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The Confederate Flag

8 points
4 points
BlackflagBlackflag (PRO)
Thank you, Taniya Smith, for instigating this debate on the US Confederate Flag. 

The Confederate States of America was an unrecognized nation existing briefly from the years 1861-1865. The Confederate States of America composed of 11 federal entities that had seceded from the union of the United States of America. This was their flag. 

The flag, also known as "Stars and Bars," represents a variety of things. The red, white, and blue symbolize freedom and American heritage. The eleven stars seen in the blue canton represent the original eleven states that seceded from the United States of America.

Although the Confederate States of America was not recognized as sovereign by the international community, its population believed in their nation's right to rule. Surely enough they had seceded justly from the union using non-violence and democratic vote, and according to the US constitution, that ensures the right of the Confederacy to exist. For this reason, it came to no surprise that after the Union Army launched an unprovoked attack on Fort Sumpter, Charleston, South Carolina, the Confederate Army declared war. 

Although the South lost the ensuing Civil War, the Confederate States of America still holds a special place in history for most Americans. Stars and Bars, along with the Confederate Battle Flag, remain powerful symbols for a number of heritage and political advocacy groups. Conservatives, neo-confederate secessionists, heritage groups, confederate army veterans agencies, and a variety of other institutions use the flag to represent their causes and ideologies. 

The controversy around the flag has sparked much political discussion, which is healthy for the nation. To many, the flag is a great source of pride, as many Americans have parents or grandparents who died under the confederate flag for ideals such as state rights and refounding America the way it was supposed to be. Therefore I advocate that the Confederate Flag is a good flag, in that it serves its purpose as an icon effectively, and has sparked much discussion on the cultures and societies forming under the present Union. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-08 04:05:07
| Speak Round
Taniya SmithTaniya Smith (CON)
I believe that somewhere in the image of the confederate soldiers, there is valor because they risked their lives, but on the same note, the confederates fought to preserve slavery but they also fought to preserve state's rights, for the wrong reason though.

       They wanted state's rights so they could have a valid reason to succeed from the Union and so they could continue to carry out slavery. People are quick to say, "Heritage Not Hate," but their heritage is hate. In my eyes, the flag is a sign of hate and a sign to hold the memories of the fellow soldiers that died. 

It would be moderately okay if slavery ceased to exist in the world, but modern day slavery is stronger than the latter day slavery. The flag holds memories of what African Americans went through, and I believe that slavery was worse than the holocaust, yes, the holocaust was horrible but the number of deaths in the event didn't even reach the number of deaths in slavery.

Thousands of Africans were stolen from their home and shipped to America. 33% of America's population was slaves, and 89% of slaves were African. When slavery ended, unlike the holocaust, they didn't have families to return to because they didn't know where their parents were probably, most families were separated in slavery. Pregnant women still had to work in the field and they didn't have maternity leave, they were still beaten, either with a child on their back or in their womb.

Slavery isn't something America should be proud of, the war shouldn't be something that we celebrate. It's in the past and we need to leave it there because most of the people that support the flag could care less about soldiers that died in other wars, they use it as a way to hide their racism. Now, I know not every pro-confederate is racist, but they refuse to look at the whole picture and only pick out the things in the war that made the confederates look like heroes.

(Thank you for accepting the debate, Stag.)

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-08 15:36:23
| Speak Round
BlackflagBlackflag (PRO)
It seems as though the opposition has admitted first hand that the flag represents ideals besides slavery to certain people. 

Tis' true that the Confederate States of America had preserved slavery, but you cannot blame them in the slightest.  African-Americans cannot keep blaming their troubles on the white man! When we look back into history, and see all the atrocities committed during the age of mass-slavery, we will see that the real criminals were in fact Africans themselves!

Africans were beaten, netted, and thrown on boats by Confederate Americans. Oh no! That is a common misconception. It was in fact OTHER Africans who  traded their brethren to the white men, in exchange for material currency and European imports. Africans condemned their brothers and sisters, and generations to come, to a life of hard labor and limited liberties. The slave trade was abolished before Europeans had any major land claims in Africa, therefore nearly every African living in the Americas today was betrayed and sold for the prosperity of the rest of their tribe. Let me reveal one of the flags of the true criminals... 

Disgusting, right? 

Oh wait... it actually isn't! This is just a pixelated computer image with a cool symbol. 

