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Link – Threat Construction


Frontier rhetoric becomes an easy tool for threat construction because others stand in opposition to American ideals

Jordan in 3

John W. Jordan “Kennedy’s Romantic Moon and its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Vol 6 Num 2. Summer 2003. Pg: 209-231


In creating this historical impetus toward a predestined rendezvous with the moon, Kennedy also created for himself an opportunity to speak out against opponents of the lunar program, and in so doing found a further means to coa- lesce his audience into a people who would not be held back by the obstinacy of naysayers. Taking the offensive,he said,“It is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But . . . the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward—and so will space.”He revisited this point later by warning that the “opportunity for peaceful coopera- tion [among space-faring nations] may never come again.”In this characteriza- tion, those who stood in the way of progress were a danger to every American ideal. They lacked the stamina and vigor necessary to take on the challenges set before them, just as they lacked the vision necessary to recognize the moment of opportunity. In contrast, Kennedy’s audience became the forward-looking occu- pants ofthis special moment in history, able to recognize the opportune moment for what it was. Kennedy’s construction of time established a persuasive appeal that united his audience against his opponents and gave “the people”a sense of manifest destiny that would help make their collective decision for them.

Link – Russia Threat Construction


Russia has historical been constructed as a threat through Frontier Rhetoric

Jordan in 3

John W. Jordan “Kennedy’s Romantic Moon and its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Vol 6 Num 2. Summer 2003. Pg: 209-231


The space program also had strong Cold War political overtones for Kennedy because of the continued success of Soviet efforts in space and their threats on the ground.16 Questions of international prestige shadowed America’s space program, and although the United States subsequently matched and surpassed the Soviets’ accomplishments in number, there was still a sense of needing to reclaim lost national pride.17The Soviets had scored a number of astounding “firsts”—sending the first satellite, animal, and human into space—and paraded these accomplish- ments before a global audience that increasingly viewed space as the next interna- tional proving ground.18 It did not escape the world’s attention that Soviet accomplishments were historical firsts, while the U.S. space program merely tallied national firsts. Nor did it escape the attention of Vice President Johnson, who reminded Kennedy in a memo that “dramatic accomplishments in space are being increasingly identified as a major indicator of world leadership.”19Project Apollo became the thrust of a new policy orientation for the administration, stemming from the realization that “prestige ...would be as important as power in the [Cold War] struggle.”20As president,Kennedy needed a means to transform second-place status into a chance for outright victory in space, and needed to bolster the American people’s faith in the program by giving them a tangible goal to support.

Link – Progress


Action toward progress never takes responsibility for their outcomes because it uses rhetoric of human hopes, needs and desires – Turning Case!

McGowan in ‘8

(John, is the Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina., “The Possibility of Progress: A Pragmatist Account”, The Good Society, Volume 17, Number 1, 2008, pp. 34, MDA)

The narrative of progress closely resembles various providential versions of human history. Humans are in God’s hands—and he will secure a happy ending to the story even if the present is manifestly imperfect. James is at pains to deny such appeals to providence, but he takes seriously—in fact experiences himself—the late Victorian worry that humans will lose their get-up-and-go if deprived of the guarantee that their actions will (again in the long run) bear fruit. If the universe is inimical to human hopes and desires, what’s the point of striving for the good? Prone to depression, James returns again and again in his work to the question of what could motivate us to the strenuous effort to make the world a better place. In Pragmatism , he quotes Arthur Balfour (another British politician) to capture the fin-de-siécle’s fear of and fascination with nihilism, with the terrifying thought that all of our efforts might be pointless. “The energies of our system will decay, the glory of the sun be dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer tolerate the race which has for a moment disturbed its solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish....Nor will anything be better or worse for all that the labor, genius, devotion, and suffering of man have striven through countless ages to effect.”8 Nihilism can be enticing because it offers a release from all responsibility, from the weight of Victorian earnestness. Oscar Wilde played that possible liberation in one direction, Friedrich Nietzsche in another. That both came to a bad end suggests that a self unmoored from implication in larger processes— be they social or ontological—courts insanity. Perhaps that is why Nietzsche had to develop a hyperbolic amor fati to exist alongside (even as it contradicted) his equally hyperbolic paeans to willfulness.9 James himself was more prone to the lassitude of depression than to the manic joys of being cut loose from all ties. He sympathizes with Balfour’s need to believe that the self ’s most cherished hopes find an echo in an external “ideal order” that “guarantees” the efficacy of our actions (P, 533). Action aims to transform the world so that it is better aligned with human hopes, needs, and desires. Progress can be defined as movement toward a closer alignment than the current one. All hope—and James insists all reason to act—would be lost if we knew that the world will inevitably frustrate all our efforts.
The 1AC is Progress for Progress’ means – We desire progress in order to justify western expansionism, blocking true liberation and preventing political actions.

