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1NC The affirmatives efforts at equality and justice are a clever ruse of the majority – this form of narcissistic hegemony guarantees the continuation of discrimination – the extension of the gift only strengthens the powers that be – the affirmatives discussion must be de-centered from legal apparatus before a discussion on equality can truly beginArrigo, Bruce and Williams, Christopher (California School of Professional Psychology), 2000 “The (Im) Possibility of Democratic Justice and the "Gift" of the Majority.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.
The impediments to establishing democratic justice in contemporary American society have caused a national paralysis; one that has recklessly spawned an aporetic1 existence for minorities. The entrenched ideological complexities afflicting under- and nonrepresented groups (e.g., poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, crime) at the hands of political, legal, cultural, and economic power elites have produced counterfeit, perhaps even fraudulent, efforts at reform: Discrimination and inequality in opportunity prevail (e.g., Lynch & Patterson, 1996). The misguided and futile initiatives of the state, in pursuit of transcending this public affairs crisis, have fostered a reification, that is, a reinforcement of divisiveness. This time, however, minority groups compete with one another for recognition, affirmation, and identity in the national collective psyche (Rosenfeld, 1993). What ensues by way of state effort, though, is a contemporaneous sense of equality for all and a near imperceptible endorsement of inequality; a silent conviction that the majority still retains power. The “gift” of equality, procured through state legislative enactments as an emblem of democratic justice, embodies true (legitimated) power that remains nervously secure in the hands of the majority. The ostensible empowerment of minority groups is a facade; it is the ruse of the majority gift. What exists, in fact, is a simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1981, 1983) of equality (and by extension, democratic justice): a pseudo-sign image (a hypertext or simulation) of real sociopolitical progress. For the future relationship between equality and the social to more fully embrace minority sensibilities, calculated legal reform efforts in the name of equality must be displaced and the rule and authority of the status quo must be decentered. Imaginable, calculable equality is self-limiting and self-referential. Ultimately, it is always (at least) one step removed from true equality and, therefore, true justice. The ruse of the majority gift currently operates under the assumption of a presumed empowerment, which it confers on minority populations. Yet, the presented power is itself circumscribed by the stifling horizons of majority rule with their effects. Thus, the gift can only be construed as falsely eudemonic: An avaricious, although insatiable, pursuit of narcissistic legitimacy supporting majority directives. The commission (bestowal) of power to minority groups or citizens through prevailing state reformatory efforts underscores a polemic with implications for public affairs and civic life. We contend that the avenir (i.e., the “to come”) of equality as an (in)calculable, (un)recognizable destination in search of democratic justice is needed. However, we argue that this displacement of equality is unattainable if prevailing juridico-ethicopolitical conditions (and societal consciousness pertaining to them) remain fixed, stagnant, and immutable. In this article, we will demonstrate how the gift of the majority is problematic, producing, as it must, a narcissistic hegemony, that is, a sustained empowering of the privileged, a constant relegitimation of the powerful. Relying on Derrida’s postmodern critique of Eurocentric logic and thought, we will show how complicated and fragmented the question of establishing democratic justice is in Western cultures, especially in American society. We will argue that what is needed is a relocation of the debate about justice and difference from the circumscribed boundaries of legal redistributive discourse on equality to the more encompassing context of alterity, undecidability, cultural plurality, and affirmative postmodern thought.
Our alternative is to reject the affirmative in favor of an embrace of the impossibility of justice, this is key to deconstructing the hegemony of the law the only way that we can achieve equalityArrigo, Bruce and Williams, Christopher (California School of Professional Psychology), 2000 “The (Im) Possibility of Democratic Justice and the "Gift" of the Majority.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.
