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Possible new LD topics

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That is clearer, though I think it might get you into some argumentative trouble still... If we're talking about how authors are used in debate (and I'm not familiar with LD compared to policy), then it seems like the Continental folks are going to be in a lot of trouble. I mean, just look at the "horrible interps of kritiks" thread over in the critique forum. A lot of the interpretations of Continental folks is just hot air and often really inarticulate. The solution to that isn't simple, and I think there can be a fruitful interplay between the two sets of authors.

 

I agree that policy-based and philosophical positions an coexist under a single resolution, and I think that perhaps the clearest example of that would be Rawls. Applying his theory of justice to policy is much easier than applying, say, Heidegger to policy. That's not to say the latter can't be done, but that I think a Rawlsian interpretation would likely be clearer. But maybe debaters would figure out a way to screw it up intensely, so who knows.

 

The distinction is that to do well in round with a kritikal/continental author you generally have to have a better understanding of the author's arguments, while (at least in LD), you could be using a complete misinterpretation of Kant/Rawls/Nozick etc. and get away with it because, besides the intuitive nature of these misinterpretations and their seeming simplicity, the arguments that indict the bastardizations of these authors are too "complex" for traditional debate. Thats why focus on those authors when considering a paradigm, while not in itself destructive, requires special consideration given their commonly abusive and uneducational usage. There is no expectation that you have to improve your knowledge of these authors since you can win on extremely condensed and singular readings of them, while the expectation when approaching a K is that unless you continually improve your understanding of the argument, you will probably fail (at least this is the view that is present among the K debaters I've talked to in LD, I don't know how its like in policy). Its only within a framework where rigorous engagement of an author is mandated that we can start seeing substantive usages of Kant/Rawls etc. emerge, not the dumb "persuasion is a top priority" paradigm a lot of traditionalists advocate.

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Of course it is relevant. There is no way to evaluate the truth value of the resolution statement without examining the implications of that statement. In this particular instance, Negative will legitimately argue that embracing the resolution statement amounts to an endorsement of any number of injustices...Then the resolution can never be argued to be true OR false. Kinda defeats the purpose of the activity, don't you think? Last time I checked, the way we're supposed to roll is that whole Veil of Ignorance thing...Of course. But I'm not aware of any jurisdictions in which the sentencing for murder and the sentencing for dog poisoning are even in the same time zone. I wouldn't be shocked to discover the latter crime is even considered a misdemeanor in some jurisdictions...

 

Now, if only we could criminalize bad punning... ;)

What we should do is criminalize not engaging in an aphorism-off.

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The distinction is that to do well in round with a kritikal/continental author you generally have to have a better understanding of the author's arguments, while (at least in LD), you could be using a complete misinterpretation of Kant/Rawls/Nozick etc. and get away with it because, besides the intuitive nature of these misinterpretations and their seeming simplicity, the arguments that indict the bastardizations of these authors are too "complex" for traditional debate. Thats why focus on those authors when considering a paradigm, while not in itself destructive, requires special consideration given their commonly abusive and uneducational usage. There is no expectation that you have to improve your knowledge of these authors since you can win on extremely condensed and singular readings of them, while the expectation when approaching a K is that unless you continually improve your understanding of the argument, you will probably fail (at least this is the view that is present among the K debaters I've talked to in LD, I don't know how its like in policy). Its only within a framework where rigorous engagement of an author is mandated that we can start seeing substantive usages of Kant/Rawls etc. emerge, not the dumb "persuasion is a top priority" paradigm a lot of traditionalists advocate.

Perhaps LD is just a bizarro world of policy, but I haven't found it to be the case that people reading Continental folks always have a good grasp of what's going on. Their complexity often leads to bad interpretations and, since it's already complex, it's rather difficult to figure out precisely how to combat those bad interpretations from the other side. In short, I don't think the Continental folks are immune to the problems that you think plague folks like Kant and Rawls.

 

But, on the whole, I agree that it's necessary to encourage the "rigorous engagement" of authors and their philosophies. And I think it's correct that then, and only then, will we start to see a serious improvement on the way philosophy happens in competitive debate. How to get there? I've got no idea about that.

 

Edit: Hahaha. @Enterprise. Failure to engage in the aphorism-off will soon be an albatross around Shuman's neck.

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Why is it that so many people seem to think that the letters "LD" have such transformative power over substantive issues?

 

LD is a format: Whether the debate is over fact, value, or policy depends upon the topic (and, of course, the desires of the paticipants and judges), not the order and length of the speeches.

 

The original LD debates were very much about policies: abolition of slavery, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, etc.

 

Currently, at the college level, NFA-LD is expressly about policy, but a new event - "Parliamentary LD" - is becoming quite popular.

