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December 7, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Performance in Debate Bad/Debate Activism Bad

The core of this argument is the 2nd and 3rd card. The first card is just another argument–it only really applies to storytelling. Although you could argue that every aff or every perf. aff is storytelling.

Personal experience isn’t bad for debate, but debate is bad for personal experience—it forces you to render the value of a person’s intimate and many times traumatic experiences—this is epistemically violence and turns the case
Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, 2001, Diacritics 31.4, p. 34-35
But here, and for the time being, my concern is with a suspect coherence that sometimes attaches to narrative and, specifically, with the way in which narrative coherence may foreclose upon an ethical resource, namely, an acceptance of the limits of knowability in oneself and others. It may even be that to hold a person accountable for his or her life in narrative form is to require a falsification of that life in the name of a certain conception of ethics. Indeed, if we require that someone be able to tell in story form the reasons why his or her life has taken the path it has, that is, to be a coherent autobiographer, it may be that we prefer the seamlessness of the story to something we might tentatively call the truth of the person, a truth which, to a certain degree, and for reasons we have already suggested, is indicated more radically as an interruption. It may be that stories have to be interrupted, and that for interruption to take place, a story has to be underway. This brings me closer to the account of the transference I would like to offer, a transference that might be understood as a repeated ethical practice. Indeed, if, in the name of ethics, we require that another do a certain violence to herself, and do it in front of us, offering a narrative account or, indeed, a confession, then, conversely, it may be that by permitting, sustaining, accommodating the interruption, a certain practice of nonviolence precisely follows. If violence is the act by which a subject seeks to reinstall its mastery and unity, then nonviolence may well follow from living the persistent challenge to mastery that our obligations to others require. Although some would say that to be a split subject, or a subject whose access to itself is opaque and not self-grounding, is precisely not to have the grounds for agency and the conditions for accountability, it may be that this way in which we are, from the start, interrupted by alterity and not fully recoverable to ourselves, indicates the way in which we are, from the start, ethically implicated in the lives of others. The point here is not to celebrate a certain notion of incoherence, but only to consider that our incoherence is ineradicable but nontotalizing, and that it establishes the way in which we are implicated, beholden, derived, constituted by what is beyond us and before us. If we say that the self must be narrated, that only the narrated self can be intelligible, survivable, then we say that we cannot survive with an unconscious. We say, in effect, that the unconscious threatens us with an insupportable unintelligibility, and for that reason we must oppose it. The “I” who makes such an utterance will surely, in one form or another, be besieged precisely by what it disavows. This stand, and it is a stand, it must be a stand, an upright, wakeful, knowing stand, believes that it survives without the unconscious or, if it accepts an unconscious, accepts it as something which is thoroughly recuperable by the knowing “I,” as a possession perhaps, believing that the unconscious can be fully and exhaustively translated into what is conscious. It is easy to see this as a defended stance, for it remains to be known in what this particular defense consists. It is, after all, the stand that many make against psychoanalysis itself. In the language which articulates the opposition to a non-narrativizable beginning resides the fear that the absence of narrative will spell a certain threat, a threat to life, and will pose the risk, if not the certainty, of a certain kind of death, the death of a subject who cannot, who can never, fully recuperate the conditions of its own emergence.

Activism in debate is bad—causes ideological cloistering, shuts out debates over implementation, and prevents agonistic engagement
Talisse 5 Robert, Prof of Phil @ Vanderbilt, “Deliberativist responses to activist challenges” Philosophy & Social Criticism, 31.4 *[this evidence has been gender modified]
The activist implicitly holds that there could be no reasoned objection to his views concerning justice, and no good reason to endorse those institutions (s)he deems unjust. The activist presumes to know that no deliberative encounter could lead him (them) to reconsider his position or adopt a different method of social action; he ‘declines’ to ‘engage persons he disagrees with’ (107) in discourse because he has judged on a priori grounds that all opponents are either pathetically benighted or balefully corrupt. When one holds one’s view as the only responsible or just option, there is no need for reasoning with those who disagree, and hence no need to be reasonable.
According to the deliberativist, this is the respect in which the activist is unreasonable. The deliberativist recognizes that questions of justice are difficult and complex. This is the case not only because justice is a notoriously tricky philosophical concept, but also because, even supposing we had a philosophically sound theory of justice, questions of implementation are especially thorny. Accordingly, political philosophers, social scientists, economists, and legal theorists continue to work on these questions. In light of much of this literature, it is difficult to maintain the level of epistemic confidence in one’s own views that the activist seems to muster; thus the deliberativist sees the activist’s confidence as evidence of a lack of honest engagement with the issues. A possible outcome of the kind of encounter the activist ‘declines’ (107) is the realization that the activist’s image of himself as a ‘David to the Goliath of power wielded by the state and corporate actors’ (106) is naïve. That is, the deliberativist comes to see,through processes of public deliberation, that there are often good arguments to be found on all sides of an important social issue; reasonableness hence demands that one must especially engage the reasons of those with whom one most vehemently disagrees and be ready to revise one’s own views if necessary. Insofar as the activist holds a view of justice that he is unwilling to put to the test of public criticism, he is unreasonable. Furthermore, insofar as the activist’s conception commits him to the view that there could be no rational opposition to his views, he is literally unable to be reasonable. Hence the deliberative democrat concludes that activism, as presented by Young’s activist, is an unreasonable model of political engagement.
 
Activism turns debate into an echo chamber—that polarizes and radicalizes even the purest conclusions—our framework is key to tempering provisional conclusions
Talisse 5 Robert, Prof of Phil @ Vanderbilt, “Deliberativist responses to activist challenges” Philosophy & Social Criticism, 31.4 *gender modified
Group polarization is a well-documented phenomenon that has ‘been found all over the world and in many diverse tasks’; it means that ‘members of a deliberating group predictably move towards a more extreme point in the direction indicated by the members’ predeliberation tendencies’ (Sunstein, 2003: 81–2). Importantly, in groups that ‘engage in repeated discussions’ over time, the polarization is even more pronounced (2003: 86). Hence discussion in a small but devoted activist enclave that meets regularly to strategize and protest ‘should produce a situation in which individuals hold positions more extreme than those of anyindividual member before the series of deliberations began’ (ibid.).17
The fact of group polarization is relevant to our discussion because the activist has proposed that he may reasonably decline to engage in discussion with those with whom he disagrees in cases in which the requirements of justice are so clear that he can be confident that he has the truth. Group polarization suggests that deliberatively confronting those with whom we disagree is essential even when we have the truth. For even if we have the truth, if we do not engage opposing views, but instead deliberate only with those with whom we agree, our view will shift progressively to a more extreme point, and thus we lose the truth. In order to avoid polarization, deliberation must take place within heterogeneous ‘argument pools’ (Sunstein, 2003: 93). This of course does not mean that there should be no groups devoted.

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