Dec 3, 2008

value and criterion pairs for the international criminal court resolution

Here are several value/criterion structures to consider for the January/February resolution, "The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity."

I'll try to group them by relative "fit" to either side, Aff or Neg, but in some cases they'll work for either.

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

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

Affirmative V/C Combinations

V: Justice (or morality)
C: Protecting Human Rights
Thesis: If protecting human rights is essential to justice (or morality), then prosecuting "crimes against humanity" is an obligation for all nations.

V: Justice
C: International Law
Thesis: International law offers the most universal criterion for justice possible in the "real world."

V: Justice (or Human Rights)
C: Cosmopolitanism
Thesis: if justice (rights) claims are universal, we cannot let provincialism dictate policy, and thus global citizenship is a moral imperative.

V: Human Dignity
C: Protecting Human Rights
Thesis: If protecting human rights respects human dignity, then the U.S. should take a crucial step to protecting rights globally.

V: Peace
C: International Law
Thesis: International Law offers the surest possible route to peace. (A variant might involve "democratic peace theory.")

Negative V/C Combinations

V: Governmental Legitimacy
C: Constitutionality
Thesis: Violating the Constitution by submitting to the jurisdiction of the ICC (Or something like it) would make the US government illegitimate.

V: Governmental Legitimacy
C: National Sovereignty
Thesis: a government that cedes its sovereignty to an international body is no longer legitimate.

V: Democracy
C: National Sovereignty
Thesis: Democracy requires citizenship and constituencies that are only achievable in a sovereign state. (Furthermore, many nations do not have jury trials, an anti-democratic feature made part of the framework of the ICC.)

V: Prudence (defined as carefully weighing political options; see Morgenthau)
C: Political realism
Thesis: The US must act in its best interests, which does not include ceding sovereignty to the ICC or limiting its actions due to the threat of prosecution. (Use against any cases based on universal moral principles.)

V: Pluralism / Diversity
C: National Sovereignty / Critical Theory
Thesis: The ICC is an instrument of globalization, which not only threatens global tyranny, but to continue to wipe out indigenous cultures or language groups, and continue the homogenization of the globe.


Matt said...

I think the cosmopolitanism one just solved alot of my problems


Anonymous said...

Jim, Where would I come upon a philosopher that states that it is never morally justified to "submit" to anything?

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, good question. I'm not sure, to be honest, although it seems like something Ayn Rand might say.

chris said...

My value for this debate on the neg side will be national sovereignty, with a criterion of governmental legitimacy. its tenative at this point, but i have a mock debate tuesday and i'll see how it goes there.

chris said...

i just realised that its just the second flipped. nevermind then.

Anonymous said...

How would I tag Rands's moral theory as a C?

Would I use it to uphold the kritik that entities don't have a moral code to abide by?

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous, Rand's philosophy is Objectivism. But I'm not sure if that would work as well as Morgenthau's Realism, which argues that prudence, not morality, should guide governments' actions.

Dan said...

Hey Jim, how exactly does joining the icc, violate the U.S Constituition?

Tara T. said...

Hey, Jim!

I was wondering what you thought of using equality for an aff value (i.e. no nation is a superpower free from checks; an international court is a global system designed specifically to serve that purpose)

Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

So could I use

V- Moral Pragmatism

C Morganthou's political realism

How would I correlate them, and link them to the resolution?

Jim Anderson said...

Tara T., good question. I think that "human dignity" or "equal moral worth" puts it in stronger and more specific terms; nations aren't superior to other nations because human rights are universal.

Jim Anderson said...

The aim of Morgenthau's political realism is the continuance of the nation's power and existence; thus, prudence, not any value like democracy or justice, is the goal. Thus, the U.S.'s interests override any international court's concern. Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Yup. Thanks so much, Jim!

Tara said...


Anonymous said...

Doesn't the first AFF V and C go towards the deontological theory?

Anonymous said...

i was thinking justice and equal punishment theory for aff, how does that sound?

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous 1, it definitely would, since Kantian morality depends on universalization.

Anonymous 2, are you talking about retributivism, or something else?

Tara M. said...

on the neg i use natl soverenity as a value and that submitting to and international court is underminding the american citizens

1.our law, regualtions, and punishments are not the same to every country and no where does it say "international court of the same government"
2.under this logic, there has to be international law and that is not going to happen
3. it may "elimate bias" however other countries has bias towards us
4.since this is US specific, we have the right to trial by our peers as in equal american citizens how can we expect a fair trial by someone in Sweden if they do not live here and experience our everyday lives

those are just some arguements for neg i use

Justin said...

Hey Tara,

To your first point: Even if they do not operate in the same way as the U.S., why does that mean that the U.S. should not submit to them simply to punish crimes against humanity? Furthermore, if a crime against humanity is committed by another country, how would submitting hurt America?

