Archive for February, 2012
I have recently become introduced to the world of intervention, not because I needed one or anything, but because I have begun working with a clinically trained interventionist in Cleveland. She is a remarkable person, so I thought I ought to post about her.
Jane Eigner Mintz is a licensed professional counselor in Ohio. Her private company, Realife Intervention Solutions, provides intervention services to a broad variety of clients. She offers intervention services for clients suffering from a variety of addictions, substance and otherwise.
The unique thing about Jane is that she is clinically trained. She understands the medical ins and outs of interventions along with the sociological and psychological aspects of them. Interventions can be very complicated and can lead to devastating results if they are not performed properly. Jane has spent years learning and understanding the intricacies of performing interventions, particularly with clinically complex patients.
Further on that note, she teaches others how to properly perform interventions. She has developed her own system called the Field Model of Intervention (FMI for short). She teaches regular seminars in Malibu, California, and she also offers online video courses which take an in depth look at clinical interventions.
So, do you know somebody who could use the services of an interventionist? Maybe you have a family member or friend who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or something else? If you do, go ahead and look up Jane at http://www.janemintz.com or http://www.realifeis.com. If you are interested in learning about becoming a clinically trained interventionist, visit http://www.interventioncourses.com.
I’m thinking about writing and publishing briefs. So, before reading the topic analysis, if you could please take a second to answer the poll below, I would appreciate it. Thanks!
Alrighty, another topic to analyze and such.
Let’s start with identifying important terms.
Nouns – targeted killing, foreign policy tool
Verbs - is
Adjectives - morally permissible
Now that we’ve identified the important terms, let’s define them.
Targeted Killing - There is no actual definition of targeted killing you can find in a dictionary. The basic definition is the intentional killing of a noncombatant individual. In short, a targeted killing is an assassination. DO NOT try and be abusive with this definition and attempt to identify very narrow circumstances in which targeted killing takes place. The debate needs to focus on the moral permissibility of the action, so just accept a good general definition of it.
Foreign Policy Tool - Please do not make this more complicated than it has to be. A foreign policy tool is something which is used to achieve something in foreign policy. Essentially, what this is doing is specifying the agent and ends of the targeted killing. The government is carrying out/ordering the killing, and it is doing so in order to accomplish some foreign policy goal. This goal could be victory in a war, preventing a nation from building nuclear weapons, deposing an undesirable regime, etc… The actual end doesn’t really matter, just that it is a foreign policy end. The purpose of including this in the definition is to prevent abusive arguments which say that civilians and private organizations should not be allowed to conduct targeted killings.
Morally Permissible - Like the last topic, this is the most important part of this one. In order to argue the resolution, you must explain how we determine whether or not something is morally permissible. This explanation will occur through your value structure, and it will inform the rest of your case, so it is the most crucial part of the case. It is up to you to develop this definition in your value structure.
Ok, with those definitions in mind, let’s talk about some potential case positions.
Utilitarianism – On utilitarian grounds, targeted killing is morally permissible. Targeted killing leads to more expedient victories in armed conflicts, leading to fewer overall casualties. Not to mention, if rogue regimes are prevented from developing nuclear weapons as a result, then the utilitarian calculus definitely favors targeted killing.
Just War Theory - Traditional Jus in Bello war ethics permit targeted killing. Asa Kasher does a very good job picking apart the principle of distinction in his writing and outlines precisely why traditionally accepted moral criteria in war permit the use of targeted killing.
All is Fair in War - General Sherman argued that everything should be permitted in the context of war as it is the only true way to propel us towards a society which does not approve of war at all. Essentially, if we allow everything to be permissible in war, then people will see how terrible war can be and just refuse to go to war in the first place. Therefore, because everything is permissible in war, targeted killing is permissible.
Utilitarianism - Targeted killings cause more violence. When leaders or important individuals are eliminated, their followers are energized by the fervor of vengeance. Not only that, assassinations often leave a power or authority vacuum which splinter groups try to capture, often violently competing with one another. Furthermore, the threats which targeted killing attempts to thwart are unrealistic and often only speculative.
The Principle of Distinction - It is always morally impermissible to target noncombatants regardless of their involvement in the conflict. If they are not directly involved in fighting, they have not directly threatened anyone’s right to life, and therefore, still retain their own right to life.
Targeted Killing Makes Government Illegitimate – Targeted killings are carried out as unilateral actions, and therefore, violate the rules of morally permissible military actions. These killings do not have the consent of the international community, nor do they have the consent of the people which the government rules over. The government derives its right to defend its people from the people’s consent to be defended. At the point where the government begins ignoring this consent, it becomes illegitimate. Therefore, targeted killing is morally impermissible because an illegitimate government is immoral.
I hope this helps get you started. Feel free to ask questions, and good luck!
