Resolved: States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

“A second bomb will not make us safer.”

Resolved: States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

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Finally, we have a good topic. Let’s get to it!

Definitions

States – This term refers to any nation. Don’t get caught up in what exactly makes a state a state; it’s really irrelevant to the resolution. Especially in the context of the real world, all nuclear states are very clearly sovereign nations.

Affirmative

1. Veil of Ignorance – The veil of ignorance is a powerful position here. You can pretty consistently argue that, no matter who you are, you would want to live in a world without nuclear weapons.

2. Utilitarianism – The Utilitarian position certainly favors the elimination of nuclear arsenals. It would lead to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, especially if nuclear weapons stop being a bargaining chip on the international stage.

Negative

1. Mutually Assured Destruction – Nuclear weapons are the only thing that can deter the use of nuclear weapons. If states get rid of them, that opens the door for non-state actors to access and use nuclear weapons with impunity.

2. Moral Conflict – There is value in promoting moral conflict through the existence of nuclear weapons. This will be a tough position to run, but a nuclear war that resets the impact of humans on the planet may not be a bad thing. It will prevent the progress of climate change, likely lead to a world in which nuclear weapons no longer exist, and reset the human development clock. Human life is only valuable because we place inordinate value on it. Instead, we should allow for globally catastrophic events to happen because they would solve so many problems.

That should help get you started. Good luck! And don’t forget to visit the Debate Academy if you’re looking for private coaching.

Resolved: The United States ought to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

Resolved: The United States ought to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

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When did LD become PF? I don’t understand why we keep seeing these types of topics. LD used to be high level debate about moral principles and big questions, but we’re going more and more towards these garbage topics about public policy. Hopefully there’s a shift back the other way because I don’t know if I’ll want to do this much longer if it keeps going in this direction. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Definitions

subsidies for fossil fuels – This is really the only thing that needs to be defined in this resolution. Subsidies are basically some form of governmental incentive or tax break. In the case of the fossil fuel industry, there are a number of different types of subsidies that the U.S. provides. It’s important to note that the specific type of subsidy should not matter to your case. You should be debating the principle of the matter. Here’s a good place to find more information.

Case Positions

Remember here that your case will need to answer the question of how we determine what the United States government ought to do.

Affirmative

  1. Progress – A government’s first goal ought to be to promote societal progress – moral, economic, and otherwise. Civilizations perish because they are drowned by the tides of time. In order to progress as a society, the U.S. must get away from fossil fuels. They are a perishable resource, and eventually they will be too scarce to be reliable. Imperial conquering of resource rich lands will not be feasible in the future, and so subsidies need to be eliminated to direct society away from fossil fuel development into alternative renewable energy.
  2. Utilitarianism – As much as I dislike basic utilitarian position, this resolution provides a lot of room for a utilitarian calculus. A simple cost benefit shows that the U.S. is spending money on subsidies for dying industries that would be better spent elsewhere. Plus, it would be better for everyone due to the economic benefits of investing in clean energy.
  3. Survival – It times of great crisis, it can be argued that all governmental priorities should be directed toward survival. The realities of climate change create such a crisis. As such, the U.S., and all governments, should act in such a way to mitigate climate change and ensure the survival of the human race. Therefore, all subsidies for fossil fuels should be terminated.

Negative

  1. Moral Conflict – Nietzsche argued that the only way to determine the true morality or proper moral outcome was to let all ideologies compete openly, almost like a free market but for ideas. Fossil fuels and clean energy should be the same. We should continue subsidies for fossil fuels while also giving subsidies for clean energy. Let the industries compete, and survival of the fittest will dictate which one wins.
  2. Utilitarianism – There is a utilitarian argument to be made on the negative as well. It can be argued that ending these subsidies would have devastating economic consequences. While we might be moving toward clean energy, we’re certainly not there yet, and the U.S. economy continues to be largely dependent on fossil fuels. As such, it would be far more harmful to end the subsidies than to continue them.
  3. Lack of Timeline Kritik – It can be argued that the resolution is impossible to debate without a timeline attached to it. When should we end the fossil fuel subsidies? How long should we take to phase them out? A proper consequentialist analysis cannot be complete without a timeline because the short term, medium term, and long term consequences are completely different. After the critique, you can present a time-based counter-advocacy.

I hope that helps get you started. I’m sorry you have to debate this garbage topic, but good luck! And don’t forget to visit the Debate Academy if you’re looking for private coaching.

Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities ought not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.

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Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities ought not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.

