Resolved: Global concerns ought to be valued above conflicting national concerns.
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This topic is very similar to last year's January/February Resolution, except that the affirmative can now discuss all global issues in addition to human rights violations. However, the negative has adequate compensation in that the Affirmative must prove his points to be true for all nations philosophically due to the abscence of the phrase "In United States policy..."
Despite these differences, the debates should essentially focus on the same issues as the human rights/national interest topic. Look for the affirmative to use the Categorical Imperative, Moral Duty, Distributive Justice, etc. in trying to prove his point. Negative arguments will probably center on Popular Sovereignty, the Social Contract, the Minimalist State, or perhaps National Security.
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.
- Global concerns.... can be construed to mean almost anything. The affirmative and negative definitions should essentially be the same. A good working definition might be "matters that relate to the entire world." You might want to include an observation that says that no national concerns can be derived from global concerns to prevent an attempt at conflict dissolution by the negative.
- ...ought to be valued above.... Definition should highlight the moral duty/obligation implied by this phrase. Remember, whoever wins must prove a moral obligation to the world/nation.
- ...conflicting national concerns... any issue that only relates to one specific nation. For instance, the United States' educational system would be a national concern, because it affects us but matters little to the rest of the world. Just make sure you pay attention to the word "conflicting," and you should have no problems with this term.
Here are some Affirmative Value possibilities and their related arguments:
- Moral Duty Argue that the people of the world have an obligation to look out for their fellow man. Just don't take this angle so far that you advocate communism. The Categorical Imperative might be a good criterion to show exactly what our moral duty consists of.
- International Distributive Justice Basically normal Distributive Justice that transcends national borders. Use a liberal criteria such as Rawlsian Justice to prop this value up. Use sob stories of poor homeless children in Africa (or something close to that) to lend emotional appeal to your side.
- Collective Security/Self Preservation Everyone will be safer and free to pursue other goals (which includes national goals) if all the nations of the world cooperate to remove threats to global security. For instance, wouldn't the world be a better place if every country on Earth got together and hunted down all known international terrorists? Argue that once collective security is achieved and the world is a safe place, countries can then deal with their unique national concerns.
- Utilitarianism Argue that the more people we help, the better. And we can help the most people by giving precedence to the 6 billion people of the world as opposed to the 300 million people of the United States. Negative could turn this around and say that Utilitarianism (Mill's version) has to occur within the borders of a nation.
- Human Dignity Personally I feel that this is a weak value overall, but nevertheless, it is workable. Your arguments should go something like this... All humans have inherent dignity. However, if we pay attention just to our country, then we ignore the dignity of everyone else and dehumanize them, which is a bad thing.
Here are some Negative Value possibilities and their related arguments:
- Justice Say that it is wrong for the nations of the world to apply their concept of justice internationally. A country's justice system should be confined within its own borders. The best criteria would probably be either Adam Smith's theories or Nozick's Minimalist State (both philosophers were conservative and believed that a government should only protect its citizens, prevent injustice, and provide public services).
- Social Contract Argue that a nation only has an obligation to its own citizens, i.e. the citizens that are under its social contract. People that do not pay taxes to a government are not entitled to its services. If the government puts the rest of the world ahead of its own people, it breaks the social contract and is then incapable of enforcing its own decisions. Originally I had thought that Rousseau's version would be the weakest, but after someone e-mailed me with an opposing viewpoint, I though about and realized that his would actually be the strongest. All individual's must subjugate their will to the general will. As such, national concerns must take precedence or otherwise the individual violates the Social Contract.
- National Security A nation must pay attention to its own security before it deals with the issues of the rest of the world. If we deal with global concerns at the expense of our own security, our own nation will be weakened and any global gains we achieved will be negated. A very powerful argument.
- Popular Sovereignty Criteria: Majority Rules, Natural Rights (to prevent tyranny of the majority). A nation is made up of people, and the only way to determine what this nation should do is to evaluate what its citizens believe and come to a concensus from that. Sometimes the citizens might say that we should deal with global concerns, but sometimes they might not. To dictate to these people what they believe is simply contrary to human nature. Therefore the resolution cannot possibly be true.
A great CX angle goes like this: Do you believe that the nations of the world should put global concerns first? Yes. All of them? (Of course they have to answer yes, otherwise they've admitted that you are correct.) What about the nations that literally are not able to contribute to the rest of the world because they have so many domestic problems? Nations like Ethiopia and Somalia could not put global concerns first, because they face starving people back home. Wouldn't be inhuman to tell them to ignore their own people in favor of such a nebulous concept as global conerns?
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