 

This is why I - and perhaps others - get so frustrated about NFL-LD in the first place. Everybody keeps talking about debating values, but most of the topics appear to be propositions of policy. The most recent LD topic (jury nullification) has proved to be an exception to that trend :) - at least in Southern California.

Edited by topspeaker70

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Perhaps LD is just a bizarro world of policy, but I haven't found it to be the case that people reading Continental folks always have a good grasp of what's going on. Their complexity often leads to bad interpretations and, since it's already complex, it's rather difficult to figure out precisely how to combat those bad interpretations from the other side. In short, I don't think the Continental folks are immune to the problems that you think plague folks like Kant and Rawls.

 

But, on the whole, I agree that it's necessary to encourage the "rigorous engagement" of authors and their philosophies. And I think it's correct that then, and only then, will we start to see a serious improvement on the way philosophy happens in competitive debate. How to get there? I've got no idea about that.

 

Edit: Hahaha. @Enterprise. Failure to engage in the aphorism-off will soon be an albatross around Shuman's neck.

 

I wasn't suggesting that those that read continental philosophy understood it better, just that in order to win with it you had to have a good understanding of it. There are plenty of bad K debaters in LD, its just the only good ones I know of generally have a pretty good understanding of the Ks they usually run (there are obviously exceptions, but as a general rule I think this is true). Conversely, under a traditional paradigm, one can win with blatant misinterpretations of these philosophers. However, I don't think this issue is that big since it seems like we pretty much agree on the paradymic stuff.

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Particularly in light of the Republican-Democratic divide over foreign policy:

 

Resolved: Discretion is the better part of valor.

 

BTW: This kind of vague topic may explain some of the great popularity

Parli Debate has today at the college level.

 

Look at the vast number of possible interpretations the Affirmative could have - which would, I think, diminish - but hardly eliminate - the edge debaters get from camps, prefabricated briefing, and hired-gun coaching.

 

Final thought: Since LD topics change every two months, why not rotate them among propositions of fact, propositions of value, and propositions of policy?

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Particularly in light of the Republican-Democratic divide over foreign policy:
Just out of curiosity: What "divide" are you speaking of? (I only ask because I don't think foreign policy shakes out in so partisan a way, but I'll hold off on that till I hear your thoughts...)

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What I've observed is that the GOP generally considers the Dems to be "soft" (to put it mildly) on national security policy and to believe that Bush 43's approach (which the Dems considered to be "cowboy" and/or "warlike" and/or "unilateral") is the only way to go.

 

You're not really asking me to compare/contrast what Liz and Dick Cheney have been saying about foreign policy with what the apparent positions of the Obama Administration are, are you? (I just listened to Mark Levin rant on the subject for 45 minutes while I was driving home.)

 

No matter which sides proves to be correct, it sure looks to me like there's a pretty big divide on foreign policy.

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Even after we've voted and everything... ;)
Final thought: Since LD topics change every two months, why not rotate them among propositions of fact, propositions of value, and propositions of policy?

 

 

Just some information about the process:

 

In April, NFL calls for all topics to be submitted to the NFL LD Wording Committee (I just started the process early).

 

During May, Lowell Sharp, the Chair of the NFL Wording Committee, organizes the submissions and sends them to all the members of the Committee.

 

During the National Tournament in June, the Wording Committee meets. Usually, they break into small groups on the first day, and each small group goes through an equal portion of the submitted topics (such as 4 groups each looking at 1/4th of the topics). On Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, they begin going through the small group recommendations and begin to narrow the list.

 

During the discussions, there will be several attempts at re-wording particular resolutions. The rewordings are done in an attempt clarify the ground, make the ground even, emphasize the value elements of the debate, etc.

 

During the evenings, the members of the Committee take their new lists of topics to whatever coaches and students they find, asking for responses and interpretations.

 

By Thursday, the Committee has a final list of 10 topics that go out to be voted upon.

 

Coaches then have a chance to vote on topics. The process now includes voting for topics in particular parts of the season. Coach voting determines whether topics are used in September/October or for Nationals or in between.

 

Re-wording a topic after it has been voted on is extremely rare in LD. I can only recall one or two instances in the past 10 years and I can't recall the exact circumstances.

 

LD is a format: Whether the debate is over fact, value, or policy depends upon the topic (and, of course, the desires of the paticipants and judges), not the order and length of the speeches.

 

Currently, at the college level, NFA-LD is expressly about policy, but a new event - "Parliamentary LD" - is becoming quite popular.

 

Actually, in the NFL rules, LD is supposed to be value-oriented. The NFL Tournament Handbook says: 1. Resolution: The resolution will be one requiring a value judgment. Districts must use the current Lincoln Douglas topic for the month in which the competition occurs. Refer to Rostrum or NFLOnline.org for the current topic. (p. D37).

