May 4, 2009

some general strategies for the military conscription resolution

The NFL's 2009 national tournament resolution, "Resolved: military conscription is unjust," is deceptively simple, but in reality offers a wide range of options for both sides.

Affirmative Strategies
Although it always seems weird to me to affirm a negative statement, that's what the resolution demands, so that's what we have to do. There are at least three overarching positions to take, with options under each.

1. War is itself unjust, so anything that promotes war is unjust. (Pacifism.)
Corollary: Even in peacetime, the draft increases militarism and ethnocentrism, which leads to further conflict

2. Military conscription is instrumentally unjust--in other words, it leads to unjust outcomes.
a. It ruins society or otherwise decreases social utility.
b. In practice, it is unfair or exacerbates social division.

3. Military conscription is intrinsically unjust, violating liberty / autonomy / dignity / rights. (A deontological framework.)

Negative Strategies
1. In response to pacifism...
a. Just war theory, linked into notions of national self-defense and the necessity of conscription
b. Argue for the moral necessity of war, and that social benefits, to be fairly deserved, should be fairly won
c. Argue that it unfairly broadens the resolution and is a time-suck.

2. In response to instrumental arguments...
a. Attack utilitarian notions of justice (although this might be tough for the Neg to pull off)
b. Agree with utilitarian premises, but show how they lead to the opposite conclusion

3. In response to rights- or liberty-based arguments...
a. Deny the framework, and fight back with utilitarian, communitarian, or other notions of justice
b. Accept the framework, and show how the draft does not violate liberty / rights / etc., perhaps via social contract reasoning (Rousseau might be good here).

Of course, there are other less traditional approaches that might work as well. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments.


OkieDebater2 said...

I heard an argument against the draft was the government's fear of revolt from their citizens, but in a sense wouldn't that be a check on the government?

If the people support a war, then they'd be willing to fight it, if they don't then it is not a just war since it does not have that support necessary to be called justified.

Just a thought.

Sexy Beast said...

Hey Okie, Jim has a link to that very useful argument, which Rand expounds upon.

Sexy Beast said...