The distinction between justice and law has significant ramifications for the logic of the gift and the discourse on equality in Western civilization. Justice, for Derrida, is not law: “Laws are not just as laws. One obeys them not because they are just but because they have authority” (Derrida, 1992, p. 12);“Justice is what gives us the impulse, the drive, or the movement to improve the law” (Derrida, 1997, p. 16). Justice functions as the catalyst by which laws are enacted, amended, or abolished. Thus, we may speak of the law as a thing: “The law is a physical, written, definable, and enforceable governing force that constitutes the judicial system in all its legality, legitimacy, and authorization” (Caputo, 1997, p. 130). Conversely, justice is not a thing. It is not an existing reality (such as the law) but rather an “absolutely (un)foreseeable prospect” (Caputo, 1997, p. 132). It is through justice as an (im)possibility that the law can be criticized, that is, deconstructed (e.g., Balkin, 1987; Cornell, Rosenfeld, &Carlson, 1992; Landau, 1992). The sufferance of critical deconstructive analysis is that a provisional, relational complicity between (majoritarian) rules and the (minority) transgressions the rules formally forbid threaten the very authority of the law itself and are discoverable through (un)foreseeable justice (Derrida, 1992, p. 4). Revealing the slippages between law and justice becomes progressively transparent and represents incentive to seek justice—absent the imposition of laws (the [im]possible, “just” law). It is this activity of displacing or dissociating law and, thus, moving toward justice that makes convalescence possible in the sphere of the legal.9 Moreover, it is through this (im)possibility that democracy strives for justice when deconstructively examining the law. In this context, a critique of juridical ideology mobilized by the (im)possibility of justice becomes a tool for a sociopolitical equality, its basis being the “desedimentation of the superstructures of law that both hide and reflect the economic and political interests of the dominant forces of society” (Derrida, 1992, p. 13). In other words, the inherent injustice of law as a performative force becomes the subject of disclosure. Thus, in a sense, deconstruction is justice. “Justice as the possibility of deconstruction” is what makes the spectre of equality (in)calculable, (un)recognizable, and (un)knowable (Derrida, 1992, p. 15).10 Derrida’s position on the (im)possible, as applied here to justice and equality, is not so much that it is beyond the exclusionary law-like limits of the possible as much as it is within it. The (im)possible both constitutes the outside-within of the possible and deconstructively disrupts the seemingly self-contained but actually haunted or forever aporetic dimension of everything that appears as possible. In this way, the (im)possible is never an end-state as much as it is a forever passing moment, that is, a materialist tremor and/or poetic glimpse of an otherwise displaced alterity that itself repetitiously displaces (but never absolutely replaces) the partial and provisional authorized legalities it opens up. In this sense, there is a spiraling motion to Derrida’s deconstruction followed by a law-like (although aporetic) reconstruction. These reconstructions are exemplars of justice and its (im)possibility. Much of the distinction between law and justice has implications for the gift (of equality) and the (im)possibility of justice as equality: “The gift is precisely, and this is what it has in common with justice, something which cannot be reappropriated” (Derrida, 1997, p. 18).11 Once a gift is given, if any gratitude is extended in return, the gift becomes circumscribed in a “moment of reappropriation” (Derrida, 1997, p. 18). Ultimately, as soon as the giver knows that he or she has given something, the gift is nullified. The giver congratulates him- or herself, and the economy of gratitude, of reappropriation, commences. Once the offering has been acknowledged as a gift by the giver or receiver it is destroyed. Thus, for a gift to truly be a gift, it must not even appear as such. Although it is inherently paradoxical, this is the only condition under which a gift can be given (Derrida, 1991). This is the relationship between the gift and justice. Justice cannot appear as such; it cannot be calculated as in the law or other tangible commodities (Derrida, 1997). Although Derrida acknowledges that we must attempt to calculate, there is a point beyond which calculation must fail and we must recognize that no amount of estimation can adequately assign justice (Derrida, 1997). For equality (like the “gift beyond exchange and distribution”; Derrida, 1992, p. 7) to be possible, we must go beyond any imaginable, knowable notion. This is why the gift and justice are conceptually (im)possible (Desilva Wijeyeratne, 1998). They serve a necessary purpose in society; however, they represent something to always strive for, something that mobilizes our desire. If the impossible was possible, we would stop trying and desire would die. Justice, and thus democracy, is an appeal for the gift. As Derrida (1992) notes, “this ‘idea of justice’ seems to be irreducible in its affirmative character, in its demand of gift without exchange, without circulation, without recognition of gratitude, without economic circularity, without calculation and without rules, without reason and without rationality” (p. 25). The gift (of equality), like justice and democracy, is an aporia, an (im)possibility. Thus, the use of the gift as a transaction in the name of equality, and equality in the name of justice and democracy, is truly (un)just, (un)democratic, and (in)equitable. The gift is a calculated, majoritarian endeavor toward illusive equality. Equality beyond such a conscious effort (i.e., where the illusion is displaced) is open-ended and absent of any obligatory reciprocation. As Caputo (1997) notes, “justice is the welcome given to the other in which I do not . . . have anything up my sleeve” (p. 149). With this formula of equality and justice in mind, one may still speculate on the law’s relationship to the gift. But again, the law as a commodity, as a thing to be transacted, eliminates its prospects as something to be given.
Rendering justice as calculable and measurable is the root cause of human devaluation- the aff functions to destabilize value to lifeDillon, Michael (U of Lancaster). “Another Justice.” Political Theory, 1999. Sage Journals, accessed July 9, 2009.
Economies of evaluation necessarily require calculability.35 Thus no valuation without mensuration and no mensuration without indexation. Once rendered calculable, however, units of account are necessarily submissible not only to valuation but also, of course, to devaluation. Devaluation, logically, can extend to the point of counting as nothing. Hence, no mensuration without demensuration either. There is nothing abstract about this: the declension of economies of value leads to the zero point of holocaust. However liberating and emancipating systems of value—rights—may claim to be, for example, they run the risk of counting out the invaluable. Counted out, the invaluable may then lose its purchase on life. Herewith, then, the necessity of championing the invaluable itself. For we must never forget that, “we are dealing always with whatever exceeds measure.”36 But how does that necessity present itself? Another Justice answers: as the surplus of the duty to answer to the claim of Justice over rights. That duty, as with the advent of another Justice, is integral to the lack constitutive of the humanway of being.