Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government

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Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government

Finally! I am so thrilled that a real LD topic has finally be released. Granted, this is a recycled topic from several years ago, but at least it’s theoretical and philosophical as opposed to nonsensically pragmatic. For the first time in a long time, I can excitedly write a topic analysis. (As a note, I am not writing briefs for the Nationals topic, so look for the next wave of briefs starting in the fall)


Oppressive government – This is one of those terms that we understand the meaning of but struggle to find a definition for. Essentially, an oppressive government is any government which actively works to harm the natural rights of its citizens. A lazy government that is just inept at performing its functions does not count as an oppressive government. As the affirmative, do not attempt to narrow the scope of oppressive governments that you need to argue for. You must affirm categorically, so do it.

More desirable – You need to define what it means for something to be desirable. To begin with, it is the people whose desire we are considering. For a given people, is an oppressive government more desirable than no government? That is the question you must answer, and you will use your value structure you define this framework.

No government – No government is just that, no government. The key is what you define as government. A government has to be a formal institution. Ergo, people making agreements with one another is not a government. It must be a third body which is outside of the populous, although it may be made up of members of that populous.



1. No government takes us back to the state of nature, and anything is better than the state of nature. According to Hobbes, the state of nature sucks, really bad. Anybody can do anything, and so, people live in a constant state of war and anguish. At least with an oppressive government, you know who your enemy is, and you can direct your efforts toward a particular entity as opposed to the nebulous void. In the state of nature, your rights mean absolutely nothing. At least when living under an oppressive government, you have the opportunity to fight and regain your rights.

2. Oppressive governments still protect you from foreign threats. Regardless of the fact that a government is oppressive, it is still your best option to defend against an invasion. If your land and property were attacked by a foreign army, your oppressive government would necessarily try to protect itself, and therefore protect you. This simple caveat alone makes oppressive government better than no government.


1. Oppressive government is less peaceful than no government. According to Locke’s assessment of the state of nature, Hobbes was way off. Locke contends that people will live peacefully and cooperate in a state of nature. While not having a formal government, they will still form informal social covenants, respect one another, and work together. An oppressive government actively works to destroy this peace that could be found in a state of nature, thus making no government more desirable.

2. No government makes it easier to establish a good government. It’s easier for a people to come together and establish a brand new government than it is for a people to overthrow and replace an oppressive one. Living without government gives the people that opportunity. An oppressive government will actively fight to maintain power, therefore making its citizens’ struggle for justice that much more challenging. If there is no government, it allows people the freedom to come together and build the society they want.

Hope that helps get you started, and good luck!


4 responses to “Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government

  1. I’m so excited to debate this topic at nationals, it’s way better than last year’s nats topic! As a side note, another great AFF position I’ve found, that kinda goes with the Hobbesian AC, is a Kantian aff that says that in a state of nature, freedom/rights can’t exist and people can constantly be subject to the control of others, be treated as means, etc… Also, the cases you list pose some interesting interpretational questions about time frame: are we comparing oppressive government and no government as desirable end states or are impacts based on future changes to these conditions (i.e. oppression leads to anarchy, anarchy leads to good gov., etc) acceptable? I could see that being an interesting framework issue.

    • I like the Kantian Aff you propose, a lot actually. As far as the time frame considerations, I don’t think any governmental state is an end state because it can always change/be changed. The position you pose, that oppression leads to anarchy leads to good government is also acceptable, although you’re have a tougher time of proving that one.

  2. The kantian approach is irresponsible because Neg can simply point out that Oppressive Governments act immorally to reach an end. Therefore, by the same Kantian stance chosen by Aff, Oppressive Governments are also immoral/bet/”not better”. Since Neg does not necessarily have to prove that no government is better than oppressive governments, Neg will win.

    I’m preparing for another Debate tournament outside of NFL and am leaning towards a simple Hobbes approach. State of nature is bad because no property, no defense from each other, and no defense from the outside.

    • I really like the Hobbesian approach on this resolution. But, you have to prove that no government is the same as the state of nature.

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