Category Archive News

ByRoel Becker

[Nijmegen Open 2020] Getting more and more used to online debating

Source cover image:

On December 19, 2020, the first Nijmegen Online Open took place. It was great to see the lovely Trivium organize another competition, especially because the society has certainly seen its ups and downs over the last years. On top of that, it was a special competition for me personally: Nijmegen is where I grew up, started debating, and the place where I CAd my first (and now probably last) competition.

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ByRoel Becker

Arguments: People should receive their entire pension upon retirement

The following motion was the topic of the second-round debate of the Nijmegen Open 2020.

Infoslide: A lump-sum pension payment is when workers receive their whole pension at the start of their retirement. A staggered pension payment is when they are paid their pension monthly.

Motion: THW allow workers to make a choice between a lump sum pension payment and a staggered pension payment.

Round 2 – Nijmegen Open 2020

This motion review is partly based on the discussions and testing that was performed within the CA team of the Nijmegen Open: Fabian Beitsma, Gigi Gil, Hadar Goldberg, Lucy McManus, Parth Pandya, Marta Vasić & Roel Becker. I thank all co-CA’s for their hard work. Obviously, only I am responsible for any mistakes.

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ByRyoji Yoshisada

Arguments: Should we allow Income Share Agreements?

At the Amsterdam Open 2020, the following motion was discussed:

Infoslide: For the purposes of this debate, income share agreements are contracts where a person can agree to receive money from investors, in exchange for the investors making decisions over their career choices and reaping some of their income.

Motion: This House would allow people to sign income share agreements (ISA).

Amsterdam Open 2020 – Round 3

When we see this motion, there are two conclusions we need to think about.

  1. Is allowing ISAs beneficial or harmful?
  2. Is allowing ISAs legitimate or not?

This motion is a really good example to dig into both of the questions.

1. Is allowing ISAs beneficial or harmful?

This is a so-called practical clash; in argumentation theory, it is a value judgement based on consequentialism. In this framework, the proposition is supposed to show what the beneficial consequences are (impact), and why they are true (mechanism). Realistically, wealthy people do not need the investment in the first place and those who would opt into the ISA are likely to be non-wealthy (relatively poor) individuals. Based on that characterisation, the proposition would like to show how it is beneficial for them to have ISAs. For example, because poor people are able to get an investment through an ISA offer, which allows them to develop their careers (such as study in higher education or begin a startup). The height of the investment and the possibility to find a way to achieve what they want is more valuable than not having an option of ISA. Without ISAs, there are still public loans but it is unlikely for the poor to be able to borrow the money because they are required to show the financial ability to pay them back based on the current financial status. Therefore, this benefit for the poor is uniquely available.

On the contrary, the opposition side wants to argue that ISAs rather increase harms, and why they are more likely to be true. For example, for those who need money, it is very likely to be to accept/neglect the risks of sub-conditions attached to the ISA. For instance, even if they can study at a university because of ISAs, their career cannot be decided by themselves anymore and they might have a bigger debt (than ordinary student loans) that can destroy their further career after graduation. Why the contract is more unfair can be also explained by analyzing the incentive of investors and the environment where agreement is progressed. The most likely incentive of investors is to maximize benefit with gaining labour resources and/or money because, if there is no benefit, nobody wants to risk their money. That is, they would try to 1) advertise the agreement to make it sound attractive/less unfair, 2) hide bad aspects on the negotiation table, and 3) pressure the poor to take the offer by saying “if you don’t take this opportunity, we have tons of other poor people to accept the terms and conditions”. Likewise, the opposition can try to argue that the ISAs are likely to lead the poor to a worse future.

The practical clash based on utilitarianism is likely to be judged by which has more mechanisms to win the truth clash and which has a bigger, more realistic, and/or more exclusive impact.

2. Is allowing ISAs legitimate or not?

In parallel to the practical dichotomy, there is a clash from the principle perspective. The principles here are involved with virtue ethics and deontology, where we specifically look at a) the person who performs the action and b) the action itself, respectively. It is important to remember that these two moral judgements (classified as the principal value judgement in a parliamentary debate) are independent of how good/bad the consequences are.

The principled argument from the opposition is to show that inevitable conditions resulted from this private agreement are illegitimate. For example, it is illegitimate for the state to allow a private agreement 1) when it can easily become unfair and 2) when either party is not fully informed. These can be explained by showing how likely it is that the agreement will be unfair and uninformed. Furthermore, the opposition can give analogies in which private deals are prohibited, such as private drug deals and prostitution being likely to be unfair and uninformed about the risk. Another condition possibly available is 3) when it significantly limits the bodily autonomy of other human beings. The structure of the ISA is that rich people buy human beings to create more wealth/labour for the future. This fundamental structure is exactly the same as slavery where the rich get labour while, in return, they guarantee the cost of living (which can be ironically said to be an investment). However informed slaves are and however fair an individual slave believes the contract is, this contract itself is not morally allowed because it significantly deprives the bodily autonomy. As a private agreement to become a slave is illegitimate for a government to allow, the motion is also illegitimate. Likewise, to show the illegitimacy, the team is supposed to establish when a certain action is wrong.

