The Instigator
The_Harlequin
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
Mencies
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

History Will Not Look Kindly on the First Decade of the 21st Century

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,976 times Debate No: 14559
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

The_Harlequin

Pro

I would first like to thank my opponent in advance for accepting this challenge. I am arguing this same position on this same motion in a few weeks. In any case, in this debate, I will be attempting to prove that history will not look kindly on the first decade of the 21st century.

As the instigator of this debate, I feel it falls upon me to define this motion for the purposes of the debate, and so I will define it that future generations will view the years between 2000 and 2009 in a negative light.

My argument will be based on:

1. Establishing what history tends to remember

2. Establishing which events from the period will live longest in our cultural memory

3. Establishing that said events will not be looked kindly on

In this 1st round I will introduce the argument, in the 2nd, I will be expanding on the argument, 3rd round will be devoted to cross examination/rebuttal, 4th will be spent answering questions, and 5th will be the conclusion.

1. I now come to the first point of my argument. The key question in this debate is what will the decade be remembered for?. The crux of my argument is that History, above all else, remembers triumph over adversity. Failing this, it will accept tragedy. It’s human nature. We like a narrative, and in History, we focus disproportionately on the interesting parts. Simple, steady, sustained progress is not interesting. We want an adversity, and either a glorious triumph over it, or a tragic end. Therefore, we remember either the Negative events, or the Positive ones that came from the Negative ones. Good events on their own are not interesting enough to live long in the cultural memory. A lot of negative events happened this decade, of course, but any good which may come of the bad has not, as of yet, emerged. The decade is up, and this period failed to produce a phoenix from its ashes.

For example, let us scrutinize what previous decades have been remembered for. Acknowledging that a decade is a pimple on the face of history, we must confine our speculation on History’s examination to within the 21st century. To get a better idea of how the 21st century will view the decade in question, we must understand our own view of the preceding century. Let us examine two decades from the 20th century. One looked kindly on, and one not looked kindly on.

I would nominate the 1940s as a decade history does not look kindly on, and the 1960s as one that it does look kindly on. What is remembered from these decades?

In the 1940s, the most obvious event is World War 2, probably what the decade is best remembered for. Millions were killed in the war and many more wounded. The USSR gained power, as did the USA. Nuclear weaponry saw its inception as a military tool and the Cold War became a fixture of international politics for the rest of the century. Does this mean the decade was all bad? No. There were stunning advancements in political thought, (England establishes the NHS in 1948, free healthcare) science, (radar) economics, (pulled out of depression) women's rights, (women working in the workplace) and more. However, these advancements are largely unacknowledged and the decade is considered one of the darkest times in modern history. Why? Because the War eclipsed all of these achievements.

Because these advances were not tied to the greatest event of the decade (the war) in the minds of the people, they were not associated at all with the decade. The War so dominated the 1940s that in order to be associated with the 1940s, it must be associated with the War. Since the war was a tragedy, the decade became remembered as one.

But why are the 1960s so well thought of? Social liberation? Women's rights? Political radicalism? Most of this was based on advances made in the 40s, surely? All that sets the 60s apart is its equivalent to World War 2; the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement is perhaps the defining event of that decade, equivalent to World War 2 in the 1940s. But the Movement was born out of segregation, discrimination, oppression, and a whole slew of ugly words. This was as tumultuous a decade as any of the century. There was experimentation with drugs and a rise in crime rates. Surely this decade was as bad as any?

It was remembered well because of the strides forward made in Civil Rights. Why? This was the decade overcoming its greatest blemish in segregation. People remembered the Positive which came from the Negative. The 1940s could not overcome the blemish of the War.

