Oct 12, 2008

value and criterion pairs for the felon voting resolution

Here are several value/criterion structures to consider for the November/December resolution, "In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote." Each value is chosen under the assumption that it could be defended as the core value of a democratic society.

I won't say which goes with either side; many, if not all, could apply to either Aff or Neg. That's determined largely by the arguments and evidence you assemble.

This is a first draft; as I go along, I'll add analysis to every offering.

Feel free to suggest your own--which I'll tack on at the bottom--or critique the various offerings, in the comments.

V: Human Rights
C: International Law
A democratic society, to be truly democratic, must uphold human rights. (You can figure out why.) Since the resolution does not specify a particular society, we can't be 100% certain which rights must be protected. Best, then, to look to the prevailing standards of international law--the rights that people across societies, cultures, and even times have agreed are essential. Is this criterion open to attack? Certainly. But it also presents a clear, highly defensible set of rights (and jurisprudence as evidence).

V: Freedom
C: Protecting Human Rights
Perhaps human rights themselves are only means to a greater end: freedom. Once you explain why freedom is the ultimate value of a democratic society, you can explain why prserving rights is essential to human freedom. Note that this structure works well for Aff or Neg; you have to provide the reasoning for either.

V: Justice (defined as "to each their due," or a similar concept)
C: Retribution

V: Justice
C: Another applicable criterion for punishing felons

V: Justice
C: Rawls' first principle of justice (or, more generally, the Rawlsian social contract)

V: Moral Pluralism
C: Tolerance

V: Societal Welfare
C: Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is quite possibly the closest allied moral framework with democracy. After all, if the goal is the greatest good for the greatest number, what better way, societally, to achieve this than through democratic means? If the ultimate aim of a democratic society is its own well-being, then utilitarianism offers a way to determine whether felons' suffrage adds to or detracts from overall happiness.
Strategy for Success: Be sure to show how Util leads to SW. Watch out for the "50.01% can kill 49.99%" response, an oversimplification of Util. Learn about the nuances and varieties of Utilitarianism.

V: Autonomy
C: Respecting Human Rights

V: Human Dignity
C: Respect for Autonomy

V: Justice
C: Equal protection of the laws

V: Societal Welfare
C: The rule of law

V: Human Rights
C: Locke's Social Contract

V: The General Will
C: Rousseau's Social Contract

V: Societal Welfare
C: Upholding Moral Standards
Morality is good because it holds society together. (There may be social contract implications lurking beneath the surface of this structure.) If the core value of a democratic society, then we are justified in punishing those who commit offenses against morality.
Strategy for Success: This criterion respects differences across societies, since the resolution doesn't specify any particular society. However, it also leaves one open to the attack that morality is difficult to define and agree upon, even with in a society.

V: Justice (defined in terms of morality)
C: The Categorical Imperative
According to Kant, moral actions are good in and of themselves. Furthermore, Kantian theory applies to all rational agents, which are the foundation of a democratic society. Felons are rational agents, and must adhere to the Categorical Imperative. Those who punish them are bound by moral obligation to punish them to the fullest.
Strategy for Success: Many people misunderstand Kant and the Categorical Imperative, so make sure you do the research first.

V: The Common Good
C: Deliberative Democracy
The resolution concerns the aim of a democratic society, and the balanced or opposed interests of innocents and criminals. If deliberative democracy is the moral means to the common good, and felons threaten the deliberative process when they are allowed suffrage, then we ought not allow felons the right to vote.
Strategy for Success: Requires quality research and a quality debater. Not for beginners.

I think that reader Anand's analysis here is better than my hastily conceived idea. (Scroll down through the comments to see the discussion.) Anand writes,
Jim, I think we agree that deliberative democracy isn't directly applicable.

But I was just thinking about it, and one could argue that since the resolution is discussing what felons ought to have in a democracy, it requires a picture of what a democracy ought to be.

Obviously a democracy can exist regardless of whether felon can vote. So the challenge is showing that enfranchising felons leads (or doesn't lead on the neg) to a more ideal democracy.

