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DDODCL Season 1 Debate: Team Sine Nomine VS Team Thrawn

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2016 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 846 times Debate No: 89935
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (1)




Resolved: "Society ought to publicly fund art".

This debate is the first debate in the DDODCL tournament, hosted by Airmax. The official thread for season one can be found here:

I, TUF, will be the representative for Team Sine Nomine in Negation of the resolution, and Bsh1 will be representing Team Thrawn in Affirmative of the resolution.

Bsh1 suggested this topic in our PM, and would have other wise have been the instigator, however with the rules the way they are, the away team should be the instigators. So due to this, we will be sticking to the 3 round debate rule, however this debate will be four rounds and bsh1 will pass the last round.


R1. Con starts debate, Pro starts arguments
R2. Con Refutes arguments and makes his own arguments (optional), Pro refutes
R3. Rebuttals
R4. Pro Makes concluding rebuttals, no new arguments. Con Passes.

I wish Team Thrawn good luck, and this debate should be fun!


Thanks to our opponents for this debate and to Airmax and DK for facilitating the DCL.


The resolution does not require us to argue that public funding should be the only method of funding for art. If 3 art projects are publicly funded by society, it is true to say that society publicly funds art. Similarly, if 3 art projects should be publicly funded by society, it is true to say that society ought to publicly fund art.

In this way, the resolution sets up an interesting dynamic. Con is limited to the options of market funding and charity. Pro is not; if you are persuaded that public funding should be the only funding mechanism for art, or if you are persuaded that a mixture of public funding, charity, and market funding is best, your vote should go Pro. Consider, in the U.S., various levels of government spent $1.23 billion on the arts in FY2014. This is the funding Con wants to deprive the art sector of. [13]

For Con to win this debate, they must defend that having fewer options for supporting art is better than having more options. If art is important--I'm sure we can agree it is--then having more tools in the toolbox to support art makes sense, and therefore you should presume Pro. Unless Con can show you that public funding will never have any upside, and that their options are better, than Con cannot show why we should endorse fewer tools in the toolbox.

Also, "society" as a broad term for a collective of people could refer to any level of government, and is not specific to the federal level.


C1. Art, Free Speech, and Democracy

SPA. The More Speech, The Better

"[T]he marketplace of ideas theory holds that unencumbered free speech is a public good because it enables members of society to evaluate and compare their ideas, beliefs and assumptions. In doing so, they are able to exchange incorrect or unsound notions for better ones...Justice Holmes encapsulated the concept thusly: '...the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas...that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.'" [1] In other words, false or oppressive narratives thrive by shutting out counter-narratives that might challenge and undermine the status quo. Enabling those counter-narratives to be promulgated and heard thus creates a foundation for effective dissent and eventually toppling of the false/oppressive narratives. Healthy democracies need this kind of vigorous debate.

SPB. Public Funding = More Speech

Art is, very clearly, a form of speech, in that it communicates ideas and expresses emotion. Public funding thus increases speech--and the opportunities for various narratives to be heard--by promoting art. For example, the USFG's NEA initiative has been highly successful in this regard: "The Endowment"s simple affirmation of America"s commitment to excellence in culture has helped create works such as A Chorus Line and Driving Miss Daisy, as well as the Vietnam War Memorial. With the Endowment's support, professional orchestras in the United States have increased from 60 to 210, professional dance companies from 37 to 250, and non-profit theaters from 56 to 400." [2]

SPC. Publicly funding democratizes art

The market forces that typically fund art will only fund certain kinds of popular art, because only those kinds of projects will turn a profit. Art that is outside the mainstream will struggle to fund market-based funding. Even art charity skews toward an elitist approach to art: "Different types of donors favour different things...'Taxpayers with incomes over $1m tend to favour higher education, health, and the arts.'" [3] This plutocratic bias in giving means that elite-approved art is more likely than not to be favored by charitable giving. Because governments lack a profit motive, and generally take steps to ensure neutrality in their giving, [2] they are better suited to supporting art projects that are outside the mainstream. Even if governments aren't better, their funding can supplement funding from these other two areas to open up as many opportunities for artists as possible.