FIrst topic of the year! And wow is it trash. Not only is the topic phrasing awful, but I also don’t understand why it’s an LD topic at all. This topic doesn’t pose interesting clash, and it’s phrased in such a way as to have an agent of action that is incredibly difficult to evaluate as a moral agent. Not only that, we’re skirting around the actual issue of whether or not we should have standardized tests at all. It’s awful, but I suppose it’s what we have to work with. So let’s get to it.

Definitions

Standardized Tests – We all know what standardized tests are. They’re tests given to all students to measure their educational progress. The tests are all the same, with the same questions, given to each member of a particular subset of students. There’s no reason to get caught up in any sort of nuance here.

Every other term in the resolution doesn’t really merit definition. We all know what colleges and universities are. Don’t get caught up in the distinction between public and private institutions; it ultimately doesn’t matter to the moral question, in fact now a days there’s a lot of options, there are even online colleges for military available.

Your key focus here should be determining how we evaluate what colleges and universities should do. In particular, you need to explain how we determine what factors these institutions should take into account for undergraduate school admissions. Unlike government, the moral imperatives of educational institutions are not well elucidated. Importantly, I don’t think most students will have a preliminary understanding of the philosophy of education, unlike they do with social contract philosophy, for example. I would recommending reading this entry for some background.

Case Positions

Affirmative

  1. Distributive Justice – Research widely suggests that standardized tests have socioeconomic and racial biases. This is to say that people who are poorer and people of color consistently perform worse on these tests than their wealthy white counterparts. Not only that, the entire industry is being shown to be less about evaluating students’ actual competency and instead about corporations making money. Since the first virtue of any social institution is to uphold/promote justice, colleges should do that which promotes justice. Using standardized tests as criteria in admissions directly violates principles of distributive because of the above points. Since colleges are social institutions, this would violate their primary directive. Many different justice theorists like Aristotle and John Rawls can be useful for this position.
  2. Autonomy – One of the most widely accepted theories on the purpose of education is that it is supposed to equip people for becoming autonomously functioning human beings. Standardized tests are the exact opposite; they seek to rob individuals of autonomy by evaluating everyone against the same standards. Since the purpose of education is to promote autonomy, colleges should reject anything to do with standardized tests altogether.

Negative

  1. Economics – Colleges are primarily economic institutions. Their goal is to create individuals who can best contribute to society and its economic welfare and productivity. As such, standardized tests should be a primary criteria for admissions decisions because they are a strong indication of an applicant’s economic viability. If a student has high standardized test scores, they are likely to continue having high test scores throughout college. This is economically beneficial and also a strong indication that the student will have a positive economic contribution once they graduate. Importantly, the most economically productive countries like China and Japan have doubled down on standardized testing, having even more rigorous examinations than the United States.
  2. Justice – The first virtue of any social institution, including colleges, is fairness. Standardized testing is the most fair way we can have of evaluating students. Importantly, upholding the importance of standardized tests sets an objective universal standard of educational justice for the entire system to uphold. This encourages every level of the system to eliminate barriers to students succeeding on standardized tests, which improves fairness across the board.

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! And don’t forget to check out the Debate Academy if you’re looking for private coaching.

Resolved: The illegal use of drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.

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Resolved: The illegal use of drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.

This topic is a load of hot garbage, legitimately one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I get where it was trying to go, but the wording is so poor, that debate on the actual topic will effectively be non-existent. It also does not belong in LD, at all. Nevertheless, we have to do what we have to do, so let’s get to it.

Definitions – You fortunately don’t really need to define terms per se. However, you will need to utilize the entirety of your case to define what it means to treat something as a matter of public health vs. a matter of criminal justice. Ostensibly, the resolution wants you to debate things like punishment vs. rehabilitation. The problem, however, is that’s a false dichotomy. There’s no reason there can’t be both. And some public health/mental health issues are actually addressed through imprisonment. It will be a challenge to navigate these things, and you’ll need to make sure your framework is tight.

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – This is a pretty basic position you can run on this topic. Basically, when we treat illegal drug use as a matter of criminal justice, everyone suffers. Drug users stay addicted, taxpayers pay for them to be in jail, and drugs keep being bought/sold on the illegal market. When we look at the cost/benefit of it all, it clearly harms way more people. Treating it as a public health issues allows for the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

2. False Dichotomy Kritik – I almost never advocate for Ks, but in this case, I actually think it’s really powerful, even on the Affirmative. You can argue that the resolution poses a false dichotomy between punishment and rehabilitation that doesn’t exist. No substantive debate can actually occur when the world created by the resolution is one of fantasy. Therefore, you pose an alternative resolution which says that drug addiction is effectively treated when approached from a perspective of public health. That affirmative is really easy to prove. And importantly, it also has impacts to the actual resolution if your judge is a toolbox and doesn’t buy the K.