To your second: If this court respects U.S. laws and punishes fairly at the same time, then would that make it justified?

To your third: Even if other countries have a bias towards us, does that mean that they'll use the court to exploit U.S. citizens? Specifically, what evidence do you offer to make that link?

To your last: But if this is a crime against humanity, it affects all citizens. So doesn't it make logical sense that all victim representatives be present in the prosecution of the crime?

These are just some basic questions that you might encounter, they are pretty well rounded arguments though.

Comakid said...

I don't understand this: why is government legitimacy such a good thing, anyway?

I'll point out a clear example: remember the big storm in Myanmar that killed thousands of people? The leaders of that country, to "protect Governmental Legitimacy," refused to let any aid be flown into the country, and as a result, thousands MORE died because of the oppressive rulers. That in ITSELF seems to be a crime against humanity. So, in and of itself, Governmental Legitimacy is not a value, because any judge will see that upholding even a simple value of JUSTICE is more important if the debater argues it correctly.

This isn't to say Governmental Legitimacy would make a nice criterion. What makes a government so good? How does it protect the people? And, ultimately, if the government commits a crime against humanity, what will make the government still worth having? These are questions I see that the negative will have to address.

Personally, I'm running a value of dignity (I was... inspired... by the sketched case last time) with a criterion of... well, I don't know. I've been reading the Political Realism theory that was brought up, but that's more of a contention, not a criterion, so I was thinking of taking the obvious road and linking Dignity to either Governmental Legitimacy or National Sovereignty. With all the policy evidence lying around here, it shouldn't be too hard, and Dignity is obviously the best value for neg; if dignity is not achieved, then justice and equality don't really matter.

On the aff, I want to use peace, but I'd like to ask one last question: what would make a better criterion, globalization or cosmopolitanism? If I use globalization, then I can claim more than just moral impacts, but the other is extremely well-suited to LD. Also, when I can claim economic impacts with globalization, then I can claim better quality of life, which leads to more peace, because happy people don't tend to fight a lot.

Thanks for the help!

Jim Anderson said...

comakid, your thoughts about "governmental legitimacy" as a value are well made. However, if it's an instrumental value, it can still precede justice and welfare concerns. A government that is illegitimate cannot prosecute criminals, since people do not obey the law; it no longer has a claim to sovereignty, which means that anarchy or unrest will ensue.

That's how I'd defend against your attack, I think, if I were running that V/C.

(Also, one might argue that Myanmar has a twisted view of legitimacy and sovereignty, and that its military government is illegitimate for oppressing its citizens in the first place; after all, it's a military dictatorship, not a democracy, so it's an unfair comparison to the United States, the agent of action in the resolution.)

Globalization, as you point out, isn't so much a normative position, but more descriptive of the outcome of postmodern industrialism, technological change, and capitalist investment. I think it's also difficult to link to the ICC issue, except tangentially. How would you show that the ICC would be a factor in increasing global trade and investment?

On the other hand, cosmopolitanism offers a moral imperative based on universal human rights. "Crimes against humanity," by definition, are so heinous as to threaten the moral order of all humankind, not just individuals within any given nation. Thus, their legal existence might require a cosmopolitan outlook. (If I were negating, I might take a libertarian turn and go after the very definition of "crimes against humanity," arguing that you can't commit a crime against a collective.)

Emily said...

This is on

"Violating the Constitution by submitting to the jurisdiction of the ICC (Or something like it) would make the US government illegitimate."

What exactly does the constitution say on submitting to the jurisdiction, how would it be violating the constitution??

Jim Anderson said...

The Constitution (in several places) guarantees a right to jury trial, in the state where the crime was committed. The ICC is a panel of judges, not a jury. There are exceptions to the right to a jury trial, though, as is pointed out in one of the articles linked to on the main page about this topic. (The first link above.)

Anonymous said...

Democracy for a value on the negative would be easy to attack since the U.S. is technically a Republic.

Comakid said...

Woah woah woah, hold up.

That completely depends on your definition of democracy.

Attacking the US as being a republic so soon after the voting topic is not advised. You COULD go that route, but it won't work.

As a Neg, I'd simply respond that a democracy is a government where people vote for representatives, and that the government represents the general will of the people. Now, if as an Aff, you'd like to say that this is NOT how the US works, then fine, but watch as the judge votes you down.

A smart LDer would argue that sovereignty does not necessarily lead to a Democracy. Certainly, when a state is independent of any outside power, then it can abuse the rights of its people as much as it wants. This makes NS a worthless criterion... to an Aff. Of course, when a higher court can protect the rights of the general will, then democracy is better achieved, even by the definition I provided.

