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The Resolution

Resolved: An adolescent's right to privacy ought to be valued above a parent's conflicting right to know.

I am offering the following analysis free of charge to high school Lincoln-Douglas debaters. However, as specified under implied copyright laws, no debate brief developer or publisher may use this analysis without my permission. Also, if you use this info in your cases, please e-mail me a copy of them. Don't worry, I'm not going to pirate them, but I just feel that if I give you free information, you should return the favor.

General Info

Unlike the last bimonthly resolution over globalism, which resembled the Jan/Feb resolution of last year, this topic has no parallels. I know all the briefs you read on various topics say that all the topics are unique, but this resolution truly escapes the humdrum conflict of the individual versus the state. The conflict boundaries of this topic, with a couple of notable exceptions, occur almost entirely within the family.

This resolution is, to say the least, philosophically problematic. Traditional philosophy seems to exclude the rights of the child from its scope. Most likely, you will have to take a generic philosophy, such as Locke's Social Contract, and show how children are coverered or not covered under the bounds of specific rights.

Key Terms

The following definitions are not from any dictionary, as they are simply meant to highlight the differences between the Aff and Neg perspective. For your cases, consult a real dictionary.


Here are some Affirmative Value possibilities and their related arguments: (I have presented them in what I think to be descending order of strength)


Here are some Negative Value possibilities and their related arguments:

Whichever side you are on, be willing to grant some ground to the other side. The judge probably doesn't expect you to uphold privacy/the right to know as absolute, and will most likely reject an attempt by your opponent to make you do so. On affirmative, be ready to claim that although parents sometimes must violate their adolescent's right to privacy, we shouldn't deny adolescents rights as a group just because of a few situations. On negative, argue that although privacy is important, it is not absolute and must sometimes be subjugated for safety.

Have fun, and be sure to use the judge's inherent bias (depending on whether or not he/she is a parent or college student) about the topic to your advantage.

Comments? Questions? E-mail me!

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