Aaron Murphy Reviews GW 2014 Quarterfinals

Round: GW 1 2014 quarterfinals Hopkins IV v. Rutgers WP

Judge: Aaron Murphy

Judge School: William and Mary

Link to Qualifications: http://apdaweb.org/results/debater/1774

Case: is bra burning good for the feminist movement 1968

Link: http://videos.apdaweb.org/?p=1030

Government team wins this round.


The framework set forth by gov is that the round ought be adjudicated by who gets closest to forming a political unit that can gain traction in 1968 America.


The opposition team cannot build a viable political unit. The closest direct contest that they could achieve this is in Mo when Sean says that leftist groups could support women and may pander to the types of issues that they care about. This hypothetically could be extended to opp could form viable political movements however it doesn’t for a few reasons. The first one is that MG preemptively deconstructs the idea that because a movement is leftist it will be feminist. The second is that LOR does not extend this argument and claims again that working within the system is a lost cause. Given that opp would not form a viable political unit right now? The second idea they have that may suggest they get a movement is that they say they can get the ideas out in front of everyone and then one day it will moderate to a better set of values. So effectively they get a better feminist movement later on. However I think the fact that the media will shape the story that is taken from here means that the macro effect on feminism will be negative thus it will be stifling and actually slow the dispersion of feminist principals not accelerate it. It also does not address govs point that women will actually have knowledge of the feminist movement withheld from them by conservative mothers if it seems radical so even the normal spread of the awareness of feminism is slowed down dramatically within opps world. So opp cannot create a viable political unit now or later on. Note that this failure to meet govs standard is not in of itself round losing for opp. One more note here is that the MO does say at one point that the people working for wage equality will still work for wage equality which might effectively coopt the ground that gov is claiming. However no one weighs which is more effective for getting these policies. Rad feminists working for sexual freedom and wage equality while other women just do wage or all working for wage. In the absence of clear weighing I default to the idea that the combined movement would be much more effective. Further that idea is not really extended in LOR. LOR does say these women might become moderates but not why they would find agreement with radical feminist on say which political candidates the two ought to support. This level of the debate is never explored that clearly by the two teams but given how blippy the argument was and the lack of weighing I feel that at best opp can get some of the same efficacy but that must be weighed against govs political unit.

The Government team can build a viable political unit. The core of explaining why they would not be able to build such a movement is that opp says the people who oppose feminism will keep opposing even if you are radical and that being radical is the only way to get people to even know you are there. This is an important part of clash because the government team does not directly address this idea of whether some people are so steeped in conservativism that they will never join your movement. I think that they implicitly prove that there are people that could be won over by the examples of women who value wage equality but not sexual promiscuity. It seems plausible that such people would exist which undercuts the force of opps claim that the women who aren’t feminists will never vote with you anyway. The force of govs argument comes from the enumeration of all the groups of women that would be specifically alienated by this type of message. Opp is correct that gov is essentially alienating the view that this promiscuity is ok but recall that in this part of the debate we are only assessing whether gov could get voting power. It seems more women will be drawn in to vote with govs side which means at least some more financial empowerment will be able to occur. This means that gov will be able to get policies they want potentially passed. I probably only buy that gov gets very large policy changes in the mid to long term but they can still get them whereas again opp either cannot or does so far less effectively.

So gov wins under their framework.

The principal framework set out by opposition is that the most important thing is who actually is most inclusive of various women’s ideas.

I think that this becomes very muddled. Opp is right to say it’s not ideal to not allow these women’s views to come forward because its feminism telling women what to do. Gov says that they also tell women what to do when they say that they should burn there bras. Opp wins that they needn’t actually say that women must burn there bras but the application that the media will not carry the nuance of the message that opp cares about means that at the very least women will feel that that is what the feminist movement is telling them to do. Here I run into a tricky situation because I personally feel that if women still feel that a “matriarchy” is oppressing them in govs world it’s no different from a matriarchy actually oppressing them in Govs world. However that is not argued by Gov directly and opps argument is that there is a principal philosophical objection to feminism defining itself by oppressing women. I do think that without the observation of the contradiction that I outline in the non-voting points opp wins that there movement is founded on more principally just values. However note two things. To be clear I feel that the gov claims that opp excludes women as well are not good because the opp argument is specifically about whether the movement should take as its own advocacy to exclude certain ideas. Not just whether it will seem like they are which all govs claims on this idea amount to.

