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My thoughts on the 2011-2012 Resolutions

posted May 24, 2011, 2:36 PM by Anthony Severin   [ updated Jun 20, 2011, 1:17 PM ]

Below are my thoughts on the resolutions. Further debate over which topic to debate would be appreciated.

Policy Resolutions:

Initial thoughts: My first impression may be summed up in one character: “!”. Right. I’m not horribly excited about any of them, but I think there’s still a possibility for a good year.


Recommendation: Resolution A—because of its relevance, potential for creativity, while still maintaining a semblance of limitations, allowing for deep debates.

  1. This is my choice for a policy resolution. You may be surprised at this being my choice. I am too. I wrote on HSD something to the effect of: “We’re asking homeschoolers to talk about public education? Oh, this sounds good.” More seriously, that is probably your first impression as well—and a legitimate one. However, if you read the topic critically, you’ll quickly come to understand that we’re talking about the federal DoED—not public education directly. The delineation is important to make—the federal government actually has a fairly limited hand in public education, which is mostly considered a state and local issue. Furthermore, the DoED also includes higher education, which is a much better topic to debate. In fact, I submitted a resolution dealing with higher education because of the tremendous issues going on—rising tuition costs are causing people to question the value of college, questions regarding the quality of education, etc.. Though this is a fairly broad resolution, we’ve always had that issue here in the NCFCA . Thus, I like this resolution—if not because it’s a pretty fun debate to have, then because the other choices aren’t good resolutions.
  2. This was my first impression. Criminal justice isn’t exactly a hot topic in the media right now, but it sounded interesting. Then I realized: (A) the resolution is referencing federal criminal justice here, and (B) the state and local governments handle 99.99% of criminals. Even the states handle the War on Drugs. This is the best reference to what exactly the federal government does:  That said, there are certain cases the federal government prosecutes—tax evasion, counterfeiting , and according to Wikipedia, the theft of major artwork from a museum (?). This would make argumentation relatively inaccessible to younger debaters and novices. That said, if you feel so led, have fun debating about Native American criminals and stolen artwork. ;) (the linked article was, in fact a joke-- though it may not be obvious, the page is specifically referencing the Office of Tribal Justice)
  3. It may seem interesting at first (as it did to me), but I think it’ll become apparent that it looks good from an affirmative standpoint—but looks crazy ridiculous from a negative perspective. This was and is my last choice. Two primary reasons: (A) horrible wording. The “United States  should significantly reform its homeland security policy.” The “United States” doesn’t specify the federal government. Thus, you *will* see teams running cases that mandate the *states* do things differently. This means you will have roughly TWICE the number of cases in an already broad resolution. (B) Unbeatable cases. Abolish the TSA scanners. I can think of exactly one legitimate argument against it—and that’s a states CP, something that most people have never run before or would consider running. There is so much wrong with our homeland security policy it’s not even funny—and this resolution would be ridiculous to try and prepare for as a negative.

So those are my recommendations for policy resolutions. Please vote A—or anything but  C. ;)



LD resolutions:

Initial thoughts: I wish I had another year—I would totally do LD.


Recommendation: Resolution A. It’s a classic debate with a ton of arguments, tons of potential for creativity and excitement.

  1. Yesyesyes. This is the classic debate between due process and crime control. Due process focuses on protecting the defendant’s rights—crime control focuses on punishing the criminal. Both are important, but what do you do when they conflict? Should you violate the defendant’s rights if you’re pretty sure he’s guilty but don’t have probable cause? What if he’s innocent? If someone refuses to be searched, does that mean we should assume they have something to hide? Or are they just upholding their rights? All of these questions have tons of clash and controversy around them, and, furthermore, are relevant.
  2. Second choice. The Economist held a debate on something similar—I found it interesting, if a bit boring at times. Currently, economists and sociologists measure a lot of things off of GDP per capita—is this still justified or is it outdated? Poorer countries are, on average, less happy than affluent countries, but within affluent countries the same correlation does not hold true (that is poor people in affluent countries are not necessarily less happy than richer people in affluent countries). So is economic prosperity overvalued? I think this resolution is interesting, but also very shallow. I have virtually zero enthusiasm for an entire year of debating this—the arguments could be very generic and debaters would not benefit substantially from additional research/thought/argumentation on this topic after a half a year goes by.
  3. The worst resolution I have seen in my life. With the possible exception of a college parli resolution: “Resolved: This house should live like Lady Gaga.” (I love metaphorical rezs, but this one’s pushing it). With resolution C there are literally no legitimate negative arguments, is incredibly shallow and holds few rewards for deep argumentation. And I’ll leave it at that.

Those are my thoughts. A and A. I’ll be making an announcement soon regarding my involvement in homeschool debate next year, so be looking forward to that.


Thanks for reading—have a good year!