Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.

Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.

This topic is stupid, offensive, and antiquated. Also, it’s empirically false. We know that it’s empirically false, and yet, here we are, debating nonsense. Let me start by getting the potential points of definition debate out in the open, and then, we can pretend like those points don’t exist, and try to come up with coherent case positions.

What is gender? Especially in the modern world, how would you define a single-gender classroom? Are homosexuals a different gender? What about transgender kids? Do we put all of them in a separate classroom?

What is a “single gender classroom” referring to? Does that mean the whole school is single-gender? Does that mean that boys and girls go to the same school but separate when they go to classes? I’m actually not quite sure.

How do you define the quality of education? Is it measured by standardized test scores? Is it measured by a population’s innovations? Is it measured by economic prosperity? Or is it something entirely different? Again, I’m not quite sure there’s a good answer to this.

Alright, with all that in mind, let’s assume we’re going to use generic emotional definitions for the above and come up with case positions.

Pro

1. It prevents distractions – Because students clearly have uncontrollable libidos, and that is the main thing preventing them from getting a good quality education, we need to separate males from females. It prevents distractions so that students can focus on their education. This, in turn, will lead to a better education because students will learn more.

2. Single-gender private schools perform better – Standardized test scores, college acceptance rates, etc… are all greater among single-gender private schools. CLEARLY, this is because these schools are single-gender, and not because they’re better funded, located in higher class socioeconomic areas, and run by people with great connections. Therefore, it only makes sense that single-gender classrooms will lead to higher quality education.

Con

1. Gender isn’t even an issue – American public school education suffers from a variety of ailments, none of which are related to the proximity of boys to girls. Single-gender classrooms won’t do anything. The quality of education will actually stay exactly the same.

2. Separate isn’t equal – Equality is essential in our public school system, and separate schooling is inherently unequal. It will cause disparities in gender education and eventually lead to a socioeconomic divide, like it has everywhere else in the world where this is practiced.

Ok, real talk, con wins. Why? Because Pro is false. Sorry NFL, that’s just how the real world works.

I hope you can come up with some creative positions….or have super conservative judges, because otherwise, the Pro has a long uphill battle to win this topic.

Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.

Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.

Finally! A good topic! This is a topic with lots of clash and room to come up with creative positions without allowing  a lot room for abusive stances. Oh snap! Let’s get deep on this one.

Definitions

1. Political Conditions – A political condition is any demand by a particular state which must be fulfilled as a prerequisite contingency for further action. To put it simply, it’s whatever the government says you must do to receive the aid.

2. Humanitarian Aid – This is assistance to help the citizens of a country. This can be in the form of money, supplies, food, and even military aid. Yes, military aid can classify as humanitarian aid if used for humanitarian purposes.

3. Unjust – This is the most important part of the resolution, and you will define it through your value structure. You must define what it means for something to be just or unjust and then explain why the resolution should be affirmed or negated based upon that definition.

Affirmative

1. People as a Means to an End – Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid is using people as a bargaining chip. The action has two immoral effects. First, it places an absolute monetary value on human life. That, in itself, is an offense to justice which demands that the only thing which matches human life in value is human life itself. Second, it uses people as a means to get political gain. Using people as a means to an end is a violation of the inherent dignity which they are due, and therefore, a violation of justice.

2. Utility – On utilitarian grounds, it doesn’t make much sense to demand political conditions before providing humanitarian aid. Often times, such negotiations break down, and even more often, the actions taken to meet the conditions are reversed after the aid is received.

3. Self Determination – Humanitarian aid is in itself unjust because in interrupts a nation’s ability to be self-determinate. When adding political conditions to that dynamic, it becomes an even greater violation on a nation’s self determination.

Negative

1. Where’s the Injustice? – Injustice requires a violation of human rights. It requires that somebody not get what they deserve. A nation has no obligation to provide humanitarian aid to anyone. So, to ask for political conditions for that aid cannot be unjust because it is no morally worse than the default. Not providing humanitarian aid is not unjust, so how can asking for a little something in return be unjust?

