The topic of the debate was controversial, as well it should be. After all, if there was no controversy, what’s to debate?
Layton High School senior Michael Moreno and his debate partner, whom The Daily Wire will not name, were participating in a round with a topic relating to immigration. The specific topic of the round was “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on legal immigration.” Moreno and his partner were arguing in the negative, meaning they were arguing against the other team’s plan to reduce restrictions on legal immigration.
Immigration is one of those fascinatingly trendy issues, flying under the radar for decades despite doing serious harm to many, until Trump issued his Muslim Ban, whereupon it burst onto the consciousness of his detractors and there was suddenly extreme, if deluded, interest.
The problem wasn’t whether they were right or wrong about any particular decision or aspect, but that it was perceived as having been guided with the love of Emma Lazurus right up until Trump was sworn in. That wasn’t quite reality, not that any of the newly unduly passionate had any interest in reality. But I digress.
Instead of arguing in the affirmative, Moreno told The Daily Wire, the other team read a “slam poem” about how terms like “legal” and “illegal” are dehumanizing. In documents provided to The Daily Wire, these students quoted from numerous professors critical of assimilation and the notion that immigrants must act American to live “the good life.”
“Promises of citizenship and the ‘good life’ force non-normative subjects into a slow death, working towards the unbelievable goal of the American dream,” the students said.
In the ordinary course of a debate, the sides dip into facts and logic to muster their positions rather than a “slam poem” to bring a tear to the eyes of the judges. Facing a position grounded in emotion, Moreno faced a dilemma. How does one respond to a non-argument in a debate?
Moreno and his partner responded by arguing the other team did not actually articulate a position.
Perhaps the judge couldn’t hear them because of the sobbing in the room over the unfairness of it all.
The other team, during the cross-examination section of the debate, said Moreno and his partner could not talk about fairness because they were “white males.” Moreno said he then speed-read through quotes from Shapiro and Peterson pertaining to identity politics. He specifically cited comments [Ben] Shapiro made at the University of Connecticut on January 24, 2018, where he said: ‘Evil things are still evil even if I’m a white well-off religious man and good things are still good even if I’m a white well-off religious man …. My identity has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.”
But wait. There’s more!
Moreno also quoted Peterson saying, “It goes along with this idea of class guilt; Because your group membership is the most important thing, if your group at some point in the past did something reprehensible – which of course every group has done – then you’re de facto responsible for that.”
Did this shock the judge into an epiphany about the nature of debating controversial questions? Totally.
The judge, who before the round told each team not to be racist, claimed Moreno and his partner’s “evidence” and “saying things like ‘your identity doesn’t matter’” were actually racist. The judge then joined the opposing team in claiming it was Moreno and his partner who turned the debate into a discussion of “identity politics” and claimed Shapiro and Peterson are “racists.”
After another 10 minutes of this kind of back and forth, the judge said Moreno and his partner lost the round.
As debates are part of the educational experience, this one certainly served its purpose. There are many highly controversial, highly emotional, issues facing society, but they are all resolvable by crying “racism” or “sexism,” thus ending the debate and establishing an undeniable winner. Lesson learned.