Furthermore, geographical isolation can make it hard for people to become involved with art. [9] The government actively combats this problem: "The NEA supports projects in all states, including isolated rural areas and inner cities; projects are spread across racial, geographic and socioeconomic lines." [10] Thus, government funding helps to democratize art, opening up civil discourse to counter-narratives, which is vital in challenging dominant narratives in the marketplace of ideas.

C2. Art and Jobs

SPA. Art is an enormous industry

"The arts support more than 245,000 jobs throughout the six states of New England, which is 3.5 percent of the region's total job base." [4] This massive industry contributes significantly to our export economy: "America's creative industries are our nation's leading export with over $60 billion annually in overseas sales, including the output of publishing, audiovisual, music and recording, and entertainment businesses." [4] And, it also contributes to our internal economy, through tourism: "As America's favorite tourist attractions, museums ranked a tourism industry study...[C]ultural events ranked fourth, ahead of beaches and parks, sports, gambling, nightlife, and amusement parks. 92.7 million Americans traveling in the United States in 2000 included cultural activities in their trip...Thirty million U.S. travelers lengthened their trips because of cultural events and activities. Cultural tourists spend more money...than the average U.S. traveler...The arts industry in California provides state and local government with $77 million in revenue through cultural tourism alone...Cultural tourism in California translates into 4,200 jobs and $158 million in income to the state"s economy." [4]

SPB. Government investment in the arts yields significant economic returns

A "study, carried out by the Center for Economics and Business Research, found that arts and culture make up 0.4 percent of Britain's GDP, a strong return on less than 0.1 percent of government spending. The cultural sector was also seen to have increased its contribution to the U.K.'s GDP since 2008, even as the wider economy contracted over this period. The report's findings also highlighted the important role of the arts sector in supporting the commercial creative industries, which make up 10 percent of Britain's GDP. Drawing on academic research, the report concluded that 'proximity to arts and culture can translate to higher wages and productivity' through innovation and diffusion of ideas." [5] This means that, "[f]or every pound invested in arts and culture, an additional "1.06 is generated in the economy." [6] Similarly, "According to the government's own calculations, every dollar given to the arts comes back immediately as $1.36 in general revenue, and that figure is actually much higher when you take into account spinoff industries that rely on the arts (tourism, IT, film etc.)--studies show it's anywhere from $6-$12 and sometimes higher...All other employment/industrial sectors in [British Columbia] receive public economic investment in one form or another--whether as grants, tax advantages, the building of roads for forestry, etc. Why single out the arts and culture sector--a particularly productive and efficient sector contributing over $5.2 billion to the provincial tax base every year--for exclusion from public investment?" [7, 8]

We can distill all the information into several points. Societies should invest in art because it makes their communities more vibrant and attractive (both for tourism, residence, and business). Just look at places like Seattle or Austin, which have used their art scenes to make them more marketable. Societies get a direct and sizable return on their investment when they fund art; it is like a government subsidy of any other industry. Funding art promotes innovation and keeps people employed. And, government collects revenue from art.

C3. Art and Culture

One of the chief ways in which a society or a generation shapes, expresses, and preserves its cultural identity and its heritage is through the mechanism of art. To be without access to art is to be denied an important cultural experience. Culture, in turn, has been recognized a human right unto itself. "In Charles Taylor's view, such a right is supposed to protect the necessary conditions for identity formation, the integrity or survival of the nation since 'each of us depends on our national membership to enable us to develop a sense of identity.'" Also, "in a recent UNESCO report, the right to culture is presented as a right to a way of life, and cultural freedom as a collective freedom, referring to the right of a group or people to follow a way of its choice." [11] Perhaps the importance of art in this regard is why people view art as essential to community quality of life. [12]

If we agree that art is integral to culture, that denying people access to art severely handicaps their ability to exercise a right to culture, and that government funding helps to correct this handicap, then we ought to affirm.


