Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Applied To The Internet, Sort Of

This brief article by Alan Jacobs illustrates why I love teaching Lincoln Douglas debate.  His take on the justice, allusion to Hobbes, and reference to other "values" traditionally used in LD and their application to internet civility is a great read.  The key quotation:
I have thought a lot about why people get so hostile online, and I have come to believe it is primarily because we live in a society with a hypertrophied sense of justice and an atrophied sense of humility and charity, to put the matter in terms of the classic virtues.
Late modernity’s sense of itself is built upon achievements in justice. This is especially true of Americans. When we look back over the past century, what do we take pride in? Suffrage for women, the defeat of fascism, Brown vs. Board of Education, civil rights and especially voting rights for African-Americans. If you’re on one side of the political spectrum, you might add the demise of the Soviet empire; if you’re on the other side, you might add the expansion of rights for gays and lesbians. (Or you might add both.) The key point is that all of these are achievements in justice.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

Interesting. I'll brace myself for debaters running humility and charity as their values, with a criterion of value restoration and rebalancing (given that some values are hypertrophied and soe atrophied, we must assign greater importance to the atropphied values to bring society back into balance).