Then opp has some offense that comes out under their framework. I now evaluate the frameworks against each other.

Opps only argument for why govs framework is bad is that they won’t get a political unit which gov won that they could and then that they would never be able to get the good values back in. I don’t think opp substantively won that the gov team could not add the good values bac in but also its laid out in PMC, MG, and again in PMR that women will just be more free to protect 3rd wave type objectives and goals when the second wave considerations have been dealt with. So given that it isn’t contested and is correct I buy the weighing that Govs framework is better because it leads to and facilitates opps framework down the road whereas opps framework does not do the same for govs.

Gov gets all of their framework and in the long run solves about half of opps concerns while opp only gets the things they cared about and those benefits are heavily problematized thus I vote gov.


There are also some points about whether bras help women or don’t. Seems like the answer is they can be helpful but people should feel like they have a choice. I’m not sure that opp effectively translates the idea that choice is what should be pursued nor does gov acknowledge the truth that they can also be bad. This whole part of the round seems a little strawmany to me so I view it as a wash

The specific ideas about fire being bad I also don’t evaluate. How it relates to leftism is fine and the stereotypes of hysteria are fine, but specifically fire being bad I don’t evaluate.

There are arguments for opp about how sit ins won’t work unless people get beaten that aren’t really addressed in the RFD. I felt that this part of the debate wasn’t really weighed by either team in the rebuttals so I ended up coming down on basically opp wins that sit ins won’t be great but gov wins more votes over the long-term so still some political efficacy



Some external reflections that did not factor into voting

  1. The MO contradicts the idea that a deontological basis of what is and is not allowed should be adopted when he argues that its ok to instrumentalize women for the movement
  2. I think the arguments made by MG about the specific difficulties of being a women were excellent. I think they would have been just as strong without the implied idea that the opp couldn’t offer anything of value on that framework because they never lived it. I think the arguments were excellent but that method of framing can alienate people from this type of debate
  3. Lo and MO claim that gradualism won’t work because when you omit things that are true for pragmatics they never get brought back in. However their principal pragmatic claim is that they want to just get the word out there and then down the road that will be synthesized into a complete movement. That doesn’t seem to work because I think it concedes that movements can deepen and become more developed over time if you an essentially get your foot in the door
  4. The pmr argument that these ideas don’t have to be brought to the forefront by radicalism because they are just so new that talking about them at all will bring them forward is new
  5. The PMR opening strategy of explaining more historical context than has been discussed before the round has been proven to be effective on APDA. I recommend studying it. And I think we should reflect some perhaps as a league on how to approach this sort of thing. It is not done in an abusive way here but often it brings in many facts or ideas discussed as “common knowledge” but that in fact opp would have wanted to know for arguing or even picking a side


Speaks and ranks –

I do think the Mo gave a speech with a lot of very strong and interesting contributions to the round I just felt that it missed several points from Mg such as the explanation of why these women that opp was calling conservative might well support your causes. And I felt that those points allowed gov a clean path to win their framework which then beat opps framework. Thus the mistakes were important and MO is penalized also the contradiction though it was not pointed out. Those two factors lower the overall score of a speech that is otherwise very strong in presentation

I think the PMR is lower in my estimation than it would be scored by most other judges. For me that is because it misses the contradiction which could have e eradicated opps framework ending the round. Secondly it does not argue that what women feel the movement says to them is equal to what it does say from a deontological perspective. Thus the equating of opp alienating to gov excluding is incorrect. I thought PMC was really good though so that saved it from a lower score.

MG made no mistakes and contributed the round winning offense. However I think a deeper analysis is the sit ins and why they would work could have been more effective. That was the big thing gov was missing to conclusively win all the frameworks

LO did an exceptional job building offense especially by the end in LOR where the deontology point was reconstructed however Even by that time the weighing for gov to beat that entire framework still remained on the flow and had been dropped since LOC so I view the offense as not as strong as it might be otherwise.

  1. MG 26.5
  2. PM 26.5
  3. LO 26.5
  4. MO 26.25