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By Linda S. Drucker

In an exchange of verbal barbs and blistering insults, three Harvard debaters triumphed over a three-man team from Edinburgh University, Scotland, in a debate on whether the United States is responsible for the world's energy problems.

By a one vote margin, judges awarded the debate to Harvard before an almost evenly divided audience of 200 at the Kennedy School.


Arguing that "quirks in the American way of life have led to the gratuitous use of energy," the Edinburgh students said that the American standard of living and subsequent energy waste has influenced the rest of the world.

"Americans are the kind of people who take a car to go to the bathroom," John McTernan, a junior at Edinburgh said yesterday. Fellow debaters Paul Bader and Cameron Wyllie ridiculed the use of electric urinals which they had encountered in a New York pub earlier in their three week tour of the United States.

"The most vulgar side of American free capitalism is your desire to show off your free capital," Wyllie said, charging that the American obsession with cars is a "new machismo."

The Harvard team of John Bredehoft '80, William Foutz '80, and Chris Keyser '82 cited an 1866 report that energy sources would run dry in 30 years.

Although the judges disliked Harvard's denial of an energy problem, two judges, William Hogan, professor of Political Economy at the Kennedy School, and Norman Rasmussen, a nuclear specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called Edinburgh's concern with past responsibility "misguided."

Rasmussen described the debate as "six professional speakers and polished comedians who basically ignored the question."

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