1 - Robert G. Larson, "Forgetting the First Amendment: How Obscurity-Based Privacy and a Right to be Forgotten are Incompatible with Free Speech," Communication Law and Policy, 18 (1), 2013
2 - Rodney Smolla, "Free Speech in An Open Society," 1992
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Thus, we affirm. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 1



First off, in my round one structure under R4, it's supposed to be Pro passing, not Con. It wouldn't make sense for Pro to argue twice in a row with nothing to respond to. My apologies on the error.

To start this off, I need to lay out a couple of very important definitions. While this debate shouldn't have to devolve to semantic arguments, there are a couple things my opponent said in his round one "Context" area that are concerning for myself and the rest of Sine Nomine.

Ought: Moral Obligation : Duty

"used to express obligation , advisability , natural expectation , or logical consequence (1)

This word is extremely important to the debate, as it establishes a basic premise of where Con's burdens lie. The word ought generally in the debate world implies a Moral Obligation to do something. However to say this would imply negative moral implications to society NOT funding art, which isn't really Con's goal in the debate. Using ought outside of it's moral realm in this case would be much more relevant to consequences from society funding or not funding art, as opposed to being based on ethical principles. Much the same way it isn't immoral for someone to not show up to work, a person still has an obligation to go. Con's burden is to demonstrate that the Government does not have a moral burden, or a burden based on consequentialism to fund art as per the debate resolution.


People in general thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values

The people of a particular country, area, time, etc., thought of especially as an organized community

This one is specifically important because my opponent seems to classify society as a government entity, which took our team off guard a little bit. In fact none of the definitions in Merriam Webster really seem to apply to a government entity, unless you were to really be literal and over the top with the meanings. By society, Con take this to mean that public citizens should not be funding art, and that the government spending money is the better alternative. After a very brief discussion with my opponent in the PM's, it sounds like he is taking "publicly fund" to mean literal "public funding" which then implies a government entity.

This understanding of Public Funding is flawed, nor is it a "tautological fact" that the resolution means what my opponent thinks it means. Ultimately it's up to the judge in question to decide for themselves whether they buy Bsh1's separation of "society" and "public funding". Why wasn't the resolution phrased "Art should receive public funding"?

In the Context area of this debate, Pro seems to be attempting to shifts Con's burden into a very narrow and unrealistic field, that obviously serves to give us little room to argue. For example, Pro says: Unless Con can show you that public funding will never have any upside, and that their options are better, than Con cannot show why we should endorse fewer tools in the toolbox.

What an extreme way to limit your opponent and the arguments they can make. This is not only a BOP shift, but completely takes balancing and weighing a resolution out of bounds. In most normative debate resolutions, you wouldn't expect your opponent to admit that there wasn't benefits to the argument they are proposing against, you are suggesting alternatives that provide more benefits, or you are weighing the benefits against the negatives.

With all due respect to Team Thrawn, we will not be playing into binding mechanics that don't make sense in their roots. Let the judges come up with their own code to vote on the debate.

With that said, I will do my best to refute all of Pro's arguments, and hopefully binding semantics won't be an interfering issue.


Art, Free Speech, and Democracy

More Speech

This argument is impact-less. More speech is a positive, Team Sine Nomine doesn't intend to negate this. But this argument is weightless. Again, we don't have to prove that their aren't benefits to funding Art, just that these benefits don't justify a society putting money into them. While it is not our burden to prove that the government shouldn't be paying for these artworks, "public funding" could also be limited to the more important works like the war veteran Memorial, as opposed to the movie and the play my opponent also mentioned. This serves society, as well as serves the government economically by not having to put funds into the more un-important projects that my opponent mentions.

Democratizing art

Pro lacks real life substantive examples to prove that funding is more likely to be biased towards "Elite-approved art". Nor does he give a proper example of what this type of art is. The Con world doesn't see this as an over-whelming negative in the first place, as we don't have an alternative provided by Pro to see what this huge down fall would be by moving funding to the private sector. The assumption that better funded art will trump quality art from lesser known artists is to assume that the art community is flawed in and of itself. In that case, the question of whether art deserves funding at all is relevant, under a moral obligation to an unjust system that doesn't favor quality work from lesser known artists.