From the proposition bench, there are two potential tactics: 1) a defensive principle and framing-out or 2) an offensive principle to show the illegitimacy of the status quo. For the former, we can show how legitimate it is for individuals to make a private contract regardless of fairness. Paying tuition fees for private universities can be disproportionately expensive in some cases but it is a private contract existing as a legitimate choice in the status quo. At the same time, some people blindly choose their academic careers. Namely, the fact that people are uncertain about the future (i.e., people are uninformed about the result of a choice) does not mean a private contract is illegitimate. Likewise, the fact that people are not well informed cannot be a reason to ban the private contract.

Furthermore, the opposition’s arguments can be mitigated by dealing with the conditions of ISAs as opposed to removing full access to ISAs. This is useful because the opposition’s principle is to say that unfair/uninformed ISAs should not be allowed. This is not to say that all ISAs are illegitimate. Namely, by tackling the real problems directly, ISAs can perfectly fit their principle. For example, a) the government restricts unfair ISAs by allowing unfair conditions to be retroactively cancelled via civil courts and b) ISAs need to be done on a sheet of paper with all the information about the risks and returns written. So that there is self-responsibility to inform oneself when people want to be invested in. What I did here is framing out the opposition’s arguments by providing the possibility to remove the factors they are concerned about.

The second way, an offensive principle, is effective on the top half because it generates a burden on the opposition bench to deal with it. This argument is to say that it is illegitimate for the state to limit bodily autonomy for the arbitrary standard of unfairness. Different people have different standards of fairness and the state does not know what is good/bad for individuals. This is why the government gives the freedom of choices to maximize opportunities and utilize available options. This is precisely why you are allowed to borrow money at your own risk, as well as why it is your choice to be a sugar baby by prioritizing wealth over love even if these actions might harm them eventually. That is, if both investors and those who are invested in agree to the contract, it is perfectly legitimate for the state to allow the contract. What the opposition does is that giving a few career and financial choices, and this is the government infringement on people’s preferences.

Cover image source: Peterson’s

ByMike Weltevrede

Holiday socials in corona times

Source cover image: TIME

The end of the year is near. A time when people (should) get together and celebrate the holidays. Despite the fact that it looks quite different this year, we will of course not let everything that is going on ruin the fun. In this article, we give tips on how to celebrate the holidays within your debating society. We discuss special debate motions, Christmas dinners, and, of course, gifts. In short: plenty of fun things to do within the corona measures!

Do you have any nice ideas for motions or activities? Then leave it in the comments at the bottom of this article!

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ByDaan Spackler and Rob Honig

This is how Lagerhuis+ improves high school debating

Source cover image: DebatUnie

There are many debate formats in the Netherlands. In this new series, debaters tell you why they think a certain debate format is the best. This time: Lagerhuis+, especially for high school debating. Do you want to read more about how Lagerhuis+works? Click here (Dutch).

In the discussions about the best debate format, the largest group of debaters is sometimes forgotten: high school students. In Dutch classes, a “debate” is held at hundreds of schools in the final years as a school exam. You’ve probably experienced it like that yourself. Until recently, teachers of Dutch opted for the classic American parliamentary structure; usually with 2 versus 2 speakers. In recent years, more and more people have switched to the “Lagerhuis+” form of debate (a variant of the “World Schools Format”), also in debating clubs.

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ByFabian Beitsma

Debating Parenting

Bron cover image: Eckerd Connects

I am Fabian, 23, and almost graduated in clinical psychology. I started debating in the fourth grade of high school, and it immediately fascinated me. Debating involves a combination of a competitive element, plus the development of many skills such as analytical and critical thinking, processing speed and abstract thinking. Debating has brought me a lot more besides these intellectual skills: part-time work as a debate trainer for politicians, making many friends and acquaintances and an accepting environment for LGBT+ people and identity formation.

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ByFabian Beitsma

Tiger Parenting: good or bad?

Source cover image: New York Times

In this article, I have discussed different parenting styles. I will apply this knowledge to a motion that often comes up, namely:

This House supports Tiger Parenting.

This is a form of upbringing in which the parents set high standards for their child but also reward them for achieving a result.

The observant reader will have noticed that the simplest argument for the statement is that Tiger Parents are, in a sense, authoritative parents. They set high standards but are also committed and rewarded for good results. This ensures that the child has enough positive reinforcement but also develops positive cognitive schemes such as “I can achieve anything if I work hard”. They see the value of making an effort for something that will only give you long-term reward (such as studying for a degree), which is important for later skills such as financial responsibility.

An argument against the motion is that parents are, or want to be, insufficiently aware when their child cannot meet the high standards. Much milder forms of developmental disorders such as a non-verbal learning disability or Klinefelter syndrome are sometimes not noticed until late or even never. As a result, children are punished for not being able to plan enough or achieve high performance. By repeatedly being negative reinforcement without understanding where the problem comes from, children develop negative schemas like “I always fail.” These schemes are not only limited to learning but also determine how they deal with social relationships and other situations.