Therefore, if you can show that your conception of an ideal democracy is more ideal than your opponent's, and if your ideal demands felon suffrage, you should win.

I don't think that I'm necessarily using deliberative democracy, but my case will have a strong Rawlsian framework with additional analysis on punishment and ideal democracy from behind the veil.
V: Freedom
C: Libertarianism / Minimal State


Q Agent said...

awesome, time for some argument block building!

Dan said...

Hey Jim, can you explain a little more how you would use protection of rights, as a criterion, to uphold a Value of democracy, like which law(s) for instance. Thanks.

Jim Anderson said...

dan, are you talking about protection of rights, or equal protection under the law? In the first case, the point is that rights must be protected to preserve a democratic society. In the second case, I'd suppose the better value would actually be justice, since that's what "equal protection" leads to. In fact, I'm going to update the post to reflect that.

okiedebater said...

Would it be possible to run an Aff with a setup of:

V: Justice
Cr: Utilitarian Punishment

The Internet Encyclopedia essentially says that the three justifications utilitarians use to justify punishment are:
1) Deterrence
2) Incapacitation
3) Rehabilitation

Then, it would just have to be proven that removing a felon's right to vote does not achieve any of these, and could in fact work against them.

-Regarding deterrence, given the low rate of involvement in elections (and especially among ex-felons), the loss of the right to vote seems insignificant as a deterrent factor when compared to imprisonment. (This is especially true with the large number of felony cases that involve drugs due to increasingly harsh drug laws)
-Regarding incapacitation, removing the right to vote would not make it impossible for a felon to commit another crime; there is not incapacitation.
-Regarding rehabilitation, it seems that one of the best ways to achieve it would be to try to help felons and ex-felons feel involved in their society, rather than excluded. In this way, removing the right to vote could be detrimental from a utilitarian perspective.

In these ways, removing the right to vote fails to achieve Justice from the standpoint of Utilitarian Punishment, and should therefore be rejected. This train of thought could potentially work as a case, or more likely as a block against a Neg. that is utilitarianism-based.

okiedebater said...

Another random idea trying to turn Utilitarianism Aff:
Arguing that in a democracy, having a universal dialogue/vote produces the greatest good for the greatest number. As a result, by removing felons' right to vote, we are preventing that. EVEN IF the previous three arguments against utilitarianism supporting removing felons' right to vote fell, it would be possible to argue that the negative effect of removing the vote would outweigh any deterrent/incapacitative/rehabilitative benefits.

Jim Anderson said...

okiedebater, your Util thoughts are exactly what I had been mulling over, but hadn't gotten around to posting.

It should be mentioned that the link between Utilitarianism and Democracy is not automatic. Democratic societies are rarely simple majority rule; they contain checks to limit the power of the majority, to ensure that minorities aren't trampled upon.

And, of course, it all depends on exactly what the "greatest good" is...

Anonymous said...

i used to do policy debate, but now im new in LD and i wanted to knwo if it wud be ok to use
v: Societal welfare
c: Utilitarianism
for a neg case??

okiedebater said...

Anonymous, I think that it would definitely be possible to run Societal Welfare as a V with Utilitarianism as your VC. However, you would need to have some empirical evidence trying to prove some flaw in felons' decision-making which would make it such that their having the right to vote would endanger the greater good, and thereby societal welfare.

okiedebater said...

Regarding definitions, I think there are lots of ways with this resolution to frame it to where it is advantageous to your side (without your opponent catching on until after they've already agreed to your definitions).

-When defining "felons", it is to the Aff's advantage to select the broadest definition possible. Two examples, both from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary are:

"1. (Law) A person who has committed a felony.
2. A person guilty or capable of heinous crime."

With this first definition, one is making sure that the debate is not necessarily about currently incarcerated felons, but anyone who has ever committed a felony. This could include ex-felons (those who have completed their terms) and pardoned felons.

