Fake It 'Till You Make It

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (100 to 250 words)


“All-analysis-is-contrary-to-its-own-intent-and-the-affirmative’s-presentation-of-the-1ac-has-made-their-advocacy-even-less-convincing.-Every-additional-thousand-page-paper-scientists-publish-to-convince-us-that-climate-change-is-real-is-just-indicative-of-their-own-insecurities,-and-thus-becoming-even-less-persuasive.”

This is a real-time transcription of one of my most recent debate speeches—a passionate spew at 350 words-per-minute on a post-modern philosopher. Discussing Jean Baudrillard’s critiques of information sharing is not really what one expects from “policy” debate, but the range of argumentative styles in debate is astonishing.

From straightforward discussions of the spending deficit and zero-sum international alliances, to critical race theory and post-modernist critiques of a policy’s representations, debate has pushed me into the rabbit hole of cost-benefit analysis. Do I determine the value of a policy by the economic growth it triggers or by its ethical implications?

If anything, the different outcomes of two debates having the exact same discussion have only confirmed that no real-world decision has just one right answer. Not only has extensive research educated me in various perspectives, it’s also...

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