2. Virtue Ethics – Virtue ethics dictates that this is actually the middle course of action. A nation could just provide humanitarian with no conditions, or refuse to provide it at all. The middle course of action is to negotiate the humanitarian aid conditions so that both parties benefit. Not to mention, political conditions can also be used to ensure the aid is used for its intended purpose.

3. Utility – Humanitarian aid without conditions is uselss. In places where the aid is most relevant, oppressive regimes often utilize the “aid” for their own ends rather than for humanitarian purposes. Utilitarianism dictates that political conditions be assigned as contingencies for humanitarian aid because it ensures the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

There you go. Good luck!

Body Image – A Practical Look

If I read another article about how the media objectifies women or watch another video of an attractive woman preaching about how girls should have a healthy body image, I may just lose it. This has become a very prominent topic in modern discourse, particularly intellectual discourse. I’ve seen three separate TED talks, numbers of YouTube videos, and an inordinate number of articles (most of which I’ve read) on the subject. In the age of social media, stuff like this spreads very quickly, especially if it resonates with people. I hate most of it, not because I disagree that young girls are having increasingly unhealthy body images, but because I have yet to see any of these advocates or scholars provide something tangible that these girls and women can actually use to help build their body images  and develop healthy perceptions of themselves. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Simply put, it isn’t the media’s fault. The media sells what people buy, and because people keep buying damaging material, the media keeps producing. Standards of beauty come before their portrayal in media, not the other way around. It’s like blaming Pepsi and McDonald’s for selling unhealthy food. People buy it, so they sell it. It’s much more productive to create a culture in which women have healthy body images and cease to be consumers of the objectification that everyone is in an uproar about. Here’s some real practical advice that I think people can actually use.

5 Steps on the Path to a Healthy Positive Self Image

1. Eat Healthy and Exercise – Don’t do this to lose weight or try to make yourself look skinnier. Do this with the goal of being healthy. Keep your blood pressure low, maintain low cholesterol, take in enough calcium to maintain bone and breast health, etc… Healthiness is attractive by default because we are evolutionarily conditioned to look for healthy mates, but more than that, you’ll feel better if you’re healthy. You’ll be more positive about yourself, and it’s much more difficult to have a confident body image if you’re unhealthy.

2. Be Hygenic – Keep yourself clean; it’s simple. Shower, brush your teeth regularly, maintain your feminine health, get regular checkups at the physician, and so on. Cleanliness is another big part of a positive body image. It is a commentary on your own feeling of self worth. If you care about yourself, you care to present yourself cleanly and keep yourself hygenic. Being gross is an easy way to detract from being positive about yourself.

3. Stop Buying Cosmo, Vogue, and all that other crap – These magazines are full of nonsense. Not only is the advice contained within them wrong, it’s damaging to your psychology. It reduces human appearances to geometry, sex to procedures, and relationships to quizzes and games. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting. It’s unrealistic, but the reason these companies turn over multi million dollar profits is because people buy their products. Whether you “like” reading it or not, just stop buying it. It may be difficult if you’re a regular subscriber and avid fan, but if you remove this content and influence from your life, you’ll be much better off.

4. Dress Well – It doesn’t matter what anybody tells, having an attractive wardrobe, and having people compliment that wardrobe, significantly contributes to your own perceptions about your appearance. Hire an image consultant if you need to, or read some good literature about how to dress well for yourself and your body type. There are clothes out there for everyone, and for the most part, it’s about defining your avatar or look, and adhering to that in your clothing choices. It’s not difficult, and there’s plenty of quality advice out there and people out there to help with it.

5. Have Passions in Life – What do you want to do with your life? What sort of things do you enjoy? What do you want to accomplish? These questions should be priorities for you. Passionate people are sexy. They draw others to them, and they put energy and life into their surroundings. You shouldn’t drift through life without desires and passions. Figure out what gets you going, and dedicate time and effort to it.

If you follow these steps, not only will your life begin to change for the positive, your perceptions of yourself will grow to be less dependent on what others think. You will separate yourself from the need to be beautiful and realize that you are beautiful. Just try it; it’s better than sitting in the dark watching YouTube videos of lectures from attractive women who chastise the media for being evil.