3. Veil of Ignorance – This is also a very powerful position for this case. Imagine if you woke up the next day and were a drug addict. You wouldn’t want to just be locked up without any treatment or consideration. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to pay taxes for someone to be imprisoned in a similar fashion. It’s clear that from behind the veil, we would want to treat drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue.

Negative

1. False Dichotomy K – I actually think this is the most powerful position on this resolution. The resolution should be negated not because drug use shouldn’t be a public health issue, but because that doesn’t mean it isn’t also treated as an issue of criminal justice. The two are not mutually exclusive. People can be treated while also paying penance for the crimes they’ve committed.

2. Fear – There are many philosophers who argue that fear is the most effective/only deterrent against crime. If we begin treating drug use as a public health issue, then that deterrent is eliminated. People will more readily try drugs and become addicted because they know that it isn’t so bad on the other end. Fear maintains law and order, and the government should prioritize that.

3. Doctrine of the Mean – Similar to the K, but not structured as such, the virtue position argues that we don’t need to fall on one extreme. We need the help of the law to deal with drug lords and cartels, but we can also provide better for the public health by helping addicts get the treatment they need. Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean would espouse taking such a middle ground.

Well, there you go. Hopefully this helps you navigate this garbage topic. And don’t forget to visit the Academy if you want private coaching or to purchase briefs.

Resolved: In a democracy, the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

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Resolved: In a democracy, the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

I get the importance of debating current topics and issues, but we really need to stop when we start struggling to put current issues into “debate terms.” This topic is trash, probably the worst one I have ever read. Not only is it worded poorly, but it relies upon presumptions of rights that may not necessarily be true. It’s also very open to being debated in narrow real world contexts which provide opportunity for abusive positions. Let’s get to it then.

Definitions

Democracy – There is no absolute democracy in the world today, we know that. And that doesn’t make a democracy definition critique of the resolution valid. The word democracy here can be replaced with “democratic society.” Democracies share certain characteristics like popular representation, people being able to run for public office, and a certain level of freedom enjoyed by citizens of the society. Don’t belabor the point about what  democracy is; we all know what this is referring to.

Right to Know – This refers to the peoples’ right to have access to information, personal and political, about a candidate running for public office. Yes, you can debate whether or not this right actually exists, and yes, this does make for a valid critique of the resolution.

Right to Privacy – This is also pretty straightforward. It’s the right of a person to keep information about themselves private. Once again, don’t belabor the point about what exactly is covered within this right.

Candidates for Public Office – Anybody who is either running for or appointed to a government office. Yes, this does include people who are in non-elected positions like cabinet members and justices. These are still public offices even if not directly elected.

Ought to be Valued – This is the most important part of the resolution. It asks us this question: when a candidate’s right to privacy is in conflict with the public’s right to know, which one wins? Should the candidate reveal information? Or should they be allowed to keep all that information private?

Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – Public knowledge promotes the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When all information about a candidate is publicly available, it allows people to make the most informed decision about a candidate for public office. This ensures that the public opinion holds the character and behavior of these candidates accountable.

2. Rights are not absolute – A person’s rights only extend as far as another’s rights begin. This is why we can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. That is an exercise of free speech that puts other people’s lives at risk. Therefore, that right is limited. Similarly, the privacy of candidates for public office puts the rights of the people at risk. They are at risk of electing a candidate that could damage their rights significantly, or if given undue power, could continue violating the rights of others. Therefore, when it conflict, the public’s right know should be prioritized.

3. Governmental Legitimacy – All governments, and democracies in particular, are only legitimate if they are accountable to the citizens which they govern. This accountability is not possible in a world where candidates are allowed privacy. It prevents the public from fully evaluating and judging the candidates for public office.

Negative

1. Right to Know Doesn’t Exist – Rights must exist as claims of people against each other. Under a balanced social contract, it is not reasonable to contend that people would have a claim on each other to reveal information about themselves. Quite the opposite. People have a claim on each other not to interfere with their privacy. As such, it’s impossible to affirm the resolution.

2. Public accountability happens anyway – The public can hold a candidate accountable without them divulging requested information. The simple act of holding back information is enough for a public indictment of the candidate’s character. We’ve seen this happen across the United States repeatedly over the past few years. The right to privacy can still hold priority, because the right to privacy doesn’t matter in cases where it’s in conflict with the public’s right to know.

