Debate Goes to Extremes

Tuesday, our highest-ranked debate teams in the Junior and Senior divisions competed in extreme debating, battling each other in an impromptu parliamentary debate in front of many of their fellow students. The resolution was “there can be no shepherds without sheep.” Arguing for the resolution were senior debaters Charles Leitz (Prime Minister) and Kristijan Gjorjevik (Minister of Sheep). Against the resolution were Eric Protzer (Leader of the Opposition) and Chris Groot (Opposition Critic).

Below, Kristijan Gjorjevik and Eric Protzer debate who was the better debating team.

Point
by Eric Protzer, Grade 10

Recently, the Christine Duke Theatre was graced by the most intense competition, the most brutal fight that SMUS has ever witnessed: extreme debating. The top junior and senior teams went face-to-face in a highly anticipated outdoors grudge match. I so happened to be on the junior team, and will relate a veteran’s tale of the battle. As a warning, the following events involve very high risk, and should not be attempted by amateurs such as the senior team.

“This House Believes That: there can be no shepherds without sheep” was the bill for the day. Despite the fact that we had to contend for the negative side with a resolution that could be considered a truism and argue in a brand-new debate format, my partner, Chris Groot, and I decimated the seniors. The bill was defined by the affirmative as a metaphor for how leaders must have followers to be considered leaders. However, their reasonability stopped there.

For example, they tried arguing that a person in office who did not have his country’s support, such as Robert Mugabe, should not be classified as a leader. With obviously flawed logic, they tried to support the notion that a shepherd who has lost his sheep is automatically not a shepherd. President Mugabe, though a wolf in sheep’s clothing, retains his title and thus his employment as a leader of a country.

Other fallacies riddled the affirmative speeches. Taking the bill outside of its context, misquoting Abraham Lincoln and confusing the social structure of sheep were amongst the myriad of errors made by the seniors. Unfortunately, the wind conditions were such that much of the speeches were inaudible, and thus a reliable judging was impossible. It is rumoured that another match is being scheduled in the near future…

Counterpoint
by Kristijan Gjorgjevik, Grade 12

This last Tuesday at lunch, we had the great of privilege of utterly defeating the top junior provincial team in a show debate. Though the juniors attempted to raise some good points during our Great Debate Challenge, they failed miserably.

Nonetheless, for their age, they debated stalwartly. You see, psychologists argue that below the age of 16, mental faculties are not developed to the extent that metaphorical analogies can be correctly understood. This may explain, in part, why the juniors confused “shepherds” with “alpha sheep”, or why they lingered so long on George W. Bush—confusing “shepherds” with “sheepdogs”. But being older and more mature, I will not laud our blatant victory; at the very least, this debate was a great show, with bold performances by the actors Groot and Protzer.

The next shows will be all the better. Soon, we will be hosting a team from GNS to take us on, in a true SMUS-GNS debate showdown. Stay tuned, and my congratulations to Mr. Groot and Mr. Protzer!

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