Let me explain...

. To some people, the flag of the Ethiopian Empire represents the 800,000 or so Africans traded to slavers by their own government. To others, the flag of the Ethiopian Empire represents monarchism, tradition, and Abysinnian culture. You choose! After all, it is just a piece of cloth. 

If you want to see a piece of cloth in a positive light, go ahead. If you want to see a piece of cloth in a negative light, knock yourself out. At the end of the day, it is a piece of cloth, and it is much better to ignore it (or praise it), than to get all worked up over it. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-08 16:15:45
| Speak Round
Taniya SmithTaniya Smith (CON)
If it's just a piece of cloth, then we should leave it as that, not a symbol of pride or slavery. Let it stay in a glass box in a museum and not outside in the world. There's a saying that goes, "Out with the old, in with the new."

I believe if we ever want to give the future generation a chance to abolish hatred, racism even reverse racism, we should get rid of the mistakes older generations made. Great, hang the flag somewhere in your house, but not outside to influence the newest generation to continue this hatred.

We, as in humans, need to work together to acquire equality, not against each other. A kingdom divided against one another won't ever succeed. If we really wanted to show appreciate for our heritage, I believe we would have flown both the Union's flag and the Confederacy flag. 

Unless the evidence is clearly showing validness, that we are actually proud of our dabbling in slavery and objectification of other races, that we're proud we were once a nation divided against each other, and this extends farther into history. This is the USA, not the CSA, we have to leave the past in the past.

Our race needs to stop dividing one another by race and class, and we're reminding everybody that 155 years ago, a war began over that exact reason. One race isn't better than the other, and I mean that in a way that's not Black "V.S." White, but in a way like stereotyping people's cultures.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all African Americans are niggers, not all whites are racists and so on. It's clear that society just loves to judge everyone for everything. You have to be just right, which is where humans fall short. We aren't perfect and we shouldn't remind our race of our mistakes and trip-ups.

      Also, I wasn't trying to imply that whites are black's problem. I've experience first hand that Caucasians really know how to make the wound of slavery worst, which can give them a bad name in the black community, but I know that I have to forgive and forget.

So, let's forgive and forget the Confederacy and the Union.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-08 17:52:46
| Speak Round
BlackflagBlackflag (PRO)
Thanks for the speedy response.

The opposition may of missed the point. Flags are pieces of cloth, just as badges and medals are just objects formed from heated metals. They have as much significance as one decides to attach to them. 

The Michigan Flag represents all the things I love and am passionate about regarding my home state. If I showed the flag to someone from Serbia, they might ask, "What the hell is Michigan?" This is fine. I can be proud of my flag without requiring others to develop strong feelings about it. When I hang a flag I do it because it is representative of me as a person, and the things I care about. To others, the flags I hang are just pieces of cloth, and they are not wrong. It is all in how we choose to perceive a flag. 

I have shed tears paying respect to this flag, as have many others in my homeland. 99% of the world population probably doesn't even know what the flag of Michigan looks like. Like the confederate flag though, there is a group of people who strongly dislike "Michigan," and want to bury our history by advocating that we should not fly the flag over our businesses and homes, but keep it confined to government buildings and "museums." 

Flags are a form of identity and expression. The Authority and the society in which it drives seeks to judge and oppress those who express an identity. The American nation was founded on ideals of freedom, liberty, and expression. The confederate flag does represent southern heritage, states rights, resistance, and many more things to people who are not racist!
Maybe you see the flag differently? Maybe you find it offensive? My advice to you, is if you do not want to like a flag, then simply ignore it and accept that at the end of the day, it is a piece of cloth. 

The opposition also argues that the flag is a symbol of racism, a reminder of war, and a negative influence on children. Let me clear all of these things up for her. 

Saying that the flag is a symbol of racism is naive. A civil war started in which millions fought. Millions did not fight simply for the cause of slavery. Read the declarations of independence of the individual confederate states. Before 1861, the North was richer than the South, yet Southern citizens were required to pay more in taxes than the Northern citizens, because the ruling party in the senate and house was using its influence to "punish" Democrats. The oppressive partisan regime also purposefully raised ridiculously high tariffs, because politicians believed attacking the Southern economy would fracture the Democrats, even though this put many people in poverty, and was intentionally holding back the economy.