Remember, you don't have to attack the MPX (democracy), when you can simply attack the Link (NS). Also, you don't want the neg to focus on defending the US as a democracy. That would be bad for YOU.

Matt said...

On Constitutionality the problem is that you could couple this cause "to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations" with the necessary and proper clause which would put the neg in a tough position

Jim Anderson said...

Matt, that's exactly what's argued in one of the articles I read (and posted about); there's a link on the main page for this resolution.

It does say that Congress can determine the appropriate method of punishment. Something to consider, though, is that during the framing of the Constitution, no one considered the possibility of anything approaching an International Criminal Court. Even one of the moral grandfathers of cosmopolitanism, Immanuel Kant, wasn't entirely convinced that world government could be practical.

jell93 said...

I was thinking for an aff:

V-Governmental Legitimacy
VC- Maximize Accountability?

C.1 - Bring to light corruption in governments by

C.2 US action will help legitimize the ICC leading to more accurate prosecutions--> bc the ICC can make decisions in the US even if not submit to the ICC, this is important?

C.3 W/out Enforcement, the action and willingness of politically strong states are necessary

I thought I was doing okay, but now I'm just getting confused. Help?

Anonymous said...

what would be the best way to say that we shouldnt submit to the ICC

Anonymous said...

what is the definition of human rights, everywhere i look it either says "rights human inhernitly entitled", or it just gives examples- what exactly are human rights, and would crimes agaisnt humanity exculusivly violate human rights?

Sexy Beast said...

It depends on who you ask, anon. Locke would say that they are you're rights to life, liberty, and property. Mill and Rawls argue something similar, yet not exactly the same. So it depends on your source.

Pop, Locke and Drop It said...

Is it possible on the affirmative to say that prosecute is defined as "establishing whether they are guilty or not guilty" then say that the citizens' government can punish, and hte ICC or whatever can decide whether they are guilty? THANKS

Anonymous said...

hey jim,
i am working on my neg right now and i was thinking of using justice as value and independence as vc?

and i said Independence establishes the differences between different societies of the world; even within countries. Independence in the legal system is particularly important given the diversity of countries and that what is acceptable in one may not be acceptable in another.

is that okay u think? im not sure

and my arguements right now are
1. United States submitting itself to an International Criminal Court devalues its own existence.


2. My second contention is that the International Criminal Court is not properly restricted, thus endangering society.

Nate said...

To respond to Pop, Locke, and Drop it -
Yes, i'm using that and I'm also defining submit as only implying the handing over of emperical information for the aff.

I'm running this, tell me what you all think, thanks!
V - Life
VC - Human rights
(Defining and placing judicial presure for human rights increases the percieved value we place on life and therefore protects it)

V -Pragmatism
VC - Political realism

Additionally, is it legitimate to propose for the Aff that an international court brings us into global 'civilization' because a 'jural structure' is a requirement of some Social Contracts? Could I argue that because the State of Nature is a condition of degrees, we should always be seeking to distance ourselves from it and because civilization is the foundation of all other values it is an easy trump card?

I'm new at all of this and so I may sound a bit uninformed, sorry! Thanks so much for your help!!

J said...

hey jim,
i was thinking of using justice as my v for neg and national soverignty for my vc. i said n.soverignty is the best vc for this round b/c it leads to moral relativism which is truly just.

but i realized that someone might say that this is not a good arguement b/c all cultures would recognize crimes agaisnt humanity as bad.

so whats a different way i can define it?

Comakid said...

J, the better question is, what is so inherently immoral about crimes against humanity?

Here's a good example: In Africa, women often have their genitals mutilated as part of their culture. This could be considered a crime against humanity, but is it inherently immoral? That depends on your point of view.

Another great example: In the US, water boarding was often employed as an interrogation technique in Guantanamo Bay. Is torture a crime against humanity? Yes. Was it sanctioned by the US government? Yes. Was it inherently immoral to use torture to get essential information from terrorists to save lives? It depends; many people would say yes, others would say no.

Something isn't immoral just because it's a crime against humanity. So, no, don't let any opponent try to attack moral relativism; if your opponent makes that argument, then they're going to fail... as long as you debate it right.

Finally, you said that all cultures would believe some crimes to be wrong. What defines a culture? Certainly, NeoNazis would support widespread crimes of apartheid. (I'm using the ICC definition, by the way, which I'm guessing most affirmatives will run with.) So, when it comes to cultures, your opponent would be hugely wrong; there are some twisted cultures that would support MANY crimes against humanity.

Sexy Beast said...

Ehhh... I don't really like moral relativism, just as a general rule.

