The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Can college students run a country?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/2/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 729 times Debate No: 45104
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Can a group of college students form a cabinet equipped well enough to run a country? I think so.


First, I would like to point out that, because my opponent is taking the Pro position, the burden of proof is on him. My intention will be not necessarily to prove that college students -- and the term right now is ambiguous, might I add, but more on the later -- could not possibly run a country, but to cast doubt on the notion that they could.

Let's define our terms, shall we? A college student, of course, is "a student enrolled in a college or university" [1]. We need more information, of course, to gauge their leadership abilities, especially because Pro has not, in his opening remarks, specified any particular college students. He has not told us whether they are honors student, 16-year-old geniuses, athletes who cannot even tie their own shoes or dress themselves in the morning, womanizers, or frat boys who are too drunk to even know what day of the week it is. This information is important. Because my opponent's use of the word is very vague, we must assume that he is asserting that ANY group of college students could run a country, or that we could choose a random sample representative of the whole that could. We cannot prove this notion, however.

Let's go on in order to explore this question further. How old are these students? Well, the traditional college student, who enrolled after his or her high school graduation, will be around 18-22 -- I'm a 19-year-old sophomore, for instance. This, of course, presents a problem for us. Research from the National Institutes for Health demonstrates that the human brain does not fully develop until age 25 [2]. Teenage brains have extra synapses in them, which disappear with age and serve hardly any purpose in the interim. However, they are located in areas such that they often deter rational thinking, decision making, and risk assessment, and hinder proper judgment. The question, then goes back to my opponent: how can someone run a country--in the process, operating a military, accessing nuclear codes, negotiating with foreign powers, run the economy, etc.--when many have not learned (or have just learned, in my case) how to do their own laundry, or cook, or clean? How can someone run a country if they are unable to access risk, and may be inclined toward foolish activities -- drinking until they're blackout drunk, et al. How can someone without meaningful life experience -- who will likely be on his or her parent's insurance plan until they're 26 thanks to the Affordable Care Act -- who has never done his or her finances, who has likely only voted in one major political election in their life, and is likely not nearly as aware of world affairs as they ought to be, possibly run a country?
Recall that you didn't specify what type of college student you think would be capable of running a country, and specifying a certain group at this point would be conceding your overall contention.

My opponent may attempt to counter this argument by pointing out that many college students today are "nontraditional" -- that is, some universities boast rather large percentages of their student bodies who are over 25 years of age. Even though these nontraditional students are growing in number, they are still a minority on college campuses, admits Devon Haynie of US News [3]. Moreover, even these students tend to be more indecisive as to what to study or what career path they would like to pursue, says a November 2013 Public Agenda report [4]. Do you truly think that someone who doesn't know whether they want to study Molecular Biology (and God help them if they do) or Animal Science would be able to decide whether to launch a "limited strike" to deter the Assad regime in Syria from using weapons on their own people? Would they be incisive enough to seek a peace deal, when they did not live through the 1980s Iranian hostage crisis and likely are not aware of the ramifications of U.S. interventionism abroad?

My point, therefore, is that there is not reason to believe unequivocally that college students could run a country.

Debate Round No. 1


Your response was well thought out and presented. My motives for posting this debate weren't to actually intelligently debate somebody on a question like that, but I guess I am now forced to somehow defend a broad statement with no specifics. The younger generation of this country would have been a better choice of words than college students for that post. My view is that the people and other entities currently running this country have run our systems too far down into corruption to come back. We need drastic changes. It seems that even if you have good intentions when you go into political office, chances are you will one day become corrupted just like the rest of them. This country is brainwashed by the media and other agenda pushers. They believe everything that they read or see on TV, and do absolutely no research to find the facts about the same issues they love to argue about. It is senseless. Something happens to people once they get into office, that needs to change. The only way that will change is if the younger generation is made more aware of what is going on around them. Once they are made aware of everything that is going on and how it affects them, they will be ready to make some real changes. In our current system, experience seems to only bring corruption. If experience comes with age, then we have to make changes with the latter variable: age. Everything is made to seem complicated for a reason. Doing what's right is never as hard as doing what is wrong. You don't have to hide your tracks when you are doing what is right. More people died off of prescription pill overdoses in this country than people died from terrorism worldwide a few years ago. I am 100% confident that the younger generation of this country can do a better job of running it. Like I said, this post was meant for other reasons, I am new to