The same holds true for any decade you care to analyze. The 80s, despite constant violence in the Middle East and Mutually Assured Destruction seeming more Assured by the day, the decade is thought to be a good one because the Cold War ended, and the “good guys” won. Similarly, the 30s is defined by the Depression. Therefore we can assume that this decade will be gauged by how we responded to similar crises

2. And this brings me rather nicely to my second point, what was the defining adversity of the decade? Two obvious candidates would be 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terror”, and the Economic meltdown. If the decade is to be defined by either of these, it will be unilaterally deemed a failure.

9/11 was tragic enough to be great event of the decade, it made terrorism seem more horrifyingly real in the world and caused a counterattack which in turn led to the curbing of civil liberties in the name of security. Since by the end of the decade we still live in fear and no satisfactory conclusion has been reached in nearly 10 years since 9/11, the decade could be remembered as the point at which we became an Orwellian society. Even the staunchest right-winger would only go so far as to say that these counter-terrorism measures have yet to come to fruition. We cannot claim significant progress in the war on terror for history to remember it as a triumph.

If we are to be defined by the economic crisis which we failed to avert, this will be remembered as the decade that broke the banking system and capitalism was forever compromised by state interference in banks deemed too big to fail.

Therefore, if we are to judge the decade by its great tragedies, this decade was a failure.

3. In conclusion, future generations will look to this decade, fail to see any triumph, ignore the steady progress made, and deem the decade a dark period. We have had our great adversities to overcome, we have not overcome them as of yet, and if and when we do, that will be credited to the decade in which we do. History has defined previous decades by their response to similar scenarios, ours has not been satisfactory, and History will therefore not look kindly on the first decade of the 21st Century.

Once again I'd like to thank my opponent for their time and effort and hope for a good debate!

Mencies

Con

One of our most famous maxims is the implacable "history repeats itself." It stands as a warning usually but in this context it acts as our only source of insight into what the attitudes of future historians and laymen will reflect. I will first use the events of the past century and our current zeitgeist regarding said historical period.

In this first round it is my intention to us martial history to outline the differences and similarities between the different decades.

1914-1918, world war one, the first major conflict, the first, on the public level at least, memorable event of the century. So what is the perspective of the world populace regarding the decade. Drum roll... and nothing, zoot suits, doughboys, carpetbaggers and flaky black and white, all that can be summoned to the mind of an average citizen of the United States, (my only legitimate perspective) are hackneyed buzzwords and images of shaky black and white. When look at closely the pathetic irony of the great conflict of that decade, "the great war," "the war to end all wars," and of course the all ending all being Armistice, all of this closely followed by world war two, even more staggering war. So for that decade a look is at least granted but not a kind look. Similarities? The war on terror began with a catastrophic attack on an international, civilian nerve center. Not a political target, or a individual but thousands of innocents.

1939-1945 WWII

Parallels: The 01-10 war is the global war on terror, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, all ongoing of course. Our entrance into this century is marked by warfare as always it seems. Now I would like to use my opponents example. Dearest opponent, you said that the sixties were well looked upon and the forties looked badly upon. What does the first decade of this century more represent. First the human and civil issues, the civil rights movement is first named in the sixties, then it was African American rights, 01 to 10 it is the rights of homosexuals. The inevitably definitive war, then it was Vietnam, a drawn out political conflict without resolution, a super power versus a gorilla force, 01-10 The Global War on Terror, a drawn out political conflict without resolution, a super power versus a gorilla force. Remarkably similar, the most remembered events of the two decades almost exactly similar and of course the sixties are the favored decade.

I would tighten this up and move on to subsequent decades but I just realized was tedious and pretentious waste of time this website is, I'll see if I can summon some enthusiasm later.

Maybe I'll touch on WWII later instead of just spelling it for no reason.

seriously I feel like a demonstrative moron even insulting this website, I am an utter pedant, I'm loving this, right now I'm loving this.

it's disgusting, not you, me

I don't even know who I'm pandering to anymore.
Debate Round No. 1
The_Harlequin

Pro

I'd first like to thank Mencies for accepting my debate and hope for an entertaining and insightful debate for all. :)

In the first round, I laid the groundwork for my argument. The main purpose of Round 2 as defined by the structure I have opted to is to expand upon these arguments. And so lets return to the points that I am arguing:

1. Establishing what history tends to remember

2. Establishing which events from the period will live longest in our cultural memory

3. Establishing that said events will not be looked kindly on

I move now to reinforcing my arguments.

