Help with political debate on Environmental Protection?
As a project, everyone in my class was assigned a political issue and either the Democratic or Republican view to debate against another classmate. I have 1 minute or so to express the Democratic view on Environmental Protection, and then I need to have a rebuttal after my opponent expresses the Republican view. I am so clueless as to what I'm going to say, how I'm going to say it, or how I'd respond. Public speaking isn't my thing. (Especially not timed.) My main problem is that we are going to be graded on having statistics/facts/data to back up what we're saying, but I have no idea where to even find any! And I have no idea how I would fit the facts into my argument. The rebuttal is scaring me too. I'm supposed to prepare for what the opposing side might say so I'll know how to respond to it, but I don't know what to do for that either. Please please pleaseeee help me. The debate is in 3 days.
I have ONE minute.. Just looking for some summarization or a good focus point, because I get lost and confused looking at the huge pages of information that come up on the sites that I've found so far.
Asked By: Amy - 10/27/2012
My guess is you're a political troll of some kind, and you're expecting pro-environment Democrats on YA to give you free ammunition.
But maybe not. If you are who you claim to be, you're in trouble if you have only 3 days to prepare. Good luck.
I recommend going to the Democratic Party web site and checking their environmental platform, if they have one this year. Also see what the League of Conservation Voters says on this subject.
I'm a very leftwing environmentalist, a former environmental journalist, and my sense of the Democrats is that they're ducking environmental issues this year -- not because they hate nature, but because US unemployment is high, and in our capitalist economy, environmental protection always takes the back seat to job creation in the minds of voters, when the economy is bad.
The economy is often bad under capitalism, unfortunately. That's one reason capitalism - under either Democratic or GOP rule; it doesn't matter -- will eventually trigger catastrophic eco damage on a global scale, unless we adopt some other economic system to replace it
The Democrats won't tell you this, however. They're just as committed to keeping capitalism alive as the Republicans are. They just do it differently.
For about 80 years Democrats have been generally more willing than the GOP to use government regulation of the market to cure capitalism's most obvious environmental flaws, as well as its worst social ills.
Interestingly, it was a "Progressive" Republican president -- Teddy Roosevelt, in around 1905 -- who first gave a big boost to environmental conservation in the US, and who also pioneered in government controls over certain crucial business activites -- the safety of food and drug producers, for example.
It was another controversial Republican, Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, who took the lead in creating the US Environmental Protection Agency and pushing through some other environmental reforms -- partly for political reasons, partly because one of Nixon's top aides, John Ehrlichman, was an environmentalist.
Despite the pioneering work of Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon, however, today's GOP is increasingly committed to the idea that a totally unregulated "free market," a system of capitalist enterprise with almost no government regulation of pollution, will automatically produce the perfect society for everyone, through the actions of what Adam Smith called the "invisible hand" of perfect competition.
Democrats in general are too smart and too familiar with actual economic history to believe in the "invisible hand of the market," which hasn't worked as Adam Smith thought it would for about 100 years now.
In fact, it was the breakdown of the "invisible hand" on a catastrophic scale in the early 1930s, during the Great Depression, that gave birth to the modern Democratic Party. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched a "New Deal" to save capitalism from its most obvious market failures at the time -- mostly in the areas of securities and banking regulation, unemployment, labor law and old-age pensions.
The modern Democratic Party has somewhat applied FDR's New Deal philosophy of government regulation to environmental issues, and this liberal regulatory approach has KIND OF worked. At least it's worked far better than what rightwing Republicans want, which is eco-destruction with no pesky government rules getting in the way of corporate profit-seeking, since the GOP imagine a perfect market that doesn't actually exist..
But the liberal Democrat approach to regulation won't keep capitalism from triggering global disaster, party because economic slumps keep getting in the way. That's why NEITHER the Democrats nor the GOP have real answers to our society's most basic environmental ills.
Don't know if this helps in your debate -- or your trolling, as the case may be. In any case, please do pay some heed to the natural environment that keeps human civilization afloat. It's important.
Answered By: Andy F - 10/27/2012