The Week That Was & More West Point Weekend

Is religion’s influence on self-control inescapable?

Speaker: Kevin Rounding, Doctoral candidate at Queen’s University

Wednesday, January 22nd 2014

Mr. Rounding presented an overview of his research area in which non-conscious reminders of God-related concepts boost people’s ability to self-regulate their behaviour, even under circumstances when we would not expect people to be able to exert self-control. After having depleted participants’ ability to exert self-control on a future task, only those reminded of God-related concepts were capable of persisting at a task – a measure of self-control. However, several additional studies suggest that the effect of religion on self-control may not be omnipresent. Current research explores the hypothesis that religion may only boost self-control when religion is deemed applicable to the self-control task.

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RMCC-USMA Debate

The RMCC Debate Club hosted some of the Cadets for the West Point Speech Team for the RMCC-USMA exchange weekend. Friday night and Saturday morning the RMCC Debate Club hosted a friendly round robin tournament so that both teams could benefit from shared expertise. I would be remiss to mention the contribution two members of the Queen’s Debating Union made by participating, Michelle Polster and Caileigh Stirling, who shared their considerable debating experience and volunteered their time. As well, continuing the tradition of the friendly competitive spirit of the weekend there was one RMCC-West Point hybrid team as well as the Queen’s students created two civilian-military hybrid teams with one composed of Queen’s-RMCC and the other Queen’s-West Point.

There were four debates in total, two on Friday night and two on Saturday morning. The first resolution for Friday was “This house believes that Canada should merge with the United States”, the RMCC teams were on the proposing side thus they had to argue for the merging of Canada with the United States while the West Point teams had to strenuously deny a modern reimagining of manifest destiny. In the second debate the resolution was “Be it resolved that Edward Snowden was right in revealing the NSA files”, in this instance West Point was now proposing the resolution and thus had to defend the actions of now infamous NSA leaker Edward Snowden while the RMCC teams had to question what, if anything, the leaks changed. Moving on to Saturday morning with the third debate, the topic being debated was the UN with “Be it resolved that the UN has become irrelevant”, once again RMCC was proposing the resolution, now firmly critiquing the efficacy and importance of the UN in an increasingly regional world while West Point strongly opposed stating the need for a realm for international intercourse that was not the battlefield. And the final debate of the round robin was about the Arab Spring, “This house believes that the Arab Spring has hurt the common man”. This was a particularly contentious debate because of the contemporary and unresolved nature of many of the issues of the Arab Spring, for this debate West Point proposed and RMCC opposed.

After that, the teams broke for lunch and rejoined in Currie Hall for the showcase debate to begin at 1300. The judges for the showcase debate were all highly accomplished and all had very different backgrounds. From West Point was their Dean Brigadier General Timothy Trainor, PhD, from RMCC the Vice-Principal of Academics and Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies department, Dr. Pierre R. Roberge, and the third judge hailing from Queen’s was their Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Daniel Robert Woolf. The West Point team for the showcase debate was composed of Cadet Meghan Wentz and Cadet Meyer Ungerman , the RMCC team comprised Officer Cadet Nicholas Huxter (26405) and Naval Cadet Edward Woolley (25946). RMCC team won the traditional coinflip (with an RMCC club coin, of course) and chose to be Government, thereby being in support of the resolution whatever it may be. Brigadier General Trainor brought the resolution, “Show me the leaders: Be it resolved that the US, the UK, and Canada should take combined military action to stop the civil war in Syria”.

With that both teams immediately left Currie Hall and had 15 minutes to prepare their speeches. In the meantime Officer Cadet Justin Hanlon (26015) was master of ceremonies and introduced the judges, the debaters, and briefly went over the significance of the many aspects of Currie Hall. The debaters returned to Currie Hall and Officer Cadet Huxter opened the debate for the Government as Prime Minister, he was followed by Cadet Wentz who opened the debate for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition as Member of the Opposition. Naval Cadet Woolley supported the Prime Minister’s remarks as Minister of National Defence and making a passionate appeal that there was never a wrong time to do the right thing. Cadet Ungerman closed the debate for the Opposition side with his speech and rebuttal. Officer Cadet Huxter once again spoke as Prime Minister and closed both the Government’s side and the debate with his rebuttal. The judges adjourned to deliberate, they found in favour of the RMCC Team and once again the RMCC-USMA Debate competition trophy was back in Canadian hands, having been lost in the previous year.

Despite the competition relations between the two teams were still friendly after the debate with Cadet Dalton Combs from West point remarking “I really enjoyed my time in Canada, especially debating to see a different perspective on issues that I wouldn’t otherwise get in the States. I really enjoyed my time at RMCC and it will be great to see you guys next year at West Point.” The feeling was mutually held with OCdt Haggart-Smith (26283) stating “It’s always a great experience to interact with West Point Cadets because they are a good bunch of guys who provide views that you would otherwise not experience. I look forward to seeing them again next year.”

The RMCC debate club would like to thank Craig Palmer and Elizabeth Gibson for their continued work in making the debate possible, as well as Darren Cates who made sure that the debate was well supported. As well, we would be thoughtless to not thank the judges that sacrificed their time in judging and listening to the debate and risked their lives in trying to get to the debate on Saturday given the atrocious weather. And thank you to all the cadets that made debate possible with setup, teardown, filming, photographing, and simply being in the audience.

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RMCC-USMA Chess Competition

Article by: 26782 OCdt David Cronjaeger (RMCC)

Alongside all of the sporting events that were organized for the United States Military Academy- Royal Military College of Canada exchange, both schools had the opportunity to send one team for the annual Chess competition. Representing the Royal Military College of Canada were OCdt Richard Harding, OCdt Samuel Jimenez, OCdt Scott Blair and OCdt Cronjaeger. Each player played five one-hour matches against the USMA team. Ending the competition, USMA finished leading 12-6.5. Cadet Nicholas Oblak of USMA placed first with five of five games won. Special thanks goes to Major Regis Bellemare for hosting and coordinating the event.