 

Also, on page D45, the manual says

 

Making a Decision In Lincoln Douglas Debate: A decision SHOULD BE based upon the consideration of any or all of the following questions:

1. Burden of proof ‐ Which debater has proven his/her side of the resolution more valid as a general principle by the end of the round? No debater can realistically be expected to prove complete validity or invalidity of the resolution. A judge should prefer quality and depth of argumentation to mere quantity of argumentation. A judge should base the decision on which debater more effectively resolved the central questions of the resolution rather than on insignificant dropped arguments.

2. Value structure – Which debater better established a clear and cohesive relationship between the argumentation and the value structure?

3. Argumentation – Which debater better presented his/her arguments with logical reasoning using appropriate support? Which debater best utilized cross‐examination to clarify, challenge, or advance arguments?

4. Resolutionality –Which debater best addressed the central questions of the

resolution?

 

As it currently stands, NFL intends for LD to be a discussion of values, not of policy. Whether the recent topics have achieved that goal or not is relevant for discussion. If topics need to be more value-based to accomplish this goal, then so be it. However, those of you who would like to see the topics change to policy-oriented topics will first need to get the Board of Directors/Executive Council of NFL to change the event. The event description is definitely more than just different time and a one-on-one format.

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Tammie: If you check my post, you'll see I was referring to NFA-LD, not NFL-LD. NFA - the National Forensics Association - is a college organization, and its rules for LD debate specifically describe its form of LD as "a policy debate on the stock issues."

 

I certainly was not trying to tell you what the NFL rules are, and I hope I did not give offense.

Edited by topspeaker70

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Tammie--

 

You know I wasn't taking a shot at the L/D topic folks with that reference to voting, right? That was a veiled reference to that other thingy from a couple of years ago. You may recall that a few of us were mildly irked about that one... :D

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No, no, gentlemen. No offense at all. :cool:

 

Just clarifying for the masses. Perhaps an unnecessary addendum. Also, Michael, there have been other posters who suggested the need for policy oriented topics -- not really possible until the event gets redefined.

 

Back to suggesting topics . . . . . .. .

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For The Scu:

 

I was looking around the web for ideas and Tuna has some interesting possibilities on his IDEA site. What do you think of these?

 

It is morally acceptable to use animals as a source of entertainment.

Illegal action to promote animal rights is just. (needs help - perhaps reference civil disobedience)

The use of animals in experimentation for human products is moral.

A just society provides rights for all animals.

Edited by tpeters

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In light of what is happening in PF (if interested, go to the Coaches Forum), what do you think about a topic dealing with corporate influence in public education. We now have school buses in our District with bank placards on them, and we had a stadium built by Pepsi in exchange for an exclusive contract with our District (no Coke around here).

 

So what about a topic like: Corporate sponsorship of public school endeavors is ethical.

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It is morally acceptable to use animals as a source of entertainment.

 

 

It's fine, but I worry about the amount of topic literature. After the recent seaworld case, and the recent SCOTUS ruling on circuses, there is a lot of specific literature, but I worry about the amount of philosophical literature that isn't just general animal rights philosophy. I guess I am saying that a PF topic about entertainment would make a good idea, I don't think this is the best way to access the value debate.

 

Illegal action to promote animal rights is just. (needs help - perhaps reference civil disobedience)

 

This is a better topic. My real concern is that this topic would be too large. It would require both a strong understanding of direct action and also animal rights. But that is a concern that I'll leave to people with more experience competing and coaching LD than I have.

 

A better language might be, Illegal direct action to promote animal welfare or rights is morally acceptable.

 

The use of animals in experimentation for human products is moral.

 

This one is different than the entertainment one, there is a large and interesting philosophical literature base specifically on the question of experimentation. Though I might reword this one a bit, as well.

 

Experimentation on animals to advance human knowledge is moral.

 

Or something like that.

 

A just society provides rights for all animals.

 

I like that one.

 

 

 

 

Thanks.

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So what about a topic like: Corporate sponsorship of public school endeavors is ethical.

 

Suggested modification: On balance, private sponsorship of public education in the USA is desirable.

 

1. This gets rid of the [iMHO boring and often confusing] legalese about what a corporation is, and about the distinction(s) between non-profit and for-profit corporations, as well as closely-held and public-traded corporations.

2. I suggest the removal of the term "endeavors" because it opens the door to a bunch of wackaddodle cases on projects which might be totally extraneous to education.

3. "Ethical" invites a separate abstract debate on competing ethical systems.

4. I added "in the USA" in an attempt to limite the debate to American education, and also to modify "desirable" in such a way that the Negative might have a modicum of presumption with respect to what is "desirable."

