A team of British debaters invaded Starthcoma Hall last night and defeated the Yale varsity debating squad by a 2-1 decision.
The winning pair upheld the topic, “Resolved, That it is never in the best interests of the democracy to ban the Communist Party.”
Ronald G. Evans, of University College, North Wales, and Kennth F. Dibben, from the University of Southampton, comprised the victorious duo. Yale was represented by Robert P. Cowell and Edwin Meese III, both of the class of 1953.
Dibben spoke first, dividing the communist threat into two parts: the military and the intellectual. He explained that in the military sphere, existing treason laws can handle the danger adequately.
“The difficultly lies in the intellectual sphere,” he continued. “Intellectual freedom is necessary in a democracy. Children must be protected against subversive ideas, but the adult population must be free to form its own judgements.”
Dibben continued: “A dictatorship of the majority is not a democracy. Intellectual communism must be met by free argument. To ban the Communist Party would only send them underground. It will not deter or convert a single communist.”
Cowell presented the first argument for the negative. He defined the Communist Party as “any party which is a component of the Soviet Communist Party and is directed by and owes allegiance to the Soviet Communists.”
He accused the affirmative speaker of confusing the terms “intellectual communism” and “Communist Party.”
“We are not suggesting any sort of thought control. It is the inherent right of any democracy to defend itself.”
5 Communist Aims
Cowell analyzed the five “purposes” of the Party. They are: espionage, finance, sabotage, internal unrest, and propaganda. He felt that banning the Party would make it far more difficult to carry on these activities.
Evans, continuing for the affirmative, said that to ban the Party would merely drive it underground. In this case, the job of detecting the Communists would be that much harder in the case of a national emergency. Also, many liberals would tend to sympathize with them, because they would feel that the ban is injust.
A Secret Conspiracy
He concluded by saying, “Leave them in the open. What you force below ground will fester and grow there.”
Meese presented the final negative argument. He pointed out that the Communist Party is not a political party in the usual sense of the word, but a secret conspiracy, aimed at undermining our security.
The affirmative was allowed a rebuttal, since the second negative speaker had an extra five minutes to speak. Dibben accused the opposition of attempting to eliminate the communist idea by banning a label.