(Out of curiosity, would the Neg even make a distinction between a felon and a pardoned felon? IS there any inherent distinction that would account for different rights? Can justice be sold?)

With the second definition of felon, one could try to make the argument that almost anyone is capable of a heinous crime depending upon circumstances. This one is admittedly more of a stretch (unless you've seen the classic Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movie "Adam's Rib")

-Regarding "ought", the affirmative or negative have several options, depending on if their cases are consequentialist or retributive/deontological. An example of the two (from the American Heritage Dictionary) are:

1 Used to indicate obligation or duty.
2 Used to indicate advisability or prudence

The first is deontological while the second is consequentialist. This is the kind of definition that if your opponent let's you use, it can really become important in a rebuttal as you've already created a foundation as to why your philosophy is more relevant/paramount/superior.

-When defining "retain", there are not nearly as many options that are beneficial to Aff. The Neg can use definitions that obviously include currently incarcerated felons. If this is detrimental to your Aff case, I would suggest going with a definition such as this one, from Princeton University's WordNet 3.0:

"secure and keep for possible future use or application"

This seems to at least give the possibility that is something that can be put off for a later time, thereby potentially excluding incarcerated felons while still being a fair reading of the resolution (assuming, of course, that your opponent doesn't provide and defend a more typical counter-definition, such as "To maintain possession of" from the American Heritage Dictionary)

-I will try to find some good definitions for "democratic society" and "right to vote" later. The last (and probably most controversial) definition I want to put is "a". Yes, the word "a". It seems to me that there could be room to argue based off of this (Of course, as someone who has won a round based off of the definition of the word "is", I always think there's ground to argue). The options I see in this word are conditionality versus universality. While a "conditionality statement" (a statement that one just needs to prove one example to be true to uphold one's burden of proof) is never agreed to, a definition of "a" will most likely be passed by. Here are two definitions of "a", both from Dictionary.com Unabridged:

1. not any particular or certain one of a class or group: a man; a chemical; a house.
2. a certain; a particular

The first would be a foundation for the argument that this would have to apply to ANY democratic society. The second would be more similar to a veiled conditionality statement, as it could be a foundation for saying that you are proving that felons ought to maintain the right to vote in a particular democratic society.
This could be a tough sell depending on your judges, but your opponent would most likely not expect you to define the word "a", much less argue anything based off of it.
(Note: I realize you probably wouldn't want to use a dictionary.com Unabridged definition. There are other definitions that are similar and could potentially lead to the same arguments, although they are not as clear)

That's all for now. More definitions and/or random thoughts to come later.

Jim Anderson said...

okiedebater, your definitions are worthy of their own guest-blogger post. Mind if I put them up on the front page? (You'd better not, because I'm going to.)

okiedebater said...

It's fine by me if you put them up.

Julia said...

ok i have individual agency as my VC and i had democracy as my V but my coach didn't like that any suggestions as to what i should use as my new V i thought maybe equality would be a good one??

Julia said...

ok i have individual agency as my VC and i had democracy as my V but my coach didn't like that any suggestions as to what i should use as my new V i thought maybe equality would be a good one??

Matt said...

k I am writing an affirmative case at the moment and i just want to know if people think my VC,Cv pair would work.

VC:Preservation of Democracy

Debatabot said...

I've been workign on cases for a while and am wondering if Political equality would work better as a V or C. (or if it would work at all)


Sexy Beast said...

I think it work better, matt, if you valued democracy and then used your criterion to show how democracy is preserved, i.e. by respecting Mills Marketplace of Ideas, or by respecting Locke's Social Contract.

matt said...

problem with social contract is that it works pretty well with the neg so it can easily be turned, Market place of ideas would be interesting though.

The idea is Democracy=Justice--Preservation of democracy=upholding justice---Resolution=upholding democracy Resolution=Just

I did it like a syllogism sort of...

Sexy Beast said...

