacture or seek conflict, but because conflict is a necessary consequence of difference This attitude is reminiscent of Kenneth Burke, who did not try to find a language free of domination but who instead theorized a way that the very tendency toward hierarchy in language might be used against itself (for more on this argument, see Kastely). Similarly, Arendt does not propose a public realm of neutral, rational beings who escape differences to live in the discourse of universals; she envisions one of different people who argue with passion, vehemence, and integrity. Eichmann perfectly exemplified what Arendt famously called the "banality of evil" but that might be better thought of as the bureaucratization of evil (or, as a friend once aptly put it, the evil of banality). That is, he was able to engage in mass murder because he was able not to think about it, especially not from the perspective of the victims, and he was able to exempt himself from personal responsibility by telling himself (and anyone else who would listen) that he was just following orders. It was the bureaucratic system that enabled him to do both. He was not exactly passive; he was, on the contrary, very aggressive in trying to do his duty. He behaved with the "ruthless, competitive exploitation" and "inauthen-tic, self-disparaging conformism" that characterizes those who people totalitarian systems (Pitkin 87). Arendt's theorizing of totalitarianism has been justly noted as one of her strongest contributions to philosophy. She saw that a situation like Nazi Germany is different from the conventional understanding of a tyranny. Pitkin writes, Totalitarianism cannot be understood, like earlier forms of domination, as the ruthless exploitation of some people by others, whether the motive be selfish calculation, irrational passion, or devotion to some cause. Understanding totalitarianism's essential nature requires solving the central mystery of the holocaust—the objectively useless and indeed dysfunctional, fanatical pursuit of a purely ideological policy, a pointless process to which the people enacting it have fallen captive. (87) Totalitarianism is closely connected to bureaucracy; it is oppression by rules, rather than by people who have willfully chosen to establish certain rules. It is the triumph of the social. Critics (both friendly and hostile) have paid considerable attention to Arendt's category of the "social," largely because, despite spending so much time on the notion, Arendt remains vague on certain aspects of it. Pitkin appropriately compares Arendt's concept of the social to the Blob, the type of monster that figured in so many post-war horror movies. That Blob was "an evil monster from outer space, entirely external to and separate from us [that] had fallen upon us intent on debilitating, absorb¬ing, and ultimately destroying us, gobbling up our distinct individuality and turning us into robots that mechanically serve its purposes" (4). Pitkin is critical of this version of the "social" and suggests that Arendt meant (or perhaps should have meant) something much more complicated. The simplistic version of the social-as-Blob can itself be an instance of Blob thinking; Pitkin's criticism is that Arendt talks at times as though the social comes from outside of us and has fallen upon us, turning us into robots. Yet, Arendt's major criticism of the social is that it involves seeing ourselves as victimized by something that comes from outside our own behavior. I agree with Pitkin that Arendt's most powerful descriptions of the social (and the other concepts similar to it, such as her discussion of totalitarianism, imperialism, Eichmann, and parvenus) emphasize that these processes are not entirely out of our control but that they happen to us when, and because, we keep refusing to make active choices. We create the social through negligence. It is not the sort of force in a Sorcerer's Apprentice, which once let loose cannot be stopped; on the contrary, it continues to exist because we structure our world to reward social behavior. Pitkin writes, "From childhood on, in virtually all our institutions, we reward euphemism, salesmanship, slo¬gans, and we punish and suppress truth-telling, originality, thoughtful-ness. So we continually cultivate ways of (not) thinking that induce the social" (274). I want to emphasize this point, as it is important for thinking about criticisms of some forms of the social construction of knowledge: denying our own agency is what enables the social to thrive. To put it another way, theories of powerlessness are self-fulfilling prophecies. Arendt grants that there are people who willed the Holocaust, but she insists that totalitarian systems result not so much from the Hitlers or Stalins as from the bureaucrats who may or may not agree with the established ideology but who enforce the rules for no stronger motive than a desire to avoid trouble with their superiors (see Eichmann and Life). They do not think about what they do. One might prevent such occurrences—or, at least, resist the modern tendency toward totalitarian¬ism—by thought: "critical thought is in principle anti-authoritarian" (Lectures 38). By "thought" Arendt does not mean eremitic contemplation; in fact, she has great contempt for what she calls "professional thinkers," refusing herself to become a philosopher or to call her work philosophy. Young-Bruehl, Benhabib, and Pitkin have each said that Heidegger represented just such a professional thinker for Arendt, and his embrace of Nazism epitomized the genuine dangers such "thinking" can pose (see Arendt's "Heidegger"). "Thinking" is not typified by the isolated con¬templation of philosophers; it requires the arguments of others and close attention to the truth. It is easy to overstate