Resolved: The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.For instance, via email:
One of my opponents kept arguing (when I was Aff) that legalization had nothing to do with the debate. This confused me, but I thought it was just something with her. Then I get a judge who, upon being asked her paradigm, said that legalization is nonresolutional. What is all this about? I thought that was what the debate was about. What grounds, then, does the Aff have? And I mentioned what you said about manufacture and distribution could be illegal, but apparently that's still nonresolutional....In one sense, full legalization could nonresolutional--after all, if there exists no such substance as an "illegal drug," then there's nothing to debate. Flawless victory, Negative.
In my Aff case I talked about how drug abusers aren't guilty of a crime as they do not harm others; if they do then the law can interfere. However, my opponents said that since the resolution says "illegal drugs," drug abusers are clearly guilty of a crime, and apparently I don't have the power to change the drugs' legality.
However, some form of decriminalization seems necessary, thanks to the word "not." I've argued many times before that making abuse (shooting up, smoking, inhaling, sniffing, ingesting) a matter of public health still gives the Negative ground to pursue manufacturers and distributors of illegal drugs.
Now I'm starting to think there may be another way. Let's look at the temporal aspect--how affirming and negating play out in time.
If we talk in terms of "possible worlds," we don't concern ourselves with time. The resolution is or is not true, always and forever. Thus, illegal drugs are always illegal, and full legalization (as opposed to partial decriminalization) is completely nonresolutional.
However, if we talk in terms of the status quo, with an eye toward the future (thus with time as part of the equation), then the Aff can argue the resolution can be true now--we "ought to" legalize drugs at some point in the future, in order to stop treating them as a matter of criminal justice--and that once legalization occurs, the resolution isn't false, but unnecessary.
In this line of thinking, legalization--complete and utter--is a valid Affirmative option.
What do you think?