Sunday
Nov252018

R: Ban the Lottery

POWERBALL! MEGA MILLIONS! LUCKY FOR LIFE! Thelottery as an institution has been used since early American history to fund public education, raise revenue, and catch the public eye with flashy advertising for quick rewards. At times like the Panic of 1837, lotteries have been made illegal due to associations with corruption, scandal or vice. But overcoming the legal turmoil of it's history, the lottery remains firmly stationed as the government endorsed 'get rich quick' scheme for the American people.

Why do people play the lottery? For the gamesmanship? For the titillating risk? Or far more likely, because it provides the only real hope to lower income Americans that they can pay off debts, start saving, and someday ascertain the elusive American Dream. But should it be the role of thelottery in society to endow the citizenry with hope of a better financial future? What should the government's role be in the lottery and should there be a lottery at all?

Come one, come all and debate with the Federalist Party this Wednesday, October 3rd at at 7:30 p.m.. in theBerkeley Mendenhall Room to answer the age old question: will we, the Federalist Party, shoot our 1 in 175,223,510 shot in hopes of quickly ascending the Yale Extracurricular Hierarchy of Economic Power, or shall we join the less than lucky masses and acquiesce to long term savings, fundraising, and stacks of grant proposals?  

 

 

Sunday
Nov252018

R: Avoid Death

Death is the great human fascination. Inspiring novels, fantasy, film, art, philosophy, and religion, grappling with death leads to common expressions of our humanity and poses questions about the very essence of our existence on earth. Temporal limits restrain us to single lifetimes, forcing us to constrain our hope for the future eternity or the fleeting present. But the modern era offers unprecedented tools for the destruction of the human person and the radical extension of life. Technology grows exponentially and we combine medicine and machine, policy and pills, to gain further control over the conception and death of every individual in society. As transhumanism, euthanasia, and cryonics, increasingly enter the cultural narrative of the twenty-first century, we must attempt to reconcile or reject them with considerations of history, ethics, religion, the purpose of life, and what it means to be truly human. 

Do we freeze our heads, bottle our genes, and plug into machines? Or do we give in to the grave, foregoing advances in lifesaving technology altogether? Is the struggle against the inevitable end futile or the very essence of the human existence? When should we live, when should we die, and who should decide?

Please join us this Thursday, September 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room for Resolved: Avoid Death. All are welcome!  

Sunday
Nov252018

R: The Government Should Fund the Arts

Grand public arts projects stand as testaments to great projects of history. The arts have served to communicate narrative and feeling to illiterate audiences, to expand the purposes of religion, history, and philosophy. Nations have funded Operas, massive Cathedrals, literature, television programs, humanities research, and even rock and roll. The NEH claims government funded arts "strengthen our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans." But is there a timeless wisdom to the folk lyrics "Who takes the king's shilling, takes the king's song?"

As Trump threatens to cut back on sources of funding for the arts, we must ask, what is the role of art in our society? Who should hold the pursestrings for each paint-stroke? Shall we call for a separation of Art and State or will we claim the humanities are so fundamental it is better to risk propaganda than privatization? 

Please join us this Thursday, September 20th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room for Resolved: The Government Should Fund The Arts. All are welcome!  

Sunday
Nov252018

R: Have Enemies

Criminals are decried as "Public Enemies," revolutionaries and traitors as "Enemies of the State," and those who advocate for the status quo as "Enemies of Progress." Nations, families, individuals, and ideas are wrought with adversaries. But is this necessary? The phenomena of rivalry exists everywhere from Tolstoy's War and Peace to the texts of world religions to modern geopolitical discourse to the Socratic dialogues. As history, literature, politics, and philosophy all try to reconcile the role of enemies in the public and personal spheres, we must ask: can we stand for anything, as people or as a nation, if there are not things we stand against? Is it requisite of a good life to forge enemies along the way? Are adversaries a natural part of the human condition, or are they an externality of social competition, poor interpersonal skills, or intolerance? 

All are welcome, friend or foe, to join us this Thursday, September 13th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room for Resolved: Have Enemies. 

Sunday
Nov252018

R: All Students Must Study the Classics

The heritage of foundational documents from the American Constitution to the Shakespearian Romance can be traced to the ideas set forth in the canon of Western literature, aptly entitled the Classics. The lessons of Plato's Republic echoed through the halls of Philadelphia and continue to underpin the corridors of Washington. Current political philosophers continue to grapple with Aristotle, Thucydides is invoked in descriptions of modern war, and Homeric heroes still dominate literature, film, and theatre. As the world continues to change, it is yet again time to debate the merits of these great texts. What is the role of history, especially that long past, the nature of ideas, especially those often forgotten, and the duties of the scholar, especially those unfulfilled, in forming a proper education?

Society is often shaped by the educated but what mustdictate the lessons they learn? Do we institute a core curriculum for the erudite? Are the lessons of the West to be prized above other knowledge? The lessons of the classics are imprinted in the present, and it is of paramount importance to both students and society to understand what obligations we have to past thinkers and to what extent we should allow their ideas to permeate the present and the future. 

Join us this Thursday, September 6th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!