Resolved: Development assistance should be prioritized over military aid in the Sahel region of Africa.

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Resolved: Development assistance should be prioritized over military aid in the Sahel region of Africa.

I’m not sure why the resolution specifies the Sahel region; it should probably just say Sudan, or Darfur. In any case, I’m not sure how I feel about this resolution. It doesn’t actually pose an interesting question, nor does it pose one that doesn’t have a correct answer. It’s also a situation that doesn’t exist in reality. In order for prioritization to be a problem, two things have to come in conflict. Why can’t we provide both? Or neither? I also say “we,” but the resolution doesn’t actually specify an actor, which is another big problem. Who is providing the assistance?

Definitions

1. Sahel Region – You should just google this to find a map. The region spans across Africa near the north. It includes the south of Sudan.

2. Development Assistance – This type of assistance focuses on development. It may include things like economic provisions, infrastructure development, technology, consulting, etc…

3. Military Aid – This is fairly straightforward. Military aid involves providing either direct military intervention or military resources to a particular group.

Pro

1. The goal is to solve the problem – Many of the regions issues are caused by resource scarcity. Conflicts in this region of the world are power struggles for what little the land has to offer. If we just provide military aid, the conflict will never stop because the development of the region will not progress; different people will just inherit the same conflict that exists now. As such, development assistance must be prioritized.

2. Just War Theory – JWT dictates that we cannot provide military aid in this region of the world. Military intervention, of any sort, does not fulfill the 5 contingencies of Just War Theory. There is not a just cause, atleast from the U.S. perspective. There is not a reasonable chance of success, and the force is not proportional to the wrong being done.

Con

1. What’s the Point? – Development assistance will be useless in this region because the people who need it will not be able to access it. Military aid needs to be provided first in order to stabilize the region before any additional development can hope to be successful.

2. We shouldn’t be providing anything – The notion of aid is misleading. Historically, intervention of any kind has been much more harmful to such areas of the world than it has been helpful. As a result, there should be no prioritization. Aid should not be provided. People should be allowed to exercise their self determination and develop nations on their own. Self determinate nations have proven to be the most successful.

Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

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Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

This topic is so boring. I’d like to know what tree huggers managed to weasel their way onto the committee and get this topic in the list. I rarely say things like this, and by that I mean, I almost always say things like this, but the topic sucks. Despite its massive suckage, though, we must forge ahead and conduct an analysis so that we can conquer all who oppose us on the battlefield of debate. Let’s get started 🙂

Definitions

1. Developing countries – As the term is understood, a developing country is a country that does not meet Western nation’s basic concept of standard of living. Developing countries struggle with economic development, technological advancement, and internal strife. They are often typified by poverty, high illiteracy rates, and corrupt governments. You know what developing countries are, so don’t try to claim that every country is technically “developing.”

2. Prioritize – This term has been used in a number of resolutions before. Prioritization is simple. If you prioritize something, you choose that thing over something else when you’re faced with the choose.

3. Environmental Protection – Simply put, this is protection of the environment. Environmental protection entails taking care of the earth, preserving nature, and generally protecting the environment from destruction.

4. Resource extraction – This means extracting resources. In the context of the resolution, you’re probably most concerned with activities like oil drilling, fracking, mining, cutting down forests, and other generally destructive tasks.

Case Positions

Negative

1. Governmental Legitimacy – A government is only legitimate if it fulfills its obligations under the social contract. The government has no obligation to the environment, since the environment was not a party in the contract. The government’s obligation is to protect and provide for its people, and since the nation is still developing, it is implicit that those obligations have not yet been met. Resources are vital for a government to be able to carry out these obligations. If the government does not prioritize resource extraction, it will be unable to remain legitimate.

2. Utilitarianism – Prioritizing resource extraction leads to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Developing nations need resources for basic infrastructure creation like running water systems, roads, electricity generation, hospital building, etc… In the modern world, it’s almost impossible to extract such resources without harming the environment, so when the two come into conflict, extraction must be prioritized to achieve what is best for the people.