Hopefully that helps get you started. Good luck!

Resolved: In the United States, reporters ought to have the right to protect the identity of confidential sources.

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Resolved: In the United States, reporters ought to have the right to protect the identity of confidential sources.

Resolved: In the United States, reporters ought to have the right to protect the identity of confidential sources.

Welcome to another debate season! I’m disappointed that we’re starting off with such a bad topic. It’s not that the area of discussion is bad, but the topic is worded terribly. The question that not telling someone a person’s name is or is not a “right” is not a good one. Everyone obviously has the right to say what they want, so to say that a journalist doesn’t have the right to reveal someone’s name is ridiculous and unenforceable. What’re you going to do? Prevent the article from running in the paper if there isn’t a named source? Obviously that can’t happen. But alas, we have to debate what we’re given, not what we want to debate. So let’s get to it.

Definitions

Reporters – Don’t think too much about this. A reporter is basically someone who reports the news. This includes journalists of all types.

Identity – Some people may try to define identity very precisely. Simply put, though, this is an identification of who a person is. It’s not just a name, but can also be a description that points to one particular person. For example, if I said “the attorney general of the U.S.” that would be akin to identifying the person.

Confidential Sources – In journalism, people often provide information to the reporter. The people are called sources. If that person’s identity isn’t revealed, it’s a confidential source.

Ought – This is the most important word of the resolution. Ought means should, and to develop a framework for your case, you’ll need to identify how we determine what the United States government ought to do.

Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – Allowing confidential sources is the most utilitarian approach. It leads to the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. Otherwise, you end up with a lack of people wanting to come forward with information, and you also end up with people’s lives inappropriately being affected just for telling the truth.

2. Freedom of Speech – It’s actually impossible for source confidentiality not to be a right. What is the option to enforce? Are you going to torture journalists? Are you going to limit what can and cannot be printed in the press? These would all be violations of the freedom of speech the United States is founded upon.

3. Correspondence Theory – Any truth proposition, like the resolution, must be weighed against already accepted truths to determine its truth. When we weigh the resolution against things we already accept to be true like freedom of speech, the value of a free speech, and democratic ideals, we find that the truth of the resolution is evident.

Negative

1. What is a right? – Source confidentiality can’t function as a right. Rights, like freedom to protest, function as claims against others – either claims to not interfere or claims to confer some benefit. Neither of these apply to source confidentiality in journalism. Because it can’t be a right, the resolution essentially doesn’t work. We can’t say something that’s impossible “ought to be.”

2. Moral Progress – There are schools of philosophy which propose that a society’s moral progress is only possible through the most direct moral conflict. Source confidentiality prevents that from happening. Without confidential sources, though, the moral conflict in a society would be exacerbated, thus contributing to more rapid moral progress.

Well, that’s it. I hope that helps get you started. Good luck, and don’t forget to check out the academy if you need help!

 

Resolved: The United States ought to provide a universal basic income.

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Resolved: The United States ought to provide a universal basic income.

This is a good topic. It’s phrased how topics should actually be phrased, and it isn’t weighted heavily toward one side. There is actually a debate to be had here. So let’s talk about it!

Definitions

Universal basic income – A UBI is an unconditional amount of money guaranteed to people designed to cover their cost of living. The money is given without any additional requirements placed on it.

Ought – Remember that your job is to explain how we decide what the U.S. government ought to do, id god,so you need to make sure your framework accounts for that.

Affirmative

1. Veil of Ignorance – Rawls developed a model of evaluating social distributions known as the original position or veil of ignorance. He argues that all such decisions should be made by a body which has no biases. Basically, you must pretend like you could wake up tomorrow and be anyone in society, with any socioeconomic status.best fake id, From behind this veil, a universal basic income seems like a great idea. Who wouldn’t vote for that?

2. Utilitarianism – There’s a pretty obvious utility argument to be made. A UBI provides the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people because it takes care of those who are most in need.

3. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics – Aristotle described cultivating virtue as central to having a just society. Virtues exist as the mean between two extremes. One could easily contend that a UBI is the virtuous course of action, lying between the extremes of providing people nothing or a lot.

Negative

1. Economic Justice – All types of justice rely on the idea that people get what they deserve, or ought to of. Contending that people deserve an income just because they exist is difficult. What gives them the right to a universal basic income?

