May 1, 2009

Resolved: Military conscription is unjust.

The NFL has released the topic for 2009 nationals:
Resolved: Military conscription is unjust.
(I corrected the typo; the original states, "Resolved: Miitary conscription is unjust.")

Analysis, links, and more to follow in the days ahead. For now, some initial thoughts.

1. Libertarianism, anarchism, pacifism, isolationism. Emma Goldman. Ron Paul. Foucault.
2. Either communitarian or utilitarian justice schemes will be common for the negative. Rousseau's "general will" lines up nicely here. How about Hegel?
3. Note that the resolution is not time- or culture-bound, so watch out for conditional affirmation involving age, gender, etc.
4. More libertarianism: Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, "draft is slavery," involuntary servitude, freedom as the highest value.
5. Rawls on the neg could be interesting.
6. This has to be--nay, is--the shortest resolution in some time.

As I start to develop my thoughts, feel free to suggest your own ideas, questions, and comments.

Analysis
1. I suggest some general strategies for the Aff and Neg.
2. Joe Nusz has two articles available: one about finding a fresh angle for your case, and the other on the connection between conscription and Thoreau.

15 comments:

Mark said...

Jim,
The NFL(!?). Is this going to replace the coin toss? Who debates, coaches? Quarterbacks? Offensive lineman?

Jim Anderson said...

That would be the National Forensic League. You know, the real NFL.

Sexy Beast said...

This one seems pretty cool! How would one negate the res though? Is it purely consequential, or can you argue deontology?

Jim Anderson said...

Libertarian arguments about the moral necessity of freedom (or, put negatively, of not having one's freedom taken away) are usually more rights-based than instrumental, but there's no need to go either-or. Same with pacifism--if war is unjust for any reason, deontological or no, then conscription for military service is also unjust.

Matt said...

Kant's Arguments on Perpetual Peace Line up nicely as well...

Anyone that Ran Kantian Cosmo for ICC should take a look at their old cards again...

Hegemony is pretty obvious for both sides as well....

You could probably run Hobbes on Neg as well...

Nietzsche could maybe work for Neg...

There are also some more Kritikal arguments that can be run...


Cultural Imperialism could link if you could get across and pass a sort of Fiat argument on Neg looking at the AFF being almost a declaration that Military Conscription is unjust... This could also be linked into Existentialism as well if done carefully and well...

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Not sure if Any of these scattered thoughts mean anything... its late and our Nat Quals Just finished... Damn 3rd place... Although I guess I have 3 more years...

LA Coach said...

Tied at ten years (if you measure by word count) with Nov/Dec 1998's "Resolved: Capital punishment is justified."

No resolution in the past 30 years has been shorter in either word or character count.

I'd like to do a quick analysis of the history of NFL resolutions. Jim, would you be willing to post it as a guest contribution (if it meets your standards)?

Sexy Beast said...

I'm gonna post more thoughts when I get a chance, but it definitely seems that the neg is gonna be harder to argue, given that America seems to be strongly opposed to the draft in the aftermath of 'Nam.

The only avenues that I can see working for the negative right now would be contractual or practical/pragmatic. Although I'm not a huge fan of the latter, I can see it working.

Jim Anderson said...

LA Coach, absolutely. Send over an email anytime.

sexy beast, what, Hegel's not good enough for the 21st century US of A?

Matt said...

Neg doesn't need to uphold the opposite of the resolution... they don't need to prove that military conscription is just, just that it isn't unjust. So you could maybe even argue a balance type neg, argue that its circumstantial and we weigh justice via whatever factor be it consequential or deontological and we will never get an answer as in some circumstances it is others it isn't.

Israels national service policy is needed. the U.S in Vietnam, maybe not. Two instances, two different answers.

JUSTICE-IS-CALLING said...

I a lot of ideas on the AFF relate to the US but where is a good place to start with other countries on either side?

pert said...

Actually, I think using Rousseau's "general will" for the NEG would backfire. I think the point could be made that military conscription allows a government to engage in war without a "general will". It could be said that if enough people wanted to go to war enough a draft would not be needed, and thus creating a draft would remove the need for a "general will" to be present to go to war.

Anonymous said...

So......this blog has gone dead??? No one going to nationals that checks this blog?

How about a feminist case? C is unjust because it violates equal rights of women.

JUSTICE-IS-CALLING said...

for femenism I would attack saying that in the definition of conscription it never states it must be males only... females (especially now-a-days) could easily be conscripted to, therefore spreading the conscription equally. Just because in the past females weren't conscripted doesn't mean they shouldn't be.

Meredith said...

I don;t know. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't EVERY historical draft, conscription only included males. If male-only-conscription is unjust, are you saying that every conscription in history has been unjust? That kind of hurts your case.

I'm not a big fan of the feminist card, mostly because it's a slippery slope argument, but still---it would work.

Deivn said...

To argue against military conscription from a feminist perspective is to be taken as seriously as using Stephen Colbert to argue for Conservativism. Countries that have conscripted females include: Israel, Malayasia, Chile, Egypt (in civilian service).