Dec 23, 2008

LD mailbag: consequentialism and the international criminal court resolution

Regarding the Jan/Feb LD resolution, a reader writes,
I was wondering if you could help me with my Aff case.

VP: (Morality?)
VC: (Consequentialism?)
Resolution should be looked at from both a global and US standpoint, should be adopted because it furthers the interests of both.

C1: Signing ICC would further US interests
a) Helps with war on Terror
b) Even if the US does not sign ICC, nations can still bring on cases against US.
c) Helps further US image as Human Rights leader

C2: Signing ICC would help further global interests
a) Helps efficiently prosecute crimes against humanity and bring Justice
b) Helps further international law and global cooperation etc.

This is a very policy-like impacts based case, and I'm having problems figuring out my Value Premise and Value Criterion from it. I've seen people debate LD without a Value or Criterion (and win!), but I'd rather not go that route. The problem with morality as a value is that my case is more arguing that signing the ICC better achieves the interests of both parties, not necessarily that those interests are more moral per se. The consequentialism seems to be a good criterion, but then again, I'm sure there must be something that better links to the resolution and my case. Could you please help me? Thanks!
First, make sure you organize your initial analysis as you do your contentions, since they establish the general warrant for your VC/VP.

Second, a value criterion of consequentialism (or, perhaps to be more specific, universal consequentialism) works best with an ends-based value premise such as societal welfare (or human welfare / global welfare). It's even echoed in the language of the contentions--substitute "welfare" for "interests," and it becomes quite obvious what the VP should be.

There's the potential in the case's construction that either contention could stand or fall on its own. This is good, in the sense that either might be sufficient to affirm, but bad in the sense that it seems to tease apart U.S. and global interests. (It also prompts the question, Why should the U.S. care about global interests?) There needs to be strong rhetoric--perhaps in a third contention--that shows that the U.S.'s interests not only merge with the world's, but that, because of the impact of globalization, they depend on the world's interests. And vice versa.

It's also a nice preemptive move against anyone running a realist case that tries to minimize "morality" as a decision rule for governments.

Lastly, regarding the second contention in particular, the ICC has been viewed as toothless because it has no enforcement authority, which also decreases its deterrent value (which is of great importance in a consequentialist framework). The U.S.'s participation in the process would set the stage for U.S. enforcement of ICC rulings as well.

Readers are, of course, encouraged to offer their own suggestions or questions in the comments.


croc_drag333 said...

Thanks for your help!

Molly said...

I think you should also make the distinction between "signing" the ICC and "submitting to the jurisdiction" of the ICC. Does the U.S. necessarily have to be a part of the ICC for it to have an influence on the U.S.?

Bhajji said...

ok, i think this case is great, but i see only 2 problems

1) the ought=moral argument. Therefore interests cannot be more important than morals.

2) also, the idea of using the ICC is irrelevant, for the resolution suggests "an international court" meaning,
I) no specific court (so it could be ICC, or could be any other international court)
II) international= 2 or more countries, again,no specifications.

If you can overcome these 2 questions, then this case is solid.

Anonymous said...

If my negative value is government legitimacy and my criteria is national sovereignty, what are some arguments that will link back to the V/VC? Should I point out flaws of the ICC and why it doesn't work, or should I focus on why the US isn't part of the ICC?

Anonymous said...

How does national sovereignty link to government legitimacy. I mean, I know that in order for a government to be legitmate, it has to have sovereignty, but WHY?

Bhajji said...

Dont use sovereinty

well, i would just say soverenity doesnt matter, because this issue is from a moral standpoint.

ought= moral,
otherwise the resolution would use the word should instead

Sexy Beast said...

But the Neg would easily argue that sovereignty IS a component

John said...

Bhajji: Would the ought=morality argument be discredited by simply saying that states have no moral obligations? States make decisions based on cost-benefit analyses, not based on some absolute moral framework.

There are many definitions of ought that say it defines simply an obligation or duty--not a moral obligation or duty. On the differences between should and ought:

Ought, Should. Usage: Both words imply obligation, but ought is the stronger. Should may imply merely an obligation of propriety, expendiency, etc.; ought denotes an obligation of duty.