These are the real reasons many Southerners decided to split. It wasn't about slavery. There was a cultural divide occurring, and the majority government was repeatedly stamping on the minority, which caused many Southerners to resent the Union and what it had become.  The continued institution of slavery was more of a form of resistance to the overwhelming cultural shift that was taking place in the rural South. By 1864, the Confederation abolished the Slave trade, and wrote into laws giving rights to slave. Was progress inevitable? I am under the impression that if the confederacy had survived for a while longer before its defeat, its national flag would of never been seen as a symbol of racism.

We must also come to terms with the fact that a war did happen.  The nation must accept history rather than attempting to bury it. There are a lot of things to be proud of regarding the Civil War. It was a fascinating and unique time; nostalgia for many. Americans fought and died, but they did so with passion and good intentions for the future of our nation. That is something to commend and revere, so I would appreciate it if we stopped ragging on and pitying the loss of life in the war. The Americans involved in the struggle do not want our pity. They want acknowledgement that the war brought about a new rejuvenated America in which we can all be proud of. 

This is a daring new age. Children are exposed to more things than ever before. The new generation is evolved and a lot more passionate about society and social revolution. The last thing we want to do is to promote a culture in which we keep children in the dark regarding ideological belief systems. A parent might not agree with Confederate nostalgia and southern pride, but a parent does not have the right to dictate their children's belief system for them. Society has dictated the norms for way to long. Exposure is the only way we can advance as a species. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-08 19:17:11
| Speak Round
Taniya SmithTaniya Smith (CON)
This debate has been very interesting, thank you for engaging in this with me. This has been a lovely first experience in this environment.

The Michigan flag, unlike some states such as Texas—a state that was once its own sovereign nation called The Republic of Texas—doesn't have such a deep meaning as the Confederate flag. It is a piece of cloth, but it's what that piece of cloth stands for that matters, here is one example: In 1948, a group called the Dixiecrats banned together, which consisted  of 35 Democratic delegates from Mississippi and Alabama that walked out of the 1948 Democratic National Convention. These men fought to cancel out Sen. Hubert Humphrey's proposal to end racial oppression and reverse Jim Crow laws.

Shockingly, they opposed the abolition of poll taxes, but on a more expected not, their slogan was, "Segregation Forever!" and they wanted "state's rights," note the sarcasm. They used the Confederate flag as their own, which dosed the flag with an even more bad name.

Another thing is that the flag is divisive (if you couldn't guess already!) and it's hard to see my country going neck and neck over a piece of cloth, as you put it. The cloth was also used by the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan, but to be fair, the American was also used by the organization. Though the KKK isn't as bad as it was in the Jim Crow period, it still exists today, which I find sad. They appear at most of the Pro-Confederacy rallies, about 128 rallies have commenced at the moment, and sometimes they get shunned or degraded by the fellow anti-racists, which some people see as anti-white.

Stupid, I know...

There is more important problems in the world than a flag, but I believe that if we take the small step of removing the flag, it will be a big step closer to racial equality. Seeing as California has completely banned the flag and 5 states have a law that stops discrimination against the flag, I see this as somewhat fair.

Mostly though, I believe African Americans take this to heart, some of them at least. It wouldn't be so bad if people who didn't have to deal with their ancestors experiencing racism kept on telling us to get over slavery, you can't just got over something like that, especially since it still affects many African American lives and they're discriminated against. It's all a matter of privilege.

Some people believe their life is so hard, but people will always have it harder than them, something that white supremacist seem to be blind to, but I guess when you have privilege you are blind to it. Yes, I'm not living in the best conditions but people are starving out there, they have to watch their parents fight a mental and external war every day just for their well-being, some of them don't even have parents.

You said that we shouldn't bury our history, so why are people so quick to bury the history of slavery and the reasons the civil war actually happened? I'm ashamed that my country had once been so... desperate, and I never want my children to have to go through that. We are supposed to learn from our mistakes right? So, now we should know that slavery and forcing somebody to fight a war, that includes Union and Confederacy soldiers also, is violating their basic human rights.

I'm well aware that most of the men that fought in the war were too poor to buy their own slaves, which is selfish on the slave owner's part, but owning a human is owning a human, there's no sugar coating it. Maybe the Confederate flag could fly if it didn't mean such a morbid message to such a large group of people, so many lives lost on both parts. Many confederate soldiers died, but not as many as black. One million, nearly two million, died as a whole in the Civil War, whole as in all American soldiers, but twelve million Africans were shipped to America, with a 10%-20% death rates, resulting in about 9.6 to 10.8 million Africans arriving there, the number is much larger if you include the West Indies slave trade, just imagine how many deaths there was.