And for the examples you mention, coma kid, the aff could argue that by definition, those aren't crimes against humanity. A true crime against humanity, the aff could argue, would include the holocaust, where 6 million jews were killed without logical rationale. It wouldn't be hard to prove that crime as unjust.

Elizabeth said...

Hello! I'm very thankful for your recommendations of using governmental legitimacy and national sovereignty, but I'm having a difficult time pulling philosophical definitions and clear cut theories for both from the internet. Is governmental legitimacy similar to political authority (which is what I found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)?
Your help would be so appreciated!

Jim Anderson said...

Elizabeth, "Political Authority" combines concepts of legitimacy (whether a government has the *right* to rule) and sovereignty (what the extent of its power over a territory should be, and the exclusivity of that power).

Ever since Locke, most political theorists see legitimacy and sovereignty both arising from the same source: the will of the people and the Social Contract. That's where the ICC is problematic--it bypasses the usual State apparatus to directly prosecute individuals, yet it isn't democratically accountable to them.

Comakid said...

Sexy Beast, I mostly agree. The Holocaust, to a Nazi, isn't really all that bad. In fact, since Jews cause most of the world's problems, shouldn't they be exterminated? It's logical enough... to a moral relativist. So, moral relativism explains even that example.

And that's what is so terrible about it. J, you're going to have a lot of trouble showing what is so inherently moral about moral relativism. If it justifies the Holocaust and pretty much ANY crime against humanity, then it CAN'T be just. To sum up, moral relativism is NOT just. Ever. You can certainly get away with it against most opponents, but buyer beware.

Mr. Anderson, the sovereignty problems with the ICC can be planked out of, especially if the aff runs a prima facie argument, where we only look at the resolution on the face of it. What if this international court's justices were voted upon by the people of the member states, where every state gets a justice? Or, it could be designed like the House of Representatives, where every country gets a set amount of judges based on population. Then, the social contract is fulfilled, and the court gains its own sovereignty. It's a crazy idea, but it gets right around all those tricky problems with the ICC. It's also easy to describe in a minute in the 1AR.

With further development, you could turn that into an aff, using Political Authority as a Value and any Social Contract as a Criterion. There is no stipulation that the aff HAS to use the ICC, like you pointed out.

Also, under a National Sovereignty value, then why should anyone listen to the UN? Or any internationally organization? They all hurt Political Authority, so they should all burn up and die. And why should any international body prosecute the people who ran the Holocaust? That should be Germany's job, because hell, we're all just out here alone, floating in little independent bodies that no one should EVER enter, because that would hurt our independence. This is the world Nat. Sov. people live in.

Or, look at it this way:
Premise: National sovereignty is the best value.
Premise: National sovereignty means that countries can do whatever they want based on their government.
Premise: The Holocaust, if it would have remained in Germany, broke no laws.
Premise: National sovereignty means that Germany had every right to do the Holocaust without any international intervention.
Conclusion: Germany had every right to pull off the Holocaust without international intervention.

I can't even begin to describe my burning hatred for that value. But, again, most people will get away with it... and as long as it's not used as a value, it's just fine.

Thanks for the help, though; your links just helped me finish my cases!

Anonymous said...

im recently came from policy to ld and i like all the aff options i have and im all set on that but on the neg i just see the government legitimacy argument and i was wondering if you saw any other neg options to choose from?

J said...

hey comakid thanks so much. :)

but than i shouldnt define national soverignty as something that leads to moral relativism right?

than how hsould i define it?

how is national soverignty such a strong criterion? i understand that it might be something obvious for the negative to come up with, but isnt it also very vulnerable?

Anonymous said...

how does the icc link to the democratic peace theory you mentioned

Anonymous said...

i can only find one good contention for the first V/C on Neg to go with it, but do you know where i could research another? Thanks!

haloking said...

hey Jim Anderson
i have these as possible things

Crimes against humanity- Black’s Law Dictionary defines this as a brutal crime that is not an isolated incident but that involves large and systematic actions, often cloaked with official authority, and that shocks the conscience of mankind: Among the specific crimes that fall within this category are mass murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts perpetrated against a population, whether in wartime or not.

