R: This house prefers the vita activa to the vita contemplativa

Thursday, March 22nd at 7.30pm

A split that has its origin in the Greek city-states, the distinction between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa, not surprisingly, is in the representation of how one's life ought to be lived.  The vita activa referred to the political life of a citizen in the city-state while the vita contemplativa arose as the path of the philosopher, those willing to pursue that above and beyond the political.  As a debating society, this topic is of particular importance.  Each week we meet to discuss topics and debate principles in an effort to search for truth but, at the same time, we place a high value on setting out and living the vita activa.  Please join us this Thursday in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room for our weekly debate!


R: Federalism is a failed experiment

Thursday, March 1st at 7.30pm

The Federalist Party joins the Party of the Left for a joint debate on federalism. Proponents of federalism argue that it is a vital mechanism in defense of rights and democracy, ensures government responsiveness, and fosters policy innovation. Opponents instaed look to a difficult history in which "states' rights" were a "giant, immovable obstacle used to shield the subordination of racial minorities" (Robertson) and to a contemporary politics in which conflicting state-level policies on everything from education to the environment conspire against a cohesive, national interest. Join us in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room this Thursday to debate the future of federalism. 


R: Prison is no place for criminals

Thursday, February 23th at 7.30

The "Land of the Free"  or the "Land of the Incarcerated"?  With the highest incarceration rate in the world, the United States' system of punishment ought to be questioned (it's highly unlikely that our police officers are just the best in the world).  While clearly the physical conditions that exist in prisons should be considered, so too must the atmosphere that criminals must endure while they serve their time.  Likewise, closely related to this issue is the question of the purpose of punishment and how a system should be set up to best achieve this goal.  Is punishment meant to rehabilitate the criminal or simply to provide retribution?  What role does deterrence have?  Only once these questions have been considered can our prison system be adequately scrutinized in order to find the alternative that our society deserves.  Join us in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room at 7:30 this Thursday!



R: Death gives life meaning

Thursday, February 16th at 7.30

Death consistently ranks as one our greatest fears and yet, it is hard to find a topic that is more pervasive in our society.  Some may say that this fear and preoccupation with death has encouraged rationalizations of all kinds in order to cope with our fear of the inevitable.  On the other hand, a society with a preoccupation with death can just as easily become focused purely on the present and that which brings pleasure.  Closely related to this question is the idea of afterlife and how we reconcile the opinions of different religious traditions.  Amidst all of these opinions, we come together for this debate to question the significance of death (if it even has one) and how this significance relates to how we view life.  Join us Thursday in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room!


Alumni Week 2012

The Federalist Party is delighted to welcome back its Alumni for a weekend of fellowship.

R: There is no great American Novel

Friday, February 10th at 7.30pm. Does there exist a novel that can serve as the tome of American literature?  What place do American novels have in comparison to literature from other cultures and traditions?

Alumni Banquet

Saturday, February 1th at 7.30pm. Mory's.