It saddens me, it really does. Many African Americans don't need somebody waving a flag around, reminding them of what their ancestors went through. If you take into consideration the number of years racism went on period, it would be about 500 years. It still affects people now, such as the way racially hurting a group of people is the biggest blow to African Americans.

Plus, the Heritage Not Hate argument is invalid, but not in the way you think. They, as in pro-Confederates, always say that their opponent wasn't born in 1860 so they can't say what the Confederacy fought for, but neither were they so their argument is just as invalid. I believe Heritage and Hate fits better because it's both. If we continue to try and decipher it as one or the other, this fight will never end.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-08-09 14:36:46
| Speak Round

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So yes, the flag actually does represent state rights from a vexiological standpoint, but it shouldn't matter, because the flag represents more than is displayed through imagery.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. At first I was just pissed about Michigan being called insignifigant, and then it kind of developed.
Posted 2015-08-09 17:36:13
This issue is actually relevant right now in other places. Flying the Imperial Flag of Japan will get you lynched in Korea and China, while in certain ethnic communities the flying of the Ottoman flag will get you murdered. For gods sake, the Ottoman Empire was around for 500 years, yet it is considered a symbol of hate and racism.

Confederate flags (based on the CSA Battle Variant), contrary to popular belief, existed for about 40 years prior to the establishment of the Confederate States of America. It is a common symbol of resistance from federalists, and is flown commonly in Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria in different variances. I've also seen another variant used by federalists in Canada.
Posted 2015-08-09 17:34:53
It's like the New Zealand and Australia flag. Alone, the flags don't actually say much about the countries overall, but their image vocalizes and represents everything about those nations, even if they are not displayed distinctly.

Saying that the flag I pass by about a dozen times a day is insignifigant, and the emphasis on "it IS a piece of cloth," just proves my point that people perceive flags differently.

It is easy to say Michigan is insignifigant and not of importance to someone who doesn't live there, just as it is easy for people to generalize the confederacy to an organized hate group, so they can use it as a filler "issue" in order to advance their cause.

In fact, if I had a final round, I would of brought this up as it has been irking me a lot about our society.
I get what it is like to be judged by people who do not understand. The civil war happened 150 years ago.

Taking pride in your cultural heritage is one thing, but claiming to be offended by an icon from 150 years ago is a fake and deceptive weapon political advocacy groups are using to advance their causes. I know most African colonial governments and sovereign African nations didn't abolish slavery until the 1900's (Liberia in 1922 and Ethiopia in 1942)
Posted 2015-08-09 17:21:52
Probably the worst part about being Pro is that you cannot argue the final round.

The claim that Michigan's flag doesn't mean anything and is less signifigant than the flag of texas made me want to go off on a huge rant! Oh well, it is probably for the best that I didn't go last.
Posted 2015-08-09 17:09:19
Will judge this. Looks like a super cool debate here.
Posted 2015-08-09 16:07:48
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2015-08-12 06:08:18
ColeTrainJudge: ColeTrain
Win awarded to: Blackflag
Stag had more validity to his arguments. He explained how the flag, by itself is simply cloth, and holds no value, but the feelings and history attached to it are something to be preserved. Also, Taniya made some pretty bold and blatant claims, some of which proved to be false with a simple Google search.

Stag: Try refuting more of your opponent's arguments. Attack her correlation between the Holocaust and slavery.
Taniya: Make sure you have evidence to back your claims, false information can cost you the debate.
1 user rated this judgement as a vote bomb
2 users rated this judgement as biased
1 user rated this judgement as good
5 comments on this judgement
I rated this as biased because you appear to have based your decision on your own research/opinion. I'm getting this from the fact that you claim CON assertions are false when PRO hasn't done so. You also mentioned checking them on Google.

A judge should make every effort to ensure that they're not expressing their own opinion on a case. We can only judge what the debaters present.

