"Debate Community" Organizes To Silence Critic—Me!
July 28, 2008, 05:00 AM
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The academic "debate community"—the teachers and professors who run high school and college debating teams—is increasingly devoted to suppressing debate, in the service of multicultural totalitarianism. The argument many of its leading members implicitly advance on behalf of such suppression—that only members of the community may criticize it, and only those who uncritically embrace the community's reigning political dogmas may be members—is a self-contradictory loyalty oath requiring blind faith.

I found this out the hard way: My June 26 VDARE.com article, Towson Debaters Mau Mau Liberal Judges, was about how a pair of incompetent black debaters won the Cross Examination Debate Association's (CEDA) national college tournament by refusing to debate the assigned topic, and by instead accusing the “debate community” of "racism".  Although a few “debate community” e-mail and message board responses to my article were supportive, most were not. There were five types of responses:

  1. “The best team necessarily won”which implied that the “debate community” is perfectly just. Had the judges used this criterion against Towson, which insisted that the “debate community” is racist, they would have had to give the tournament championship to the University of Kansas squad (UT-Dallas student Wes Dwyer, aka Startop , e-mailing me anonymously as theouterheavenproject@hotmail.com);
  2. Ignoring my arguments, and repeating rationalizations for Towson that I had refuted in my article: Max Williger. [email]
  3. Obfuscation: "Fairness is not the most important issue in the round; first, we must address questions of the structural integrity of debate" (Max Williger again). What the heck is "structural integrity"? This sophism reminds me of the "structural racism" charge, where someone implies a factual claim, but has no evidence to support it. Translation: “It's o.k. to be unfair to white guys, but it's metaphysically forbidden to hold blacks to the rules.”
  4. Reason and logic mean fundamentally different things to whites and blacks—therefore, it's wrong to hold blacks to our concepts of them (Chase Burton; [Email]). If this claim were true, it would likewise be the case that we cannot hold whites to "black" standards of reason and logic. However, this argument ultimately entails incommensurability, i.e., whites and blacks cannot possibly debate each other.
  5. Ad hominem attacks against me and VDARE.COM—including guilt by association. By far the most common response. ("Ignorant hate-monger", Dwyer again, anonymously; "ignorant f-k", Dwyer again, this time openly; "a writer with ties to the KKK", successful University of Wyoming debate coach ,and blogger, Matt Stannard[Email]); ("VDare is a white supremacist journal", Stannard again).
Ultimately, led by CEDA message board moderator and debate coach Ankur Aggarwal, the dominant group there resolved to "respond" to my arguments with a letter-writing campaign to any media outlet that had ever published me, demanding that it never publish me again. ("There is nothing like a grassroots war of economics to change someone's mind", Aggarwal).

It apparently never occurred to Aggarwal that his statement and conduct were the antithesis of debate.

(Readers may wish to play count the fallacies in my opponents' responses.)

Peer group pressure in the “debate community” is obviously serious. Otherwise sensible Golden (CO) High School debate coach Tammie Peters was so frightened that the totalitarians would see that she is not with the program that she desperately triangulated, alternately between ritual denunciations of me ("vitriolic rhetoric") which had nothing to do with my arguments, rational support for them, and throwing herself into the campaign to silence me by providing e-mail addresses for many outlets that have published my work. She wrote:

“1) I personally don't get the issue of racism as inherent in debate…. This topic came up last summer and I remember noting a number of students of African decent [sic] receive trophies at Nationals in CX, LD, PF, and Student Congress (as well as the non-debate events). I can't think of anything specifically racist about what we do, some policy or belief that states or implies that kids of color cannot do what we do.

“2) I do understand the financial strains top-notch debate can demand of students…. But it can be (and is) outside of the realm of possibility for white kids as well as those of other ethnic decent.

“3) The claim that debate is not accessible to young African Americans because of the language also perplexes me. Even my white students from million dollar+ homes don't come in talking about Foucault, counterplans, political capital, etc….

“4) There are many of us old-schoolers on this forum who have bemoaned some of the changes that have happened in CX debate over, say, the past 10 years. One reason some folks (I think of my father here, especially — a coach for 40+ years) hate kritical debates [sic, but this isn't just a spelling error, but a whole phony-baloney intellectual movement] is because they CAN diverge SO far from the original topic. The actual topic has become, seemingly, in some cases, an excuse to debate everything else. That, I supposed, is part of what disturbs me a bit about the approach of Towson, Long Beach Jordan, and the Louisville Project. The arguments about the state of debate have no connection (and don't even try to create a link) to the topic at hand….

“I am not defending the method in which this author chose to make these points. A more civilized discussion could have been done. But, underneath the vitriolic rhetoric, this author brought up some issues very close to the bone in our community….” [Link]

How, then, could I be so "ignorant" of the "debate community," as my opponents raged? Why did no one on CEDA's board condemn Tammie Peters as being equally "ignorant"?

Given the ad hominem attacks of most of my critics, including leading coaches like Matt Stannard, and the racist and dishonest statements by the Towson debaters in the first place, for Tammie Peters to charge me with "vitriolic rhetoric" is absurd. What Stannard and others are unwittingly saying is that they are intellectually unable to defend their support for black racial privilege.

The CEDA group claimed that its primary complaint was my lack of "journalism ethics". But they provided no supporting evidence. They were too cowardly to admit that they sought to destroy me merely for criticizing them.

Who is worse—a Matt Stannard, who coaches debate in order to suppress it, or a Tammie Peters, who believes in debate, but triangulates against her natural allies in order to buy peace from her enemies?

By the way, the reference to VDARE.com as a "White Supremacist Website" came from The Pretend Encyclopedia, as I call Wikipedia, whose entry for VDARE.com had only hours earlier been conveniently vandalized—doubtless by a member of the "debate community"—to reflect my critics' prejudice.

As bad as the students are, the coaches are the worst part of this story. Debate coaches do not stand high in academia's pecking order, but they play a crucial role in encouraging intellectual freedom. As I demonstrated in my Towson story, however, the tape of the CEDA final round—particularly the pro-Towson judges' rationalizations quoted at the end—and the coaches' responses show that many of America's leading debate professionals have betrayed their calling. Instead of promoting intellectual freedom, they promote the Platonic-Marxist notion of an educational dictatorship that would limit what people can say, in the belief that that would limit what people can think.

My naysayers call themselves "critical" thinkers (see also: "tolerant"). But that is merely a leftwing code phrase for being bigoted against America, and against white, heterosexual, able-bodied males.

PC bullying, and anti-intellectualism have long dominated academia, the schools, and the socialist MSM. Doubtless PC perpetrators would prefer to imprison, torture, and murder their critics, as their comrades abroad have done. But until they are in a position to do so, destroying their critics professionally will have to do.

And that is why I have long emphasized the importance, for private individuals who write honestly about politics, of using pseudonyms.

We live in an increasingly post-intellectual world.

As a boy in a racially fraught New York area neighborhood, I lived surrounded by violence and madness that seemed to be spread like airborne plagues. I sought a refuge of sanity and order, first in the Army, and when I flunked my physical, in academia.

Initially, I found that refuge, cherished it, embraced it.

But today's academia is itself a purveyor of violence and madness.

There is no more refuge.

 

Nicholas Stix [email him] lives in New York City, which he views from the perspective of its public transport system, experienced in his career as an educator. His weekly column appears at

Men's News Daily and many other Web sites. He has also written for Middle American News, the New York

Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, Chronicles, Ideas on Liberty and the Weekly Standard. He maintains two blogs: A Different Drummer and Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.