Thursday
Jan112018

R: Put Down the Elephant (GOP)

The Republican Party of the United States is one of theoldest political parties in existance, and it is undeniably themost powerful force for conservatism in the United States. Its voter base and its poltiicians, however, may be diverging from convservatism in dangerous ways. With the election of Donald Trump and the rise of new forces within the party, many conservatives argue that "true conservatism" must be sought outside of the party. Meanwhile, others argue that the Grand Old Party is the only viable platform for conservatives in the United States.

Is it time for the Republicans...to end? If not, what can conservatives do to repair the ills seen int he party? Could the Dems ever become conservative? What is the role of political parties in American society?

Join us this Wednesday, December 5th at 7:30 pm in theBerkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!

Thursday
Jan112018

R: Shut Down Social Media

Since its creation near the end of the last millenium, theInternet has been one of the most dynamic and influential forces on Earth. It has the ability to educate more people than ever before, and connect us to people across theworld. At the same time, it can destroy lives and spread false information and dangerous beliefs faster than ever before. Social media exemplifies the Internet's ability to do so. With about 2 billion users of some form of social media, it is undoubtedly a major influencer in the modern world. While churches, charities, and educational institutions can use this newfound form of communication to reach more people than ever before, so, too, can terrorists, white nationalists, and Russian hackers use it to divide and take advantage of the populace.

Is social media a net positive? Can it be used responsibly, or are its unsavory traits too dangerous to be allowed? Has social media brought us closer together, or has it destroyed the traditional norms of discussion and human interaction? Is it weird that the Untied Nations has a Snapchat and the Pope has a Twitter?

Ponder these questions and more this Tuesday at 7:30 pm in a Location TBD to debate R: 
Shut Down Social Media.

Thursday
Jan112018

R: Colleges are Failing America

What is college for? Formulating an answer to this debate will ultimately require an answer to this fundamental question. Many believe that college in America, especially the upper-class, prestigious colleges of the Ivy Leagues, are not serving their purpose. Many argue that, in place of educating students, colleges should work more towards training them for future jobs. Others may argue that a liberal arts education in philosophy, mathematics, history, and therest is crucial for a functioning populace, and that the more educated a population is, the more virtuous it becomes. 

The debate on the purpose of college, and whether colleges in America tend to fulfill it or not, can be tackled from various angles. Philosophically or ethically, one can argue for the intrinsic good of a wide-ranging education over a vocational and focused education, or the moral vacuity of the modern college campus. Economically or politically, one can argue about the pragmatics of college, and whether liberal arts colleges and the college system in America is helping our nation create employment, lift its citizens from poverty, and ensure prosperity for all. Finally and most important, one can question the difference between a liberal arts college (Yale University) and a liberal, art college (Rhode Island School of Design).

Thursday
Jan112018

R: Conservatism Must Evolve

Conservatism is, according to most definitions, at the very least a deep-seated admiration for the way things have been done before, and an aversion to major changes in society. Patadoxically, however, the conservative movement may have to change to fit in with the times in order to survive. In a world of instantaneous communications and almost-as-fast technological innovation, should this ideology which is inherently adverse to rapid change evolve to stay politically relevant?

More politically-minded conservatives may say that conservative politicians in the United States should play to their strengths, remaining true to their most core values but compromising on more fringe beliefs, in order to gain thesupport of more of the voting populace and enact change in Washington. Conservative intellectuals may clamor for new conservative philosophy which takes into account fundamental changes in the global system, such as thepopulation boom or the ever-increasing urbanization of society.

At the same time, however, claiming that conservatism needs to evolve still seems to go against many ideas of conservatism, especially tradionalist conservatism. Those who believe in an unchanging, fallen, or funamentally flawed human nature may question why conservatism has the need to change if human nature does not change. Conservatives who base their beliefs entirely on religious authority may also question the necessity of change if there is an absolute truth which has already been revealed.

As the world changes, must conservatism change with it? Should this change involve political maneuvering, or intellectual restructuring of conservative philosophy? What must conservatives keep, and what intellectual baggage can they leave by the wayside? Can conservatism change at all?

Join us, the Tory Party, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this Wednesday at 8:30 pm in LC (Linsly-Chittenden Hall) 317 to debate R: Conservatism Must Evolve.

Thursday
Jan112018

R: Art Should Have a Purpose

Art is one of the most enduring and universal facets of the human condition. Its been with us since millenia before recorded history, and is ubiquitous to every culture. Art's inherence to human nature, however, has not stopped humanity from using it as a tool to achieve goals, both benevolent and malicious. From religious icons and idols to propaganda posters, monuments, and even political cartoons, art has and will continue to be used for political, cultural, or spiritual affect. 

Some artists, however, wish to eschew this linkage between art and purpose. James McNeill Whistler, thegreat 19th-century American expatriate painter, was a central figure of the Aesthetic movement, a movement that yearned to create "art for art's sake", free from social mores and political ideologies, appreciated for its inherent beauty. Today, we see a transition from the staid, realistic paintings of the pre-Industrial era to more abstract art forms that attempt to display emotion, thought, or, sometimes in thecase of abstract art, nothing at all.

Should art have a purpose? Can an artwork truly be devoid of any goal or purpose, or must an artist imbue his or her work with some subjective end in mind? How do modern artworks play into this debate, and, as conservatives, should we appreciate modern art as a legitimate artform, or should we cast it away as yet another aberration wrought by the tearing in twain of traditional societal bonds and values?  Debate these questions and more with the Federalist Party on Wednesday, October 25at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room.