Happy to change this rating if you clarify your vote.
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
I rated it as good simply because I do not agree that it is biased. I think Cole is making the claim that Taniya openly stated false facts, which in many forms of debate, it is okay for a judge to call a debater out on.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
My ideal rating would be "Needs Improvement"
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
I agree with biased. Google is not the ultimate arbiter of the truth value of resolutions - a fair judge should consider all points of view neutrally regardless of their personal opinion, or the opinion of another person / organization. It is the debaters themselves who must convince.
Posted 2015-08-13 00:42:03
The question is whether google refuted opinion or fact.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
2015-08-12 16:41:37
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Blackflag
This was a great debate. I read it several times and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. It helped that both sides gave the impression of being passionate about their side while still giving their opponent's due respect. Hats off to both debaters.

In my view PRO wins this debate for the following reasons:
His case was essentially that the flag represented far more than a pro-slavery stance. I felt that he proved this by citing his views on the meaning behind the Civil War. These views were never negated or even seriously contended by CON which means that they stand.
Given that I am left convinced that the Civil war represented a great injustice in the minds of the South, it is a strong case that they should be allowed the right to remember that heritage by flying their flag.
CON's strongest argument against this was that the flag ALSO represented a great injustice in the minds of African-Americans. This point was made strongly, however CON needed to address some of the points that PRO brought up. The fact that the confederate flag was such a poke in the eye, and yet the Ethiopian one is not made her point look confused and ill-thought out.
CON also needed to explain to me why I should favour the feelings of one people group over the feelings of another. From the evidence given here, it seems that BOTH parties were seriously aggrieved.

CON also attacked the relevance of the flag today. This was also a divided argument. At one point CON was arguing that the flag held so MUCH meaning and was flown everywhere in the South, even to the point of NOT flying the current American flag; and then she argued that it was antiquated and irrelevant. These points may have been able to be resolved, but compared to PRO argument, it just came off weaker.

In the end PRO's argument in the defence of the status quo was more consistent than CON's argument for change and his points held more substance. CON made me sympathise with the position that African Americans find themselves in today, but to convince me that that position required civil liberties to be removed from ANOTHER group, she needed to do more to convince me that the flag represented only the racist hurtful viewpoint held by the slavers.

PRO: Great debate. Nice tone, good points and most importantly, you completed every round!
I would have liked to see you attack some of CON's assertions more. There were several points stated that looked open to attack and you let them slide.
Ultimately her attack was that slavery was SO hurtful, that the only just solution was to deprive Southerners of their right to fly their flag. I think you could have done more to support the idea that the confederate flag is flown in conjunction with the Union flag, showing that modern day Southerners are proud of their country but never want to forget their past.
You could have shown pictures of the actual KKK flags, and even show the way they tend to deface the confederate flag when they fly it in order to separate those bigots from the Southerners who fly for pride in their heritage.

For me, your strongest point was your interpretation of why the Civil war started, and the fact that the Confederacy played by the book and then effectively got forced back into the Union. This was a great argument and clearly put. It was never contested, in fact CON supported it a little in Round two, but for such a great argument, you could have hammered me over the head with it a bit more. Make the South look like more of a victim.

CON: First up, this debate was really confusing for me because it was very apparent that you were both arguing against different flags. PRO opened with a picture of the Flag of the Confederacy, so I logically thought this is what you were debating. Then you finished with the picture of the Confederate Battle Flag - a completely different flag.
It made me question your case even more. It's one thing to say the Southerners can't fly one flag, but are you saying that they can't fly ANY flags to recognise their roots?
You needed to be more clear about this. If your opponent sets a definition you're not happy about, call him on it straight away.

Your over all message needed more consistency. It was really hard for me to over look the obvious biases in your arguments. The South can't fly a flag from their heritage because they are American. Does that mean that all those Americans that fly Irish or Mexican or Italian flags can't fly the flags from their heritage either?
I can't argue PRO's case for him so I didn't give him credit for these apparent gaps in your argument, but my advice would be to watch for these kinds of things in the future.

Congratulations on this debate, it was a great first hit out.
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2 comments on this judgement
Thanks, NZlockie!

I took this debate, because it happened to be a very important topic for me personally.

The control of flags is becoming more tight and oppressive. I see liberals trying to ban many flags. For example, several variants of the prinsenviag are considered "racist," such as the one flown by Dutch fascists, the South African Prinsenviag, and the Prinsenviag flown under the Dutch Napoleonic Sister Republic.

