Lincoln-Douglas Debate “Case Writing” Tim Cook Salado High School



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Lincoln-Douglas Debate “Case Writing”

Tim Cook Salado High School

  • tim@extemptopicanalysis.com
  • http://www.extemptopicanalysis.com/LD%20Debate.asp
  • What is LD Debate?
  • PowerPoint
  •  
  • Introduction To LD Debate
  • Lecture Notes
  •  
  • Trends in LD
  • Lecture Notes
  • Lincoln-Douglas Case Writing
  • Lecture Notes

Parts of a Case

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Resolutional Interpretation
  • 3. Standard (Value/Criteria)
  • 4. Contentions
  • 5. Conclusions

General Considerations

  • Cases do not win rounds but provide an excellent foundation in order to win rounds
  • Prove what you must prove in order to win
  • Anticipate what the other side may say
  • Select the strongest arguments within the realm of the resolution – don’t select the weakest!
  • Each argument should be an independent reason why the judge should vote for you

General Considerations

  • They are ever changing documents!
  • They should NOT be the same tournament to tournament
  • Plan out responses to what people have said to you.
  • Go through many drafts!
  • Subjects and verbs are your friends – fragments are not.
  • Use rhetoric
  • Internal structure makes all judges happy – words like “First, Second, Next, Sub point A, Sub point B etc)

Introductions

  • Introductions

Overview The introduction is designed to grab the judge's attention and lend emotional support to the position you are about to take. It can be a quote or descriptive paragraph, analogy, or just about anything else. It should lead directly to your side of the resolution, one of your points, or your value. It is best to end the introduction with the resolution, stating something like: For this reason, I stand firmly in support of today's resolution, that...

Introductions State the resolution as it is worded Do not add “not” if you are negating

  • AT A MINIMUM
  • I affirm/I negate
  • State the resolution word for word
  • EXAMPLES
  • #1
  • According to United States Supreme Court Justice Byron White,
  • "[The] basic purpose of [the 4th] Amendment, as recognized in countless decisions of this Court, is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials."
  • Byron White, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, Opinion of the Court, New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985) pg. 335.
  • Because of the critical role of the 4th Amendment, I must affirm today’s resolution
  • Resolved: Drug testing of high school extracurricular activity participants is justified.
  • #2
  • “The only obligation I have a right to assume, is to do at
  • any time what I think right.”
  • Thus wrote Henry David Thoreau in his 19th century
  • essay On Civil Disobedience. Thoreau not only
  • described the role an individual must fulfill as a
  • conscientious member of society, he also described the
  • dire consequences lived by those who never attempt to
  • sway societies conscience.
  • Thus, I stand resolved: “An individual’s obligation to
  • society ought to outweigh societies obligation to the
  • individual.”

Resolutional Interpretation

  • Resolutional Interpretation

Overview

  • Framework/Resolutional Analysis/Observations
  • Here is the most logical place to put any
  • information or arguments pertinent to
  • understanding how you are viewing the
  • resolution. The easiest way to transition from
  • here is just to say, "The resolution requires
  • further clarification" or "My position requires
  • further clarification."

Definitions

  • Give definitions of the words in the resolution, and no
  • others. Anything else that needs to be defined should
  • be when the new word or concept is presented in case.
  • Also, don't define every word in the resolution, only the
  • big ones. Lastly, in the case of resolutional phrases (as
  • opposed to single words) like 'democratic ideals,'
  • always try to find a definition of the phrase, rather than
  • combining the definitions of the individual words. If you
  • can't find that, though, defining the parts is okay.

General Considerations

  • Don’t be abusive with your definitions (use the reasonability standard here)
  • Define only key words and phrases you don’t have to define ALL words in the resolution – some people tend to go overboard.
  • Must have complete source citations (even if you don’t read them)
  • Use contextual definitions whenever possible
  • Give implications
  • You might want to discuss what the word is not.
  • AT A MINIMUM
  • 1. Define key terms
  • 2. Source for definitions
  • Use definitions to strategically set up case
  • Framework – observations and analysis
  • Used to narrow or specify position and justify it
  • Used to decide burdens in the round

Context of the resolution

  • Resolved: A just society ought not use the death penalty as a form of punishment.
  • A just society: this means that we are not tied down to proving that the application of the death penalty in a certain time or place is good, but that a just society ought or ought not use the death penalty.
  • Cannot assume the resolution has some kind of implicit limit (i.e. “We should only talk about examples from America.”) without some kind of textual clue. In this topic, there is no geographic context.
  • What context IS implicit in the resolution: The actor is almost certainly a government or “state” in the just society.
  • EXAMPLES
  • #1 Resolved: Sanctuary cities are morally justified.
  • For clarity I offer the following definition:
  • Lisa Anderson defines Sanctuary cities as cities that adopt a don’t ask, don’t tell policy towards the immigration status of people when it comes to most municipal benefits and services. The policies generally don’t extend to those arrested for criminal offenses or convicted crimes.
  • Anderson, Lisa, “'Sanctuary cities' draw fire, no light,” Chicago Tribune, Tribune national correspondent, December 12, 2007,
  • The implication of this definition is that crime isn’t going to be perpetuated through sanctuary cities. The government still has the ability to punish illegal immigrants through prison or deportation if they commit a criminal offense.
  • #2
  • Resolved: A just government should provide health care to its citizens.
  • First allow me to define a few terms.
  • And Provide as to supply with.
  • Encarta World English Dictionary
  • There are a variety of ways the state could provide health care to their citizens.
  • The implication for the round is the affirmative does not necessarily have to defend socialized medicine. Since the resolution doesn’t specify the way in which the government should provide health care, indicts of specific systems do not actually address the normative question of the resolution. Any system enacted poorly or ineffectively would give way to these arguments, but these arguments do not address the normative question in the resolution - should a state provide health care.

Standard

  • Standard
  • Overview
  • The standard is the value and criteria
  • relationship the debater presents to prove the
  • resolution true or false. All arguments should
  • link to the standard and are “weighed” by them.
  • The value
  • Goal of the round, something you want to achieve
  • The value is the first part of the standards debate.
  • Values are principles we apply to determine if
  • something is good or bad, right or wrong, worthwhile or
  • not. Values are not tangible things you can touch or put
  • on a shelf. Values cannot be proven true or false, and it
  • is sometimes hard to discuss them because they are
  • abstract concepts.

The value

  • Value: The first thing to keep in mind is not to make it too wordy.
  • Ex: My value in today's round will be...
  • Ex: The most important value in the round is my value of...
  • Stick with the simple 'My value is ______, because ________' and
  • here is where you will justify why yours is the better value. The best
  • way to do this is in terms of relevance to the topic. By that I mean
  • that you should explain why your value is what the resolution wants
  • us to debate. It's usually based on wording in the resolution! Ex: 'I
  • value democratic ideals, because it is prescribed by the resolution,'
  • or 'because they are the end specified by the resolution.'
  • Common Values
  • ·         Justice
  • ·         Freedom/ Liberty
  • ·         Life
  • ·         Human Rights
  • ·         Democracy
  • ·         Equality
  • ·         Societal Welfare
  • ·         Legitimate Government
  • ·         Individualism / Autonomy
  • ·         Safety
  • ·         Progress
  • ·         Privacy

Philosopher’s idea

  • Keep in mind that using a philosopher’s idea as
  • a value is generally a very bad idea. Most of the
  • time that’s not even a value! “John Locke's
  • Social Contract” is not a value! Something like
  • “social welfare” or “legitimate government”
  • would be more appropriate.
  • How to choose an appropriate value:
  • A. Identify the object of evaluation
  • For example if the resolution reads: “Drug testing of
  • extracurricular activity participants is justified, the focus
  • of the debate should stem from the values associated
  • with drug testing of extracurricular participants. Thus
  • you should determine which values will be best
  • enhanced by the object of evaluation.
  • Furthermore if the resolution reads: “The public’s right
  • to know is of greater value than the right to privacy of
  • candidates for public office” we find two objects of
  • evaluation. They are the public’s right to know and the
  • candidate’s right to privacy, and you must determine on
  • both sides what value best enhances both objects of
  • evaluation. Thus if the resolution is comparative two
  • different values may be appropriate.
  • B. Identify the evaluative term
  • For example if the resolution reads: “Affirmative action
  • programs are justified in American Society,” the
  • debaters should use the evaluative term, justified, to set
  • the parameters in determining the duties of each
  • debater in affirming or negating the resolution.
  • The evaluative term gives debaters a guideline in
  • determining what must be proved. In the above
  • resolution, justification must be proved. Thus the value
  • could be justice.
  • How to establish a value:
  • A. Provide an adequate and appropriate definition of your value.
  • Most values are abstract, and can have
  • different interpretations by both debaters.
  • Thus when you give a value a specific
  • definition needs to be given.
  • For example look at the value such as legitimate
  • government. Interpretations can be varied on what a
  • legitimate government is. Some could interpret
  • legitimate government as a government that
  • protects individual rights, as others could interpret a
  • legitimate government as a government that provides
  • security for its citizens. Thus a definition must be given
  • to give your opponent and your judge an understanding
  • of what a legitimate government actually is.
  • B. Show the value’s resolutional implications
  • Resolutional implications simply show why your
  • value is intrinsic to the resolution. As a debater
  • you must link how the value is related to the
  • resolution. What words in the resolution brought
  • you to your value? Indicate those words when
  • you are writing. For example, since the resolution
  • questions what a just punishment is the value could be
  • justice.
  • C. Show the value’s implications
  • Implications give an understanding of the
  • importance of the value. It also gives your judge
  • an idea of why your value is needed and is
  • important. In other words, justify your selection
  • as the best, most important, supreme or
  • only one for the debate.
  • For example if your value is morality, you could say…
  • Cambridge Professor Mark Cooray establishes the
  • importance of morality,
  • “Without morality all kinds of injustices and oppressions
  • against individual persons are sanctioned. No society
  • can function efficiently or humanely and no civilization
  • can endure without this value.”
  • The criterion
  • “A standard by which something can be measured or judged...” (UIL Guide Page 10)
  • “….a way to measure or judge whether or not upholding the resolution achieves or enhances the value.”(UIL Guide Page 13)

The criterion

  • Your criterion is comparable to a filter. For example,
  • there may be many ways to achieve justice, but this is
  • one way to achieve it (through an action of the
  • resolution). Your criterion serves as a concrete way to
  • achieve an abstract value, such as justice. For example,
  • you can use "maximizing individual rights" as a criterion
  • for the value social welfare. It doesn't need to be a
  • physical action, but must be concrete enough so that
  • you know how to achieve it, and there is little ambiguity
  • about this. Think of your value criterion as a way to
  • achieve your value.

The criterion

  • The "criterion" or "value criterion" is the conceptual
  • mechanism the debater proposes to achieve and weigh
  • the value. Oftentimes, the debater will simply talk about
  • the criterion, so it is sometimes referred to as the
  • standard, in and of itself. First and foremost, the
  • criterion is how the debater achieves the value.

The criterion

  • A criterion will usually be stated as a gerund (upholding
  • a system of checks and balances).

The criterion

  • Values and criteria can be debated over which
  • provides for a fairer debate, which one
  • is more relevant, if the burden is fulfillable,
  • sufficient, begs, etc.

The criterion

  • So overall the criterion is something you use to achieve
  • your value. Furthermore the criterion is the most critical
  • part of the debate, because it’s the criterion everything
  • should impact back to. The criterion is what you use to
  • weigh the round and all arguments should stem from
  • the criterion debate.
  • How to choose and establish an
  • appropriate criterion:
  • 1. Establish how your criterion achieves your value.
  • You must prove how your criterion achieves your value,
  • or else you are not affirming or negating. This is true
  • because if you are saying you value something, you
  • must prove how you achieve this value in the context of
  • the round. If your value is justice you can’t just say why
  • justice is important, you must also prove why your
  • criterion achieves justice.
  • 2. Provide justifications.
  • Give warrants under your criterion, why your criterion is
  • so important. The more justifications you give, the
  • more offense as to why your standard is more important
  • and why you should affirm or negate.
  • AT A MINIMUM
  • I. State value
  • A. Define value
  • B. Link to resolution
  • C. Importance of the value
  • II. State criterion
  • A. Define criterion (this requires a bright line statement – how do you intend to meet it – how does your opponent violate it?) Spikes out begs
  • B. Explain how is achieves the value, Spikes out insufficient, “Necessary condition” (i.e. it is impossible to achieve the value without achieving the criterion).
  • C. Justifications
  • Best ways to justify criterion:
  • It’s the fundamental part of the value.
  • Prerequisite for other ends
  • It encompasses other ways to achieve
  • EXAMPLES
  • #1
  • I value democratic ideals, because they are specified as
  • the end goal of the resolution. What makes democracy
  • unique from all other forms of government is that the
  • power exists at the level of the people, instead of at the
  • level of a ruling body. Since the people rule themselves,
  • the only job of the government is to act as a rights
  • protector and enforcer of laws, as the individual is
  • incapable of protecting herself against the rest of
  • society. With that in mind, the criterion most inherent to
  • democratic ideals in the context of the resolution is the
  • maximization of rights protection.
  • #2
  • The implicit value is justice. There are several different conceptions
  • of what makes an action just. However all agree that violations of
  • human worth are unjust. According to liberal theories justice is
  • rooted in the individual. Therefore any action that violates the moral
  • worth of a human being would be unjust. Begs
  • More teological theories view justice as being rooted in the
  • communities or society as a whole. However these theories would
  • still condemn violations of human worth amongst a body of
  • individuals. Furthermore, because justice establishes rules for
  • individual interaction, justice inherently entails respect for human
  • worth asserting individuals are worthy of a particular treatment.
  • Thus human worth is a precondition to any system of justice,
  • because we wouldn’t attempt to establish rules for a common good
  • if we could treat individuals however we wanted. Sufficient
  • Thus, the criterion in today’s round is maximizing respect for
  • human worth.
  • #3
  • The value implicit in the resolution is that of morality.
  • This is true because:
  • 1. The resolution questions the proper implementation of standards of morality, without citing any specific ends this implementation is supposed to reach.
  • 2. Ought is a normative statement, which according to the American Heritage Dictionary is used to indicate obligation. The existence of any obligations, external to obligations to oneself, is dependent on the existence of a sense of morality. This is true because, in the absence of morality, there would be no motivation, or societal burden on a person to carry out an action. Therefore, any action necessary to, or resulting in the increase of, morality ought to be undertaken.
  • Necessary to the concept of morality is a respect for human worth.
  • The notion of morality presupposes that there are morally
  • acceptable and unacceptable ways to treat human beings. This is
  • true because systems of morality center on questions of the moral
  • acceptability of actions or concepts with reference to their human
  • consequences. For instance, the harming of an inanimate object for
  • reasons specifically constrained to the worth of that object,
  • independent of any outside effects that harming that object could
  • have, would never be considered immoral. Conversely, the
  • arbitrary harming of a human being is considered unjust inside the
  • parameters that it harms a human being, and does not require
  • analysis of outside effects to determine its justice. Therefore, the
  • protection of human worth is a prerequisite to the existence of the
  • conceptions morality is premised on, making it a prerequisite to
  • justice itself.

Contentions

  • Contentions
  • Overview
  • A contention is debate jargon for points. These
  • points explain how the debater achieves the
  • criterion. In LD there are normally 2-3 main
  • arguments, which have warrants (reasons that
  • they are true) and impacts (why they matter).
  • Thesis statement
  • It should sum up your case position, in that it should
  • give the big reason you are for or against the resolution.
  • For that reason, it involves the criterion.
  • The affirmative’s thesis and sole contention is: The government has a reciprocal obligation to immigrants, since they have tacitly consented.
  • My thesis and sole contention: is that the death penalty respects human life.

Each contention should be a separate reason that you are achieving your criterion. Offense vs. defense The flow below demonstrates 2 offensive examples and one defense example.

  • Contention: death penalty respects human life
  • First, the evidence concerning the deterrent
  • effect of the death penalty is overwhelming.
  • Jacoby
  • Emory University
  • capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect
  • 18 fewer murders
  • Second, protecting guards, other inmates,
  • and innocent killed by murderers paroled
  • Sunstein and Vermeule
  • within-prison homicides of guards and fellow inmates.
  • paroled into the general population, some of them will kill again.
  • the permanent incapacitation of murderers through execution save lives on net.
  • Third, life imprisonment is not sufficient
  • Sunstein and Vermeule
  • a refusal to impose capital punishment will condemn
  • numerous innocent people to death.
  • On moral grounds, a choice that effectively condemns
  • large numbers of people to death is objectionable
  • failure to impose capital punishment is a serious moral wrong.
  • The contention structure
  • Claim: The thing you are arguing.
  • Warrant: The reason your argument is true. This can be your own analysis, but it is almost always more strategic to include a card.
  • Impact:
  • (a)The implications of your argument being true on your criterion (why this argument means you win your criterion, or why your opponent can't win it).
  • (b) There can also be impacts external to your criterion, or at least slightly more removed from it. Don't forget, you can also use evidence to support the fact that your impact will happen. Doing so often makes the impact more believable.

The Toulmin Model of Argumentation

  • Common warrants in LD:
  • 1. Analytical
  • “It is about to rain because it is cloudy”
  • 2. Evidentiary
  • “According to the Washington Post…”
  • 3. Empirically
  • “This happened in Maryland…”
  • Nice to have all three!
  • http://students.ou.edu/S/Charles.R.Swadley-1/argumentation.htm

Fallacies

  • Fallacies - an error in reasoning.
  • http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
  • List 42 common fallacies
  • Ad Hominem
  • Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
  • Appeal to Authority
  • Appeal to Belief
  • Appeal to Common Practice
  • Appeal to Consequences of a Belief
  • Appeal to Emotion
  • Appeal to Fear
  • Fallacy: Slippery Slope
  • Also Known as: The Camel's Nose.
  • Description of Slippery Slope
  • The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:
  • Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
  • Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.
  • This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.
  • Examples of Slippery Slope
  • "We have to stop the tuition increase! The next thing you know, they'll be charging $40,000 a semester!"
  • "The US shouldn't get involved militarily in other countries. Once the government sends in a few troops, it will then send in thousands to die."

Taglines

  • A word should also be said about taglines. You should
  • use the resolutional phrases and your criterion almost
  • every time. The proper way to construct them is as
  • follows:
  • Restrictions on the rights of non-citizens are consistent with democratic ideals because they maximize the rights of all citizens.
  • Other thoughts
  • Aim for a few independent reasons in each contention
  • Check for contradictions
  • Case examples and Illustrations-use them!
  • Make them relevant to the topic!
  • Words provide pictures and give us a vision about what we are voting for and against!
  • Find current day examples if at all possible
  • How to win the contentions:
  • 1. Always link the contentions/ or impact back to the criterion. Don’t go off on tangents within the contention if it has no relation to the criterion. This is true because it’s the standards that allow the judge to weigh the round. How can a judge weigh the contention if that isn’t what you are asking the judge to weigh?
  • 2. Impacts, Impacts, Impacts, Impacts. Impacts allow
  • the judge to weigh in case specific arguments. There is
  • no way the judge can weigh arguments against each
  • other, if the judge doesn’t know the impacts of the
  • arguments. (Magnitude, longevity, timeframe, potential
  • vs. guaranteed)
  • 3. Provide plenty of cards/evidence. While rhetoric is
  • also needed, evidence is essential to any contention.
  • Evidence provides the warrants/impacts that are often
  • overlooked. Furthermore in extending evidence it
  • makes it a lot easier to extend evidence compared with
  • rhetoric. This is true because evidence usually has
  • more structure compared with your own rhetoric.
  • AT A MINIMUM
  • Thesis/Tag line/Contention(s)
  • Claim
  • Warrant
  • Impact
  • EXAMPLE
  • My thesis and sole contention: is that the death penalty undermines the protection of life.
  • Defensive
  • Respect for life demands a heavy moral presumption against deliberate killing. This places a
  • moral burden of proof squarely on the negative.
  • Professor Stephen Nathanson explains,
  • First, they remind us of moral gravity of acts of killing. Second, they show that the initial burden of proof is always on those who favor some form of killing. If deliberate killing is generally wrong, then an act of killing will be wrong unless one can show it to be a justifiable exception to the general prohibition. Furthermore, anyone seriously committed to respecting life will want to insure that the list of justifications for killing will be as short as possible. We show our respect for life by demanding that the taking of life be permitted only when the most powerful reasons have been offered. Casually adding to the list of justifiable exceptions to this principle is inconsistent with the reverence for life which is expressed by opponents and supporters of the death penalty alike.
  • It follows from these points that in the debate about the morality of the death penalty, the moral burden of proof rests on the death penalty supporters. Politically, of course, the burden will shirt, depending on the current state of the law and public opinion. The political burden of proof falls on those who are dissatisfied with the status quo, and opponents of the death penalty now bear that burden because there are many states which permit executions and because approval of this policy is widespread. Nonetheless, from a moral point of view, the initial burden falls on death penalty supporters. It is they who must beat the burden of showing that the use of death as a punishment for murder is morally permissible, that it is not on a par with murder, that is merits inclusion on the list of justifiable exceptions to the general prohibition of killing.
  • Stephen Nathanson, Professor of Philosophy at Norteasteastern University, 2001
  • (An Eye for and Eye? Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD. 2nd Ed. P. 9)
  • The death penalty undermines life in four ways.
  • Offensive
  • First, the death penalty undermines the life of the offender.
  • The death penalty is not justified because the convicted has already been rendered impotent
  • And incapable of harming others. The only instance of justified killing would be in self defense,
  • which excludes the death penalty by definition as it kills in cold blood with no imminent danger to
  • any one.
  • Professor Llyod Steffen elaborates,
  • Because we in moral community recognize and affirm life itself as a good—even a preeminent good—of life, we understand and accept a moral obligation to pursue, protect, and promote this good. Conversely, we understand that killing deprives persons of this basic good. The moral community thus regards killing as a transgression or moral violation of the most serious kind and does not sanction or justify killing except for specific and morally compelling reasons, such as self-defense.
  • Capital punishment is a killing. It has been subject to intense moral scrutiny because it inflicts a directly willed and intended killing, the very kind of killing that is most suspect from a moral point of view. It is a form of killing that springs not from the heat of irrational passion, but from reason and an invocation of justice, yet, ironically, for all its appeal to rationality, it makes no obvious appeal to the most ration reason for justifying a killing on could offer—self-defense. And the lack of grounds for appeal to a rational self-defense argument is practical as well as theoretical, since the person facing execution, by virtue of being confined and removed from society, has been rendered impotent and incapable of harming others.
  • Lloyd Steffen, Pro. Of Religious Studies & Chaplain, Lehigh University, 1998 (Executing Justice, Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, p. 91)
  • Second, the death penalty inherently ends the life of the wrongfully convicted.
  • When the state executes the innocent, it acts contradictory to the protection of life- it terminates
  • life.
  • According to Amnesty International:
  • The likelihood that innocent people will be condemned to death and executed is inherent in all
  • jurisdictions which resort to capital punishment. Few mistakes made by government officials can
  • equal the horror of executing an innocent person. But all systems of justice are fallible; even
  • the extensive legal safeguard within the criminal justice system of the United States of America
  • (USA) have manifestly failed to prevent wrongful death sentences in many cases. Furthermore,
  • many of these basic safeguards have been seriously undermined in recent years, increasing the
  • risk of lethal and irreversible error.
  • Amnesty International, 12 November 1998,
  • http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR510691998
  • Third, the death penalty diverts resources that could be utilized more effectively to protect life.
  • Carol S. Steiker develops,
  • there are always alternative means to prevent such future harms, including policing initiatives
  • and other direct community interventions in the short term, and funding for social programs such
  • as education, health care, mental health services, and drug treatment in the medium and
  • long term. … the threshold deontologist can easily respond that there will always remain the choice
  • between further alternative preventive strategies and capital punishment. We are never likely to
  • achieve a world in which we have reached optimal spending on nonlethal preventive strategies
  • and have nothing left to do but adopt capital punishment. Nor is it likely, in the event that we ever
  • did achieve such a utopian world, that capital punishment could generate, even remotely, the
  • same marginal deterrent effect, in light of the fact that the murders and murderers in such a
  • world would be of a far different genesis than those in the world in which we currently live.
  • On a grander moral scale, preventing murders is only one way in which the state protects the
  • lives of its citizens. It does so also through public health policies, environmental protection,
  • workplace safety regulation, and the like. If the dollars spent on an execution that would prevent
  • eighteen murders could be spent to prevent an equal number of people from dying in workplace
  • accidents or from AIDS without violating any categorical moral prohibition, why should a
  • threshold deontologist agree that any catastrophic threshold permitting violation of such a moral
  • prohibition has been met? Given the costliness of the administration of capital punishment, it
  • seems unlikely that a deontologist would ever properly conclude that the marginal deterrence
  • afforded by executions so far outweighed other possible savings of lives with the same dollars so
  • as to cross some catastrophic threshold.
  • there are many plausible alternative strategies to reducing homicide rates that could feasibly
  • be adopted, the best proof being that some of them have been adopted in some states.
  • Moreover, even if these policies are less politically popular than capital punishment, it is hard to
  • see how that affects the moral duties of those who believe that capital punishment is
  • categorically wrong. Surely, their moral obligation is to work toward feasible alternatives.
  • Carol S. Steiker; Stanford Law Review, Vol. 58, 2005. “No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty”
  • Fourth, the death penalty acts as a signal to society that it permissible to kill.
  • A just society has a moral obligation to refrain from capital punishment because the death
  • penalty symbolically justifies killing and the state will use the power of the death penalty in unjust
  • ways to kill in the name of justice.
  • Lloyd Steffen elaborates,
  • A just society has a moral obligation to refrain from capital punishment, because the death
  • penalty symbolically justifies killing. Plus and the state will use power of the death penalty in
  • unjust ways to kill in the name of justice.
  • The question we must ask, beyond the moral analysis considered up to this point, is what the death penalty actually means as a symbol. Is it an
  • effective symbol for justice, or does it draw its power as a symbol from another symbolic locus another center of meaning and value?
  • The symbolic appeal that capital punishment makes in claim to be just is simple enough to understand, for if justice means returning the offenders
  • their deserts, then the death penalty is the returns desert of an extreme punishment for an extreme crime. The statement “a life for a
  • life” makes a problem arise. The death penalty is an instrument of state policy and action, and its
  • symbol power gets deeper than association with retributive justice; in fact since I can be used as
  • an instrument of state repression, its deeper symbolic value must be said to lie in the values
  • beyond any requirements of justice. The heart of the matter at the level of symbol is that the
  • death penalty represents a rare instance of legitimated killing—like just war, tyrannicide, and
  • self-defense The death penalty as a symbol transforms moral meaning and authorizes such
  • killing, and does so in the in the face of our ordinary moral propitiations against such killing;
  • Ordinarily moral prohibited killings of members of the moral community become permitted acts.
  • The authorization may be sought after in the name of justice, but justice may be effected by
  • other means; and the power to execute, once claimed, can be—and has been—used to effect
  • ends that have nothing to do with serving justice.
  • Lloyd Steffen, Prof. Of religious & chaplain, Lehigh University. 1998, page 143-4
  • (Executing justice, Cleveland: the pilgrim press, p143-4)

Conclusion

  • Conclusion
  • Conclusion
  • This is usually unnecessary, but if you feel you can sum
  • up your case is a rhetorically compelling way, go for it.
  • Otherwise, don't worry about having a conclusion. You
  • usually won't have time for one anyway.
  • Brief 15-20 seconds
  • Last line should be remembered (memorize if at all
  • possible)

THE CASE!

  • I affirm/I negate
  • State the resolution word for word
  • Define key terms
  • (Optional)
  • Framework – observations and analysis
  • State value
  • State criterion
  • Thesis/Tag line/Contention(s)
  • Claim
  • Warrant
  • Impact
  • Conclusion

Other Thoughts

  • Pre-standard arguments
  • Arguments that are evaluated before the standard
  • Resolved: The use of the state’s power of Eminent Domain to promote private enterprise is
  • unjust.
  • Before the negative case I am going to offer two reasons to reject the
  • resolution: the resolution is a normative claim that declares a specific state
  • policy as unjust. Implied within any normative claim is a judgment as to
  • how an agent ought to act. Therefore, any normative assessment of an
  • action presupposes agency on the part of the actor. You would never
  • declare the act of hurricane as unjust, because the hurricane can't make a
  • decision to change its action. The only way in which the state could be
  • considered an autonomous agent, is if the agency of it citizens is
  • translated into policy making. Yet, the bureaucratic process of
  • conglomerating mass opinion into a single government policy, ensures that
  • the agency of a state's citizens is not reflected at the policy level. As such,
  • the state cannot be considered an agent, and therefore state action can't
  • be labeled unjust.
  • Second, it is impossible for the state's use of their power of eminent
  • domain to promote private enterprise. Private enterprise specifically refers
  • to economic activity which is “private,” or independent of the government.
  • When the government subsidizes an industry by giving it money, it is
  • universally understood as a step away from private enterprise and step
  • towards a nationalized economy. The use of eminent domain to give
  • property to corporations is in no way different; the government is using its
  • powers to intervene in the economy and therefore is not promoting private
  • enterprise. As such, the resolution cannot be affirmed because one can't
  • declare an action unjust, if that action can logically never happen.
  • The two overviews demonstrate unique assumptions of the resolution and
  • proves them false.
  • Burdens
  • Something that must be done to win

References

  • How to Construct a Lincoln Douglas Debate Case,
  • http://www.wikihow.com/Construct-a-Lincoln-Douglas-Debate-Case
  • Introduction to LD Debate [PDF],
  • Cherian Koshy and Dr. Seth Halvorson,
  • http://www.nflonline.org/uploads/CoachingResources/IntroductiontoLDDebateOnlineText.pdf
  • Linc UIl


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