Mar 18, 2010

LD mailbag: resources, plus jury nullification!

Regarding LD in general, and the jury nullification resolution in particular, a reader writes,
Mr. Anderson,

Hey there! I had a great teacher that ultimately helped me win last year, and I thought I might pass on some ideas and resources that otherwise could be helpful.

As for evidence, I highly recommend looking up the WNDI Debate Camp Files. A Google search of that name will bring up a site that includes a comprehensive brief that is completely free.

Although many won't try to delve into philosophy, the most useful book in my debate career has been Dr. S. E. Frost Jr.'s book The Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers. The citations are quick and easy explanations over the tough concepts, great for explaining philosophy in a case or rebuttal.

Now for the topic...

The affirmative is quite easy to run on this topic, and I think you have it pretty well covered on the site.

The negative is a harder position to run for sure, but can be really persuasive if the resolution is used to its fullest. A proper definition of democracy is the fulcrum of the position I use, as it preempts the ultimate "Jim Crow" or "Fugitive Slave Act" arguments one is destined to hit. My using the 'principle' part of the resolution, one can say that many of these laws were not in line with the principles of the Constitution, and despite having happened historically, are not applicable under the resolution. Even one can go on to say that because many demographic groups were denied participation in the political system, those laws are also inapplicable, especially in a modern sense.

The negative arguments certainly have to revolve around objectivity, and principles such as equality, order, and democracy. The arguments concerning racism, bigotry, etc., can prove to be fundamentally subversive to a democratic system that appreciates political differentiation. Undermining laws at will can be anarchic. Injecting subjective views of the jurors into the objective system of law (that is legitimized by the very people themselves) is more often to be used for ill than for good in a system that represents the principles it was founded upon.

Just a few thoughts, hopefully they helped. If not, thanks for your time!
And thanks for your thoughts.


drock34 said...

how do we determine anything objectively without inserting subjectivity into that said thing. An argument is that majority will represents objectivity but the idea that majority will suports is still subjective in a way. I guess my question is what is justice without subjectivity? What are we as humans without subjectivity? Robots? Is there a way you can defeat the objectivity argument on the aff by kritiking it saying subjectivity is better because it is how we as humans function, and without subjectivity, we wouldn't be competitive, and maybe that objectivity trumps individualism, because it doesn't allow the individual to decide what in their opinion is right?

Jim Anderson said...

You might even go after the foundation of the argument: that the law is objective. Laws, in a democracy, come out of a messy, political process. They are not handed down from on high, or deduced from logical premises. A majority (or representatives of the majority) has framed them to uphold a moral or practical point-of-view that is, arguably, at bottom subjective. The law has ambiguities and fuzzy boundaries, and its enforcers operate with great discretion (whom to arrest, what charges to bring). The human element is always present, and to deny this is to dehumanize the law.