In fact, I almost posted the Imperial German flag instead of the Ethiopian one. I kid you not, a large movement is out to eliminate the Imperial German flag, because it replaced the flag of the Weimar Republic when the Nazi's took power, despite the flag dating back to 1880.

There is even talk of banning the flying of flags that represent a specific political ideology, such as fascism or communism, because apparently they offend people and negatively influence youth...
Your analysis of con's arguments were really in depth, so I give you kudos for that.

Admittedly, when I posted the Confederate national flag, I was aware that was not the flag Taniya intended to debate, but I was exploiting a gap in the lack of framework.

When I think about it, this was probably not the smartest idea, but my arguments are pretty universal to both flags IMO.

Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
Another relevant example is the flag of the second Filipino revolution. It is flown by some Filipino's living in the United States.

People first protested that these flags were offensive. When it was explained to them that the flags actually represent Filipino nationalist dating back to the Filipino-American war, they proceed to make the argument that it is unpatriotic to fly the flag due to the war! What?! Really?!

It is funny how arguments cross over like that.

Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
2015-08-16 01:56:29
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Taniya Smith
Brief summary of the debate as I saw it:
> Pro's first speech told me that the flag had heritage, which is good for the nation as a source of pride and constructive dialogue.
> Con's first speech told me that this heritage was negative because it advocated slavery, which was horrible
> I was confused by pro's next speech. After some thought, I think pro was trying to advocate two separate arguments, though the structure here didn't make things especially easy to follow. First, pro argued that differences of opinion regarding a "piece of cloth" don't invalidate that cloth's utility. Second, pro argued that africans were themselves to blame for slavery. Either way, each of these arguments is inherently problematic, probably because they weren't fleshed out a lot. The first argument can be said about literally anything, while the second is a strawman of con's argument.
> Con's second speech seemed to be designed to distinguish pride in a flag, versus appreciating heritage. I can understand the reasoning that led to this, but I felt this was a strategic mistake, as the point had already been adequately dealt with. Con did do well to catch pro on the strawman.
> Given con's attention to the strawman, it comes as no surprise that pro pushed his other rebuttal hard in this round, arguing that differences of opinion regarding a flag still don't invalidate its utility - some people may love it, others may ignore it. Finally, pro generated a last-round minor point about moving forward as a society by embracing history rather than ignoring it.
> In con's final round, they examined the harms in more depth of a divisive flag, and spun around pro's little last-round thing into a sort of "I don't want our children to embrace parts of history that really sucked for many people". Unfortunately most of this material, while great, came FAR too late in the debate for it to have any weight. This is basic round 1 stuff.

I think therefore, at the end of the debate, a few things are relatively apparent: first, that many people like the flag, and that many people don't. Ultimately, pro's job (as the bearer of the burden of proof), in such a debate, was to convince me that the harms of this were outweighed by the positives of respecting that flag. To that end I saw this as a judgment resolution.

Ultimately, I agreed that racism is seriously harmful. Pro's key counter-point was that the flag isn't really a symbol of racism any more than another flag, but pro's argument all along had been that perceptions of a symbol of racism are harmful, regardless of how accurate those perceptions might be. However, con failed to answer pro's second key counter-point, that flags can be safely ignored, particularly directly - con did have good analysis on this, but it came in the final round of all places. Therefore while I agreed that the flag was a symbol of racism, I couldn't weigh the impacts too strongly here.

I also agreed that limiting freedom of expression and heritage was harmful. Con's key counter-point mirrored pro's - there were more appropriate ways of demonstrating the same thing (ie flying together with the union flag). To a significant degree, I think pro undermined their own argument the worst though, as they argued that our choice on how to perceive a flag tells us its utility to us. That argument undermined the strength of the flag as a symbol. I liked the Michigan analogy (ie, in Michigan it is cared about a lot, outside of it not so much) but that works two ways. If a flag is a strong symbol then it cannot be safely ignored by either group, while on the other hand if the flag is a weak symbol then there's no problem with con's case.

So where does that leave us?

I decided this debate on the basis of burden of proof. I was not convinced by con that the flag was particularly more negative than positive, but neither was I convinced by pro of its opposite. Therefore I award this win to con.

Both of you were pretty similar, so I have similar kinds of things to say:

I say this is almost every debate feedback and very rarely do people actually listen to me. Both sides had great narrative in their respective final rounds. I wish I could have put more weight into the tears shed by pro for Michigan, or the struggles of black people con enlightened me on. Unfortunately this narrative all came way too late in the debate. Contrast that with your first rounds. First rounds were all formal and removed and kinda stoic sounding. Passion and emotion goes a long way in charged topics like this. Both sides clearly had it, but it needed to come out clearly.