Cont: U.S. has no obligation to do the resolution
a. U.S. has no obligation to do the resolution
b. U.S. has no want of being under an I.C.
Cont: By affirming, we force the U.S. to do what it doesn’t want to, which could be considered a crime against humanity in itself
I justify this argument with two things. First, Subpoint B of Contention 1. I have proven the U.S. wants no part in submitting to a international court. Second, the definition of crimes against humanity. I think the affirmative would agree that dictating people to do a huge act they don’t want to could count as slavery. Also, one of the crimes against humanity is enslavement, so by putting millions of people under the possible authority of something that they don’t want to would have be included as a crime against humanity. The end result is that the resolution asks us to put the U.S. under a system that ultimately commits the crime they want to prosecute.

i would like it if you checked this

Also, i'm in need of a value/criterion to connect all of this together


Jim Anderson said...

haloking, you could argue that it is antidemocratic (provided you could prove that Americans as a whole don't want to join the ICC or something like it), but you're going to have a tough time arguing that the US's signing the Rome Statute (the only way the US would join) could entail enslavement. Enslavement is forced labor, not merely being forced to do something against one's will, which is coercion, and is not always wrong.

aafowler said...

jim, i have a question..

i thought of justice for my value on the aff.. however, i'm quite doubting of the value criterion that i thought of..

it's fairness and equality..

do you think that would work?

master.debator.chick said...

ok for my aff case:

C-Protecting human rights.

help me with the rest of my case!!!!!!!!

Jave said...

Hey Jim!

You said "That's where the ICC is problematic--it bypasses the usual State apparatus to directly prosecute individuals, yet it isn't democratically accountable to them." Just clarifying, you mean the ICC can bypass the federal government in the prosecution of individuals? Can you explain this? I don't know how this helps my case (or if I understand it!).

Also, is there a way to guarantee or "firmly presume" that the US will prosecute "such heinous crimes specified as crimes against humanity"? That's how i'm wording it :)

Matt said...

could one run a criterion of pragmatism?

Like this?

V: Justice
(Aristotle's social utility concept)
C: Pragmatism

Thesis: The best for society is that which is the most practical

princessrem01 said...

Justice is a universal principle recognized by the world, no matter the culture or society. Societies practice justice in order to protect another universal subject – human rights. Moreover, the prospect of international law was created to expand human rights in order to create justice in locations that have undergone destabilizing and oppressive conditions.

The resolution deals with the United States benefiting from making human rights decisions based on worldwide norms. Justice systems across the world aim to protect humans from murder, rape, persecution, and other crimes against humanity. Since protecting human rights is the basis of justice, then prosecuting "crimes against humanity” should be the responsibility for all nations.

U like?????

Jim Anderson said...

aafowler, what kind of equality? Equal opportunity or outcome? Equal treatment under the law? Equal moral worth for all humans? Figure it out, and your criterion will be much stronger and more specific. (You might look at your contention ideas to see what kind of equality you're really talking about.)

Jave, although justices in the ICC are chosen by different nations' leaders, it's not like a U.S. citizen would be able to pressure a justice from, say, France, either directly through democratic means or through a representative. Since the ICC can arrest citizens of its signatory states whenever those States refuse to prosecute (or are incapable of prosecuting) them, then yes, the ICC can bypass the usual local justice system.

I don't know if there's a way to "guarantee" that the US will prosecute its own crimes, but then, there's at least the guarantee of enforcement power to back up its own laws. The ICC is limited to the voluntary cooperation of its member states.

Matt, pragmatism is fine; it also can work for either side. It all depends on what really "works."

princessrem01 said...

ok it just keeps getting better!!! i do need help getting a 2nd contention. this is for aff


Anonymous said...

Hey, Jim. I need your help.... Since I found so much evidence and support on how sumbitting to an icc will promote US global leadership, I think I will make that the main idea of my aff. case. What do you think? I have no idea what to do for the value though.. the criteron could be something like "maintaining the US's global leadership position"

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous, that depends. What is the US's global leadership good for? Promoting democracy? Protecting U.S. interests? Societal welfare? Peace? Furthering a human rights agenda? Something else entirely? Whatever you think is the best (and strongest) result will be your value.

Unbeliever said...

Here is what I am probably going to use as my cases.

V: Justice
C: Political Pragmatism

Premise: Affirming the resolution is both a legal and moral imperative, and furthers U.S. Interests.

Neg 1:

V: Justice
C: Universal Jurisdiction Principle

Premise: The basic purpose of yielding to the jurisdiction of the ICC (or something like it), to prosecute American citizens who have committed crimes against humanity. However, under the universal jurisdiction principle, an American citizen who commits crimes against humanity can be charged by the USA regardless of where the crime was committed, provided Constitutional requirements are met. If the United States can currently prosecute crimes against humanity committed by its own citizens, why yield to the jurisdiction of an international court?

Neg 2: Same as Neg 1, but contextualizes with ICC, and argues against it.

Matt said...

I have noticed that alot of aff based cases are using a deterrence based link with human rights. this is just a recommendation but if you are using human rights be sure to have STRONG evidence and warrants to your arguments. I finished my first tournament on this topic and faced two HR based Aff cases that didn't have this evidence and I could shoot down the link pretty easily... So Just a word of warning...

Look up the Sudan and the cote d'Ivoire hate speech issue...

