I'm pretty new at debating, and I'm having trouble writing cases. (I've been at this computer for the last six hours and still haven't come up with much!)I think either case is workable, with a few tweaks. Here's how I'd go about fixing them.
Here's my affirmative so far:
C1: The right to vote ought to be inalienable for all people in a democratic society
[backed up with evidence, etc.]
And my negative:
Obs.1: Felons = incarcerated AND ex-felons, affirmative must prove both
C1: Currently incarcerated felons are wards of the state and do not pay taxes, thus they should not retain the right to vote.
C2: Felons have shown lack of judgment by committing felonies, thus they cannot be trusted to vote.
Blargh. I'm so bad at this writing cases thing. What should I do?
It seems like your criterion is "protection of rights." If justice is what people are due, then in a democratic society, they are due their rights. Right?
So, let's set up the affirmative this way:
1. The right to vote is inalienable for all people. (Felons are people, too.)Now, for the negative.
2. The right to vote is fundamental to other rights. (Which ties into the third contention.)
3. If felons are disenfranchised, society can use the law to disenfranchise dissent, a precious right in a democracy. (In the South, some disenfranchisement laws were drafted specifically to target African Americans.)
C1 is not very strong, at least compared to other potential arguments. The elderly, for example, often pay zero taxes because all their income comes from social security. Yet they are allowed to vote.
C2 is workable.
C3 might be that felons have violated the social contract.
If the value was societal welfare, and the criterion the Social Contract, we could have two contentions.
C1. Felons' lack of judgment, combined with the right to vote, would threaten social order (thus tearing apart everything the social contract is meant to establish and maintain).
C2. Felons' violation of the social contract inherently warrants disenfranchisement.
Another reader writes,
I was wondering if you knew how Foucault's Normalization theory could be applied to the new LD resolution on felon disenfranchisement.I'm no expert on Foucault--I'll leave that to Josh--but I think Foucault applies to this resolution in several ways. I mention one here.
"Normalization" is the process by which society standardizes its norms as a means of control. Felon disenfranchisement laws are perhaps the least subtle instance of this tactic, since they rely on the reason in the negative C1 listed above: that felons are "abnormal," and thus lose the right to vote. For a primer on Foucault's theory of societal punishment, check out this article.
So, Josh: any other thoughts?