Tuesday
Sep022014

R: Assimilate

We hear it almost too often: America is a melting pot of many diverse cultures, which have not only contributed to a rich blend, but have also adopted this fusion—though distinctly American—culture in turn. And yet assimilation is very much a constant in the American narrative. Barely two generations pass before most descendants of immigrants identify as simply "American." And of course, immigration and assimilation are not uniquely American phenomena—especially as of late, the debate is just as relevant in many parts of Europe and Asia, where assimilation comes with greater pains than in the U.S., which has been attracting immigrants since its founding. In the U.S. and elsewhere, there's no doubt that some cultural unity is essential to preserving a cohesive society, but to what extent can society accommodate immigrants who understandably want to retain their ancestors' traditions? (Conservatives in particular should appreciate the potential value of these traditions.) Assimilation becomes even more important as the state begins to play a greater role, especially at the federal level. Is smaller government the key to cultural pluralism, or do we need moregovernment to protect minority rights? Or is this a lost cause altogether, and is America slowly crawling toward vapid homogeneity?

Join us on Wednesday, September 3rd at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room as we wrestle with this always-relevant issue. All are welcome!

Wednesday
Aug272014

R: World Peace Requires America

The recent rise of the Islamic State, the brashness of Putin, and the renewed bellicosity of Hamas should make us question the progressive narrative of growing and persistent peace. Yes, it may be 2014, but evil isn't so easily erased from the tabula of human nature. We shouldn't be deceived by the relative stability the West has seen since World War II, owing largely to a bipolar, then briefly unipolar, world. Peace is a delicate balance, and America's gradual withdrawal from the world stage as of late puts this balance into jeopardy. Or does it? The U.S. is no stranger to erring abroad—could it only be fueling the raging fires? Does the U.S. as it stands today have the moral clarity to be making decisions that involve thousands, perhaps millions, of foreign lives? But if not America, then who can we charge with this immense burden? Or maybe we should just hope that the progressive narrative has some truth to it, and that over time, the threat or use of force will become as obsolete as beheading journalists in the Syrian desert.

Join us for our first debate of the year on Thursday, August 28th at 6:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room as we single-handedly determine the course of U.S. foreign policy for the next half-century, at least. All are welcome!

Wednesday
Apr232014

R: To Be Human Is to Be Political

In his Politics, Aristotle claimed that "Man is by nature a political animal." We certainly have a towering capacity for statecraft unknown to any other species, but is that really our distinguishing trait? Let's not forget that humans are also far more artistic, religious, scientific, and philosophical than other animals—why is politics special? Arguably, politics is at the core of human experiences: after all, political questions underlie much of philosophy, religion and politics have always been inseparable, and artistic and scientific endeavors have rested on maintaining a stable state (and have often shaped the state in turn). When we take politics in its most general sense—the study of how to live together—it's hard to find anything that isn't political. So is politics even a distinctly human pursuit? Animals organize themselves, too, even if they do so in simpler ways. Is our ability to create complex societies, run sophisticated governments, and fight destructive wars itself the defining feature of humanity, or is there something more fundamental to our species than politics?

Join us this Wednesday, April 23rd, in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room, at 7:45 pm for our final debate of the year as we try to determine what sets humans apart from the rest. All are welcome!

Tuesday
Apr152014

R: These Are the Shortest, Gladdest Years of Life

This week our beloved seniors will take to the debate floor to reflect upon the four (or more) years they 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.

So join us this Tuesday (note the day), April 15th, in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room, at 7:30 pm as we help the seniors part with these shortest, gladdest years of life.

Guest Lecture

The Federalist Party is honored to be hosting a talk by Mr. David Azerrad titled "How Far We Should Go in Equalizing Opportunity" this Good Friday, April 18th, at 4:00 pm in HGS 217aMr. Azerrad, a leading conservative writer and speaker, is the Director of the Heritage Foundation's B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics. His work focuses on America's founding principles, and on conservatism and liberalism in America today. The talk will contrast different viewpoints on equality of opportunity in light of three conceptions of justice (rule of law, meritocracy, and fairness). We look forward to hearing Mr. Azerrad's brilliant insights!

Wednesday
Apr022014

R: Women Can't Have It All

Women have made extraordinary gains in rights and opportunities over the past century. As the role women play in the public and professional spheres continues to expand, it remains true that many women choose motherhood. Can a woman fully devote herself both to career and to family? Defining exactly what full devotion entails (in both spheres) seems essential here. The contentious debate over gender roles is also at issue. Do women have a primary duty to children and the family? If so, whence does this duty arise? But alas, all this talk of duty and tradition…do we forget where we are? Yale College! Where our sisters make up half our number! Surely many of Yale’s women plan to start a family in a few years, but they just as surely want to put their liberal arts education to good use. Is it a waste of an education to be a homemaker? A stay-at-home mother?

Join us this Wednesday, April 2nd, in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room, at 7:30 pm as we extol the virtues and vices of feminism, and defend (or curtail) girl power. All are welcome!