Monday
Mar262018

R: Limited Government is a Lie

It would seem that the idea of limited government is inherent in the American project.  Historian Ben Sasse notes that the Consitution of the United States of America was one of the first constitutions to define a government's power through the lens of what it can not do.
   
230 years and 27 amendments later, the language of limited government still dominates our political dialogue, especially among members of the GOP that look scornfully upon the expansion of our federal government in recent years.  It becomes necessary to ask ourselves not only what a limited government as described by today's Republicans would look like, but to what extent it would even be feasible and inspire virtue in our nation.  While it might be fair to say that our government derives its power from the people and is to some extent beholden to their will, one can argue that this is only because the governmenthas let itself be set up this way and still truly holds the power.  Is a small government a limited government, or simply a government built upon delegation?  The question becomes what it would mean for a people to truly rule and for a government to truly have limited rights before its citizens.              


Join us this Wednesday, February 28th at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!

Monday
Feb122018

R: March With Sulla (Alumni Weekend Debate)

Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?  In the first century B.C. Lucius Cornelius "Sulla" Felix, after rising through the ranks of the Roman Army, saw that Rome seemed to be headed down a dangerous path.  To remedy what he saw as the errors of his age, Sulla disobeyed his orders and marched his army on The Eternal City.  Although he left upon the restoration of the Senate's power, he would return a short while later when the situation once again turned bleak.  Installed as Dictator after his 2nd March on Rome, Sulla issued in a series of reforms intended to strengthen the Senate and the courts.  Resigning the dictatorship and restoring the Consul, Sulla enjoyed a peaceful retirement.   

    It would seem that although he had complete power over Rome, Sulla was able to maintain his integrity, humility, and respect for tradition in the face of his own absolute power.  We can contrast this account with that of George Washington, who famously turned down the crown of the young nation in order to preserve the republic.  The fundamental question becomes whether or not it is possible to have a "good" absolute monarch.  If the only factor mandating a good government is that it's led by virtuous people, it would make sense that a monarch with absolute power could, in fact, be the best leader for a nation, just as Sulla was the man Rome needed at the time.  On the other hand, power, at the very least, makes it very challenging to maintain a virtuous state of being, meaning that for the sake of nations as well as the souls of those in power, leaders should be limited in their reach.  Perhaps there are some men out there who can handle the opportunity with grace but as many have pointed out, men like Sulla and Washington are few and far between.                         

    Join us this Friday, February 16th at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!

Wednesday
Feb072018

R: Arrange Your Child's Marriage

According to a 2012 study, arranged marriages hold a divorce rate of around 6%, well below the total American divorce rate which sits at a disappointing 53%.  Proponents of arranged marriage throw out these statistics in addition to pointing out that parents are generally more knowledgeable about what's best for their children than their children themselves.  On the other side, people will suggest that arranged marriage robs a person of their agency to make their own important life decisions.    

Join us this Wednesday, February 7th at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!

Tuesday
Jan302018

R: Export American Values

There are some that suggest that The United States should use America's position in the world economy, as well as the great military might it possesses, in order to promote American Values abroad in order to raise the standard of living and expand human rights for all people.

Skeptics of these policies bring up the lack of agreement about what "American Values" are and suggest that it's dangerously arrogant to assume that we know better than anyone what's best for the world.  

    Join us this Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!

Tuesday
Jan302018

R: Fight Income Inequality in America

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States, in 2015, recorded a Gini coefficient (a 0 to 1 metric of wealth inequality) of .39, the fourth highest of all nations surveyed.  At the same time, however, the United States has virtually no citizens living below the globally defined poverty line.  
    Despite being the wealthiest country in the history of the world, 13.5% of Americans still below the Federal Government's poverty threshold.  The question becomes whether or not taking on wealth inequality is the way to fightback against the poverty that persists in our nation.

    Join us this Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more!