(if you have trouble with this Email me, I will send you some files on the Positive deterrence of the ICC and other courts)

Also if anyone wants to trade blocks or cards or something email me at

Another interesting thing that came in handy was knowledge or a copy of the Rome statue, the UDHR or other international law documents
unbeliever; On Aff how would you respond to a outlet for political abuse argument or if a neg sets a necessity burden?

Aff can beat your neg essentially with universal submission argument(all countries should join.
also if you run that be careful not to use ANY contention saying the ICC would undermine sovereignty otherwise an AFF could point out a contradiction.
(these are just my opinions, my guess is the style of debating is different between states and tournaments)

Comakid said...

Yay! Another person who went to the tournament!

So, yeah, Matt (whoever he may be) is totally right. Think about whether the court actually can do its job properly.

Also, negs! DO NOT RUN A HYPOTHETICAL COURT. EVER. All the aff has to do is say, "Well, what if this hypothetical court was run by JESUS? What THEN?"

Also, guess what? I was RIGHT about national sovereignty! Don't run it! Ever! It's like asking for... well, me, and perhaps a few other debaters to hand your ass to you.

Fix your cases NOW. I do not want to hit those crappy cases again, and I'm sure Matt doesn't, either.

Also, if you run constitutionality, carry around a copy of the Constitution, because, trust me, your opponent will straight up lie in round. Better said, I lied in round, and my opponent WAS carrying a Constitution, and I still got away with it, but I'm still right.

Also, don't run any type of argument that says "Organizations don't work."

Finally, don't let your opponents make appeals to authority. Just because your opponent has an author saying it's true, doesn't mean it's true. It's a logical fallacy. I'm thinking of one particular opponent that I want to make miserable (hell, it's probably Matt, for all I know). Still, keep that loving thought in mind as you go into round.

Work on better CX. Like, if you're going to bring up a point in CX, and your opponent gets really scared and stupid, then KILL him/her on that point. Also, don't be afraid to be a jerk in your final rebuttal! It's your job either to say, A. My aff is amazing and my opponent has basically forfeited on this and this and this or B. The Aff case is pathetic and doesn't work to achieve ANYTHING for this and this and this.

And since every LDer I met says they read this blog, you ALL have ZERO excuses. And, Matt, you really must give me a hint about who you are; it'll drive me insane.

And... connect everything to the Holocaust. It's a really fun example!

Anonymous said...


You need to calm down. A lot of the stuff you sat doesn't make any sense.

Comakid said...

Good point, Anonymous; I tend to ramble aimlessly when it's two in the morning.

I'll explain. First, debaters need to know exactly what the ICC does and how it works; for example, one opponent claimed the ICC could invade countries and take down dictators. Make sure you know exactly what's going on, or you will lose.

Next, when a negative runs a hypothetical court, an aff can easily kick out any argument. This is because any contention the neg brings up can be explained away by the submission that the court could be anything. A hypothetical court could do anything, (run by Jesus), and therefore the negative places themselves in an unwinnable situation.

Next, I earlier commented on this board how terrible of a value national sovereignty was. This proved to be true in round, and so I still offer a warning to not use such a dangerous, volatile value. This includes all of its variations, including Preserving the US and Maintaining US Independence. While these sound much like value criteria, many negatives seemed to run them as values.

Next, I believe I explained the importance of carrying a Constitution around fairly well. The truth is self-evident.

Next, avoid arguments that attack the very nature of international organizations. This creates a system where NO organization or trade should be created/conducted, respectively. It's a hard argument to win, as the neg will find herself supporting a state of nature, otherwise known as complete chaos.

Next, some opponents will try to beat you simply by reading cards in their case. This turns into a policy situation; thank goodness that in LD, you can point out the fallacy called "Appeal to Authority." Your opponent will often not use any credentials, and even if he does, this is not enough to show his arguments are perfect. It takes the logic out of LD, basically. Do not allow your opponent to do this to you, because you'd be surprised how much you can miss when an aff OR neg reads a Policy card. (I considered this strategy at one point, but this is a tactic that is looked down upon by many judges. It also feels immoral to make every missed point into a voting issue; but, of course, this choice is yours, and the strategy often works.)

Finally, control your enemy during cross-examination. Read The Art of War by Sun-Tzu, or perhaps The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene. Cross-examination is your tool in a debate to rip apart your opponent, especially because they are most susceptible to mistakes outside of their speech. CX remains the one tool that can be most abused to win a debate; even getting your opponent to cede a completely unrelated point may play out in your advantage. On the other paw, claiming wins that you didn't actually get in CX does not play well with the judge. This is done either when you misquote the opponent or seriously misinterpret the opponent; obviously, this is suicide to your chances of winning, unless it is the final affirmative rebuttal.

