The US and China: Tory Debate No. 3
Thursday, September 8th marked the Tories third debate. Resolved: The
I felt very strongly that the
I read (as per my newly formed habit) several articles in the Weekly Standard, and began to create a speech that would attack the problem from three different angles. Having figured these out, I lay on my bed, running through my speech in my head, making notes on the back of the weekly whipsheet. I did three run-throughs, so when I finished I thought I’d come up with quite a tidy little product.
I slipped into my battle dress and headed off for the debate, which was to be in the Branford Trumbull room. (It is indeed a curiosity that a residential college would have a common room with the name of another residential college). I showed up a little early and spent a few moments chatting with the former chairman, who had arrived with our box of Tory gear and some refreshments. The chairman presently showed up with the key and we moved in.
As Tories filtered in we chatted about Toryhood and the upcoming debate – the former chairman said that he planned to speak in the negative. This came as little surprise to me because he had just spent two months in
At length the SSCY showed up – wearing pinkish-read pants. It was obvious to see which side of the debate he planned to speak on. Appearing for the second time was a member of the party of the right. (As a little aside here, the current p.o.r. and the Tories were once one party. They split in 1969 when the Tories decided they wanted a group with less of a libertarian and a fascist bent. Since we view ourselves as an extension of the real P.O.R., we use capital letters in referring to the traditional Party of the Right and lower-case letters in referring to the current one).
The chairman called the meeting to order and the secretary read the minutes from the last debate. Each speech was recounted in miniature, leading to the conclusion whereby the resolution (“Give us your huddled masses”) had passed eight to five with two abstentions.
There were no successful changes to the record, so the minutes were approved as read and the secretary was asked to read the topic of tonight’s debate: “Resolved: The US should distance itself from
The chairman asked for speeches in the affirmative and the chief whip was recognized. He walked to the center of the room clutching some notes of his own (several typed pages). Seeing this, one of the Tories made a motion “that the gentleman be allowed to use a prop” which was seconded and passed.
The chief whip made a very perceptive speech, where he argued that sooner or later we were going to end up in a war with
The former chairman made the first speech in the negative. He argued that
After the former chairman had answered questions and been thanked for his speech (all speakers are applauded in Tory style after their question session is over) I volunteered to give the second speech in the affirmative. The chairman recognized the provost, however, so I waited for the third round.
The provost gave another very perceptive speech (his role this time would not be a comic one). He noted that
I had agreed heartily with the two affirmative speeches I’d heard; it seemed as if we were in good shape.
The next speech in the negative was given by a Tory of longstanding [Mr. Elrod]. He suggested that we could not afford to separate ourselves from
As the gentleman concluded, I was recognized by the chairman for the next speech (which would be my longest yet) in the affirmative. I had my notes in my breast pocket, but decided there was something to be gained by giving the appearance of speaking off the cuff. I therefore recited my points from memory:
“It seems to me that there are three parts to this problem, all of which have been touched on in earlier speeches and which I will expand on. We can look at this problem, as I said, from three directions: ideological, economic, and strategic.
“First, the ideological, which should be of dominating consideration.
“Churchill, in reflecting on Mussolini’s horribly miscalculated decision to join the axis powers, came up with the beautiful and trenchant statement that, ‘it falls to few men to know for certain what is in their interest, but it falls to a great many common folk, every day, to know what is their duty.’ And by duty he means the right thing to do – and doing business with an evil empire is not right.
“Secondly, there is the economic consideration. Our business with
“Finally, there is the strategic consideration. Now, when two countries (or two entities, or however many) reach approximately the same power, they have a choice to make about their relationship. They can choose to compete, or to cooperate. I believe it is very clear that
“If we cooperate with
“In 1938, as we discussed earlier, Hitler wanted the Sudetenland in
“In the modern day,
“In the final analysis therefore, we must not continue doing business with
Among the questions I was asked was the inevitable: Why should we be doing business with some “bad countries” and not be doing business with others? Fortunately I was prepared for this point – I had considered addressing it in my speech, but, as it would inevitably become a question, I thought it would be better to make that one less surprise question I’d have to answer:
“I thought this would come up sooner or later. The question inevitably arises, ‘doesn’t it seem like hypocrisy to talk to some evil nations and refuse to talk to others?’ The answer is that we cannot cut ourselves off from all evil nations right away, or all at once. What we can do is to step towards this one at a time, and remove ourselves from as many evil nations as possible.”
I was finally thanked for my speech, and we moved on to the next speaker in the negative, the SSCY.
The SSCY made an absolutely hilarious and yet completely wrong (from my point of view) speech. He contended that
When the SSCY had answered the last question, the chairman requested a speaker in the affirmative, but there was none. With the observation “the chair frowns on a one-sided debate” the chairman asked for speeches in the negative, and recognized once again the former chairman.
The former chairman pitched into a lengthy and forceful restatement of his position. In talking the debate over later in the evening it turned out that both the former chairman and I had believed the affirmative position to be doing better than it was. It was for this reason that he made his second speech of the evening – and in turn I decided not to. I would later regret that.
The former chairman’s speech was followed by yet another speech in the negative, by the oriental Englisher. He argued that the
That having been the final speech of the evening, the acting sergeant at arms was called upon to divide the room (creating amusing little classifications for the affirmative and negative sides of the debate). I was confident that the affirms would make a good showing, but I was decidedly wrong: the vote was 13-3 in the negative, with only the three Tories (myself included) who had spoken in the affirmative on the other side of the room. It was a crushing defeat.
The resolution was recorded as having failed, and the chairman asked for an appropriate motion, “perhaps from the SSCY?”
“I move that we adjourn to Yorkside…”
“As is traditional,” we chimed in.
The debate having thus ended, we milled about in discussion for a few minutes, reexamining the debate and pondering possible topics for the next one. At length, the remaining Tories (who had finished their homework and didn’t have to get up too early the next day) marched over to Yorkside.
We were five at the Pizzeria: the chairman, SSCY, the sergeant at arms, a longstanding but non-office-holding Tory, and myself. We were presently joined by the former chairman, who made a sixth.
While the majority of the Tories were contented with their pepperoni pizza and the chairman was doing his best to work his way through a club sandwich, I had attempted to order something small – “a scoop of ice cream” is what the menu called it. Little did I know that a Yorkside “scoop” amounts to nearly a truckload by classic standards. The chairman, making his meal complete, ordered a glass of orange juice, which he drinks for every meal and snack of the day, believing it to be healthy and hygienic, not to mention tasty.
Our conversation bounced around freely for a time before it settled on the topic of who was taking what language. I was the only Hebrew-speaker at the table, though Russian and Chinese were amply represented. It would seem a general rule that these Yorkside discussions never become too political – such things are no longer in order after 11 o’clock.
After I had waded through as much ice cream as I thought wise, and shown my compatriots the Hebrew spelling for Israeli “Bazooka” bubble-gum, the check arrived and we were free to leave.
As we were on the way out, we ran into the p.o.r., just coming in from their own debate. The brief conversation that thus developed was civilized, and perhaps even amiable; neither party shared the disdain it felt for the other. The p.o.r.’s dress had a wider range to it, running from suits to a few t-shirts. The Tories were clearly in more uniform uniform. We separated ourselves from the p.o.r. on a friendly note and struck out for our dorm rooms.
I finally parted with the chairman as we walked by Saybrook on
* It should be noted that this particular series of words actually appears more-or-less in a dialogue at the end of the movie “The Caine Mutiny.”