Art and Jobs

Because my opponent and I are basically on agreeing terms that a government should be funding art (not a society) we have nothing to directly contend here. We agree with the economic benefits the government yields, it is these benefits that suggest to a Con world that the Government ought to have a role in funding as opposed to allowing the private sector to struggle with these.

Art and Culture

We essentially, again agree with this point as well, though it doesn't seem like like cultural expression is directly impacted by the government, as if the private sector couldn't accomplish the same thing. Irregardless, a culture identity isn't stringent upon government funding of art. This argument is irrelevant anyways, as a complete shutdown art would need to be shown to be the consequence of a government entity not supporting art, from Pro's perspective.


After having discussed the resolution with other members, I don't think that our understanding of the resolution was flawed. The problem came due to a lack of proper communication prior to the debate about the resolution, and possibly also poor word choice. At any rate, we aren't going to change our position on the topic after already accepting debate with a pre-existing understanding of the resolutions meaning. If con isn't willing to support the notion of Society funding art as opposed to the government. this debate will unfortunately go nowhere. Pro hasn't made any arguments that directly contend with our ideas of the resolution, only arguments that more or less support our ideas.



Thanks, Con.

Given that we have only 1 speech left, Con shouldn't be allowed to address dropped points or make new arguments. If Con did this, it'd give us precious little space to respond and it gives Con more rounds to defend his points than we'd have to rebut them. Plus, it is standard operating procedure in debate to treat drops as concessions.



Con's analysis here is contradictory. Con writes first that "[u]sing ought outside of it's moral realm in this case would be much more relevant." Then Con suggests in his final sentence that it is Pro's burden to demonstrate that the Government does have a moral burden to fund the arts, and it is Con's job to show that this is not the case. Con cannot advocate for ought meaning something other than moral obligation, but then suggest that Pro must defend a moral obligation to uphold the resolution.

We accept Con's proffered definition of ought; this means we must show that public funding for art is "advisable."


Con suggests that "[i]n most normative debate resolutions" the BOP is shared. But, Con completely disregards our earlier analysis: "If 3 art projects are publicly funded by society, it is true to say that society publicly funds art. Similarly, if 3 art projects should be publicly funded by society, it is true to say that society ought to publicly fund art." In other words, if society ought to publicly fund even 1 art project, society ought to publicly fund art. Con did absolutely no work to try to rebut the logic we presented. Because Con drops this, they cannot argue for any public funding for art.

Con claims this is unfair, as it restricts his ground. That's false. Con could've taken a libertarian/minarchist, or capitalist position. He could've argued that government influence on art was dangerous to free expression (or other gov disads). He could've argued art was too subjective a good for government to justifiable support. That we boxed Con out of one course of action doesn't mean we unfairly restricted his ground, esp. when all those options and more remained open to him. Also, the resolution lacks an "on balance" clause.

Society/Public Funding

There are several distinct reasons why you should buy that the Pro team is defending government spending, and the Con team is arguing for the elimination of government spending.

Firstly, "society" typically acts through the mechanism of government. A society, because it is a collective, must have a process through which it can make decisions and it must have a means of mobilizing its diverse resources to implement its decisions. It is the purpose of government to do exactly that. In the U.S. for instance, the democratic process (as administered by government)--whether by voting in referenda or electing representatives who then make laws--is the means through which our society makes decisions and implements those decisions. For instance, society administers programs like social security, subsidies for industries (like the art industry), and the military through the government.

Furthermore, when we use the term "public funding" or refer to "public funds" in English, one is referring to government money/tax-dollars. This is the common understanding of the term. For example, "publicly funding of campaigns," means "that qualified Presidential candidates receive federal government funds to pay for the valid expenses of their political campaigns in both the primary and general elections." [1] When we talk about public funding for planned parenthood or abortion services [2], public funding for education [3], or even public funding for sports stadiums [4], we are discussing government or tax money. In fact, "public" is defined as "of, relating to, paid for by, or working for a government" [5] and "public funds" more specifically is defined as "Money that is generated by the government to provide goods and services to the general public." [6] Clearly, the phrase "public funds" is most reasonably interpreted to mean government funds.