Give your arguments names. This will help me, as a judge, identify different points and how you're using them. For both sides, I had to read between the lines a lot to understand what was being argued when, and when you'd moved on to a new point. Within points, notwithstanding narrative material, if you do have a number of points and/or subpoints, please number them. This both helps me keep track, and also makes it simple to identify which points you consider to be the most important to the debate. Don't be afraid to say "this debate is about..." and tell me.

When you do it, make it as simple as possible for me to understand what specific claim of your opponent you are rebutting. I should not have to go back to check myself. This doesn't mean you have to quote your opponent, but it does mean I should be able to follow everything clearly. In particular for this debate, it was especially unclear which material was substantive, and which was rebuttal. I get that integrating rebuttal is awesome, but it should be signposted for me.

As for the actual substance of the points on both sides, there was little disappointment. There was some nice analysis. But it was in all the wrong places. Like I've said too many times, round 3 in this debate should have been round 1 or 2. That clash needs to happen early, and then that can lead on to more decent counter-arguments. The first round of this debate left much to be desired, and the second round was ok-ish.
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10 comments on this judgement
You decided the debate based on burden of proof?

So you gave an automatic win to con, instead of individually weighing both arguments to scale which was roughly more convincing?

It doesn't matter if you are convinced. What matters is who was more convincing.

Deciding this debate on Burden of Proof has me absolutely outraged, and I know you wouldn't of done this without ulterior motives.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
This vote is insulting and reflects negatively on your character. BOP?! Seriously?!

Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
Hi Stag,

If you read my judgment, you'll note that I didn't give an automatic win to either side. Both sides didn't define a clear structure to their case, so I interpreted the key points as I outlined them in paragraphs 2-4.

I thank you for your opinion on how best to judge a debate. Your job as an affirmative side is to convince me of the resolution at hand. Both sides in this debate, were roughly equally convincing, as my previous paragraphs demonstrated. However, con doesn't have the job to convince me, that's pro's job. This doesn't equate to an automatic con win. Con has to work for that, and as I pointed out in my feedback, I felt like both sides were making much the same mistakes anyway. Don't get me wrong - this was a close debate.

As for my character, yes I am serious, and ad hom attacks aren't strong arguments. I wish you'd refrain from them.
Posted 2015-08-16 16:51:40
"I decided this debate on the basis of burden of proof. I was not convinced by con that the flag was particularly more negative than positive, but neither was I convinced by pro of its opposite. Therefore I award this win to con."

This statement implies that you didn't weigh individual arguments, but instead set a high goalpost that the affirmative had to reach, or the negative would get an automatic win.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
@Stag - the statement needs to be read in the context in which it was written. It was surrounded by analysis on argument. Needing to be even very slightly more convincing than the negative is not a high goalpost and nowhere does my statement imply anything more.
Posted 2015-08-17 05:26:15
You shouldn't set goalposts at all. View the negative as having an equal responsibility to prove the confederate flag is racist and inflamatory.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
If there was an equal responsibility, the debate would be a tie... and there are no ties in debating.
Posted 2015-08-17 11:24:01
@stag, it's not cool to rate what is clearly a constructive judgement as biased just because you disagree with it or want to prove a point.
Admin has painstakingly explained his process here. There is nothing in his explanation to indicate he is unfairly biased towards one debates. There's nothing wrong with using the extra BOP the affirmative side has, to decide a deadlock.
Reading his description it was clear to me that you argued your case significantly better than CON you would have been awarded the win. In his mind you didn't and his is the mind you're trying to convince.
Suck it up and take it.
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
@Admin knows better than to judge by burden of proof. The extra weight admin assigned to me indicates a bias.

Arguments should be weighed, and a win assigned based on which ever debater argued more convincingly than the other. There is not a hypothetical goalpoast that one side must reach before he is allowed to win. No exceptions.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
Yes there is @Stag . Burdens are one of the first things I learned about as a a debate judge.
Posted 2015-08-21 11:19:54
2015-08-23 07:12:38
Diarrhea YogurtJudge: Diarrhea Yogurt
Win awarded to: Blackflag

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