2. Property Rights – The UBI needs to come from somewhere; money doesn’t just materialize. It would likely require higher taxes on everyone else to provide for this. This is a direct violation of property rights. Unlike other things which taxes are spent on,id chief. most taxpayers will not see a benefit from the UBI. It’s also tough to claim that a UBI can function as a claim on others.

3. Moral Conflict – This is more of a complicated position. Basically, the argument here is the only way to get U.S. society to provide a UBI is to not provide a UBI. It will force the necessary moral conflict to get society into a place where a UBI becomes acceptable. Providing a UBI does not allow for the development of society’s morality to be able to accept the change. Moral conflict is good for moral progress, and income gaps increase moral conflict.

Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

plea bargaining cartoon

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Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

Unbelievable – plea bargaining again. This topic, in one form or another, has been used an absurd amount of times. There’s so much to talk about; why can’t they come up with something? I don’t believe the world of moral philosophy has run out of interesting dilemmas to be discussed and debated, but apparently whoever comes up with these topics has. Anyway, we’re stuck with what we’re stuck with, so let’s do what we have to do.

Definitions

Plea Bargaining – This is a process in which the defendant pleads guilty in order to receive something in return. fake id,Usually, they get their charge reduced, sentence diminished, or something similar. The actual terms of the agreement are largely irrelevant to the debate, so don’t focus on those.

Ought – This means “should” and is the focal point of your case. You must explain how we determine what we should do in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Retributive Justice – Plea bargaining allows people to get away with being charge for less than what they actually did.fast Fake ID, Naturally, this means that the punishment no longer fits the actual crime. According to the principles of retributive justice, this should not be permitted as people should be punished according to the crimes they’ve committed.

2. Social Contract Theory – Plea bargaining is an affront to the legitimacy of the social contract. The ideas of reciprocity and tacit consent to be governed are thrown out the window because rights claims no longer matter since people can violate those claims and circumvent the punishments outlined in the social contract through a plea bargain. The practice should be abolished to preserve a legitimate social contract.

3. Categorical Imperative – The three maxims apply pretty well here. You can definitely argue that plea bargaining shouldn’t be universalizable, that it treats people as means rather than ends in and of themselves, and that it doesn’t strive toward an end in the kingdom of ends. Therefore, it should be abolished.

Negative

1. Veil of Ignorance – Imagine a world where you’ve been charged with a very serious crime. Would you want the option to plea bargain? Even if it meant everybody else was allowed to do the same? Certainly! Under Rawls’s thought experiment, how to get a fake id,if you were to strip away all your defining characteristics that contribute to your bias, and determine social policy accordingly, you’d be in favor of a world with plea bargaining. So it shouldn’t be abolished.

2. Virtue Ethics – Aristotelean virtue ethics seeks to find the proper course of action by trying to find the median between two extremes. The two extremes here are letting criminals go free, or always giving them the harshest penalty possible. Neither of those seem great, so a proper course of action would be the middle ground of allowing plea bargaining.

3. Utilitarianism – If you want to be gross and run a practical case, you can argue that plea bargaining is in the best interests of everyone. Without it, the U.S. justice system would not be able to handle all the cases that need to be prosecuted.Scannable Fake ID, There would be a significant backlog that would cause our system to come to a grinding halt, and that’s bad for everyone. Sure, plea bargaining might allow some people to get off with a lighter punishment, but overall it’s better for everyone.

Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

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Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

This is a very relevant topic in today’s political climate. It’s an interesting one, and should lend itself to some good debates. Hopefully students don’t try to turn it into a definition debate or take abusive positions focused strictly on the meaning of development assistance. Regardless, let’s get into it!

Definitions

Wealthy nations – This is a relative term. Wealthy nations can also be translated in the context of the resolution to mean “wealthier nations.” The intent is basically to make a delineation between countries that can provide assistance, and countries that need assistance.

Development assistance – This is basically foreign aid designed to help a nation develop a particular part of its society or government. It can come in many forms including but not limited to money, resources, and personnel. The thing to focus on here is that the assistance is designed to help the development of the country, so it is distinct from things like humanitarian aid or military assistance during armed conflict.

Obligation – What’s interesting here is that the resolution doesn’t state “moral” obligation. So, your case must explain how nations determine what obligations they have, period. This can include legal obligations, moral obligations, or other obligations you can think of. The resolution isn’t limited to the realm of moral theory this time.