The current state of high school debate is deplorable, and the national circuit is doing absolutely nothing to help it. I am sick and tired of seeing students using briefs, arguing
theory, and quibbling over definitions. Our instructors have forgotten what it means to debate well and the techniques which actually educate our students and help them grow into better speakers and thinkers. I want to use this post to give debaters an introduction to good debate practices which well help them develop into better debaters. I hope seasoned debaters who have fallen into the trap of being robots instead of actual debaters will also take the time to read this post and hopefully learn something. I will develop more in-depth guides for specific parts and categories of debate, but these general guidelines should provide a good foundation. Instructors need to start cultivating good debate practices again.
1. Do Your Own Research - Briefs are readily available these days. There are, however, numerous problems with these briefs. Excerpts from articles are taken out of context and misrepresent the actual point of the research. Excerpts do not include research methodology, nor do they include counter argument considerations. The biggest problem, however, is that they remove the incentive for students to conduct their own research, resulting in a much weaker understanding of the major issues concerning the resolution. If you read entire articles, and if you find information on your own, you are far more likely to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the resolution. This way, you actually know the reality, and you can articulate it more effectively for the judge. If your opponents come up with statistics you have never heard before, you will at least know whether or not they correspond to the actual situation in the real world because you have spent two weeks reading everything there is to read on the subject.
2. Control Cross Examination - Cross examination is one of the most crucial parts of any debate round. You must be able to control it in order to win. Control involves asking pointed questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you shouldn’t ask it in CX (aside from clarifications). You need to listen to what your opponent actually says when they deliver their case. Don’t just tune out after the tag line and pull out your pre-written rebuttal. Your opponent may say something completely different than what you expect, and you need to be ready to address what they’re actually talking about, not what you think they are talking about. Point out logical flaws in your opponent’s case to the judge using your questions.
3. Do Not Make Theory Arguments - Theory is stupid, end of story. It doesn’t matter, and a good stock debater will most often succeed over a good theory debater. Do not attempt to analyze the social situation of debate and pretend like it matters in the round. You are not in the round to debate about debate; you are there to debate the topic you have been given. Your opponent’s definition does not become invalid if it “hinders education which is the purpose of debating.” You know what hinders education? Theory arguments do, because the force us to talk about theory instead of talking about the actual topic.
4. Accept Your Burdens - Every resolution gives each side a particular burden. Do not try to modify your burden to make it easier to argue. Do not be afraid to argue difficult positions. In fact, if you do it well, judges will be more impressed despite their initial reservations.
5. Learn Things - Knowledge is power, and this is especially true in debate. If you just know more than your opponent, then you are already at an advantage. Do not focus so much on figuring out round techniques which will help you win. Rather, develop a knowledge base large enough that your opponent can’t throw anything at you which you cannot counter. You should know all the evidence which is in that giant folder of yours front and back because you should have read it all.
These are some basic characteristics which every debater should develop.
Ok, let’s start with parts of speech.
Nouns – birthright citizenship, United States
Verbs - should be, abolished
Let’s continue with definitions.
Birthright citizenship - Birthright citizenship is the concept that those born in a particular country automatically receive citizenship of that country. In this case, we are concerned with the United States.
Should Be – This is the most central and important part of the debate. If something “should” happen, this indicates that there is a good reason for it to happen. Therefore, it is not enough for you to prove that birthright citizenship is bad, but that abolishing it would be better. After all, alcohol is bad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean prohibition is better.
Abolished – Abolished means ended, permanently.
Preliminary Position Analysis
The Pro must prove that there is a good reason to abolish birthright citizenship. This means they must prove either 1) a U.S. without birthright citizenship would be better than one with birthright citizenship or 2) there is a moral/legal justification to eliminate birthright citizenship regardless of the outcomes.
In order to argue the first position, international comparisons can be useful. Other countries have gotten rid of birthright citizenship. It would be useful to look into these countries and see if it worked out. If it did, then inferential reasoning would dictate that the U.S. ought to follow suit.
As far as the second position is concerned, the legal argument can be made that birthright citizenship allows for aliens to exploit our justice system or that it is not warranted by the 14th Amendment.
Like always, the Con does not have the burden of proving that the opposite of the resolution is true. Rather, the Con must prove that you cannot affirm. Therefore, they have more wiggle room in terms of arguing the topic.
The Con can contend that the cost of abolishing birthright citizenship would cause so much bureaucracy and enforcement costs that any benefits would be invalidated. Essentially, there would be so much spent on policing the new lack of birthright citizenship that we might as well just let immigrants have anchor babies.
The Con can also argue that the benefits don’t matter on moral and legal grounds. It is inappropriate to punish children for the mistakes of their parents, and this contradicts the essential ideals which the U.S. stands for. The child itself did not immigrate to this country, and removing birthright citizenship would force use to put the child through unnecessary turmoil which it does not deserve. Not to mention, the child’s ability to immigrate legally later becomes crippled because of its parents’ actions.
The standard positions exist as well. The Con can always contend that a world without birthright citizenship would be worse than the world with birthright citizenship. Consequently, it shouldn’t be abolished. International comparisons can also be used effectively here.
I hope this helps you get started. Good luck!