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!


R: Parks Are for People

In 1916, Congress established the National Park Service to conserve the parks "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." It was a promise between generations to preserve something for the future. Since then, National Parks in the United States have extended well past what their creators had ever imagined. It might be time for us to reconsider.

Is the best was to preserve nature through government owned parks? Do parks need to be protected from our own destructive tendencies? Or is nature best protected by the people? Has the trend of National Parks being a popular vacation spot corroded their purpose? Or is nature at its best when appreciated by people? Does nature have a value beyond recreation that needs to be preserved? If so, to what extent? 

Join us this Wednesday, March 30th at 7:30 pm in the Calhoun Parlor to discuss this and other issues of nature and preservation.


Should the State Protect Privacy? (Joint Discussion with the Liberal Party)

The Constitution does not enumerate a right of privacy, but does it suggest it? The "Right to Privacy" is fundamental in several legal traditions, yet time and time again it is weighed against other impending issues.

Is privacy a fundamental right that the state should protect, no matter the cost? Or is it something that is valuable, insofar as there is not something else on the line-- namely national security or justice. Or is it the case that the innocent should have nothing to hide?

What effect does privacy have on our pursuit of truth? What changes, if any, should we consider making in our national policies to improve criminal proceedings?

Is National Security enough of a justification for an encroachment of privacy? Should the same deference be paid to all when considering privacy issues? 

Can the state protect privacy or are they the ones we need privacy from? 

Join us this Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss this and other issues of privacy. All are welcome!


R: This House Prefers Science to Science Fiction

All books are equal but some books are more equal than others. The lessons may vary from book to book, but every book has something to teach. Be it philosophy, or empathy, or theoretical physics, we learn when we read. The question then becomes, what books do we read with our limited time? What should we be studying? 

Do we value the empirical nature and objectivity of the sciences and non-fiction or do we laud the creative imagination of fiction and its ability to communicate truth through relatable characters? 

Do we learn more about the human condition from the science or literature? Do we fully understand the social and natural sciences through study or story? Is our time best spent in the laboratory or in the library? Was fiction a genre of our childhood or is there more to learn? Does literature have value? 

Join us this Wednesday, February 24th at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to debate this and other questions of literature and imagination. All are welcomed!


R: Man is Made to Work

We spend more time during our lives working than we do doing anything else, but why? Do we work to live or do we live to work? Is the thing we spend most of our time doing simply a necessary evil or it is the very essences of what it means to be human? 

Was Adam Smith right when he said that it is in the inherent interest of every man to live as much as his ease as he can? Or is work a part of being human, regardless of financial incentives? Is there something intrinsically valuable in laboring?

As Americans we work more hours than any other industrialized nation. As the Swedish increase their vacation days, Americans seek more hours in the office. Have we forgotten the role of leisure? Have we potentially transformed something that was good into something bad by becoming workaholics? 

Are our current conceptions of the workplace a perversion of virtuous work, and if so, what is the remedy? 

Join us and our alumni this Friday, February 19th at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to debate this and other questions of work and leisure. All are welcomed!