States have an obligation to protect their own interests, not to conform to a particular notion of morality.

ldn00b said...

Mr. Anderson, slight non-sequator here, but do you know of any good arguments as to why justice should be a value? Especially when opposed to a realist interpretation such as "US welfare"?

Anonymous said...

hey jim, can you explain more on governmental legitimacy and how it relates to national sovereignty?

croc_drag333 said...

@ LD n00b; Justice should be the main aim of any court.

I'm personally using Justice as my VP on neg, and my argument goes as such: the only reason that the US should join the International court in the resolution would be if this court provided a better chance of justice for US citizens. If you affirm for political reasons, you are placing the overall "politics" of the US gov't before justice for the lone US soldier or official who is on trial. You are essentially sacrificing the soldier.

As an aff, I'd argue back that the overall welfare of the country is more important, and that the ICC provides a better conception of jusitce for both parties involved (assuming that the case involves a party other than the US, that is)

As for governmental legitimacy, I'd really like to find a definition for that. I've looked all over the interwebz and haven't managed to find a decent one yet, so I'm just avoiding it in my case and challenging the other side to define it and provide a link to the resolution.

Sexy Beast said...

Croc, if your using gov. legit, the generally strategy is to define it through your criterion. If you value gov. legit, you argue that the legitimate government is that which respects your criterion, say Nat. Sovreignty. This tends to make a clearer case, which is good. Imo.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I don't get is how you're using consequentialism as your criterion...can someone explain that for me?

Mel said...

Can someone explain the link between justice and National Sovereignty. I want to use justice as my value and NS as my CR but i dont know how to make a clear link between them.

croc_drag333 said...

I'm not really sure that there is a clear link b/w Justice & Nat'nl sovereignty... perhaps use gov't legitimacy as your value, that would work more.

Sexy Beast said...

Or you could even use Just Government as your value, and criterion of Nat. Sov. Whatever floats your boat.

Mel said...

I’m a novice and I don’t completely understand government legitimacy. Any information would be helpful. But just because a government is legit does it make it therefore just? Oh and I like the sound of just government vs. justice as my value. Thanks! Any more tips are greatly appreciated.

croc_drag333 said...

Governmental Legitimacy is the moral authority to govern. Put into simpler terms it's the answer to the question "Who made you boss?". A legitimate government provides Justice for its citizens, as looking after the welfare of its citizens is the government's primary obligation.

Anonymous said...

Well my value is going to be Justice for my AFF, and for my NEG...probably justice it is never a bad idea to use justice as a core value. and you don't necessarily need a criterion, but if you want use national sovereignty for NEG that might work

Sexy Beast said...

You don't need a criterion? I beg to differ...

croc_drag333 said...

I've seen people run without a criterion... One person I know ran a kritik as his entire case... and went 6-0 in prelims for state. LD in Wisco is weird like that.

I've always wondered how to get around people who do that sort of thing. I'm not sure I would be able to respond decently to a kritik argument.

Sexy Beast said...

Well, you technically can run a case without a criterion, but unless you run a kritik, it can rarely be beneficial. If you do, you are forced to agree with the AFF's criterion. And what neg wants to link his impacts to, say cosmopolitanism in this resolution? Trust me, Ive won a round mid-debate because my opponent didn't have a V/C.

Mel said...

What is a kritik?

Jim Anderson said...

Mel, it's a form of negative argumentation borrowed from Policy Debate, and not accepted in all regions / styles of LD. Wikipedia has a good intro.

Alicia said...

Jim, how exactly would you define "human welfare"?
I can't find a good definition for it.

And how do you link "human welfare" to the resolution?

Alicia said...

can someone respond please?

Jim Anderson said...

Alicia, it would mean something like the definition of welfare, generally applied to humans. See, for instance:

[Human] health, happiness, and good fortune; well-being.

Make it for "all humans," and you have a very cosmopolitan Aff framework.

Anonymous said...

For those running sovereignty on neg:
(Sorry for caps) THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN RUN THAT. Your opponent will definitely call abuse, as there is no possible way the US can submit and still retain their sovereignty. If in the framework there is no way for aff to win, its abuse, the judge will probably drop your case or at least your value and criterion.