1. In the first round, I set a model for what history remembers in general. I established that History focusses on the more exciting events and remembers chiefly the best stories as opposed to the relevant ones. As such history remembers our triumphs and failures. Because of this I have argued that slow, steady progress is not sufficient to be well remembered. For Con to win, they must show this to be false.

2. I pointed to two major negative events in the decade (war on terror and economic crisis) and argued that we failed to overcome these History will not look kindly on us. For Con to win they must show that we did overcome them, or disprove the firs point.

3. I then argued that based on how we remember history, we could only assume future generations will look negatively on our period. Con must simply prove the opposite.

The Con has so far seemed to be arguing a slightly different line, but I'd like to see what he can do with this. Good luck.
Mencies

Con

Mencies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Harlequin

Pro

The_Harlequin forfeited this round.
Mencies

Con

Mencies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
The_Harlequin

Pro

The_Harlequin forfeited this round.
Mencies

Con

Mencies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
The_Harlequin

Pro

This is here solely because I wish to end this as quickly as possible. Please vote Pro.
Mencies

Con

Mencies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Harlequin 5 years ago
The_Harlequin
I presume the debate has once again flopped. :(
Posted by The_Harlequin 5 years ago
The_Harlequin
I presume the debate has once again flopped. :(
Posted by gavin.ogden 5 years ago
gavin.ogden
Shame... I hope someone takes this. If it is still here when I finish with mine, I'll take it, just so I can hear Pro's point of view. He would probably take it, but the topic is amazing.
Posted by gavin.ogden 5 years ago
gavin.ogden
What an outstanding debate topic! I hope you get a worthy opponent that will make this debate worth the read. Very insightful...
Posted by adealornodeal 5 years ago
adealornodeal
One of few debates worthy of having five rounds. I'll be following this one.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
This is a good one - we need more like this - I hope you get a worthy opponent.
Posted by The_Harlequin 5 years ago
The_Harlequin
Someone, please, pretty please challenge me? wjmelements: The font is because I copied this from microsoft word. I copied this from Microsoft word because my internet connection is erratic. I had typed it out twice and seen it end up deleted so I switched to MW.

Sky_ace25: As for defining the word "kindly", I already defined the motion, I said that the decade would be looked unkindly on, I qualified by saying that history would "view the decade in a negative light".

I mean in an objectively good fashion, I'm arguing that the decade will be looked negatively on. I'm just using historical precedent as the basis for my argument though. Also, I'm speaking on this motion competitively, and I'm the second last speaker for the proposition. Any semantic arguments that crop up might actually have to be dealt with in the real debate.

Thanks Cobo, you're right, of course, but in my view I didn't. The economic crisis is a global one. I'm Irish, the IMF came in here. It's not confined to America. As for 9/11, the curbing of civil liberties has spread far beyond America. The world has felt the effects. Anyway, if I've been too narrow, there are four more rounds.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
Cool topic!
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
A smaller font would be less annoying.
Posted by Sky_ace25 5 years ago
Sky_ace25
You should define the term "kindly" for the following reasons

A. It'll avoid any possibility of somebody using semantics against you.

B. Your resolution and argumentation makes me wonder, do you mean kindly as in an objectively good fashion? Or do you mean kindly as in better regards compared to other time periods?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
The_HarlequinMenciesTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
The_HarlequinMenciesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
The_HarlequinMenciesTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Every decade will be remember for something. I wouldve given con the agruementation vote if he woulv'e ran the turn of the century agruement and not ran a petty agruement that does not relate.