I stumbled across your page as I was searching for information for the November/December LD resolution. I'm a novice (so I haven't competed in LD before) and I wanted to use the social contract in my Neg. Here's what I have so far:The Locke quote is interesting, since it provides a glimpse into Locke's moral thinking regarding education in virtue. As John Marshall notes in John Locke: Resistance, Religion, and Responsibility, children's fundamental appetite for pleasure could only be moderated by persistent and consistent education. "This task was enormously difficult, but it was possible since the mind at birth was a tabula rasa and since [children] were extremely concerned... with how others viewed them." It might be argued that this extends to individuals' roles vis a vis the State; those who impetuously or impertinently disobey the law show a lack of virtue, thus grounding their disqualification from the franchise in accordance with Lockean contractarianism.“Good and evil; reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided."
What John Locke meant by this statement is that for a society to be functional, good and evil in addition to reward and punishment must coexist within it. In a democratic society, all of the preceding conditions can impact the right of voting.
The value being held in this debate is societal welfare. Most people would contest that societal welfare is the well being of a society in matters of health, safety, order, and economics. So how does a democratic society achieve societal welfare? Abraham Lincoln once said “democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Therefore, in a democracy, societal welfare is the responsibility of the people. To maintain societal welfare, we must adhere to the social contract, the value criterion of this debate.
Of course, how upholding the social contract gets us to societal welfare requires some warranting, but it can be done.
I had been looking for the fundamental principle underlying a Lockean approach to disenfranchisement. This angle--that the felon's lack of virtue disqualifies her from voting--would sit well with the argument that felons have, in essence, declared war on the Contract, which is the Lockean argument I've seen argued most frequently in the literature.
Okay, on to another case by a completely different author.
Hi, I'm completely new to Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and was hoping you could review the basic thoughts behind my cases.Problem: how do we extend the utilitarian concepts found in the US Legal Code into a general depiction of "a democratic society?" It can be done, but it needs explanation.
C: Utilitarian Punishment
1. Purpose of Legal System is Utilitarian
2. Punishments sanctioned by the U.S. Legal Code are justified through the concepts of deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.
3. As disenfranchisement does not serve any of those purposes, it is not legally justified.
4. As disenfranchisement is carried out through the legal system, if it cannot be legally justified, it does not serve the system's purpose (utilitarian)
5. As disenfranchisement is carried out through the legal system, it must be justified legally, as it is not, an affirmation of the resolution is forced.
Secondly, the "ought" in the resolution must be defined carefully to include a legal perspective. Or, if we stick with a moral "ought," we have to explain why / how utilitarian punishment fulfills a moral obligation.
Be on the lookout, though, for a Neg who argues that utilitarian punishment is not a sufficient criterion for justice; as some critics note, utilitarian concerns might not include "due process" or "cruel and unusual punishment" constraints, as long as it can be shown that society benefits overall from a harsher penal regime.
Next case, same author:
Con:#1 is interesting; it squares with an older view of democracy that doesn't include provisions for minority rights. (This narrow view, though, is susceptible to the charge that the democracy will use felony laws as a way to purposefully disenfranchise dissenters.)
V: Democratic Society
C: Upholding Moral and Political Standards of the Mainstream
1. Basic Purpose of Political Deliberation in a Democratic Society is to uphold the moral and political viewpoints of the mainstream
2. Felons, through committing criminal actions, have classified themselves as having atypical moral and political beliefs
3. Allowing Felons to Become a Constituency would, by the nature of a democratic society which represents the people, cause the degradation of the moral standards of society, and directly work against the purpose of a democratic society
4. As affirming the resolution causes moral degradation on a societal level, and works against the purpose of a democratic society, it must be negated
My main problem is with #3 of the Con Case, in that felons, as an unrealized constituency, despite being 4.7 million in number, are spread out geographically, making their impact on society doubtful. Any thoughts on how to address this?
#3 should be argued along largely theoretical lines, with a nod to perhaps the Florida experience in 2000, when Gore lost narrowly and, according to some scholars, likely would have won if felons had been able to vote. (Note that this example can backfire, though.) Regardless of the particular outcome, felon suffrage could have made a big difference.
# 3 isn't sufficient; it needs some help. What of the victims who, seeing that those who injured them are able to vote, become disenchanted with the system? A government that allows felons to shape its course could be deemed illegitimate by those who had traded their liberties to ensure their security, never thinking that the contract could be gamed by those who don't play by the rules. (Whoa... there's the social contract again, sneaking into every Neg case.)
'Tis all for now. Questions? Comments? Fire away!