In these times of corona it is difficult to practice our hobby: debating0. Student societies and the Dutch Schools Debating College sometimes hold online evenings and training sessions, but almost all tournaments have been cancelled. That is why the Nederlandse Debatbond organized an online debate tournament on May 10, especially for high school students.
16 teams competed in three preliminary rounds to secure a spot in the final. Eventually, the teams TEAm (Max Zaslove and Nonna van den Bos, Stedelijk Gymnasium Nijmegen) and Willi: Wortel (Laura van Helmond and Joep van Heugten, Willibrord Gymnasium Deurne) reached the finals, where they debated the motion:
Corona measures should be determined by experts rather than democratically elected politicians.
While the judges were discussing, a quiz was played (see the questions at the bottom of the page), which was won by Joshua Kamer: he could call himself the hero of the day! After a very exciting final debate, the judges announced that the opponents (Laura and Joep) would take the win. As a result, 50% of the donations went to the Red Cross through a majority vote from all participants and the other 50 euros went to Stichting Vluchteling, chosen by the champions.
Carli (student Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics at the UvA):
You were a member of the chief adjudication team, which means, among other things, that you came up with the motions. What was your favourite motion of the tournament?
“States must no longer protect the property of the 10,000 richest people on Earth from nonviolent theft or theft”. I like it best because it is radical, but also because it is very important that debaters can characterize their arguments well. As a result, the analysis of the arguments should be quite nuanced. In addition, major philosophical questions about property, state failure and self-defence must be answered.
Max (4th year, Stedelijk Gymnasium Nijmegen):
How did you experience the online tournament? What did you like the most about it?
I thought it was a very nice tournament. In general, I liked the debates themselves, and especially the last debate. I liked the motion (“The Dutch government must provide a universal basic income in times of crisis instead of the current policy”) because it was an economics motion.
What was your strongest argument in favour of the final motion?
My favourite argument in the final debate was the argument in which we tried to explain why politicians are inherently bad at making decisions during the corona crisis and why experts are inherently better. Our main reasoning about how this argument works was that politicians have inherently bad incentives like listening to the people, which can have bad outcomes. They have these incentives because they are chosen by the people and want to continue to get votes.
Laura (6th year, Willibrord Gymnasium Deurne):
Congratulations with the win! What went through you when you heard the news?
Just joy! This may have been the last student tournament for me so I was happy to finish it in such a way.
What was your strongest argument against the final motion?
The idea that it is about making weigh-offs in the corona crisis and balancing policy, so how well can politicians plan against corona and how well can scientists do that? We said that it is important to have politicians rather than experts because they are better at weighing things up. We also said that politicians have more respect for this from the population, so that the measures are better followed.
How many questions do you have correct? Let us know in the comments!
1. We find the debate society NSDV Trivium in Nijmegen. Which word is NOT part of the Latin name of Nijmegen?
2. The debate society in Amsterdam is called ASDV Bonaparte. Where did Napoleon Bonaparte die?
A. St. Helena
3. Rotterdam is the home front for the Erasmus Debating Society. What is Rotterdam’s nickname?
A. The Erasmus City
B. The Euro City
C. The Port City
D. The Maas City
4. Associations do more than just debate. For example, this year there was a board game night and there will soon be an online pubquiz. Which game is sold the most?
5. The Dutch Schools Debating College trains high school students to become master debaters. What is the 1963 Secondary Education Act also called?
A. The Neanderthal Law
B. The Sabertooth Law
C. The Ice Age Law
D. The Mammoth Law
6. It is tradition to watch Eurovision during the tournament of the Groninger Debating Society Kalliope. Who will represent the Netherlands next edition?
7. In Eindhoven, we find ESDA Chronos, named after a Greek mythological figure. What did Chronos do to his children?
A. He let them walk on their hands
B. He left them in a maze
C. He ate them
D. He forced them to debate each other every night
8. A former member of the Leiden Debating Union was former minister Ard van der Steur. Which ministry did he run?
A. Justice and Security (Justitie en Veiligheid)
B. Social Affairs and Employment (Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid)
C. Education, Culture and Science (Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap)
D. Public Health, Welfare and Sport (Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport)
9. Delft’s student debate club is the TU Delft Debating Club. What are Delft students also colloquially called?
A. Studying Moon Watchers (Bestudeerende Manenkijkers)
B. Elevated Bicycle Mechanics (Omhooggevallen Fietsenmakers)
C. Chemical Window Cleaners (Chemische Glazenwassers)
D. Hippodinds (Hippodinden)
10. The World Championships debating were held in South Africa last year, and the Netherlands, of course, sent teams. Which animal is not a member of the Big 5?
11. In the Dom city we find the Utrecht Debating Society. Which of the following people was NOT born in Utrecht?
12. The Dutch word for motion is “stelling”. What is the stelling van Amsterdam?
A. A saying by Johan Cruyff
B. A defensive water line
C. A castle in Amsterdam de Pijp
D. A mathematical formula to calculate the angles of a circle
13. The Tilburg Debating Society Cicero is named after the orator Cicero. The word cicerone is derived from his name. What does that mean?
A. Silver tongue
D. Travel guide
1-A, 2-A, 3-D, 4-D, 5-D, 6-B, 7-C, 8-A, 9-B, 10-A, 11-C, 12-C, 13-D
Mike is an alumnus of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero and has served as the secretary of the Nederlandse Debatbond (2019-2021). He was vice-chair of Cicero (2015-2016) and in that function oversaw the newly set-up international branch. He also organized the Dutch Debating Winter School, a debating training week that attracted participants of over 20 nationalities.