3.2. Third debate 4.2. Joensuu Debate Society anniversary!

Whoo – happy birthday Joensuu Debate Society! It was exactly a year a go when we had our first debate in Aurora 206, organised by Alexandra Shtromberg. Quite a lot has changed during this year: From a small group of several people we’ve grown to the collective of amazing people that we have now! Even that a lot has changed the most important has remained – people are enjoying interesting debating topics. The first year has been a great one for establishing ourselves as a legitimate society. We’ve created a reputation in Joensuu and created networks with other Finnish societies. For the next year I’m really hoping that we can make ourselves as a strong force in the upcoming tournaments around Finland and in the Estonian tournament held in April.

Quite a lot has changed during this year: From a small group of several people we’ve grown to the collective of amazing people that we have now

Yesterday the motion for our debate was ‘THW remove all welfare benefits from the Finnish system’. There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding this topic during the past weeks on the JDS facebook page both for welfare and against it. And by a lot I mean A LOT! So it was interesting to go into this motion with charged up opinions! It definitely turned out to be a great motion as people fired one argument after the other and the POIs were very heated.

This was a very model and definition heavy motion. For more information on how to introduce the model and definition: Click here. This means that it was important for the prime minister to explain how this change in the system would be implemented and what exactly would be changed. This debate, the model was a bit more hazy (for example we did not talk about whether healthcare would be free or not) but the justifications were very well made by the opening government. Their case was that there is a serious problem with people being lazy and getting tax money for free – money that could be going to a better place. High taxation, which is necessary for social welfare, is very daunting, as those people who work a lot are simply losing more money.

The first opposition countered these thoughts with the notions that there would be many new problems if social welfare, a.k.a. the safety net, was removed. Removing financial security from people would cause people to suffer, students to have more problems studying and graduating quicker, and most of all – crime would go up significantly. Crime is done out of necessity – when the person has no other options and this scenario would become much more frequent if all social welfare benefits were removed (just imagine how different ‘Breaking Bad’ would be if he got cancer in Finland!). Even though closing gov. pointed out that crime still does occur here, in a rebuttal it was mentioned that Finland has pretty much the lowest crime rates. Furthermore, being poor should not limit people to a mediocre life.  In many cases it is not the peoples’ fault that they are poor. Markets fluctuate all the time and people lose their job. They should have equal possibilities to rise to greatness – with social welfare – we might highly educate the next president!

The second government brought to the table a very interesting extension: In their rebuttal, they mentioned that getting money for free is extremely bad for motivating people to take initiative and find ways to fix the situation for themselves. This was an important point to mention. A very similar one was brought up in a different debate at the tournament in Turku: The theory was that the government is actually making people weak by giving them easy money and not giving them opportunities to grow. They also pointed out that in the case of there being no safety net from the government, people would focus more on creating social networks and seeking other ways of getting money. The current problem does seem that in Finland, people are very independent and do not focus on building strong, lasting relationships with people around them. The summary speaker did a good job by bringing up all of the arguments from both sides with an emphasis on why gov. won the case (which is the point of course!).

The second opposition had a very interesting argument – albeit – a very risky one. It was simply that ‘We support social welfare’. Now, when you have a really simple statement like this, it often can seem like a poor argument. However, I really enjoyed the explanation and illustration that was given. In a very convincing manner, they explained that this system has made Finland one of the best countries to live in, all around the world people admire Finland and its system, and we, as a nation have worked hard to make this system good. Why should we give it up? The second point was even better – although unfortunately there was not enough time to go too deep into it: Removing high taxes and social welfare would create large gaps between people, which would further increase conflict. The whip speaker also mentioned a valuable point, none of us should ever forget: There is a certain cap to how much money we all need to make to be happy. At a certain point, earning more money just does not make us any happier at all. So is it not a good thing that we can pay high taxes and do something valuable with the money?

Anyway, I’ve rambled on far too long. It is time to announce the victors! This time it went to first opposition – Juha and Shane. Congratulations! It was well deserved. Both speeches were very strong and showed huge improvement. That said, the rest of the teams were not too far away and it took quite a while to actually decide who was the best. If we continue going this way, great things will happen for our society – and I am looking forward to it.

Have a great week! And happy birthday us.








27.1. Second debate of 2014

I’m very pleased to be writing this, once again, after a successful full debate! Today we practiced the SEXI-argument model and debated on the topic of: ‘This house would ban all advertisements aimed at children’. The SEXI model (STATE –> EXPLAIN –> ILLUSTRATE) is a very strong way to construct your argument and it works everywhere in life! I strongly recommend to check it out.

This house would ban all advertisements aimed at children

The first government brought a clear definition of the term ‘children’. In this debate it meant kids up to the age of 13. Their arguments were that we must not turn kids into consumers at an early age, as after all, the ads only focus on selling products and making money and nothing more. This is not a healthy thing to subject young children to.

The first opposition proposed that ads are a necessary part of making money and bringing the information of the products to the consumers. In addition to this, the ads are a good way of bringing more fantasy into kids’  lives, as they see all sorts of amazing and imaginative events in the ads.

The second gov. pointed out that ads aimed at children can be very harmful as children lack the capacity of thinking critically and accept everything at face value. These ads take advantage of that and fool kids to want their products. This entails bad things for the parents as well when their beloved kids announce that they want the newest toy more than anything in the world. If they are not able to buy the toy they will feel like they are disappointing their children. I, myself, might add that companies are preying on the weakest links of our society in a way. The whip constructed his summary speech beautifully around concrete themes, such as ‘are ads good for constructing kids’ fantasies’ and ‘what is the role of the parents choice in the matter’.

The second opp. had a great extension by talking about the ways these ads can actually be used to teach kids valuable skills, such as that we can’t always get what we want and that they learn to wait for something good (something that I really need to learn myself!). The whip speech was constructed by mentioning one thing at a time with very humorous side notes and examples. Talking about kids’ ads and erectile dysfunction in the same context is always a plus in my book! Well done, both whip speakers!

As a judge, it was a huge pleasure to observe the debate! All teams had something valuable to say and it’s always great to see older debaters clearly progress!

As a judge, it was a huge pleasure to observe the debate! All teams had something valuable to say and it’s always great to see older debaters clearly progress! I must, of course, announce the winner of the debate: This time it went to the closing government. Well done Juha and Arturo! As for my judging… I need to work on keeping an eye on the clock a bit more… Oh well – have a great week everyone and don’t forget to use your persuasive powers responsibly!








Thanks for the first debate of the semester!

The first debate of 2014.

The first debate of 2014.

This is a great start to 2014 – I’d be very happy if the rest of the year continued like this! I’m very happy that so many new people decided to try debating and I hope that we did not scare you away…

The motion today was ‘TH, as the United States, does not regret the dropping of the atomic bomb’. We had a blast with this motion – it was very interesting to see what people came up with for and against this. We have really great speeches today: our newcomers are off to a great start!

For now, this is it. Until next time!