Nov 14, 2009

LD weekend open thread

My squad had a practice tournament this weekend: 4 rounds of LD, 3 of PuFo, and an obligatory round of Impromptu. It was fun, but I spent the whole time running Tab, so I didn't get my usual view from the ground of the latest and greatest/worst in LD arguments.

No matter: that's what you, the reader, are for, right? Regarding the immunization resolution, what worked for you this weekend? What didn't? What stumped you? What would you like help with? The comments are yours. Fire away....


eastsong25 said...

I tried running the veil of ignorance for my aff case and was hit pretty hard on it. the gist of it was that the parties behind the veil would choose compulsion because it would provide the best opportunities for a good life plan regardless of the status or conditions an individual ended up in. however the neg argument was that allowing choice would better serve as the condition for any good life since freedom would be allowed. i was pretty stumped for both rounds i ran the case for and could pretty much only attack the idea that freedom couldnt be absolute since it could potentially limit others' freedoms. is there some other defense i could use? or maybe something i should emphasize more in my case so its not so vulnerable?

Jim Anderson said...

I think the battle is lost if speaking too generically about "compulsion," rather than "compulsion in the case of..." Obviously no one wants a society where everything is compulsory--but no one wants to live in a society with rampant disease, suffering, and death.

In other words, it's not a matter of choice vs. compulsion in all cases--only in the case of public health concerns, and only concerning immunization.

Does that make sense?

tochter_aus_elysium said...

I'd like to preface this comment with the disclaimer that I'm a novice debater and will, on occasion, spout utter nonsense. My sincerest apologies in advance.

I ran util for my one aff case, but failed to declare my value criteria ('twas an idiotic move that I will not make the mistake of repeating), and therefore lost. Neg ran personal liberty and human worth--portrayed util as treating humans as a means to an end, and therefore inherently degrading and in conflict with his VP/VC. (I've since realized that he spent most of his argument within a strictly deontological framework--I'm assuming there's a rebuttal to that.)

Ran that same neg case for the following round--VP: human worth, VC: non-objectification of people (we differ from this blog with respect to conceptions of VP/VC). It worked fairly well against the standard aff util argument (which is what my opponent ran). I think, though, that this argument can be deconstructed by if one assumes that each human being is of equal worth. One's failure to vaccinate oneself (because of convictions regarding one's own worth) degrades someone else's worth, therefore nullifying the original premise, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I'm currently considering a slippery slope argument for the neg--it could be quite effective, or it might not be. We'll see. Anyways, I was trying to formulate an aff rebuttal to that argument, and was blanking. What could be used by aff to block a slide down the slippery slope of medicalized tyranny a la Brave New World?


Jim Anderson said...


When you write, "One's failure to vaccinate oneself (because of convictions regarding one's own worth) degrades someone else's worth, therefore nullifying the original premise..." I think the problem is the phrase "failure to vaccinate oneself." This isn't the Aff scenario; the Aff scenario is your being compelled to be vaccinated by someone else, which is where the degradation occurs. On the Neg, you can argue, consistently, that if we all value everyone's worth equally, we will all voluntarily line up for vaccinations.

As far as the Aff rebuttal to the slippery slope: one choice is to call it a slippery slope and argue that it's inherently fallacious, since it relies on a largely assertion-based chain of actions and reactions, causes and effects, which are unlikely.

I'll try to scare up other ideas, but it's too early in the morning at the moment.

IdahoDebater said...

I lost in semi's at a 30 school tournament because my opponent had some evidence that was a year newer than mine saying that only 1% of parents opposed vaccination. So, if you have anything newer than 2003 that had a number larger than one percent, that'd be fine.

Almost all of the Neg's I went against argued that we could achieve herd immunity on the negative side. I won all but my semi-final round when I was Aff by saying that children would be affected when disease outbreaks occur when adults haven't taken measures to vaccinate themselves, and by saying that minorities in areas that are primarily Islamic could be affected since there exists some belief in the religion that vaccination is bad.

On the Neg, I showed how the act of compulsion itself was bad, and then while rebutting I showed that herd immunity could be met on the Neg.

Elizabeth said...

I was a judge this weekend and I saw some truly terrible arguments. The one that stuck with me the most (mainly because it offended me) equated compulsory vaccination with rape. I also saw an observation on two different affs stating that those with medical exemptions don't apply on this resolution. I wonder what you think about this? I liked it but it seems almost abusive.

IdahoDebater said...

