Jan 3, 2010

question time

I took a brief break from blogging about LD, and during my downtime, questions about the economic sanctions resolution have piled up. I'm going to answer them all here. (There may be minor edits for spelling or grammar.)
Anonymous said...
How would Kant's Perpetual Peace work for the Aff?
Kant's Perpetual Peace is based, among other things, on republicanism, sovereignty, and disarmament. It does require that nations do not interfere with other nations--the sovereignty aspect--which I suppose would preclude the use of economic sanctions. Yet this seems to presume the interaction of free, republican nations, not "rogue nations" gunning for nukes. It's an interesting idea, though, that might be more properly fleshed out by a Kantian expert.
Courtney said...
For Aff:
V: Morality
Cr: Contractualism/Deontology

Which one would work better...can't decide.

Also, I would really like to consequentialism as my criterion for an Aff case, but I don't know what value to do. Any ideas?
Contractualism works well with justice as a value, because it concerns apportioning rights and obligations; deontology will also, since it concerns moral rightness. (See below.) Consequentialism will work for the Affirmative with a value of societal welfare; the reasoning here is that the government, as the agent of action, is responsible to ensure the welfare of its citizens.
Anonymous said...
If you used deontology as your VC,and justice as your V on Aff, you would be essentially be arguing that we are preserving justice by doing what we are morally obligated to do, correct?
You certainly would.
Anonymous said...
Also, would constructive bilateralism work as a VC?
Constructive bilateralism consists of cooperative agreements between two nations; I suppose this is an Affirmative criterion, although there's no reason it would be limited to bilateralism as opposed to, say, multilateralism.
Anonymous said...
Overall, I think that a straight justice or morality argument must be made. Efficiency never has a place in LD, because we are talking about philosophical ideals. Therefore, the Neg has to show that sanctions are moral when used. (They do work sometimes, such as in South Africa, so inefficiency also doesn't work.) The Aff then has to show that, whether they work or not, they are a moral action. "Ought" could be a good link to morality.
You can definitely make that argument, but be aware that there are pragmatic and realistic strains in political philosophy--and consequentialism in general--that not only allow, but require efficacy as a condition of moral action.
lil' petey said...
On Aff I was thinking something simple but effective: How about valuing security (probably could be national but my case works better with individual), backing it up with a criterion of protecting innocence? Basically saying that economic sanctions hurt innocent people in society as much or more than the government they are directed at and that is not just.
That is certainly one of the arguments made against broad-based sanctions; just be ready for the "targeted sanctions" Negative approach.
Anonymous said...
Is there some way (like an RA or a framework or something) that can limit the Aff's disadvantage? It seems like Aff has to prove economic sanctions are always bad while Neg only has to find one example of how it is good to win.
"If I can name one example..." is the lazy route to winning, yet I hear people trying it all the time. The NFL LD ballot puts it clearly (and this language should be in bold at the top of your case in every debate!):
Each debater has the burden to prove his or her side of the resolution more valid as a general principle. No debater can realistically be expected to prove complete validity or invalidity of the resolution. The better debater is the one who, on the whole, proves his/her side of the resolution more valid as a general principle.
Unless the counterexample is large or generic enough to counter the prevailing arguments you've advanced, one example is not going to be sufficient to negate (or affirm, depending).
The Anarchist said...
Could I value Human Rights on the Aff with a criterion of Kant's Categorical Imperative? Or should I go with a value of Governmental Legitimacy?
Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative is probably most apt here; it prohibits persons from using others merely as a means to an end. That might apply to broad-based sanctions, which punish civilians in order to pressure their nation's leaders to change policies. Using governmental legitimacy as a value isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it leads to the question, does the government have any moral obligations to noncitizens?
Jennifer said...
I'm wondering if you could argue that economic sanctions ought not be used because they promote the aims of capitalism (in many cases) and not the specific foreign policy aims of a specific country or countries. Although I suppose that capitalism and foreign policy aims of first world nations are inextricably linked. Still, could you argue otherwise?
If capitalism is bad, and sanctions are the balled-up fist of the "invisible hand," then I suppose you could make that sort of argument on the Affirmative. This is probably why some are advocating the "Cap K" (Capitalism Kritik) as an Affirmative strategy.
Alex said...
Since it seems that everyone is running Human Rights for their affirmative, I will give my opinion as of Human Rights. Running Human Rights for the Affirmative is a bit sketchy because when using economic sanctions usually aims at protecting the international community and every other nation. IE: the sanction against North Korea is aimed at stopping their nuclear program. Its citizens might be not getting their full potential of obtaining food and medication, but not having economic sanctions threatens the rights of everyone that could have conflict with North Korea considering the proliferation of their weapons. Thus, having Negative use the Affirmatives value of Human Rights as their own.
I agree; a Negative based on "maximizing rights" would be a way to co-opt any Aff running HR.
Anonymous said...
What social contract says that the government has the responsibility to only protect its own citizens?
I'll turn the question around: what social contract says that the government has the responsibility to protect noncitizens?