Here is how I link the Marketplace of Ideas in my AFF:

In order to determine whether a democracy exists, we must assess whether it grants every citizen a say in its actions. Therefore, my criterion for achieving democracy is Respecting Mills Marketplace of Ideas. Mills Marketplace of Ideas is a hypothetical realm, such as a congress or a town hall meeting, where every idea can be discussed thoroughly, where every voice can be heard. It is important to note, however, that Mill believes that in this hypothetical realm, no idea or belief can be ignored or considered unjust until it is thoroughly discussed. Therefore, no voice can be silenced until that voice can be heard. Michael Blazek, author of the Blaze-on Briefs, explains. “When anyone, either individually or collectively, silences a voice, the entire humankind are deprived of it, and thereby harmed.” So for the ultimate truth to emerge, every voice simply must be heard. Many values such as autonomy, truth, and justice can be achieved from respecting Mills Marketplace of Ideas, but perhaps the most relevant one is democracy. And since democracy is a government made up of the people, democracy cannot be achieved without respecting Mills Marketplace of Ideas. So if we violate this criterion by silencing the voices of the citizens in society, then we do not have a democracy.

And of course I'd run the social contract on the neg, I don't see how it could go affirmative.

matt said...

you could technically run SC on aff. you could say well, since felons are still required certin things of society they have not removed themselves from that society

Rod said...

Agreed, but if your saying that because of that Locke's SC doesn't technically follow the ideals of a democracy, I believe that would be a reason why we shouldn't use Locke to evaluate the reason (on either sides, so its like a critcal attack on the link between Locke and democracy.)

Anonymous said...

So the deliberative democracy VC caught my attention. But in this case is it assumed that the resolution refers only to deliberative democracies? Or its that how you attempt to characterize the term democracy?

I was thinking of using a value of deliberative democracy with Rawl's Social contract as my criterion, but am not sure if/how to justify deliberative democracy as being akin to democracy.

I'm sure I could talk my way through it in a debate, and make it seem the case, but it seems that I'd be exaggerating the truth.

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, after thinking about it, I'm not sure that Delib. Dem. can work with this resolution, at least on the affirmative, since deliberative democrats tend to value deliberation over strict voting.

The Rawlsian values of equal and free participation, though, as elucidated by his student Joshua Cohen, would make a strong framework. Wikipedia has a nice introduction to his thought.

lika said...

hi jim,
im a novice and im still developing my case writing skills.....well im going to use "denying felons the right to vote is undermining a democracy" as a contention on my aff. what good cards could i use to support this contention?

p.s. is american heritage dictionary a legit source for definitions?

Anand (aka Anonymous) said...

Jim, I think we agree that deliberative democracy isn't directly applicable.

But I was just thinking about it, and one could argue that since the resolution is discussing what felons ought to have in a democracy, it requires a picture of what a democracy ought to be.

Obviously a democracy can exist regardless of whether felon can vote. So the challenge is showing that enfranchising felons leads (or doesn't lead on the neg) to a more ideal democracy.

Therefore, if you can show that your conception of an ideal democracy is more ideal than your opponent's, and if your ideal demands felon suffrage, you should win.

I don't think that I'm necessarily using deliberative democracy, but my case will have a strong Rawlsian framework with additional analysis on punishment and ideal democracy from behind the veil.

What do you think?

Jim Anderson said...

Anand, that's so spot-on, that I'm going to post it up above as a clarification.

Lydia said...

I'm considering running a negative case with Societal Welfare as my premise. Would Negative Utilitarianism serve well as a criterion?

Jim Anderson said...

Lydia, it might work, but it might also pale in comparison to a positive theory of rights or ethics.

Lydia said...

Thank you.

And if you don't mind me asking another question, how would you link societal welfare to the resolution (I mean, why look to that standard)?

I've been attempting to type up a clear link, but I'm unable to do so concisely.

Jim Anderson said...

You can argue that democracy is a means to an end--a virtuous and fair way to decide what's best for society through the formation of policy and law. Thus, its overarching concern should be the welfare of its participants in the aggregate, rather than as isolated individuals. (The phrase "democratic society" here is key.)

Anand said...

