R: Run from Public Office

For better or for worse, America's political system, as well as thepolitical systems of most of the rest of the world, are filled with professional politicians. But were all of these lawmakers thepragmatic policy-pushers that we know them as today? It is likely that many of them arrived to Washington as idealists, hoping to stay true to their beliefs and to use them to change their nation for the better. They may have discovered, however, that to get things done in our political system, one must often abandon his or her beliefs in thename of politcal progress. Some likely compromised their beliefs inthe hopes of gaining concessions for their most important initiatives, but others likely felt forced to abandon their ideals in the search forthe ever-present voting populace's approval. Paradoxically, however, these compromises are sometimes the only way to pass real policy that affects the lives of millions. 

In this debate, we will discuss the question of whether it is virtuous to enter politics. Can one traverse the murky world of politics without leaving with an irreparably damaged moral compass, or should we agree that politics should be left to the more unscrupulous types? Is compromise absolutely necessary in lawmaking, or can one remain totally faithful to his or her morality and still be an efficient politician? Should the virtuous be our lawmakers, regardless of their training? Questions like these will likely arise as we debate the virtues and vices of public office.


Senior Debate - R: These are the Shortest, Gladdest Years of Life

This week our beloved seniors will take to the debate floor to reflect upon their years spent at Yale. We look forward to hearing about their successes, regrets, and aspirations, and we certainly expect some great—and amusing—anecdotes throughout the night.

Join us this Wednesday, April 19th, at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room as we help theseniors celebrate their past 4 years at Yale!


R: Raise Tariffs

The United States has free trade agreements in place with over a dozen countries, and there is no doubt that these deals have led to cheaper prices on consumer goods for the American people. However, the reality of job outsourcing and rising trade deficits has plagued thedefense of old and the implementation of new such deals with foreign countries. Before NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented in 1994, Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" was used to warn against free trade with Mexico and other countries that undercut the American minimum wage and allow companies avoid costly American business regulations. Current proponents of US tariff reform argue that tariffs help to keep wealth and jobs within America, while critics argue that free trade and low-cost imports stimulate the economy through increased efficiency and competition.   

Is it proper of a nation to incentivize the buying of domestic products?  Or is it better to allow the free market to dictate where goods are produced? Is a more globally intertwined marketplace better for keeping world peace and instilling multinational cooperation? Furthermore, should nations reserve the implementation of tariffs for use only as economic sanctions? Is it unfair to restrict developing countries' access to the the world's largest economy? Or is it immoral for Americans to capitalize on the often underpaid labor and harsh working conditions of these nations? Should Americans be willing to possibly pay more for goods in order to ensure that they are manufactured at environmentally regulated factories with humane labor wages? If so, what power, if any, do tariffs have in dictating where goods are produced?

Join us this Wednesday, April 12th, at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more! All are welcome!


R: Reinstate Corporal Punishment

Corporal Punishment was widely utilized in early American society. According to Thomas Jefferson's 1778 Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments, witchcraft would earn an offender 15 lashes, sexual crimes could lead to castration, and those convicted of robbery were subject to 4 years of hard labor. Almost 250 years later, America's use of corporal punishment has greatly diminished. With the last flogging taking place in Delaware in 1952, themajor use of corporal punishment today is for disciplinary action in schools in several states and reprimanding children in a home environment.

Many of the Founding Fathers of this country believed that corporal punishment was an effective way to promote a just and moral society and to discourage undesirable societal behavior, but is there still a place for this form of harsh punishment in the western world today? Can physical punishment be useful in dissuading the common types of crime or bad behavior prevalent in today's society? Or does such punishment only harden theoffenders rather than encourage corrective action? Does whipping in the square more quickly and effectively deter crime than years behind bars? In children, can the use of physical punishment at a young age promote better future members of adult society? Or are such punishments unnecessarily harsh and degrading for our youth? 

Join us this Friday, March 31st at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more! All are welcome! 


R: Censor the F-word

Even one mention of the F-word in a film shifts its rating from PG to PG-13, and multiple uses of the word often result in the movie being rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. By these standards, it is clear that society does not treat the F-word as just another term among its 4-letter peers. In many cases, this word is not even used in ways true to its own definition- it is implemented as a universal amplifier. Is it justifiable of society to seek to exclude such a seemingly versatile word from everyday conversation?

What makes language so powerful? Why do we give words such authority over our lives? Should society always refrain from using the F-word? Or is there a time and a place for its uncensored use? Would thedesensitization of the F-word lead us down a slippery path which invites more immorality into our public life? Is the F-word only obscene because we treat it as such? What does its use imply, if anything, about the prudence of theuser?

Join us this Wednesday, March 1st at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more! All are welcome!