Archive | Historical

Resolved, that the Allies were justified in bombing Dresden during World War II.

The bombing of Dresden, Germany, occurred in 1945 by the Allied Forces. About 15 square miles of the city center was destroyed, and the maximum fatality total is believed to be 25,000. The city was a major rail, industry, and communication center for the Nazis. Those who support the action taken in Dresden say it was a necessary military target and justified by the available intelligence at the time and had legitimate military ends. Those opposed declare it a war crime and an action of unnecessary violence responsible for the death of thousands of innocent civilians. Dresden was described as being “one of the foremost industrial locations of the Reich” containing 110 factories and 50,000 workers all working toward the Nazi war effort. Does the military nature of the jobs these workers performed justify their deaths?

KS/APR/11

Posted in Historical1 Comment

Society Through the Eyes of Ben Bernanke and Ron Paul: Resolved, that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved the economy from depression.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was enacted in the first month of President Obama’s term to jumpstart our faltering economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give 95% of American workers a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America’s road, rail, and water infrastructure.  Though the crisis obviously was the result of the Bush era, not one Republican in the House and only three Republicans in Senate voted for the rescue bill. It cost $787 billion. Critics say it only served to drive us further into debt, while proponents claim it was a necessary measure that rescued our economy from certain depression.  Would our economy be for the worse or for the better without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?

KS/APR/11

Posted in Economics, Historical0 Comments

Resolved, that imperialism benefited Africa.

From the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, the vast majority of the African continent was under European control, the British and French having more territory than the other imperialist powers. During this age, Africa’s economies rapidly modernized, greatly increasing the continent’s potential to utilize natural resources. Many African peoples, previously unexposed to the outside world, found themselves members of a new international community. But during decolonization, African nation-states fell prey to military dictators eager to fill the vacuum left by Europeans, and civil wars often followed. At the same time, imperialist powers were responsible for establishing those very power structures that caused African peoples immeasurable harm. Europeans viewed the natives as members of an inferior race, and uprooted traditional ways of life in search of wealth and empire. No study of Africa is complete without weighing the boons and banes of imperialism.  Did European imperialism do more harm than good to Africa?

~KS APR ’11

Posted in Historical0 Comments

Thought Talk: Who was the best American president of the 20th century?

Background: Rasmussen Reports, the most prestigious polling company in the country, asked voters whom they believed the most influential President of the last 50 years was. Ronald Reagan came in first with 37%, John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton respectively pulling off second and third with 21% and 19% of the vote. When asked about which president most deserved a federal holiday, Reagan led again with 27% of the vote, with Kennedy in a closer second with 20%. Finally, Rasmussen asked people which President in the last 40 years they would like to be described as. Reagan and Clinton came in first and second. Most polls on the greatest president of the 20th century always place Reagan, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton at the very top. It may be that Clinton and Reagan are well loved because they are still within most Americans’ living memory, but the fact remains that both do exceptionally well in all instances.

Points of view:

  • Clinton was the best President because of his domestic leadership and effective, humanitarian foreign policy.
  • Reagan was the best President because of his great articulation, adherence to principle, and destruction of the Soviet Union.
  • Kennedy was the best President because of his acute maneuvering during the Cuban Missile Crisis and strong economic leadership.
  • FDR was the best President because of his implementation of collective bargaining for unions, creation of Social Security, and leadership throughout WWII and the Great Depression.

Sources:
– Rasmussen Reports (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/february_2011/37_consider_reagan_most_influential_president_of_the_last_50_years)
– Rasmussen Reports (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/holidays/february_2011/27_say_reagan_most_deserving_of_a_federal_holiday_20_say_jfk)
– Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States#Liberal_and_conservative_raters)

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Historical2 Comments

Society through the Eyes of Robert E. Lee vs. Benedict Arnold: Resolved, that the country is more important than the individual.

This debate is a look back into our nation’s history.  Robert E. Lee was a General of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  General Lee believed that country was more important than the individual, evident by the fact that he supported his state of Mississippi in secession despite his personal view against it.  Conversely, Benedict Arnold believed that the individual is more important than the state.  Benedict Arnold was a General during the American Revolution who committed treason and conspired with the British as a means to help himself.  Many years later the debate remains, is the country more important than the individual?

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Historical, Philosophical0 Comments

Society through the Eyes of Jefferson Davis vs. Abraham Lincoln: Resolved, that secession is constitutional.