Frameworks/Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Categorical Imperative – The categorical imperative, all three maxims, work pretty well to argue for this resolution. It is easy to conceive of a world where every wealthy provides assistance as a desirable one to live in. Not only that, the act of providing such assistance can reasonably be thought of as an action which strives toward a number of different ends in the kingdom of ends. This is a strong framework for the affirmative of this resolution. Read more about the categorical imperative on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here.

2. Veil of Ignorance/Original Position – Everyone has defining characteristics which impart biases onto their political and moral reasoning. Ideally, if we could, we should develop social justice policies without these biases because that will yield the most objectively reasonable outcome. This state of deliberation, in which actors are free from the influence of any personal bias, was dubbed by John Rawls as the original position. One could contend that, when evaluated from the original position, it is easy to see that wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to others. After all, you could wake up tomorrow and be a member of one of those “other nations.” Read more about Rawls’s original position here.

3. Virtue Ethics – Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean would establish providing assistance as the proper course of action between the two extremes of doing nothing and taking over/doing everything. It is the moderate approach to helping other nations develop, and as such, is the virtuous course of action. Read more about Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean here.

Negative

1. Social Contract Theory – The social contract, and government, are formed primarily to protect a nation’s own citizens. Therefore, any government primary obligation is to its own people. One could argue that no government in the world, however wealthy, has sufficiently met this obligation. Even in the United States, we have yet to have proper due process of law and equal protections for minorities. Providing assistance to other nations must come at a price; the money has to come from somewhere, and that is money that could be used to solve domestic issues. The opportunity cost of providing assistance for any nation is too high. Read more about contractarianism here.

2. International Law – The only obligations that exist between nations are legal ones. There is no global social contract as citizens have not formed or consented to a global government. Nowhere in international law does it specify an obligation for wealthier nations to provide development assistance, and as such, an obligation like that cannot exist. It should be noted that this position will require a clear distinction to be made between humanitarian aid and development assistance because international law is rife with obligations for humanitarian aid.

3. Utilitarianism – For any action to be good, and therefore reasonably be considered obligatory, it must provide the most good for the greatest number of people. Often, development assistance does not do that. There is evidence to suggest that it can actually harm the countries receiving the aid. Often, such countries are ruled by destructive regimes which do not actually direct the assistance towards its intended goals, and instead use it to carry out their own agendas. Additionally, this assistance means that there is less available for the wealthy nation’s own citizens.

That’s it, hope it helps you get started. Feel free to post comments and questions below, and check out the Academy if you want personal private coaching!

Resolved: In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory

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Resolved: In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory

Who’s excited to start off another year? Fortunately, this first topic is a good one. It actually leaves room for some debating and limits the potential for abuse. So let’s dive in.

Definitions

National Service – This refers to a person working for the government in any capacity. Most commonly, national service occurs in the form of military service, but serving a position for the government in any capacity can also count. The key will be building a position that can encompass all national service, and not just military service

Compulsory – Compulsory means required or mandatory. In the case of this resolution, this would mean that everyone, at some point in their lives, would be required by law to carry out some national service

Ought – Simply, ought means should. It implies an obligation. In this case, the agent of action is the government, so the framework of your case will need to revolve around how we determine what governments ought to do

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – A simple utilitarian calculus concludes that mandatory national service is a good thing. It offers the opportunity for younger graduates and individuals to gain experience while also contributing to the community/country. It gives us a new division of workers to complete tasks and services that would not otherwise be completed. And it will also likely create a more compassionate and considerate population. It’s a good thing all around.

2. Categorical Imperative – This question passes all three maxims of the categorical imperative. Particularly, we can envision the universalizability of this principle, as well contending that compulsory service strives toward a number of ends in the kingdom of ends.

3. Rights – With rights come corresponding obligations. In order to earn positive rights such as voting, welfare, etc…, one must complete the corresponding obligation to the government and society which affords the person these rights. Such an obligation can be completed in the form of compulsory national service, thus making the rights afforded to citizens less arbitrary.

Negative

1. Constitutionality – One could argue that compulsory national service is unconstitutional and violates the 13th Amendment which prohibits slavery or involuntary servitude.

2. Social Contract/Right to Life – The only right which can be said to be absolutely retained under any social contract is the right to life. Compulsory service is a direct violation of this right. Because it impedes a person liberty/autonomy, it destroys their governance over their own life, thus violating their most inherent and important right.

3. No Compelling Affirmation – The reality is that there is no compelling reason to institute national service. There is no evidence which demonstrates consistent positive outcomes, nor can a theoretical argument be sustained for its advantages. To claim that the government ought to do something despite there being no compelling reason to do so is absurdity.

Hope that helps get you started. Good luck!