either part of that harmony. One must consider carefully the arguments and viewpoints of others: Political thought is representative. I form an opinion by considering a given issue from different viewpoints, by making present to my mind the standpoints of those who are absent; that is, I represent them. This process of representation does not blindly adopt the actual views of those who stand somewhere else, and hence look upon the world from a different perspective; this is a question neither of empathy, as though I tried to be or to feel like somebody else, nor of counting noses and joining a majority but of being and thinking in my own identity where actually I am not. The more people's standpoints I have present in my mind while I am pondering a given issue, and the better I can imagine how I would feel and think if I were in their place, the stronger will be my capacity for represen¬tative thinking and the more valid my final conclusions, my opinion. ("Truth" 241) There are two points to emphasize in this wonderful passage. First, one does not get these standpoints in one's mind through imagining them, but through listening to them; thus, good thinking requires that one hear the arguments of other people. Hence, as Arendt says, "critical thinking, while still a solitary business, does not cut itself off from' all others.'" Thinking is, in this view, necessarily public discourse: critical thinking is possible "only where the standpoints of all others are open to inspection" (Lectures 43). Yet, it is not a discourse in which one simply announces one's stance; participants are interlocutors and not just speakers; they must listen. Unlike many current versions of public discourse, this view presumes that speech matters. It is not asymmetric manipulation of others, nor merely an economic exchange; it must be a world into which one enters and by which one might be changed. Second, passages like the above make some readers think that Arendt puts too much faith in discourse and too little in truth (see Habermas). But Arendt is no crude relativist; she believes in truth, and she believes that there are facts that can be more or less distorted. She does not believe that reality is constructed by discourse, or that truth is indistinguishable from falsehood. She insists tha^ the truth has a different pull on us and, consequently, that it has a difficult place in the world of the political. Facts are different from falsehood because, while they can be distorted or denied, especially when they are inconvenient for the powerful, they also have a certain positive force that falsehood lacks: "Truth, though powerless and always defe ated in a head-on clash with the powers that be, possesses a strength of its own: whatever those in power may contrive, they are unable to discover or invent a viable substitute for it. Persuasion and violence can destroy truth, but they cannot replace it" ("Truth" 259). Facts have a strangely resilient quality partially because a lie "tears, as it were, a hole in the fabric of factuality. As every historian knows, one can spot a lie by noticing incongruities, holes, or the j unctures of patched-up places" ("Truth" 253). While she is sometimes discouraging about our ability to see the tears in the fabric, citing the capacity of totalitarian governments to create the whole cloth (see "Truth" 252-54), she is also sometimes optimistic. In Eichmann in Jerusalem, she repeats the story of Anton Schmidt—a man who saved the lives of Jews—and concludes that such stories cannot be silenced (230-32). For facts to exert power in the common world, however, these stories must be told. Rational truth (such as principles of mathematics) might be perceptible and demonstrable through individual contemplation, but "factual truth, on the contrary, is always related to other people: it concerns events and circumstances in which many are involved; it is established by witnesses and depends upon testimony; it exists only to the extent that it is spoken about, even if it occurs in the domain of privacy. It is political by nature" (23 8). Arendt is neither a positivist who posits an autonomous individual who can correctly perceive truth, nor a relativist who positively asserts the inherent relativism of all perception. Her description of how truth functions does not fall anywhere in the three-part expeditio so prevalent in both rhetoric and philosophy: it is not expressivist, positivist, or social constructivist. Good thinking depends upon good public argument, and good public argument depends upon access to facts: "Freedom of opinion is a farce unless factual information is guaranteed" (238). The sort of thinking that Arendt propounds takes the form of action only when it is public argument, and, as such, it is particularly precious: "For if no other test but the experience of being active, no other measure but the extent of sheer activity were to be applied to the various activities within the vita activa, it might well be that thinking as such would surpass them all" (Human 325). Arendt insists that it is "the same general rule— Do not contradict yourself (not your self but your thinking ego)—that determines both thinking and acting" (Lectures 3 7). In place of the mildly resentful conformism that fuels totalitarianism, Arendt proposes what Pitkin calls "a tough-minded, open-eyed readiness to perceive and judge reality for oneself, in terms of concrete experience and independent, critical theorizing" (274). The paradoxical nature of agonism (that it must involve both individuality and commonality) makes it difficult to maintain, as the temptation is great either to think one's own thoughts without reference to anyone else or to let others do one's thinking.

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