Moreover, after scouring literature on public funding for the arts, I cannot find sources that support the claim that "public funding" means anything other than government/tax money. Open each of our sources from the last round, and you will see that--in the context of the arts--public funding is synonymous government funding.

So, not only does Con's analysis not comport with (a) the common usage of the term "public funding," (b) the role of the government, and (c) the dictionary definition of "public funding," but it also (d) does not fit within the context of the scholarly debate on public funding of the arts.

To also address where Con writes: "By society, Con take this to mean that public citizens should not be funding art." This is incoherent. First, the resolution talks about "public funding" not "public citizens." And, "public citizens" would still refer to elected officials, as opposed to "private citizens" [7] who are not elected officials. I don't think either team believes that "public funding" means "funding from the personal pocketbooks of elected officials." Second, public funding is a set phrase that denotes government spending. The resolution is thus more reasonably rephrased as "society, through the mechanism of government, ought to fund art."


C1. Art/FS/Dem

SPA. More Speech = Better

Con drops/concedes our main point re: increasing speech. This is important because they are not just conceding that free speech matters, but that maximizing speech and opportunities for speech is desirable. The argument we advanced here is not just that free speech should be protected, but that it should be actively encouraged, because only by enabling counter-narratives to occur, can we challenge dominant (potentially false/oppressive) narratives. Thus, if we can show that a world with public funding for art creates more platforms, opportunities, or means of dissemination for art/speech, than a world without public funding, then we are already gaining an advantage over Con.

SPB. Public Funding = More Speech

Con drops that public funding increases the platforms, opportunities, and means of dissemination for art and speech. By extending this in conjunction with C1, SPA, you already have your first reason to vote Pro: (P1) we should create more opportunities for speech, (P2) public funding creates more opportunities for speech, therefore (C) we should publicly fund art.

Con suggests also that "'public funding' could also be limited to the more important works like the war veteran Memorial." Obviously, governments have limited caches of wealth to distribute, so some discrimination is necessary, but the more selective governments become, the more exclusive speech becomes; this is bad, because it prevents the clash of narratives discussed earlier. The more we prioritize "important" projects, the more we impose our own value systems onto what art should be allowed in the public domain. Vigorous debate suffers under more stringent vetting processes for what can be discussed.

Also, if you buy our BOP analysis, then Con's support for funding the war memorial is cause to vote Pro.

SPC. Democratizing Art

Con accuses us of lacking "real life substantive examples." It sounds like Con wants me to use anecdotal evidence to prove a generality (i.e. that elite money dominates/biases the art world). If we offered anecdotes, we'd invariably be accused of cherry-picking. Moreover, particular examples are not needed or useful in warranting a general claim about how groups of people act because such examples don't show trends. In other words, Con's request here is absolutely nonsensical.

Our evidence, taken from a reliable source, indicated that "Different types of donors favour different things...'Taxpayers with incomes over $1m tend to favour higher education, health, and the arts.'" Con can access the academic research The Economist cited here. [8] This paper adds, "Owing mainly to these preference patterns and the sheer magnitude of donations made by high-income individuals...the totals given to education, health, and the arts depend almost exclusively on gifts from the affluent." [8] This empirical data proves that the elites are the primary funders of art. This creates massive potential for bias, because elites are likely going to pick art that appeals to narratives they approve of and because artists in search of funding are going to try to curry favor with elites in order to get money.

Con asking me to provide an example of this type of art is equally vacuous; it should be obvious that any kind of speech can convey a biased message. However, one hypothetical example would be an artist who makes art highly critical of the wealthy suddenly finding all of his rich donors vanishing, leading him to lack the capital to continue to create and exhibit his artwork. Thus, relying on the private sector causes artists to be beholden unto the mega-rich, making it more difficult for counter-narratives that go against elite interests to be represented in the art community.

Con never questions that the government can help solve this problem, only that the problem exists. Since the problem exists, and since Con dropped that public funding contributes to solvency, there's another reason to vote Pro.

C2. and C3.