As a closing point, the Holocaust, regardless of judge stupidity, is an amazing example that can be linked to many, many arguments, especially under a resolution that deals with such crimes.

Hopefully, I can do a better job of explaining what I want to say next time.

Matt said...

Comakid, I am not sure if we are ever at the same tournaments, I live in Colorado so I am not sure if I have ever seen you at tournaments...

If you want to do well read the Rome statute, it provides great arguments for both sides, that are often hard to refute...

I Agree with you fully on the Argument From Authority point... Also as an extension to that everyone, before you use an article check the credentials of the author(Jim touched on this in another section of this blog, it is really important)

Although my thoughts on Hypothetical courts may vary slightly... Theoretically in a round the Aff has the burden to prove the resolution true, thus in a hypothetical court situation neg needs to take advantage of the possible flaws of such a thing( Almost unlimited Jurisdiction and such) Although I agree with you on that a Neg should never focus the debate on hypothetical courts. if the Aff tries to neg you need to A) push for the ICC and B) look at the inherent flaws of an International court system. A smart Neg should beat an Aff pushing for hypothetical courts every time.

Comakid, are you saying NS is a bad criterion or just a bad value? I agree with Value but I think it makes a very powerful criteria as long as you stay away from a Moral Relativist stance. M aybe define It as part of the social contract or Run SC itself

Matt said...

Sorry for the double post, but I remembered something else...

If your school has any good Policy Debaters ask them about the topic. Although you may never use anything on the cards, Policy Hegemony good/bad cards give good ideas for contentions. This may seem odd in an LD round, but I faced a Neg case that essentially ran U.S hegemony. Running a Multi-polarity argument on Aff may work as well.

Comakid said...

I agree that National Sovereignty is a powerful criterion. This is because national sovereignty, on its own, isn’t worth much as a value, but when you link national sovereignty as a VC to dignity or equality, then your argument remains strong.

On the down side, National Sovereignty can still be turned against you no matter what you do, especially if a link is made to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Of course, since the neg case really doesn’t matter anyway, by running nat. sov. arguments you waste precious affirmative time in the 1AR, because the aff will either let it slip and you can win on National Sovereignty criterion linking to Human Dignity, or you will waste an affirmative minute or two while they bash on your case.

And in LD, every second counts. Besides, there must be SOMETHING good about national sovereignty; otherwise, there’d be no countries, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too, if you catch my drift.

Finally, you’re right, Matt; we’re never going to meet normally: the tournament I attended this weekend was Gonzaga. Perhaps if we both make it to Nationals?

JV Joe said...

Just a theory (haven't had a chance to try it out, missed the GU tournament) On the Human Rights AFF, since you'd want to tie in crimes against humanity, couldn't you do that directly by defining it as "crimes and acts that dehumanize" (or some other phrasing that can actually be sourced)

JV Joe said...

Sorry for the Double post, but likewise, couldn't you attack it on the neg by saying that prosecuting these criminals won't cause their violations to UN-happen? Not 100% sure how to deal with the deterrent issue, though.

Matt said...

Comakid, Lets hope so...

The whole Nazi attack against Nat. Sovereignty can be defeated by saying sovereignty is derived from the Social Contract. As Long as you keep your Definition Clear of Moral Relativism you should be fine...

Also I think a Value of Justice Defined as "that which is just is that which provides a greater benefit to society"(Aristotle) is really strong, especially if you can win the Value clash. This Forces Aff to prove that Affirming is good for the U.S. Also the Link to Nat. Sovereignty is pretty quick and easy.

And I agree any time you can make the AFF waste in the 1AR will always help you...

JV Joe
While alot of people use a HR Aff I don't think it is that strong... Here is a question for you, If CAH dehumanize then how does AFF stop them? The answer would be deterrent for future offenses.

For Neg:

John Bolton:

Somewhere is there he talks about deterrence and how even Military does not deter.

I have others I can't find the link to if i can I will post them.

For AFF look up the Hate Speech in the Ivory Coast

I have said it before but I think that deterrance will be a huge point for neg or Aff

Anonymous said...

okay, so i was at gonzaga, and my neg case worked well, but my aff really sucked. I eventually lost in semis just because my case was not convincing enough. so:
i am working on using cosmopolitanism, but i am having a hard time structuring it where the United States joining an international court supports cosmopolitanism. Help?

Matt said...

I think Kant supplies a Link...

"The condition of the possibility of international law in general is this: a juridical condition must first exist. For without this there is no public law, since all law which one may think of outside of this, in the state of nature, is merely private law." (Kant is Perpetual peace) you could link it a number of ways else... Although Kant has alot of good links...

Anonymous said...

