On Thursday, September 29, the Society convened to consider the question Resolved: the United States Should Legalize Marijuana.
On Thursday, September 22, the Society convened to consider the question Resolved: Art Cannot Exist for Its Own Sake.
Ms. Colleen Wood spoke on the affirmation, and Mr. Stephano Medina spoke on the negation.
Ms. Wood began by arguing that there is a clear link between art and utility, and that this utility is often communication.
Mr. Medina began by asking the philosophical question, “Can happiness exist for its own sake?” He likened this question to the resolution of the evening. Responding to Ms. Wood, he argued that civilization is “about uselessness.” He then recounted his love of poetry, informing the Society that he prepared for this debate by reading poetry all day.
Definitions abounded in the floor portion.
The debate began sharply, as Mr. Manchester argued that it is hard to define art. According to his definition, our esteemed reigning librarian, Ms. Green, is art. Vice President Henderson called the negation a part of a “post-modern dandyism” in which art has lost meaning and definition.
Ms. Revier countered by giving her own definition of art, namely that art is self-expression. Referring to a painting of a young boy (or girl) on the back wall of the Philodemic Room, Ms. Cleary expressed her belief that art does not exist
Mr. Garosshen went on to argue that art exists despite its creator and that “art uses the creator as much as the creator uses art.”
In his closing arguments, Mr. Medina argued that one need not believe in God to appreciate art as having a purpose beyond itself, rather, one must only believe in him. Ms. Daniels was pleased with the clarification. Mr. Medina went on to discuss William Wordsworth and the role art plays in society.
Ms. Wood argued that art pushes us further, but it is the human who makes the final decision. She also argued that beautiful moments are not art.
The Society voted 35-1-36 to negate the resolution.
Join us next week as we debate Resolved: the United States Should Legalize Marijuana.
Peter A. Prindiville
On Thursday, September 15, the Society convened to consider the question Resolved: Celebrating Osama bin Laden’s Death was Justified.
Mr. Jonathan Askonas spoke on the affirmation, accompanied by Ms. Amanda Wynter, who made her induction. Mr. Benjamin Snow spoke on the negation, after a slight auto accident, and was accompanied by Mr. Joshua Donavan, also making his induction.
Starting the discussion, Ms. Wynter argued that the desire to feel relief and happiness is inherent to the human condition, and that bin Laden’s death caused these emotions to come forth in many.
Mr. Snow discussed the impact of bin Laden’s death on the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism, arguing that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are worse off now, which is not a cuase for celebration.
Mr. Askonas noted that this was not a “referendum on ourselves,” but rather a moral discussion of past events. He expressed an American “tidal wave of joy” at the news of bin Laden’s death.
Mr. Donovan finished the keynote portion of the debate by contending that the United States’ actions were not in accord with the Geneva Convention, and that the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were denied the right to see bin Laden charged guilty by a legitimate court. He argued that the United States could have shown principles and justice, but opted instead for “cowboy vengeance,” which, he asserted, was not worth celebration.
A heated moral discussion with intermittent personal anecdotes characterized the debate. Mr. Medina noted that Americans treated bin Laden as a symbol, and not as a man. Mr. Rinaldi argued that because justice was served to those who suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks, celebration was justified.
The Society narrowly voted 56-3-52 to affirm the resolution. The Society then proudly inducted Ms. Wynter and Mr. Donovan. Huzah!
Peter A. Prindiville
The Philodemic convened on September 8th in the Philodemic Room to address the question, Resolved: the Tea Party is Bad for the United States. The Society mingled and welcomed many new non-members before the debate began.
Ms. Green delivered the affirmative keynote address, noting that the debate should focus on the financial aspects of the Tea Party’s platform. She went on to discuss the movement’s grassroots spirit, or rather, its “Astroturf” nature. She then argued that the Tea Party does not want to help the average American, and that the Party is defined by divisiveness and is against compromise.
Mr. Arber, speaking on the negation, informed the Society that the “Big Bad Tea Party is coming to blow down your house of liberalism.” Although he pointed out that the Tea Party has no formal leaders, he noted that its members share one common ideal, namely, that “the government should be shrunk at all costs.” He also addressed the role of populism in the movement.
Floor speeches from members and non-members focused on the role of the Tea Party in U.S. politics. Compromise was a common theme of the evening. In response to the argument that the Tea Party does not reflect the demographic makeup of the United States, Mr. Medina noted that “our civilization comes from old rich white people in Greece,” and Ms. Heather Regen (SFS ’14) informed the Society that her own grandmother was an active, albeit non-believing, member of the Party.
Amongst other arguments, ranging from specific policy questions to broad philosophic dilemmas, Mr. Bade did not fail to inform the Society that, “Ms. Green looks dashing. That’s all I’ve noticed this entire debate.”
After President Iacono closed the floor, Mr. Arber noted that this was an “invigorating topic.” He proceeded to wow the Society with his slant rhymes and rapping.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Green referenced the famed tea parties of Alice and Wonderland, invoked the hallowed name of Mrs. Nancy Reagan, and gave the Society a full rendition of a West Wing script.
The Society affirmed the resolution 60-29.
Peter A. Prindiville