In this debate we will take a look at our great nation’s history and determine whether or not secession is in fact constitutional.  Current interpretation of the Constitution deems secession, the act of withdrawing from the Union, to be unconstitutional, but that certainly does not mean no state has attempted it. In January of 1861, Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi announced that his state would be seceding from the Union.  Davis was a well-known advocate of states’ rights and believed that secession was constitutional and justifiable.  However, then-President Abraham Lincoln felt that if one state were to secede, it could lead to the secession of any state that disagreed with a policy of the federal government, effectively destroying the Union.  Today, the federal government passes legislation that is not popular in all 50 states, but all must follow the letter of the law as inscribed by the Congress.  Looking at the Constitution, there is no specific clause stating, “Secession is prohibited,” and the document reserves all rights not outlined in itself to the individual states/citizens of the US.   Thus, is secession actually constitutional, or does it inherently go against Articles I and II of the Constitution, which establish the legislative and executive branches of our government?

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Historical3 Comments

Resolved, that the Fairness Doctrine be reinstated.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required broadcaster both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced. In 1987, the FCC decided to revoke the bill due to pressure from many broadcasters. Proponents of the bill’s reinstatement would argue that the negative effects of the policy had been blown out of proportion and it helps create a fair and honest representation of news. Opponents to the bill might counter that the bill is government trying to control public broadcasting and suppress certain points of view. Do we need the Fairness Doctrine to ensure a balanced representation of the news?

KS~MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Historical2 Comments

Society through the Eyes of Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt: Resolved, that modern government is grossly oversized.

Since the Articles of Confederation, the arguments for and against a large federal government have been present in this nation. The federal government saw its largest growth during the Roosevelt Administration, when government took control over most of the economy in order to get us out of the Great Depression.  In contrast, Reagan used his “devolution revolution” to severely limit the size of the federal government. Proponents of a large government argue that the people must be protected with entitlement or regulatory programs administered by the federal government.–that’s the purpose of government.  However, critics say that these programs cost too much in taxes, and that when government is too large, it actually neglects or ineffectively meets the needs of the people. In other words, the best government is the least government.  So is government too big or too little today?

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Historical, Philosophical1 Comment

Resolved, that the economic stimulus package of 2009 saved the U.S. from a depression.

In early 2009, Congress passed one of the most controversial bills of all time: a multi-purpose, kick-start to the failing economy worth almost $787 billion dollars. It was deemed the stimulus package, and was designed to aid a failing economy. Now that more than a year and six months have passed since the bill went into effect, Americans are debating if we would be better or worse off without the Recovery Act. Proponents argue that the rising of exports, improving stock market, and decreasing unemployment rate proves the package was a necessary success. However, opponents claim it wasted billions of dollars America could have used to help pay off its 13 trillion debt. They additionally cite the cyclical nature of the economy, and that it was not the act itself that kept us from a depression. Did the stimulus package save America from a depression, or did it only waste billions of American’s tax dollars?

KS~MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Economics, Historical3 Comments

Resolved, that the United States should not have used atomic bombs to end World War II.

Resolved, that the United States should not have used atomic bombs to end World War II.

Background: The Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack on America at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, thereby bringing the United States into World War II.  Japan simultaneously attacked and then brutally subjugated many countries in Asia and the South Pacific in its effort to create an empire for itself.  The United States slowly fought back over almost four years and eventually liberated the conquered areas until only the Japanese homeland remained–yet Japan still refused to surrender.

Pro:

  • Maybe Japan would have surrendered unconditionally if America had given it more time, especially since we controlled the sea and air round the home islands and the Soviet Union had just declared war on Japan.
  • America should not have persisted in demanding Japan’s “unconditional” surrender like with Germany, but instead acceded to Japan’s demand to retain its Emperor and military control of the country.
  • America should have first invited Japanese representatives to witness a demonstration explosion of one of America’s two atomic bombs in the American Southwest in order to intimidate Japan into unconditionally surrendering.

Con:

  • Japan had demonstrated its total commitment to its warrior code of Bushido (mainly “death before dishonor”) through many things like suicidal banzai charges, fighting to the last man, kamikaze airplanes and mini-submarines, committing personal and mass suicides (even civilians like on Saipan) instead of surrendering, and intensely preparing to resist an invasion of its home islands.
  • The near-total destruction of Japan’s navy and air force and the conventional bombing of its cities still had produced no discernible political effect whatsoever on Japan’s willingness to unconditionally surrender thereby necessitating the “shock value” inherent in the two atomic bombs.
  • An allied invasion of Japan in order to occupy and compel Japan to surrender would have cost America and its allies maybe a half-million combat deaths and many more servicemen wounded–plus would likely have resulted in the near-genocide of the Japanese people who were reasonably expected to fanatically resist the invasion like on Iwo Jima and Okinawa which produced horrific casualties on both sides.

~KS FEB ’11

Posted in Featured Debates, Historical4 Comments