Sunday
Sep252016

R: You Have No Rights

The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness number among the most recognizable of America's ideals. Yet many ideas and practices of rights have existed in societies among history. Some political structures promise only the right to life, some the right to property, and some no rights at all. 

Yet are rights derived from politics? Are they intrinsic to the human person, integral to a society, or insubstantial constructs? How can societies operate when their members hold different ideas of rights?

Join us in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room this Wednesday September 28th at 7:30 to debate this and related matters. All are welcome!

Monday
Sep192016

R: Walmart is Bad for America

Citizens often associate the American Dream with the flourishing of small businesses, operated by families and supported by local communities. Certainly this ideal seems to promote autonomy and civic engagement. Yet it may also result in inefficiency and a lack of resources for development.

Does big business provide a solution compatible with American culture? Is the Walmart ethos of expansion and reducing costs consistent with the American ideals of innovation and the free market, or does it result in a lack of individuality and the rise of destructive consumerism? Will big business result in homogenous communities, or will it allow for a new use and distribution of resources?

Join the Federalist Party this Wednesday, September 21st at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to debate these and other questions economics and community. All are welcome!

Sunday
Sep112016

R: Close Shop on the Sabbath

Throughout America's history, many states have passed  "blue laws" restricting sales on Sundays. This tradition took its roots from the idea of the Sabbath rest presented in the Bible. Today, these laws are much less common and restrict only certain sales, most frequently alcohol. This allows individual businesses to decide: Ought there be a day on which business is not conducted, a day dedicated to recreation and reflection? Is this choice sustainable in a capitalist society?  

The choice to refrain from business one day of the week belongs to a larger ideological framework of human nature and the nature of society. Is there a need for and purpose to rest? How does this need fit into the structure of a (capitalist) society?

Join us this Wednesday September 14th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room for our debate! All are welcome!

Sunday
Sep042016

R: Conservatives Have No Party

In a dramatic and divisive election season, voters of the "Never Trump" and "Hill Not Jill" ilk may decide the election. Ought conservatives make up a similar voting bloc, demanding key concessions from Establishment candidates before endorsing them? Is there an establishment that conservatives can (or should) consistently support?

More broadly, ought the American political system exist as a two party system? George Washington more than 200 years ago warned against the dangers of the party system, saying, "It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another." How can conservatives promote unity while remaining committed to their principles?

Join us this Wednesday, September 7th at 7:30 pm in the Berkley Mendenhall Room to discuss this and other questions of party loyalty and voting. All are welcome!

Monday
Apr042016

R: America is Good Because Her Constitution is Great

The Constitution is a written contract that expresses the ideas and notions most fundamental to our country. Perhaps the greatest democratic feat, it serves as something that every generation recognizes the duty to preserve and protect. But is it what makes America good? 

Is our written constitution what binds us despite our different ethnicities, nationalities, and religions? Is the goodness of America contingent on the fact that we can point to our legal rights? Does more law mean more justice? Or is America's goodness in her traditions? In her people? 

In an era when the Constitution is continually contorted to serve the political interest of our leaders, can we honestly claim its greatness? And if we can, can we still say it is the source of this country's goodness? 

Join us and students visiting from other Ivies this Friday, April 8th at 8:00 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to debate this and other questions of tradition, law, and our Constitution. All are welcome!