Elizabeth, I included medical exemptions in my case, simply because if I don't declare them, I'm forced to argue purposefully killing people. No one pointed them out as abusive, but I doubt they would have won that argument anyway. The Neg already, in my opinion, has a significant advantage.

To me, the debate has changed from "Is it just to take people's rights away in exchange for public safety" to "Is herd immunity met on the Negative"? I have measures in my Aff plan to null that argument now, but I didn't have them going into my last tournament.

Rutvik Joglekar said...

You didn't reply to my email! I need suggestions. :(

So as I stated earlier, a nice contention for the negative is the economic split occurring between the wealthy and poor.

Another thing that got me in one of my rounds is that the affirmative stated as one of his contentions "vaccines are helpful, and do not cause any harm". My argument wasn't based off attacking the fact that vaccines are harmful or not; so I didn't really know how to attack that....and plus, he went first, so I didn't know what to say.

It was a shame the round was with an under-qualified person judging LD for the first time (and that in Varsity). Yay for North Carolina debate!

Otherwise, this resolution is lovely; better than the one about international jurisdiction criminal courts in Jan/Feb last year.

Jim Anderson said...

Elizabeth, I think the only medical exemption that wouldn't be arguable would be for those who have no immune response, and therefore are not only impervious to immunization, thus falling outside the bounds of the resolution, but automatically at risk from any attenuated viruses.

Rutvik, I'm a busy guy, and comments get faster attention than emails around here.

Vaccines historically are quite safe, but they're not 100% safe, just like any medical intervention. The CDC has a list of common side effects, and their rates of incidence. Furthermore, a vaccine rushed to market might have more risks than a well established vaccine.

Let's say it's a 1 in a million risk of a severe reaction. So if 5 billion people are immunized, even at a 1 in a million risk level, 5,000 people will suffer or die to keep the rest safe. Is that an acceptable risk?

gogopreacher said...

What's a good v/vc combo for a case that says that CV forces physicians to violate hippocratic oath and that vaccines are best determined by discretion of doctor and patient?

DesperateDebater said...

What do I say when I am the Negative and the Affirmative claims there are exceptions to compulsory immunization? Compulsory means that every person has to get immunized and allowing exceptions would be taking away negative ground, correct?

Rutvik Joglekar said...

There are; for example, school systems require vaccinations, but you can get away with it with medical conditions, or religion.

For the negative, you would have to come up with another argument which would directly attack the affirmative case.

The 'compulsory' argument won't work here because you have to base off what other organizations/governments have done for this definition. And most agencies have allowed exceptions, even in the terms of 'compulsory'.

CAdebate said...


Do you happen to have any cites for those arguments? Or anything about compulsory get more HI than voluntary? I'd be willing to post some of my evidence. I believe the more access that debaters have to different arguments/evidence is for the better.

IdahoDebater said...

I've been using two different sets of free evidence. I'm not sure where I found either of them, but they do have citations. I could email you the files if you'd like. One of them is from the Whitman camp or something in 08, and I'm not sure where the other is from. I found them both online. Again, Compulsory will achieve a greater vaccination rate than voluntary, but we don't need a hundred percent to be safe.

Anonymous said...

I just finished a Malthus case has any one hit one so far and how have judges reacted?

Anonymous said...

How is deliberation is used as a value criterion for the neg?

CAdebate said...


Yeah, thad be great. My email is
Let me know in the email if you need any particular evidence.

yentruoc said...

Our district doesn't start the compulsory immunization topic until this upcoming weekend, and I'm stumped about something within my affirmative case. Our coach focuses mainly on Policy, and in all honesty, I am the most experienced LDer currently on our team, so asking our coach and some of the newer varsity and novice has gotten me nowhere.
I'm confused about the fact that I am using a dual VC in my affirmative case. My value is societal welfare, and I'm planning on using a dual VC of pragmatism (doing what is most practical, focusing on observable consequences) with invariate empiricism (rejecting biased or inaccurate evidence in favor of solid facts and statistics). One of my best friends, who also does LD, says that I'm "risking it", but says "to go along with it as long as you feel confident". I'm just not entirely sure how to approach the idea of a dual VC, because I feel like invariate empiricism is more of a judging criterion, not a value criterion, but it clarifies to lay judges why I am upholding pragmatism as my primary VC. Do you have any advice for running a dual VC, specifically concerning pragmatism-invariate empiricism?

IdahoDebater said...


Find the evidence at the following sites: