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LD Debate
Message Board
  May-June 2000 LD Topic Analysis, by Captain Nitro

Resolved:  Inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.

Topic Analysis will be revised and expanded periodically.   Be sure to check back often for more.









After strings of policy-oriented topics, the 2000 National's Resolution promises a return to more philosophically based value debate, with this contest most likely decided in the values, criteria, and definitions, rather than in the contentions and evidence cards.  (Of course this is really just a more philosophical version of the National Intervention topic, which was really just a more philosophical version of the Economic Sanctions topic)

One pre-topic analysis observation for both debaters; resist as much as possible the temptation to use old evidence and examples from Economic Sanctions and military intervention for this topic.  Many judges have now heard four months of Economic Sanctions and Intervention arguments, and appealing to "Iraq," "Rwanda," or "We ended apartheid with economic sanctions," is not going to win you any points.  In fact one of the key challenges for this topic may be in finding different evidence and examples for an all to similar topic.

The Affirmative (In progress)

Overall the Affirmative will have to prove in some form, a moral obligation on the part of each of us to act in the face of injustice.  Of course the Aff. has many potential ways of going about this.  First, Aff. could look to simple value/criterion combinations such as Justice/Moral Obligation.

Position 1:  The Moral Obligation to Justice

The Justice/Moral Obligation case essentially states that one has a moral obligation to actively uphold justice, and thus is morally culpable for failing to uphold this.  Other criteria that would essentially be the same might include Moral Duty, Duty, or Individual Duty.  In a debate with this combination, critical foci for the Aff. would include the superiority of Justice as the highest or only value to which actions should strive.  If the Aff. fails to do this, the Neg. can quickly call into question acting in obligation to justice at the expense of "other values," or "more justice in the long run."  This could quickly degrade into an ends-based argument that neither side can really win.  Moral obligation must also be defended in the absolute. If it is lost, the round is over, as no one could be culpable for failing to do something that he or she had no obligation to do.

"Why Justice?" the Neg. will ask.  First Justice is strongly suggested by the resolution, since by affirming it we are faulting people for failing to actively uphold it.  Thus Aff. really has only to show that Justice is paramount and that all of us must uphold it universally.  Essentially Justice could be considered valuable either in and of itself, as Plato stated, or valuable for what it produces.  The good Affirmative will say it is both.



The Negative (Coming Soon)


Recommended readings and Resources





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