Affirmative

1. The World is Flat – Developing nations do not need to worry about environmentally dangerous resource production. Increasing globalization has made it possible for developing nations to readily acquire resources for which they would otherwise need to destroy the environment. Prioritizing resource extraction results in carrying out unnecessary violence to our environment, which is a moral offense.

2. Necessity Leads to Progress – Earth will eventually run out of resources, and it will be necessary for the human race to figure something out. If nations begin prioritizing environmental protection, it will spark ingenuity which will provide energy solutions more readily. Human history demonstrates that people innovate best and most efficiently when there is a desperate need for innovation. This is why wars lead to such tremendous technological innovations. If governments refuse to extract resources, then people will be forced to innovate.

I hope this helps get you started. Good luck!

Nightlighting

Nightlightning

Studying the mind in darkness unkind,

Can infinity be the answer to life
So solid and poison and filled with delight?
When time becomes timeless and days into nights
echo on through the caverns with the search still in sight

Lightning strikes the mind at work
Answers unquestioned, slick tales trailing
the wailing of thoughts sailing on through the timeless
A gasp for perpetuity

And wandering back through forests of failing
And measured steps with thoughtless wailing
And strides of privacy; endless, prevailing
And last pages lost, but still more unveiling

When your courageous mind adventures
On this destitute dirt past barriers and truth
Compromise your sanity.
Fortify your thirst

take solace in knowing you haven’t changed time
And It will go on through somewhere and somerhyme
so long as eternity takes hold in your mind.

The Monster Wakes

Art is a form of expression. It’s not meant to solely be a judge of quality or to compare one person’s style to another. It’s made as an outlet. A way to get your thoughts, feelings, ideas, words– just about anything you can think of– out onto whatever medium you feel fits best. Art isn’t limited to drawing realistically and bringing judgment down upon yourself for not matching up with it perfectly, and it’s not meant to be that way either. Whether your medium is speaking, singing, sculpting, splattering, welding, or even writing, you are an artist. and it’s important to remember that.

Growing up, I hated it when people would ask me how to draw, or if I could show them how to do “x”. I was self taught, and I expected others to teach themselves as well, and today, I still vaguely hold onto that belief, but sometimes people still need to understand the basics. Shapes are your friends, drawing light is your savior, and branching off to do your own thing is always important. Today, I’m not going to show you how to draw a body part, but I’ve put together a quick video of the usual process I go through to draw what I enjoy most: monsters.

Broken Ladders

Broken Ladders

Desperate strides and muted footsteps
Shrieking laughter, ruined reps
A backwards look of pain and longing and hopeless hopeless optimism

The future’s bright, it blinds my vision
And eyes that fill with blind derision
And minds that cloud with nothing but the longest endless sigh

Your times are mine and mine alone
(ha!) As I quietly get stoned
With naught but love and war to grace my slowly breaking heart

The future’s far (look! here it comes)
From me to you and here to from
Let’s muddle on through all this glory, pain and longing longing

Cuz when you’re born amongst the stars
The fall to Earth seems much more far
And leaves you groping up the ladder for what will never (should) be yours

Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.

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Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.

This is a very difficult topic, mostly because the affirmative is just factually untrue. That being said, we still need to figure out a way to argue that side, so let’s talk about the topic.

I don’t think this topic merits definitions because the words are all straightforward. What does merit discussion is the word “outweigh.” Remember, you have to prove that the harms outweigh the benefits (or that they don’t). What this means is that it is not enough to provide a list of harms or benefits, but you need to prove that one set is actually more important than the other.

For example, suppose the resolution said that the benefits of cocaine use outweigh the harms. If I said that cocaine use decrease blood pressure, increases overall happiness, and improves heart health, that wouldn’t exactly prove that the benefits outweigh the harms. I’d need to explain to you why these benefits are more important than all the harms of cocaine use.

Similarly, you can’t just get up there and say that surveillance helps prevent terrorism. You need to explain why that is more important than the harms that it creates.

Alright, with that, let’s talk about case positions.