I just thought of an idea on the neg, but need a little help working it out / finding evidence.

The resolution speaks of felons retaining their rights. so to negate, felons must not retain their voting rights. There are at least two ways this could occur:

1. The state disenfranchises felons

2. Felons voluntarily forfeit their right to vote

So the argument I'm trying to formulate is the second case.

Felons were part of the social contract, and violated it by committing a felony.

The right to vote and participate in government is contingent on accepting and following the social contract.

Because felons violated the contract, and failed to fulfill their obligation to the government, they ought not attempt to force the government to fulfill its side of the deal (voting).

Can you thing of any strong ways to support the idea that felons ought to forfeit the right since they violated the contract?

This branch of thought was inspired by the Foucault quote with Furman's analysis about how a criminal actually supports their punishment. I'm having a hard time finding anything concrete to quote/apply.

Jim Anderson said...

Anand, is it safe to presume that felons realize they're losing the right to vote? Since, for example, every state has its own rules, and since, as I argue elsewhere, the laws disenfranchising felons are applied by regulation--a judge never says, as part of a ruling, "you have twenty years in prison and you lose the right to vote"--felons may have no idea that they've lost, or are about to lose, that right by committing a felony.

Anand said...

I guess I was looking at it from the perspective that the felon likely knows they are violating the social contract, and because they did not adhere to their portion of the contract, they ought not make the democracy adhere to its portion (voting).

But how important is knowledge of the potential disenfranchisement? If I don't know I'm committing a crime I'm still legally culpable, and teleological ethics would still deem the action unjust.

Can you think of any sources where I could find solid philosophical backing for the notion that it is unfair to expect the other party of a contract to fulfill their obligations if you do not fulfill yours?

Jim Anderson said...

The felon's action can be addressed on many levels, some of which include...

1. They've harmed someone else.
2. They've violated a moral code.
3. They've broken the social contract.
4. They've violated the law prohibiting that action.
5. They've come under the regulation of the statute that disenfranchises those who committed a felony.

I think it's reasonable to assume, prima facie, that criminals know #1, #2, and #4. #3 takes some work. But #5? Since the punishment is never made explicit at the time of sentencing, it's entirely possible that felons are unaware of their disenfranchisement--especially in a system like the U.S.'s, where 50 states have at least 3 different approaches.

Since #5 is not a necessary feature of a democratic society--and you could pin your opponent on this by asking if, for example, Vermont or Maine qualify as democratic societies--then a felon who is unaware of the regulatory statute can hardly be said to have "voluntarily" given up the franchise.

In other words, I'm drawing a distinction between the "mens rea" needed to commit a crime--if the felon is convicted that bar has already been reached--and the similar "mens rea" concerning the (arbitrary?) disenfranchisement statute.

As for the philosophy of contracts, perhaps SEP's entry on "promises" might help.

Chris Palmer said...

If I were to argue that the value criterion of this topic, would I be commiting the logical fallacy of a circular argument?

In a democratic society,felons ought to retain the right to vote.

Value: democracy
Support: Democracy is(or Democratic values are) the goal of democracy. (Given that democracy provides the most just form of government possible?)

(Given that democracy provides the most just form of government possible?) - this would then turn it into the value criterion of justice, because of equivocation.

Jim Anderson said...

Chris, you don't have to argue that democracy is the most just form of government, because the resolution lets you presume a democratic society. In other words, you don't have to explain why democracy is good, but, rather, what goods democratic societies value.

So, if your value is justice, first show why/how justice is valued in a democratic society, and then why/how disenfranchisement is or isn't justice (through your choice of a criterion for justice).

Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Could i use on the aff a value of equality and Criterion of Hobbes Social Contract Theory??

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous, the Hobbesian social contract usually works better with a value of security.

Anand said...

Chris, I think Jim answered the question of justifying using democracy well, but thought I'd toss in my two cents (which is a restatement of what I've already posted in response to this post).

The resolution wants to know what ought to occur in a democratic society. this clearly implies that there must be some sort of democratic ideal, so you have to know and show what a democratic society ought to be.

