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Local interest in debating has fallen off considerably in recent years. This year that interest may be expected to increase materially owing to the realistic approach which the Debating Council has made to its problems, and to two essentially simple reforms.
In the first place, the Council has endeavored to engage one of the largest schedules in its history, with projected trips and matches ranging from Vassar to the Norfolk Prison Colony. Secondly, and unlike past debating practice, the largest possible number of men will be allowed to participate in these outside contests. The Council is exercising every effort to line up all qualified men on Harvard debating teams.
For debating at Harvard the significance of such reforms lies in the fact that the Debating Council has recognized two elemental characteristics of human nature; that every man is a debater at heart, but that he is likewise apt to be bound by inertia. It has announced a plan whereby the inexhaustible wealth of government and philosophy section orators may be brought within the scope of organized debating. It has seen in the breasts of many men in the impersonal public speaking courses a burning desire to take part in organized debating. It has realized that it can offer a laboratory course for the future lawyer or demagogue. It has realized that interest in debating is omnipresent if asleep. And greatest of all it has realized that if Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed.
It has realized that the mountain must go to Mohammed, and by that realization the Debating Council has taken a position in the forefront of undergraduate organizations today. For today in an age when students come to college primarily to study, more than ever before, no extra-curricular activity can succeed unless it has something material to offer the student. The student has little to offer the activity. If he cannot "play on the team", it is not worth his while to leave his books at all.
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