Pro

1. Surveillance has saved lives, and life outweighs everything else – NSA surveillance has led to apprehending terrorists and fugitives, and preventing attacks against innocent U.S. citizens, this is a great proof that cctv installation Melbourne is a great way to be safe. These lives saved amount to a benefit that cannot be outweighed because the lives and security of a people are a government’s first priorities and cannot be overridden by other concerns.

2. What harms? – NSA surveillance activities do not have harms. The innocent do not have to be concerned about surveillance. If you don’t commit a crime, you will be fine. Mistakes which have occurred in the past have been corrected. The benefits, however, are improved security and safety for the American people, which clearly outweighs an entire lack of harms.

Con

1. What benefits? – NSA surveillance has not directly prevented any harm to U.S. citizens domestically or abroad. Intelligence which has been used in preventing terrorist attacks has been gained through other investigative agencies and intelligence gathering mechanisms. Therefore, the notion that NSA surveillance is valuable is a myth. Conversely, surveillance directly violates innocent citizens’ rights to privacy and even property (if intellectual property is no longer private). These harms are not outweighed.

2. Surveillance harms the innocent – Countless innocent citizens have been arrested and/or incarcerated as a result of NSA surveillance. If somebody makes an off-color joke or discusses a particular political issue, they immediately become a suspect. This has happened so often that the TSA has even included a “no jokes” item in their airport instructions. The reality is that NSA surveillance is directly counterproductive to justice and protection of individual rights, the cornerstones of the United States government. These harms cannot be outweighed.

Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.

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Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.

I think the LD topic people are running low on brain juice because this another one in a long series of recycled topics. In any case, it must be analyzed.

Let’s start with important terms and definitions.

United States Criminal Justice System – Simply put, we’re talking about the system of laws and courts in the U.S. which is used to try people for various crimes and punish them accordingly

Truth – seeking – In the context of the resolution, this means determining innocence or guilt i.e. whether or not the client in question actually committed the alleged crime

Take Precedence- Don’t try to abuse this definition. In order for there to be a precedence consideration, it necessarily means that the two competing priorities must be in conflict. So, to have truth – seeking take precedence over attorney client privilege means that, when attorney – client privilege gets in the way of finding the truth, it should be ignored

Ought – This means should. Your framework will need to explain how we determine what the U.S. justice system should or should not do

Alright, let’s move on to case positions.

Affirmative

1. Purpose of the Justice System – The entire purpose of the U.S. justice system is to guarantee justice. It is established to protect the rights of U.S. citizens and assign appropriate punishment. Attorney client privilege is not a right; it is a fabricated concept. Because justice is actually the justice system’s purpose, it must be held as the highest priority. When anything comes in conflict with that end, that conflicting thing should never take precedence. Under the resolution, attorney – client privilege is preventing the justice system from accomplishing its purpose, and therefore, attorney – client privilege should not take precedence.

2. Rights and Claims – Rights function as claims we have against other people. For example, my right to life is a claim others have on me to not kill them. Similarly, my right to property is a claim others have on me not to steal . As a result, I have the same claim on everyone else. Governmental rights are the same. As a people, when we form the social contract, we afford the government the right to be the final arbiter. This right functions as a claim we have on the government to actually carry out that arbitration justly. In order to do this, the government must be able to find the truth, and therefore, attorney client privilege cannot take precedence over truth seeking.

Negative

1. Truth is not Justice – The justice system is not built to find truth; it is built to provide justice. Attorney client privilege is a necessary component of justice. It allows for protection of the innocent and open communication between clients and their legal representatives. It serves a necessary function which allows the rights of citizens to be protected and allows individuals to not be taken advantage of. Because the justice system’s purpose is to provide justice, attorney-client privilege must take precedence.

2. In the affirmative world, the justice system falls apart – If we agree that attorney – client privilege can be overridden, then the privilege may as well not exist. It becomes meaningless because the client will always fear that information they divulge to their attorney can be used disparagingly. This means that cases will not be able to expedited of communication breakdowns. This means that truth seeking may actually be inhibited even more because innocent clients who are guilty of moral indiscretions but not legal ones will be unable to establish their innocence with their attorneys. In short, the entire system crumbles without attorney – client privilege.

 

I hope this helps get you started. Good luck! 🙂