Anonymous said...
Hi, Im pretty new to debate, and I really like the idea of the "toolbox" metaphor and the National Security/Realism Value criterion pair. My question is, how do you link national security to the resolution? Also, at our school and tournaments, we are advised to put a verb before our criterion, such as "maintaining realism" instead of just realism. Could you explain how realism relates to the toolbox metaphor?
Economic sanctions, at least in the modern era, are related to national security in many ways. One of the foremost: nuclear containment. As to your second question, political realism is the view that prudence, not idealism, should be a government's modus operandi. (Wikipedia has a decent intro to the subject.) A political realist would thus argue that it's in a nation's best interests to keep its options open. Furthermore, a hardline realist will critique the very notion of governments having moral responsibilities--preserving their own power is their only goal. Legitimacy, human rights, and other values are only good insofar as they create or preserve internal and international stability.
Jenny said...
So far, I really can't think of much for NEG. So far all I've seen is how ineffective and devastating to humanity economic sanctions are; they're even compared to WMD. I'm thinking about running social welfare with prudence, but I can't seem to find anything good on prudence to use in my case.

Also, how do smart sanctions fit into the definition of economic sanctions?
I've partly answered your second question at this link. An intro to "smart sanctions" (via Google Books) is available here. As to prudence (realism; see above), it works best with a value of national security.


Anonymous said...

is there any solid evidence that economic sanctions were created for foreign policy objectives?

Jim Anderson said...

Sure. One example: the Helms-Burton act, which tightened economic restrictions on Cuba. Among other goals, it was intended to foster Cuba's transition to democratic government.

Anonymous said...

In order to frame the debate on the negative side, how would you go about proving that inaction is immoral?

Anonymous said...

Also for the affirmative side, what do you think of using "Rawl's theory of justice" as a criterion and using two components.
1. the veil of ignorance
2. the difference principle

Because economic sanctions do not achieve either component of justice, they are not moral?

With either morality or justice as a value

Jim Anderson said...

first anonymous, Peter Singer uses the analogy of passing by a child drowning in a pond. In his famous essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality," he writes, "[I]f it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it. An application of this principle would be as follows: if I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing."

Anyone who would argue that it's fine to just keep on walkin' has some ethical explaining to do.

second anonymous, Rawls might work, but with (at least) two caveats: 1. It's always tricky to prove what people behind the veil would choose as a just society. 2. It can be argued that broad-based sanctions make the worst-off worse-off, but if sanctions reduce the power of dictators, or keep them from getting nukes--perhaps that's a tradeoff a just society can make. (And then there's the matter of "targeted sanctions.")

debater said...

Hi I've seen you mention the targeted sanctions a lot and I'm not sure what that is. Can you explain?

Jim Anderson said...

They're pretty well explained here. They can involve things like asset freezes and travel bans.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering then if Rawls has some loopholes, what you would suggest as a good AFF side criterion?
As in nonphilosophy.
Because I am thinking of using a "verb noun" criterion like "reducing... blank" or "preventing... blank" and then tieing a whole bunch of philosophy in like the universal declaration of rights, and rawls and game theory and such into my contentions.

Anonymous said...

thanks alot

Alex said...

Hi. I have a question to ask. This question regards when anonymous asked if there was a way to say that inaction was immoral and you responded with a quote from Peter Singer. Inside the quote, it mentioned, "without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant," would rights be considered "non-significant?"

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous, I'd have to see your contention taglines, at least, to see if there's a coherent criterion holding them all together.

Alex, it would depend on the rights in question, I suppose. I'm not sure what the national equivalent of getting one's trousers muddy is.

The Anarchist said...

Hey Jim what do you think of a neg case running a value of National Security with a criterion of Political Realism/Realpolitik?

Alex said...

This is also regarding your Peter Singer quote and the sacrificing of rights, would a social contract backed up by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 29 sub-section 2 be able to justify the "sacrificed significant morals?"

Jim Anderson said...

Anarchist, you definitely can run that on the Neg. It can work on at least two levels: clashing with the affirmative's arguments that sanctions don't achieve security, and/or clashing with the argument that states have moral obligations. (In that respect realism is used like a kritik.) But then in a globalized world, some argue that classic realism is obsolete--that the existence of international institutions and international law proves that international relations are no longer (if they ever were) anarchic.

Alex, that might work. Getting the Aff to concede that action is moral will probably be a critical part of CX, when running that style of Neg.

Rupi said...

hi, what do you think about a value of human rights with a criterion of kant's categorical imerative? for affirmative

hmgurny said...

Hi, I am newer at debate and I wasn't sure what I want to make a toolbox/realism NC. How should i go about doing this?

Matt said...


I run realism essentially as a Kritik. It depends on your circuit but It can be run two ways. The First way is better although more likely to be rejected in most circuits.

1. A burdens NC
2. A NC with a V: Gov Legit VC: Some form of contractualism

Either way the key components are:

-Reso questions actions of national government
-Ought=moral Obligation
-Aff burden prove Moral Obligation not to use sanctions.
-States dont have transnational obligations

Look up Hans Morgenthau "Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace" for good evidence supporting realism.