Con puts all his cards on the definitional debate. If you buy our arguments on the definition, then these contentions flow through as reasons to vote Pro.

Regarding C3, we don't need to show a "complete shutdown" of art; merely, we need to show that we are maximizing access to art (and thus the right to culture) in order to gain an advantage over Con. More access > less access.


1 -
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Thus, we affirm. Thanks!
Debate Round No. 2


So unfortunately there isn't really a way to resist this debate in becoming about semantics. I wish it wasn't this way, and I've never had a debate go this way, but our team and others thought the meaning of this resolution was a private sector (society) not paying for it, and government paying for it. We weren't looking for a devils advocate debate, and aren't willing to change to one now. We are conceding the contentional debate, as it falls in line with our goals and BOP in this debate.

The Semantics Debate

"Publicly Funding" doesn't mean "public funding" because of the use of the word society's inclusion in the debate. The word "Society" suggests that the phrase "Publicly Funded" means something entirely different. Government should fund art because Ought implies an obligation to do something productive, or ethical/moral. Government funding yields societal benefits, as well as governmental benefits. Our opponent is arguing the same thing, and we may have to agree to dis-agree that the meaning of the resolution meant what it did. At any rate, we do not wish to engage in a semantical debate with the Team Thrawn. I, TUF, claim partial responsibility for the lack of communication with Team Thrawn prior to the debate. The debate dead-line along with the lack of communication during that time with several other members of Team Sine Nomine, resulted in a rushed challenge. My involvement in other aspects of the site (Voters Union, Mafia, Hangouts) may also be a factor for the falling out of this debate.

However I have never engaged in a semantics debate before, and don't want to over-extend this argument by doing so. I'll leave it up to the voters to judge whether they read the debate title the same way we did, or if they didn't.

At the end of the debate, however we are advocating for the same thing, and we weren't ready or prepared for a devils advocate debate based on a mis-understanding.

Good luck to Team Thrawn in the remainder of the DDOCL season 1.


Thanks to the Con team for the debate, to Max and DK for hosting, and to the readers and voters for their time.



Public vs. Private

We (Pro) defined "public" as: "of, relating to, paid for by, or working for a government." Con DROPPED this definition and DROPPED our definition of "public funding" as "money that is generated by the government to provide goods and services to the general public." Let's add also the definition of "publicly," which is "by a government." [1] We'll also offer the definition of "private" as "belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest." [1] Incidentally, most of these definitions come from the dictionary TUF originally used to begin this semantics discussion, so he should have no qualms with the credibility of the source dictionary.

Now, Con originally wrote that "Con take this to mean that public citizens should not be funding art." Now Con is discussing the "private sector." Let's address this public-private distinction here.

Given the definitions listed above, "public" (and its derivative forms) indicates governmental agency or control. "Private," conversely, indicates non-governmental agency. In fact, Con's very own example of the "private sector" is a great place to start. The definition of "private sector" is "the part of a country’s economy that is not controlled directly by the government." [2] The definition of "public sector" is "the governmental sphere of an economy." [2] Con's own example illustrates how "public" denotes government agency or control. This is why it makes more sense for "public" funding to come from the "public" sector, just as "private" funding (the giving of individuals or businesses) should come from the "private" sector.

Thus, our (Pro's) position is backed by three layers of definitions: (1) definitions for the adjective "public," (2) definitions for the adverb "publicly," and (3) definitions for the phrase/compound noun "public funding." Moreover, a slew of examples that we offered last round, plus Con's very own example of the "private sector" vs. the "public sector," show that public implies government agency or control.


Con's biggest misunderstanding regarding not only the topic, but our analysis of the term "society," is the Con believe the resolution is challenging who the actor should be when, instead, the resolution is questioning what the means should be. The resolution is not juxtaposing society and government (that would be absurd, since government, like businesses and other institutions) is a part of society. Rather, the resolution is juxtaposing "public funding" against "private funding." Let's go in to why this is the case.

