The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Everything Causes Nuclear War 

I have another geeky confession to make. In high school, I was on the debate team. Go ahead and make jokes about me being a master debater right now if you must... I'll wait. All done? Get it out of your system? Good. Back to the topic at hand... errr... back to my original subject. Did you know how many things can cause nuclear war? Most people never realize, if they were never on a debate team.

Here's how a typical debate goes. For the entire season, there is a "resolution" that will be debated. For instance, one of my favorites when I was in high school was:

Resolved: That the federal government should guarantee comprehensive national health insurance to all United States citizens.

The Affirmative case is then set out, and has to show several things:

Plan: What are you going to do?
Harms: You have to show that the status quo is bad.
Inherency: The status quo can't solve the harms.
Topicality: Your plan falls under the resolution.
Significance: You show advantages over the status quo.
Solvency: Your plan actually solves the harms you mentioned.

The negative side will then hit you with several attacks, going after each of your stock issues, showing how you're wrong. Then they'll try to show disadvantages to your plan, which as it turns out is always nuclear war. Seriously. Nuclear war. Every time. It's amazing how easy it is to chain a few quotes from different people together in order to link anything to nuclear war.

For instance, nationalized health care will depress the economy, which will decrease oil consumption, which will lead to unrest in the middle east, which will cause nuclear war. Or another classic... nationalized health care will increase lifespans and increase the population, which will cause food shortages (known as the Malthus Theory to debaters), leading to riots and global instability, which leads to nuclear war. And remember... I was going to high school before Google became big.

I know it sounds stupid... but this is how we debated. Could nationalized health care really lead to nuclear war? I look back on what we debated now, and just laugh at how stupid it really was... but then I have to stop and wonder. People who were on the debate team are probably the type of person who becomes active in politics after high school. When you look at how extreme the base of each party has become, whenever it debates any topic... the wild accusations that are made... the dire consequences that are so easily thrown around... its really the equivalent of the debate team nuclear war argument. High school debaters have gotten into politics now, but haven't changed their tune one iota. You'd think that people like that would eventually grow up... and figure out reality. Not everything leads to nuclear war damnit!

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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