Let me begin by saying that we are in complete agree that the system currently is flawed. We discussed in the comment section on another debate earlier today that money is far too pervasive in politics, and as a result, politicians are gravitating toward policies that benefit their bottom lines -- and in political terms, I obviously mean their campaign funds. For instance, when the Koch Brothers fund organizations to deny climate change, and thus preserve the immense preference that Big Oil has, we know something is wrong. After all, scientists are overwhelmingly in agreement that this is a huge problem. Moreover, the media is hardly addressing it at all. Did you see the "debate" between Michelle Bachmann and Bernie Sanders on Wolf Blitzer's show? I'm not one for attacks on the person rather than ideas, but Bachmann sounded like a broken record, while Sanders cited fact, after fact, after fact. Then Blitzer ended with "both of you made good points." Has there ever been a worse false equivalency? If anything Bachmann had said was accurate--and, of course, she completed distorted the examples of Australia and Norway of which she spoke--I would have given her credit, but it was the same, tired trickle-down nonsense that has led us to whee we are today.

It's these factors--general apathy, declining American Dream prospects (which Joe Stiglitz said is basically a myth right now), money in politics, insufficient media dedicated to corporate interests, et al--that are acting as self-reinforcing effects and preventing any type of real change. It was Robert Reich, I believe, who said that "Your cynicism is understandable. But cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you succumb to it, the regressives who want to take this nation back to the 19th century win it all" (I'll link to the piece below, as it really is a fine article). He's completely correct, though, and the goal--especially for young people, who have not grown accustomed to this system--should be to organize, mobilize, and work toward some substantive end. The first step toward that end, of course, is education.

I do think that it may be jumping the gun a bit to say that college students themselves could run the country better than adults -- after all, haven't they grown up into a system, or a framework, predicated on the accumulation of wealth at all costs ("self-interest," according to my libertarian friends), that their parents and grandparents left behind? However, I have no doubt at all that, equipped with the proper tools, anyone can in fact make a significant impact. If that's motivated college students, who are stunned by the massive debt burden they know hold, then let them be the ones to organize--I'll stand with them any day. Will they be able to run a cabinet? I'd say no. But could they inform the public so that politicians can no longer pull the wool over voters eyes -- or, if they intend to, they'll need to work a whole lot harder? Absolutely. That's what I see as the end goal. Indeed, a lot of work must be done.

The article I mentioned earlier:
Debate Round No. 2


I wonder what the Koch brother's faces looked like when they found out Citizen's United was getting through. I have been busy lately with my own projects so I have missed any recent shows or debates on TV. I watched Obama's State of the Union, but that's about it. It is comical and scary that a woman like Michelle Bachmann can get into office. I find Paul Broun being on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee even scarier. Someone who believes our planet is only a few thousand years old should not be making any decisions having to do with science.

Education is the answer to the world's problems. I was angry when Elizabeth Warren's idea of tying the student loan interest rate to the rate that banks get from the government was shot down and replaced with nonsense. They touted it as a great compromise. It's funny when politicians tout something as good when it actually has a bad effect on the ones it is supposed to help. This happens way too often. Our government is the laughing stock of the world right now and it is pathetic. Something needs to be done or at least set in motion.


In Bachmann's case, not only is it scary that she's been a member of Congress for so long, but she was actually able to run for President, and for quite some time secured frontrunner status. There were actually people who wanted her to run the country--probably the same people who voted for Palin. Oh, Palin's a whole other subject! Let's not go there. We'll be here all day, and I'm pretty sure Russia (which she can see from her house) calls.

I actually have some problems with Elizabeth Warren, to be perfectly honest--the student loan bill was excellent, but her votes for John Brennan and the Ryan-Murray budget, against GMO labeling, etc, have caused me to think that she's far too go-along-to-get-along. My pick for 2016 would probably be Sanders or Kucinich, but then again, that would require that the two of them receive adequate coverage in the media.

But, anyway, at this point I would like to ask the voters to declare this a draw. We had a fascinating discussion (that I'd certainly like to continue), and I don't think either of us disagree necessarily with the notion that college students are capable of running the country--but it's just a matter of pragmatism, and what steps ought to be taken in order to reach the point where they are informed and capable enough to do so. Right now, it's questionable, but perhaps 5 to 10 years down the road, the political landscape will be much different.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Sean_Norbury 3 years ago
Not important, a group of intelligent people aged 35 and under.
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Did they just graduate college?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by PiercedPanda 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had much more reliable sources, since he is the only one with sources. He effectively explained why college students would be unable to run a country, and pro could not counter them very well.