Con tried to say that the inclusion of the word "society" in the debate implies a non-governmental actor. Yet, as we noted extensively last round, society often acts though governments. This is something Con DROPS. I will repeat our analysis here: "'society' typically acts through the mechanism of government. A society, because it is a collective, must have a process through which it can make decisions and it must have a means of mobilizing its diverse resources to implement its decisions. It is the purpose of government to do exactly that. In the U.S. for instance, the democratic process (as administered by government)--whether by voting in referenda or electing representatives who then make laws--is the means through which our society makes decisions and implements those decisions. For instance, society administers programs like social security, subsidies for industries (like the art industry), and the military through the government."

This is crucial for understanding the resolution, because it suggests that society can choose to (a) act through the government, (b) act through some other means, or (c) not act at all. Society usually chooses (a) because the government is best positioned to "mobilize diverse resources" and has the scope to reach more people than many alternatives.

Now let's consider a parallel example to the resolution: "Society ought to ban marijuana." If this were the topic we were debating, I think we could all agree that the actor in the resolution was still the government, because only the government can impose a ban on marijuana. Society is still "the actor" but it is acting through the means of government. Similarly, in the topic of this debate, the actor is the society, but it is acting via the goverment because it is a definitional truism that public funding is government funding. The presence of the word "society" does not suddenly "dis-involve" the government from the process in either resolution.

Using the analysis just given, which shows that government is a tool of society and that society and government are not incompatible in the resolution, we could rephrase the resolution thusly: "society ought, through the mechanism of government, to fund art." This statement is completely coherent, and it makes an important point: the question is not "should society fund art," but it is instead "through what tools is society should society act." The resolution wants Pro to defend the use of the government as a tool (per "public"), and it wants Con to defend the use of non-governmental, private tools.

Therefore, when all is said and done, you can agree with Con that "society" is still the actor in the resolution, but you can also agree with us that the term "public funding" means society is acting via the government. The clash in the resolution is not over whether society or government is the actor, as TUF would have you believe, but rather whether society is acting through governmental/public mechanisms or through non-governmental/private mechanisms.

In sum, the presence of the word "society" does not mean that the government (and its money) is not being used to fund art. In fact, because society usually acts via the government (a claim Con DROPPED), this is reason to prefer our interpretation of the resolution. That is in addition to, separate from, and complimented by our analysis of the phrase "public funding" as indicating government funding.

The Literature

Con DROPS a very important argument we made last round. Let me repeat it here: "after scouring literature on public funding for the arts, I cannot find sources that support the claim that 'public funding' means anything other than government/tax money. Open each of our sources from the last round, and you will see that--in the context of the arts--public funding is synonymous government funding."

If the scholarly literature on this issue interprets "publicly funded" to be synonymous with "governmentally funded," we should prefer the academic literature's definition. This debate is about art funding, and to have a topical discussion in that issue area, we should use terms in the way that they are used in that context.

Other Arguments

Con has now ceded all other arguments to stick to the definitional debate. That means that if they lose the definitional debate, all of our offense can be cleanly extended. Con will have no independent offense of their own to vote off of. Thus, if we prevail there, we monoploize the offense.

Do not allow Con to come back and try to expound on any of their R2 points which they neglected in R3, because these will be entirely new remarks which we will lack any opportunity to address. Please also do not allow Con to reply to any other arguments that he dropped as well for the same reason.


VI1. The Resolution

1. The Context of the Debate

The sources I pulled demonstrated clearly that "public/ly funding" meant government funding within the context of the debate on art funding. And, as I said earlier, to have a topical discussion in that issue area, we should use terms in the way that they are used in that context. Because public/ly funding, in the context of the art funding debate means government funding, prefer our (Pro's) interpretation of the resolution.

Con dropped this argument in R3, and we cleanly extended it. Therefore it is an absolutely pristine, untouched reason to vote Pro. Also, because it was dropped, Con should not be allowed to address it in the final round.

2. Public vs. Private

We engaged in an exhaustive analysis of the actual definitions of key terms, and we have proven that "public" denotes government agency or control. We dissected Con's own reference to the "private sector" to prove this further, showing that the "public sector" was the government-run economy, and that the "private sector" was the non-government-run economy. We also offered a slew of examples last round which clearly demonstrated that the common English use of the phrase "public funding" meant government funding. We also defined "public funding" itself, which confirmed the standard use meaning of public funding as government funding.