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Suggested modification: On balance, private sponsorship of public education in the USA is desirable.
I like it conceptually, but I think the language as it stands is a bit fuzzy around the edges. Some definitions of "sponsorship," for instance, talk about providing financial support in exchange for advertising opportunities, while others are more vague. I like your substitution of "private" for "corporate," but I'm not sure we'll be able to parse it definitionally. Private citizens give significant gifts to public educational institutions all the time (as witness the debacle a few years back at the University of Missouri, when proud parents Bill and Nancy Laurie--who made a HUGE contribution toward the $75 million cost--wanted to name the new sports arena after their daughter Paige, who had not even attended Mizzou; the idea was scrapped after considerable public outcry). Is that what we want to debate about? I don't think so...

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I have submitted all the topics discussed (whether I cared for them or not) to the NFL wording committee.

 

  • People are basically good.
    When evaluating morality, intent is more important than effects.
    Morality requires placing the needs of others above the needs of oneself.
    When they conflict, justice is more important than mercy.
    A just government prioritizes the needs of future generations above the needs of the current generation.
    In elementary education, academic rigor ought to be valued above the promotion of self-esteem.
    In a democracy, a political candidate's general character is more important than his/her specific actions.
    The USFG should fund and support initiatives fro space colonization.
    When they conflict, safety of the general populace ought to be valued above individual liberty.
    The "war on drugs" has been a moral disaster for the United States.
    The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution has been serially abused by Congress.
    The notion of "group rights" is inimical to the concept of equal protection under the law.
    Education policy in the United States places undue emphasis on quantifiable outputs.
    Property rights are an essential safeguard against tyranny.
    Protecting its citizens from the consequences of their vices is not a legitimate function of government.
    National security is more valuable to society than individual liberty.
    Elective abortion is more immoral than capital punishment.
    Death is preferable to slavery.
    Terrorism is no worse than economic exploitation.
    Democrats are no better than Republicans.
    A good reputation is more valuable than a good education.
    A clean environment is worth more than full employment.
    Poverty is the worst form of violence.
    Iran is a greater threat than North Korea.
    On balance, the United Nations is a failue.
    Good fences make good neighbors.
    Extremism in the denfense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the puruit of justice is no virtue.
    The USFG ought to decrease reliance on the scientific community for policy-making decisions.
    The USFG ought to reform education.
    The USFG ought bolster animal rights laws.
    A just society should do its utmost to ensure the humane treatment of animals.
    Discretion is the better part of valor.
    It is morally acceptable to use animals as a source of entertainment.
    Illegal action to promote animal rights is just.
    The use of animals in experimentation for human products is moral.
    A just society provides rights for all animals.
    On balance, private sponsorship and influence of public education in the US is desirable.

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What about.

 

USFG sponsored foreign aid, specifically military, development, or humanitarian aid, is, on balance beneficial.

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First, it is too late for new topics -- they had to be submitted by May 1.

 

Second, this topic is far too close to the Policy topic for next year, so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make it out of committee.

 

But do keep it in mind and submit it next year.

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First, it is too late for new topics -- they had to be submitted by May 1.

 

Second, this topic is far too close to the Policy topic for next year, so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make it out of committee.

 

But do keep it in mind and submit it next year.

 

VBD, and the NFL say they're do tomorrow, the 15th.

 

But I concur its too policyesque, would you submit:

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid is a just means of ensuring independence in the target nation.

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid is a just means of bringing about social stability in the target nation.

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid ought to be used in furtherance of international stability.

 

Resolved: Military aid is a just means of bringing about social change.

 

All are variations on a theme.

Edited by Cherymenthol

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VBD, and the NFL say they're do tomorrow, the 15th.

 

But I concur its too policyesque, would you submit:

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid is a just means of ensuring independence in the target nation.

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid is a just means of bringing about social stability in the target nation.

 

Resolved: U.S. military aid ought to be used in furtherance of international stability.

 

Resolved: Military aid is a just means of bringing about social change.

 

All are variations on a theme.

 

Why limit it to military aid? Why not include other forms?

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Congratulations to everyone that worked on the Animal Rights resolution wording. It appears (assuming I'm not jumping the gun) that "Resolved: Justice requires the recognition of animal rights." will be on the ballot next year. At least, that's what Jim Menick's most recent post suggests.

 

If you'd like to see the rest of the list, and weigh in, the thread is here: http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=997555

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Why limit it to military aid? Why not include other forms?

 

 

why not?

 

Also because we had sanctions so aid of some kind is important.

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Congratulations to everyone that worked on the Animal Rights resolution wording. It appears (assuming I'm not jumping the gun) that "Resolved: Justice requires the recognition of animal rights." will be on the ballot next year. At least, that's what Jim Menick's most recent post suggests.

 

If you'd like to see the rest of the list, and weigh in, the thread is here: http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=997555

 

 

it will be on the ballot

 

http://victorybriefsdaily.com/2010/06/17/breaking-news-potential-20102011-ld-resolutions-released/

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