Depending on which side you are debating, characterize the ideal democracy as one that either allows felons to vote or denies them the right.

If you can win the debate about what an ideal democracy would be characterized by, then it should be a simple matter to demonstrate that felons voting moves a society closer or further from the ideal, and therefore ought (not) occur.

With this type of argument, you don't have to defend the principle of democracy at all. democracy could be unjust, immoral, and pure evil, but since it is the premise of the resolution, it doesn't matter.

Also, since many people use values other than democracy and fail to clearly outline what an ideal democracy ought to be, they leave themselves open to two major attacks. First it allows you to argue in your rebuttals/final speech that first your opponent's value is irresolutional because they haven't linked it to democracy strongly. Second you can tell the judge that in evaluating the resolution they must base the arguments' merit on whether they move a society closer to YOUR ideal, because your opponent has provided no alternative framework.

If the round is judged based on your framework with its bias towards your side of the resolution, it is hard to lose.

Also, it forces your opponent to attack a comprehensive political philosophy from which your arguments flow. So as long as you know the philosophy you choose better than your opponent, and you make sure to apply it correctly and read up on response to criticism, you should be able to overcome objections to your framework.

Anyways, Jim, thanks for the link. I had searched more on contractual obligations, but didn't think of promises.

I was wondering if you could help me with my neg. Even though I won my tournament this weekend, I feel my neg is significantly weaker than my aff.

I didn't have enough research to argue that felons voluntairly ought to give up the right to vote, so I ran a stock social contract case.

What I'd really like is a neg case based on a comprehensive view of an ideal democracy as I described above.

My aff is based off of Rawlsian social contract, with analysis from the perspective of how it would procedurally implement democracy (deliberative democracy), and how it would deal with criminals (the article you posted on punishment).

My neg on the other hand is filled with vague generalities about people forfeiting rights by violating the social contract.

Can you think of any holistic philosophies of democracy that would support felon disenfranchisement?

A more detailed contractual analysis might work, but I really want to be able to characterize the ideal democracy in a way that makes felons voting seem absurd.

Anand said...

Wow, that last comment ran longer than intended!

Jim Anderson said...

Anand, your question seems worthy of its own post. I'll try to get something published by this evening.

Anand said...

Wow, thanks Jim. I've been working on finding something like that but have been rather unsuccessful, so would really appreciate some pointers.

Anonymous said...

How would international law work?

We can't assume all society's were democratic, so how does voting fall under international law?

Anand said...

@ Anon

If you look at documents such as the UDHR, there are clear implications that democracy ought to be the international standard, whether or not it actually is.

Additionally, if there are rules all countries, even the most autocratic, ought to follow, then they'd have to apply to democracies too, right?

Considering how free we perceive democracies to be, it'd be odd if they did not offer freedoms that are universal.

If you do choose to use international law, you can be sure it will be attacked, so have defensive arguements ready. It does, however, as Jim said, offer a concrete, clear way to view the resolution.

Check out Jim's post titled "collateral damage: disenfranchising felons is extraneous punishment" for some more international perspective.

Anonymous said...

i have a question, is it okay when you're aff and one of your contentions is "by taking the right to vote away, it just makes felons committ crimes even more" ?

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, that seems to require some explanation. What about disenfranchisement would encourage more criminal behavior?

Anonymous said...

How would the societal welfare value work

Anonymous said...

Hello im a varsity debater from CA and i need help! im thinking for my aff V:rights maximization, and my VC is egalitarianism, What do you think?
and for my neg, a VC of the US const. (for the due process arguement) and idk what my V should be. any suggestions?

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, egalitarianism doesn't seem to inherently maximize rights--unless you mean equality of opportunity, rather than outcome. I'd need to see a more detailed argument.

As for the US constitution, remember that the resolution is not US-specific. Due process is fine, though; if you you're going to refer to "real" laws, then look to international jurisprudence.

Anonymous said...