ByGijs Weenink

Why is Policy Debate the best debate format?

Source cover image: NK Beleidsdebatteren

There are many debate formats in the Netherlands. In this new series, debaters tell you why they think a certain debate format is the best. This time: Policy Debate. In the article, Gijs Weenink will explain what Policy Debate exactly is.

My name is Gijs Weenink. I am the founder of the Tilburg Debate Society Cicero in 1991, the Nederlandse Debat Vereniging in 1993 (the predecessor of the Nederlandse Debatbond), the Nederlandse Debatinstituut in 1997, and the Debatacademie in 1999. In 1995, I won the 5th Dutch Championship Policy Debate with Frank van der Salm and after that, I joined the Committee of Recommendation. In 1993, I followed the Policy Debate course at the University of Leiden in Language Management. The Policy Debate course was also available for years at Public Administration in Enschede and at many universities of applied sciences. In 1995 (Cork) and 1997 (Athens) I participated in the World Debating Championships. With the Debatacademie, I was able to lead 2,500 Lagerhuis debates with 250,000 participants in 21 countries in Europe. In addition, I gave approximately 2,500 debating and speech training sessions to 25,000 participants. I have written three books; one about debating in organizations (Durf te kiezen, April 2018), a book about crisis and leadership (Never waste a good crisis, April 2020) and one book, together with Richard Engelfriet, about online meetings and presentations (Ben ik in beeld?, May 2020).

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ByMike Weltevrede

Tab workshop: Interview with Tatjana Stanic

On October 24, 2020, the Nederlandse Debatbond organized a workshop in tabbing, held by Marthe Wijfjes. To date, Marthe has tabbed over 30 competitions. She has assisted all Dutch debating societies (except ESDA Chronos) at least once by tabbing their tournaments. Internationally, Marthe has been part of the tab team of Novi Sad EUDC 2018 and she has tabbed most major online competitions in mainland Europe.

One of the participants in the tab workshop was Tatjana Stanic. She was kind enough to sit down for an interview about her experiences with the tab workshop. When asked to describe herself, Tatjana said the following:

Tatjana usually struggles with answering the simple question “Where are you from?”. Namely, she was born in Serbia, spent her early childhood in Russia, moved back to Serbia, then moved to Hungary and all of this by the time she started high school. Unfortunately, in none of these places debating was part of the education system. It remained a thing she admired from far away. Her last move was to Maastricht to start an MSc at the business faculty. Thankfully, this city had a debate club: Rhetorica. She joined just over a year ago and is loving it.

Q: Why did you decide to join the tab workshop?
A: Tabbing has always been a mystery box to me. I have been curious about it but I never knew how it was done. So, I wanted to learn! Moreover, there are a limited number of tabbers in the Netherlands and, since we do not know for how long they are still on, I wanted to make sure that we at least have a tabber for our own tournament.

Q: I can imagine that there were many questions to be answered and many things to learn. What was the most valuable piece of knowledge that you picked up on?
A: Marthe explained the whole process of tabbing very clearly. She took us through it step-by-step as if it was a real tournament. This, combined with the interactiveness of the workshop, meant that I got a very clear idea of what generally has to be done and what tasks a tabber needs to take on. I realized that there is actually much more going on than I thought but now I know how everything connects to the specific items of organizing a tournament.

Q: What traits do you think a tabber should have and do you think that you have those?
A: A tabber should be able to be in control and perhaps even have a loud voice (or a military voice as a fellow member of Rhetorica calls it) to retain order in the tab room. One of the things that I will like about tabbing is actually the messiness of it; when all hell breaks loose and everyone starts screaming, a tabber should trust that they can fix it and have some sort of inner peace. I believe I can do that.

Q: As a result of this workshop, will you be tabbing some tournaments?
A: Definitely! Marthe offered to take us along at a future tournament that she is tabbing to really put the knowledge that we gained into practice. That seems really cool to me so I will definitely take her up on that offer!

Q: Thanks for the interview, Tatjana! Do you have any final remarks?
A: I think the workshop was well organized and thorough; it covered pretty much everything. I want to repeat that the opportunity to tab alongside Marthe at a tournament is a cool idea which will be very useful.

Were you unable to attend but are you still interested in watching the workshop? It will soon be up on our YouTube channel so make sure to keep an eye on that.

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ByJonathan Kellogg

Why is WSDC the best debate format?

Source cover image: DebatUnie

There are many debate formats in the Netherlands. In this new series, debaters tell you why they think a certain debate format is the best. This time: WSDC. Do you want to read more about how WSDC works? Click here.

I am Jonathan Kellogg, a past-DSDC debater. I am now studying at LUC (I am aware of the cliché). As a schoolie, I have participated in numerous WSDC format tournaments in both Dutch and English. I have also participated in numerous BP tournaments. I doubt whether there is an objectively “best” form of debate; it is largely a matter of personal preferences. But the WSDC format is one of the most underappreciated formats among students and deserves more attention than it is currently receiving.

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