I'm working with a Human rights (v) and Cosmopolitanism (c) structure, but I'm having issues with the body of my case. Would the point of such an approach be to prove that human rights have a universal standard (or that there is simply one right way to approach a situation)? If so, how would I prove something like that through multiple contentions without citing different contradictory theories on decision-making?

Tahn said...


I was wondering if I could use justice as my value because the goal of any court and prosecution of any criminal is to reach and strive for justice in the end.

My value criterion is morality because the resolution questions what the US "oughts" to do. seeing that the negatives goal is to prove the resolution false, if you do not submit to the jurisdiction of an international court to uphold justice, then you must look to your domestic government, which must be moral and fair to fairly and successfully prosecute criminals.

Do you suppose that could work?
p.s. I'm doing novice so...

Matt said...

Morality is not a Criterion...
I also do not understand your link...

Anonymous said...

I need some help. I really can't think of any points for my debate. This is my very first time LD ing...

V: Human Dignity
C: Protecting Human Rights

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I am fairly new to the world of LD debate, so I just had some general questions about the case.


I've been noticing a lot of different values premises and value criterions being tossed around, but I was wondering what everyone thought has the strongest possibilities and why.

I'm leaning toward justice and cosmpolitanism for the affirmative, but I was wondering where I should begin my contentions, and if this pair is easily linked to strong arguments.

I keep noticing the mention of national sovreignty and moral relativism. Why should I stay away from these? I'm not clear on the arguments being made against them.

The ICC is used through out as an example of "the international court", but how would you introduce this into your case, since the resolution does not specifically mention it. If I use it, do I need to say 'or something like it"

Also, what is "appeal to authority" mean?


What kind of approach should I take with the CX? Are there any general questions which could be a good starting point against either?

Overall, I see a lot of possibilites with this and would appreciate any help.

Matt said...

The Value and Criterion issue is all relative. It depends on how well you argue it, what the opposing value and criterion is etc...
I personal opinion, Justice is the strongest value, and I think realism is hard to attack for the Neg and I think in general Pragmatism is hard to refute as a criterion.

Look at teh Premises of Cosmo and see how that relates to the resolution... universal Human duty, global community... etc..

Sovereignty is a good neg criterion, the issue with running it is the moral relativism argument. an opponent can just ask "should we condone abuse of citizens by their government in order to respect sovereignty?"

Just specify at the beginning or just refer to it in our case...

appeal to authority is a logical fallacy... It essentially, as I was taught, is saying "x is true because Jesus said so"

Cx questions depend on the case, the judge, and any other strategy you may have... some people use CX for clarification, I use it try to go after points and point out contradictions and get concessions... either way works...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you help!
i need all the help i can get!

JV Joe said...

@ Matt
Thanks. And yes, your assessment of "appeal to authority" is correct.

Moving up to varsity next tournament. Panicking.

Unkin said...

Iam still having an issue with my Value Criterion . It seems as if Cosmopolitanism isn't sounding to be a sound VC to rest on Aff because I looked up what it means and it made the linkages to my argument seem weaker.

lil' petey said...

Hey guys, I am seated fourth for districts in three weeks. I am in a pretty weak district so I am pretty sure I can break but I wanted to know If there is anything that has been working for you so that I could improve my chances because I really want to debate the next res but it is only at state.

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

Hi Jim,
In my negative case, my two contentions deal with national sovereignty and with the international court being as fair and effective as the U.S. judicial system. I'm having lots of trouble coming up with a value premise and criterion that fit both contentions logically, and neither I nor my fellow debaters have thought of anything better than passable. Any ideas? If anyone else has thoughts, please jump in!

RancidSumo said...

Ok, I am running the Prudence/Political Realism neg case and it isn't having much luck against Aff cases about the U.S. joining to strengthen the court to help try other nations' criminals. As far as I am concerned, that doesn't even apply to the resolution but several people at the last meet were running it and I lost both of my neg rounds. Anyone have an idea on how to go at those cases either with my current V/VC combo or with a new one? A quick response would be great because I have a meet on friday (2/13).

lil' petey said...

Hey guys I also have a tournament tomorrow and it is a pretty big one so I am looking for some last minute ideas. Especially on the neg can anyone help???

Comakid said...

Lil'Petey? Good luck. Remember this on neg; the aff is like a machine to get to the value.

The neg's job is to disassemble that machine. You don't have to destroy the value, nor do you have to prove your own case right. Instead, directly clash with your opponent; this resolution is DESIGNED for clash.

And finally? Have fun.

lil' petey said...

Thanks COmakid, so just try and disprove his case to value link and then drive that point in, that sounds good, Thanks A lot!!!

lil' petey said...

Also what are your guys's views on the ACTA?