McGowan in ‘8

(John, is the Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina., “The Possibility of Progress: A Pragmatist Account”, The Good Society, Volume 17, Number 1, 2008, pp. 34, MDA)


This focus on the local and the present, Dewey argues, dissolves the epistemological worries that afflict more grandiose versions of progress. Absent appeals to any transcendent and universalist notions like perfection or civilization or modernity, our standard of judgment is comparative. Progress is a present reconstruction adding fullness and distinctness of meaning, and retrogression is a present slipping away of significance, determinations, grasp....There are plenty of negative elements, due to conflict, entanglements, and obscurity, in most of the situations of life, and we do not require a revelation of a supreme perfection to inform us whether or no we are making headway in present rectification. We move on from the worse and into, not just towards, the better, which is authenticated not in comparison with the foreign but with what is indigenous. Unless progress is a present reconstruction, it is nothing; if it cannot be told by qualities belonging to the movement of transition it can never be judged. Men have constructed a strange dream-world when they have supposed that without a fixed ideal of a remote good to inspire them, they have no inducement to get relief from present troubles, no desires for liberation from what oppresses and for clearing-up what confuses present action. ...Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Sufficient it is to stimulate us to remedial action, to endeavor in order to convert strife into harmony, monotony into variegated scene, and limitation into expansion. The converting is progress, the only progress conceivable or attainable by man. (HN, 282)
Progress is just a guise for spreading American Imperialism throughout the galaxy

McGowan in ‘8

(John, is the Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina., “The Possibility of Progress: A Pragmatist Account”, The Good Society, Volume 17, Number 1, 2008, pp. 34, MDA)


The standard of progress, of civilization, not only justifies violence but offers a metric by which to determine which lives are “more precious” than others. And Chamberlain makes it clear that he understands progress and modernity as an imperative. He calls upon the British to summon “the strength” required “to fulfill the mission which our history and our national character have imposed on us.”3 Two years later (1899), Rudyard Kipling would write his famous poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” to urge the United States, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, to take up the same mission. The language is not often so crude today. But, then again, there is Niall Feguson’s Empire . After quoting Kipling’s poem, Ferguson writes: “No one would dare use such politically incorrect language today. The reality is nevertheless that the United States has—whether it admits it or not—taken up some kind of global burden, just as Kipling urged. It considers itself responsible not just for waging a war against terrorism and rogue states, but also for spreading the benefits of capitalism and democracy overseas. And just like the British Empire before it, the American Empire unfailingly acts in the name of liberty, even when its own self-interest is manifestly uppermost.”4 It is hard to know how to read that non-ironic “unfailingly.” Don’t most nations justify their wars by claiming to act “in the name” of high ideals? Is there some special reason to cut empires more slack on that score? If democracy is one of the names for a progressive principle used to justify violence in our time, “globalization” provides another stick with which to beat the recalcitrant. A nation like France is simply being backward and pursuing unsustainable economic policies when it retains generous pension and social insurance programs.5
Progress is not inevitable – The linear notions of progress utilize notions of peace and civility that used to justify violence.

McGowan in ‘8

(John, is the Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina., “The Possibility of Progress: A Pragmatist Account”, The Good Society, Volume 17, Number 1, 2008, pp. 34, MDA)


Progress is not inevitable; in fact, it is never even secure. Whatever gains toward tolerance, civility, and peace may be made, a reversion to more violent and brutal relations is always possible. And no country can complacently congratulate itself on being further down the path of progress, civilization, and modernity than any other. Those who would oppose the urge to “run things by main force and brute possession,” James tells us, have assumed an “interminable task.”7 History does not march forward in ways that make various past practices impossible in the future. The idea of progress entails an overly linear conception of historical time.


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