As a suggestion, the negative could argue

V: Democratic Society
C: Disenfranchisement

By arguing that a democratic society's purpose is to fulfill the political will of the mainstream norm, and, since felons are atypical, when judged comparatively, allowing the 4.7 million felons who are currently denied the right to vote to become a large constituency would directly negate the purpose of a democratic society by allowing atypical individuals with immoral views to vote?

Jim Anderson said...

It seems that your criterion wouldn't be disenfranchisement, then, but rather something like "moral competence" or "moral standards." Or, otherwise, something along the lines of "the general will." It's pretty tough to make disenfranchisement a sufficient or necessary criterion for democracy.

Dylan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dylan said...

(excuse that comment above made a mistake when trying to post)

Would using
V: Democracy
C: Human Rights
be applicable for a case if the point I was trying to make was, In order to uphold an ideal Democracy it is necessary to maintain the most human rights such as the right to vote or is it not possible to define the right the vote as a human right no matter what the social structure?...I am very new to debate and hope this makes sense x.x

Anonymous said...

I think you would run into trouble when defining the right to vote as a human right. By operating within a society run by a government, the government gives you the right to vote, making it a Civil, rather than a Human, right.

JV Joe said...

I'm trying to get a new AFF case, so I'm wondering if this would work for a value/criterion

VC=John Stuart Mill's Harm Principle

Basically say that because felons cannot vote for things not on the ballot, and that the ballot would not contain any bizzare radical laws or ideas that would be overall detrimental to society, and that regardless, felons would likely vote just as regulars.

Ksichicka said...

and VC:Egalitarinism work?

Jim Anderson said...

JV Joe, voting is also no violation of anyone else's rights, and felons also have a unique perspective on problems in law enforcement, unjust laws, and incarceration. I think you can make a great Millsian case (even beyond the "harms principle"--Mill has a lot to say about the civic value of democracy).

ksichicka, it would depend on how widely or narrowly you define both "equality" and "egalitarianism." Political equality might be a more specific and defensible criterion, for example. It has strong advocacy in the thinking of John Rawls.

JV Joe said...

Feels fairly odd to say this, seeing as how nobody else has, but Thanks

Anonymous said...

Um isnt egalitarianism and equality basically the same thing? well for my aff jim: i basically say that everyone has the right to vote except for felons, so therefore by granting equality of rights, then we ultimately maxamize rights.

Anonymous said...

oh for the above: i was the one that posted earlier and said for my aff im using maxamazation of human rights as a value, and a criterion of equality of rights.

Matt said...

OK I am Debating this topic the next two weeks and I need some fresh ideas and some critiques on my ideas....


V: Justice(that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of basic liberties.

CV: Preservation of Democratic Ideals

1. Perfect Democracy
A perfect Democracy is achieved when the possibilities and potentials flow to each and every member of society(alot like Mills Market Place idea..)

2. Impact on democracy
The Voices of felons is often all they have left
Felons voices could have impacted elections

3. Racial and Socioeconomic Divide
Racial disparity in justice system(exoneration rates)
Crack/powder cocaine example(possension of crack first time is felony while similar ammount of powder is misdemeanor, 81.8 % of felony crack convictions handed to African americans while only 20% of powder) Left over from Reconstruction era...

V: Justice
VC: Locks Social Contract

A. Felons have violated the SC and are therefore not guaranteed all the rights of a citizen

B. If we are allwoing felons to vote we are playing into their attempted "double-freedom" in which they can disobey the laws and still make laws for others(law-breakers-law makers) also revolves around the idea that felons can't say the laws don't apply to them but still make the laws for everybody else.

2. Impact on society
Small community scenario where felons represent a majority drowning out the voices of the law-abiding


Anonymous said...

If I'm debating civil disobedience on the aff side, what would be a good criterion if my value was justice? i was thinking of using human rights, but that seems to be too common, which might be good if i dont want to get into a values debate, but i do. thanks.

Jim Anderson said...

Could you explain a little more about how you're using civil disobedience in this resolution?