Spring Vote 2024 Lincoln Douglas Options

The top 3 resolutions will be used. Please rank your choices from 1-5.

Lincoln Douglas

1. Resolved: Mandatory national service is justified.

Our country is becoming more diverse and divided. It is seldom that we choose to reach out beyond our circle of acquaintances and understand life from another’s perspective. There is nothing that forces us to interact with others of a dissimilar background. In the past, we did have a common circumstance that required us to serve, work with and understand individuals who were different from ourselves. The military draft, conscription, was a part of our national fabric off and on until 1973. This culminated in the draft during the Vietnam War. However, making national service mandatory introduces another set of considerations. When you force another to do something, do they do it willingly or well? What about their personal choice to spend their efforts in the way they choose?

National service can be performed in a variety of ways. Serving in the military, teaching in low-income areas, caring for the elderly or working on a needed infrastructure project are all examples of tasks that could be classified as national service.

Although this resolution is crafted as a statement, it asks a moral question.

2. Resolved: In U.S. law enforcement, accountability ought to be prioritized over effectiveness.

In the last few years, there have been a lot of conversations about police–and more broadly, law enforcement–reform. Handheld recordings from citizens, paired with whistleblowers from the inside, have many pushing for stronger accountability measures in law enforcement. It’s been said that power corrupts, and law enforcement wields a lot of power over the average citizen. At the same time, that power is necessary to protect citizens from crime. Many measures that increase accountability, can decrease overall effectiveness. This resolution identifies two good things for law enforcement to have, and asks: when in conflict, which ought to be prioritized above the other?

3. Resolved: A polity ought to have a right to secede from political bodies.

Can the Kurds carve out their own country and secede from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq? Should they? This hypothetical suggestion is like Woodrow Wilson’s idea of national self-determination. He and others thought that peace prospects increased when national boundaries more-closely aligned with ethnic dispersion. Pakistan was carved out of India in 1948 to bring about national identity and peace. If secession is deemed justifiable on ethnic grounds (Romania or Czechoslovakia), what about religious grounds? Should Dearborn, Michigan be allowed to secede and to form a new Muslim country, or US State? Would political differences serve as legitimate grounds for secession? California has had a debate for over 50 years on the efficacy of splitting into two or more states. What is the standard for sucession and is it a right for a polity to secede or does the governing body have a right to allow or disallow the succession?

4. Resolved: The United States Declaration of Independence is more important than the United States Constitution.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution form the foundation for our country. This resolution asks which one is more important.
The Declaration arose first and paved the way for creation and adoption of the Constitution. However, the country floundered after the Declaration and the country initially descended into the chaos of the Articles of Confederation. The Articles eventually failed and America only found a stable federal government when it adopted the Constitution. Most of the legal structure in America today is rooted in the Constitution, not the Declaration.
The words and spirit of the Declaration are animated, fervent and inspiring; the language in the Constitution, on the other hand, is frequently bland. The Declaration dissolved political authority and orderly government; the Constitution created authority and orderly government. The Declaration rebuked an oppressor and took power away from the sovereign; the Constitution created and empowered a new sovereign. The Declaration empowered the states; the Constitution took power away from the states. The Declaration brought war; the Constitution ushered in an era of peace and stability. The Declaration includes references to God and inalienable rights emanating from Him; the Constitution does not.
This resolution will prompt Stoa debaters to better understand these founding documents and the history surroinding them.

5. Resolved: The acquisition of knowledge is an intrinsic good.

Our society places a huge priority on education. It is assumed that acquisition of knowledge is the key to success. We can acknowledge that the acquisition of knowledge has led to some incredible advances in medical science, technology, and many other areas of everyday life. This allows our generation to live longer and more comfortably than any other in all of history. We can solve problems that previous generations thought were impossible. At our fingertips we can find any fact we want wherever we are with just a couple of keystrokes. And all of this appears to be good.

But is this actually true? Can too much knowledge be too much of a good thing? Have we learned so much that we are actually causing more harm than good? The fields of AI and biomedical engineering are daily pushing the boundaries of traditional ethics. Technological advances have led to mental health problems and have led to a socieity that is disconnected from community.

Although this resolution is crafted as a statement, it asks a moral question.