3. Society

TUF tries to argue that the term "society" somehow transmogrifies "public funding" into "private funding." This logic leap is under-warranted, but it also doesn't make sense, as our analysis shows.

Importantly, discussion of "society" does not preclude discussion of "government." Society can choose to act through government to achieve its ends, because society must have some mechanism of acting. By calling on Pro to defend "public funding," the resolution is asking whether society should choose to use government to achieve the end of funding art. Pro, by defending public funding/government funding, defends that society should choose to act through government rather than through private outlets.

Remember the example: "Society ought to ban marijuana." "Society" is still the actor, but it's clear that it would act through government. This is the case with our resolution today.

VI2. Offense

If you buy our definitional arguments, only we have any offense off of which to vote.


1 - Source 5, R2
2 -

Thus, we affirm. Thank you! Please VOTE PRO!
Debate Round No. 3


I have been out of town all week and limited to my cell phone. But I clearly don't care enough about a semantics debate to bother wasting time tying to further convince you that the resolution was poorly worded. We provided arguments why we feel it meant what it should have meant, and at this point it's up to the voters on who they think was right with the definitional debate. Our opponent should stop saying these are dropped arguments, it's a matter of percepting the resolution differently. At any rate good luck in the voting period.


Per the debate set-up, we waive this round.

Thanks once again to everyone, esp. the voters, and please Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago

Pro wins on their offense- all of which are eventually dropped by Con. The arguments titled "art and jobs" and "art and culture" are conceded by Con, who use the semantic debate in an attempt to win that. Since the semantic debate is lost, vote goes Pro.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
Con concedes Pro's offense except the semantic debate, so that's what this rests on. Pro represents their burden as being to show that "society" should fund art by some medium- in this case the government. Con says "society" refers to the people themselves, not the government, and that Pro's BOP is to show that people have a moral obligation to fund art. I don't buy Con's representation for two reasons. First, the term "public funding" refers to "government funding", since it refers to an elected body's funding. Con drops this, except for bare assertions that including "society" somehow changes the meaning of "public funding". Second, Con doesn't show that "society" necessitates a non-government actor, since society often uses government as a mechanism for actions (which Pro points out). Con's case at this point is just a few bare assertions. Pro wins. Sorry Con. Disclaimer: bsh1 asked me to vote on this debate, but this didn't influence the decision.
Posted by donald.keller 5 months ago
I wish DDO let me know when someone replies on a Debate (emails don't count).

I was talking about Famous. Him and his opponent instigated the debate backwards, and I got confused. It was an error on my behalf.
Posted by Hayd 5 months ago
Added to my voting list
Posted by TUF 5 months ago
I appologize for my comment yesterday. I had a bit much to drink and my first reaction was anger towards your comment. There wasn't real much of a chance of me making more of an argument though since I am still on vacation and haven't had access to a computer nor willingness to go out of my way to find one. Anyways, I have no ill will at all towards you bsh1, if anything you should be happy for your free win and Elo bump.
Posted by bsh1 5 months ago
TUF, we can agree to disagree then. Your last post is unworthy of more of a response.
Posted by TUF 5 months ago
I'm a bit drunk so I'm going to refrain from responding for now.
Posted by TUF 5 months ago
Can can perfectly say that. I conceded all your arguments and refuted the definition. You created new arguments around the definition which I said I have not ime or willingness to refute. Take your annoying LD abilities that ignore logic for manipulation elsewhere. Your going to win the debate so why the fvck are you complaining? If you have a problem talk to me about it on the hangouts. I don't have the time or willingness for passive aggressive flame wars in the debate comments section for a debate I already lost.
Posted by bsh1 5 months ago
They were definitely dropped arguments. You don't just get to say "I perceive it differently" to dodge having to do actual analysis.
Posted by bsh1 5 months ago

Do you mean famous or TUF?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 5 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments