UPDATE: NFL wording committee narrows it to fourteen topics

I apologize for not updating more regularly, but NSDUpdate is blocked at Ben Davis High School. 

Here are the top 14 topics. This is not the final wording so your edits/thoughts can still be accommodated:

1.     The United States is justified in intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries to attempt to stop human rights abuses.
2.     The United States ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens.
3.     Public colleges and universities in the United States ought to prohibit hate speech on their campuses.
4.     In the United States, unlimited independent expenditures intended to influence elections are detrimental to democracy.
5.     When making admissions decisions, public colleges and universities in the United States ought to favor members of historically disadvantaged groups.
6.     On balance, the privatization of civil services serves the public interest.
7.     In the United States, Article III federal judges should be subject to term limits.
8.     Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.
9.     Oppressive government is more desirable than no government.
10.   In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.
11.   The constitutions of democratic governments ought to include procedures for secession.
12.   Human genetic engineering for medical purposes is moral.
13.   Faith-based organizations ought to be exempt from employment law requirements that conflict with their religious doctrines.
14.   On balance, labor unions in the United States are beneficial.


by Dave McGinnis

Each year the National Forensic League assigns a committee to construct a list of 10 well-worded LD debate topics to be voted upon by the nation’s LD debate coaches. The committee begins with a list of topic ideas submitted electronically to the NFL. Over the course of three days, each suggested topic is discussed, analyzed, researched and reworded. In a series of votes the list is pared down until a final list of ten topics is produced and published at the end of the tournament.

The committee seeks input throughout the process. While only committee members may vote, the committee meetings are open (subject to available space), and community members are welcome to stop by and contribute to the discussion. The committee will be meeting at Ben Davis High School in Room B110.

Also, the committee will bring the lists of topics to the assembled coaches, students and community members throughout the tournament. As the lists are pared down, they will also be posted online. The NFL has set up an official site for viewing of the list, updates to the list, and commentary on the topics. It is: http://nflnationals.org/nfl-ld-topic-wording-committee-working-list/

Comments posted here on specific topics will be reviewed and considered by the committee. These may also be posted on other websites frequented by LD debaters.

The initial list consists of 146 topic ideas:

  1. Resolved: In the United States, the slaughtering of horses is not morally permissible.
  2. Justice requires the repatriation of cultural artifacts to their countries of origin.
  3. Resolved:  The Lincoln Douglas Topic Committee should strongly consider the implication of the resolutions they write on how it impacts the arguments being made in debate rounds
  4. Resolved: That the government of a nation should hold the safety of its citizens above their liberty
  5. Resolved: That harming another individual is morally worse than allowing them to be harmed
  6. Resolved: The United States has a moral obligation to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation to attempt to stop its government from committing crimes against humanity.
  7. Resolved: It is morally permissible to torture a known terrorist to get vital information to save innocent people.
  8. when in conflict, a lesser developed nation’s right to develop ought to take priority over its obligation to protect the environment.
  9. Should the U.S. keep fighting in War Zones that don’t affect them such as Somalia.
  10. Resolved:  Colleges and universities have an obligation to prohibit hate speech on their campuses.
  11. When in conflict, protection of the environment outweighs the needs of economic development.
  12. Resolved: Prisons in the United States ought to prioritize prisoner re-assimilation into society over prisoner incapcitation.
  13. Resolved: International aid ought not be based on a country’s human rights record.
  14. RESOLVED: When forced to choose, Governments ought to prioritize Public Health concerns over those of individual liberty.
  15. Resolved: The Right to Die is an Ethical Entitlement Inherent to All Individuals
  16. Resolved: Voting rights be extended to children above the age of 13
  17. Resolved: The United States is morally obligated to spread democratic values even at the cost of national interest.
  18. Resolved: The United States ought not deport juvenile illegal immigrants.
  19. The act of mercy killing is morally permissible
  20. Nationalism is a vice that needs to be overcome by all human beings.
  21. The use of genetic engineering for medical purposes is morally permissible.
  22. It is morally permissible to forcibly implement democracy upon another country.
  23. Resolved: Abortion is morally justified as a result of rape.
  24. Resolved: In the United States, public universities ought to favor historically disadvantaged groups in admissions decisions.
  25. Resolved: States ought to enhance criminal penalties for hate crimes.
  26. Enhanced Interogation is justified to promote national security.
  27. The international community is morally obligated to intervene in the case of abusive regimes.
  28. The hacking of data under a security premise is an morally justified act.
  29. Honesty in human communication is more important than civility.
  30. Resolved:  Convicted criminals should not be subjected to the double jeprody being held responsible in civil courts.
  31. Resolved: It has ought to be just, to protect Native American burial grounds.
  32. Resolved: It is morally permissible for the United Nations Human Rights Council to violate the sovereignty of one of its member states for the purpose of preventing future crimes against humanity.
  33. Resolved: The United State ought to prioritize energy production over issues of foreign policy.
  34. Resolved: individuals rights
  35. Resolved: In the United States, the government ought to have the right to arrest anyone suspected of terrorism.
  36. Resolved:  The United States ought to counsel the United Nations Security Counsel for approval before taking military action on any threats to global democracy.
  37. Resolved: Individual claims of privacy ought to be valued above competing claims of societal welfare.
  38. Resolved:  When they conflict in the United States, religious freedoms ought to take precedent over societal good.
  39. It is morally permissible to allow for creationism to be taught alongside evolution.
  40. Resolved: In the United States, marriage should be recognized by the state regardless of sexual preferences.
  41. “Stand Your Ground” laws are unjust.
  42. It is morally permissible for the US army to hold a draft for gathering troops when needed.
  43. It is morally permissible to aid someone committing violence, should they threaten you or one close to you.
  44. That the media ought to value the privacy of individuals above truth seeking efforts.
  45. It is morally permissible for Justices of the Supreme Court to engage in judicial activism.
  46. That the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations previously without them is morally justifiable.
  47. Resolved: Stand-your-ground laws are justifiable when threatened.
  48. Resolved: Morality is best upheld by democratic government
  49. Resolved: the right to join a labor union should be a fundamental human right.
  50. Resolved: In the United States, the perpetrators of hate crimes should receive additional punishment
  51. Governments ought to provide health care coverage for their citizens.
  52. Be it resolved that physician assistant suicide is a morally permissable action.
  53. In the United States, the feminist movement’s drawbacks outweigh its utilities in achieving and/or maintaining equality for women.
  54. The captain of the California acted morally on the night of the Titanic.
  55. Civil war as a means to achieve democracy is justified.
  56. Resolved: It is morally permissible to genetically modify human embryos.
  57. An unjust government is preferable to no government at all.
  58. Age discrimination laws are unjust.
  59. Using progressive LD tactics in an official NFL certified round is justified.
    It is a moral obligation of a debater to uphold the traditional standards of lincoln douglas debate.
  60. Civil war as a means to achieve democracy is justified.
  61. Resolved: It is morally permissible to genetically modify human embryos.
    Resolved: It is morally permissible to genetically enhance human embryos
  62. An unjust government is preferable to no government at all.
  63. Age discrimination laws are unjust.
  64. Using progressive LD tactics in an official NFL certified round is justified.
    It is a moral obligation of a debater to uphold the traditional standards of lincoln douglas debate.
  65. Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government.

66. Eminent domain for private economic development is just.

67. Resolved: The United States federal government should correspondingly decrease taxes for the parents/guardians of private school minors.

68. Resolved: Government ought to encourage and/or institute moral standards and values.

69. Gay marriage ought to be equal in every state

70. Resolved: The use of recalls against elected officials serves as a crucial component of democracy.

71. Assisted suicide is morally justified when the victim is suffering.

72. Resolved: America should legalize Marijuana.

73. Resolved: The United States government should increase bank regulation.

74. Resolved: The Upper Class constituting the way of life for others.

75. Resolved: Capitol punishment ought not be used as a method of justice

76. Resolved: allowing innocent people to be harmed is preferable than giving into terrorists demands.

77. In light of the long string of individual-oriented, abstract moral topics (and corresponding lack of any governmental/International Relations oriented debate) which no one voting for the topic could have anticipated as well as the large public outcry against the current topic (see here), I hope that the National Forensic League will seriously consider taking quick action to resolve the current dilemma. Two options would be adopting the targeted killing resolution suggested in the hyperlinked website or adopting the 2nd-place topic. At the very least, I hope the LD topic selection process will be revised in the light of this debacle so that future topics aren’t so at odds with the community.

78. Resolved: it is morally permissible to murder those who threaten democratic ideals.

79. Resolved: the death penalty is morally and/or logically permissible

80. Resolved: democracy is the only solution.

81. Resolved: it is morally permissible for the United States Federal Government to biopolitically control those who would otherwise undermine the State’s security

82. Resolved: it is morally permissible for Occupy Wall Street to turn violent

83. Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

84. Violence in response to political repression is not necessary to install democratic principles. I believe this resolution accesses one of the most interesting fields of international events in recent history. It covers both democratic promotion efforts that originate from abroad (such as US efforts in Afghanistan) as well as internally generated actions (revolutions, the “Arab Spring”). It distills an extensive policy literature into a fundamental conflict of moral and ethical principles relating to government. I would argue that a number of values and criterial structures can be deployed on either side of the topic, but its wording also leaves it open to alternate interpretations to foster a diverse argument base. A recent concern has been balancing resolutions affirmative to counteract the large negative wins bias at many tournaments. This topic gives the affirmative a low and specific threshold to meet: they have to prove a lack of necessity. The negative is bound to a positive burden, which will prevent a number of dastardly negative strategies – as well as ensuring that each side will actually have to engage the crux of the resolution.

85. Violence in response to political repression is not necessary to install democratic principles. I believe this resolution accesses one of the most interesting fields of international events in recent history. It covers both democratic promotion efforts that originate from abroad (such as US efforts in Afghanistan) as well as internally generated actions (revolutions, the “Arab Spring”). It distills an extensive policy literature into a fundamental conflict of moral and ethical principles relating to government. I would argue that a number of values and criterial structures can be deployed on either side of the topic, but its wording also leaves it open to alternate interpretations to foster a diverse argument base. A recent concern has been balancing resolutions affirmative to counteract the large negative wins bias at many tournaments. This topic gives the affirmative a low and specific threshold to meet: they have to prove a lack of necessity. The negative is bound to a positive burden, which will prevent a number of dastardly negative strategies – as well as ensuring that each side will actually have to engage the crux of the resolution.

86. Government ought not be able to foreclose personal choices that do not affect the safety of other people. While potentially too broad, and covering some of the same ground as the drug abuse topic from 2010, this topic also includes things like abortion – smoking – homosexuality – etc, while avoiding forcing either side to directly defend or attack those personal choices. An affirmative case could talk about specific personal choices, or make broader arguments for the role of personal choice in government through the social contract, democratic ideals, checks on tyranny, and a number of key political and human rights. If we are willing to discuss repeated domestic violence (although I prefer the term intimate terrorism), it would incredibly hypocritical to refuse to discuss things such as pornography, sexual fetishes, smoking/not wearing seatbelts, etc. Especially since these things are in many ways far more public of issues than RDV, and in many cases will be less graphic and horrifying to discuss in the abstract.

87. The limited rights of minors in the educational system of the US is unjust. A very relevant topic in my opinion, considering that debate is about giving students opportunities to speak out and be heard. This seems like something we MUST confront considering cases like the infamous “Bong hits for jesus” (Morse v. Frederick) and the contingent status of most rights granted to minors in the US. Authors like Henry Giroux and Paulo Friere consider censorship and forms of education on very in depth levels, and it is possible to reach into classical philosophy and nearly every other school of thought in order to address the status of education of the young. This topic would also allow for a legal debate, but does not necessitate it.

88. . It is morally permissible for agents of the law to apply violence in order to force the compliance of protestors. This topic is not US specific, but engages a number of recent events as well as international events such as the responses in Egypt to protests. It will engage police brutality, as well as things like the Kent State incident in which the national guard killed several students – thus connecting important events in history with the status quo. It doesn’t require the affirmative to defend police brutality, and not even lethal force. Only violent force. This is sort of a re-wording of my #1, but takes an opposite tack in certain ways and doesn’t require a situation of political repression to be relevant.

89. Labor rights are a necessary component of a just society. A debate that is more important than it might seem, since many in our government believe that labor groups and the rights they advocate for are destructive and a force for corruption and evil. This country has a longstanding history of labor disputes and the evolution of labor laws, and there is no reason that we shouldn’t engage this debate in the status quo. There is a ton of literature on both sides, and many students are completely ignorant about the long history of struggles and debates over labor rights.

90. A just democracy requires transparency of procedures as a check on unconstrained power.

91. It is morally permissible for an individual to break the law in order to respond to injustice.

92. Politicians ought not base their platforms on religious beliefs

93. National security is not an excuse for the violation of civil liberties

94. Art is a necessary part of moral virtue.

95. Cyberbullying ought to be prosecuted as a felony charge.

96. Corporate personhood is not beneficial to free market operations.

97. Militarization of space is unjust.

98. Environmental concerns outweigh the individual rights of people.

99. There is only one correct way to conduct oneself morally.

100. On balance, open transnational borders are better than closed borders

101. Resolved: Cats are better than dogs

102. Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce military aid to Pakistan.

103. Resolved: The United States has a moral obligation to prevent hunger.  (this could be modified to narrow the scope either to foreign countries or within the US)

104. Resolved: The United States government should prioritize hunger as a social welfare issue in policy-making.

105. I was hoping you would consider transhumanism or the ethics of human augmentation as a potential topic for LD? This topic would provide for complex and layered arguments, and would be interesting to discuss the ethical implications of augmentations.

106. Resolved: Democratic principles justify compulsory voting.

107. Resolved:  It is a moral obligation for NATO to recognize Mexico as a soveirgn country and protected.

108. When in conflict, the right’s of the victim must be prioritized over the rights of the accused.

109. It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

110. Military conscription is unjust.

111. when in conflict, globalization ought to be valued above national sovereignty.

112. oppressive government is more desirable than no government.

113. oppressive government is more desirable than no government.

114. the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.

115. an adolescent’s right to privacy ought to be valued above a parent’s conflicting right to know.

116. when they are in conflict, a business’ responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society.

117. when in conflict, American cultural unity ought to be valued above cultural diversity.

118. laws which protect citizens from themselves are justified.

119. when in conflict, the safety of others is of greater value than the right to privacy of those with infectious diseases.

120. when called upon by one’s government, individuals are morally obligated to risk their lives for their country.

121. when in conflict, the spirit of the law ought to take priority over
the letter of the law.

122. a victim’s deliberate use of deadly force is justified as a response to physical abuse.

123. competition is superior to cooperation as a means of achieving excellence.

124. communities in the United States ought to have the right to suppress pornography.

125. members of the United States Congress ought to value the national interest above constituent’s interests when the two are in conflict.

126. the individual ought to value the sanctity of life above the quality of life.

127. affirmative action programs to remedy the effects of discrimination are justified.

128. the American criminal justice system ought to place a higher priority on retribution than on rehabilitation.

129. Resolved: The religion of a political candidate ought to play a part in his or her election.

130. Resolved: The pursuit of feminist ideals is detrimental to the achievement of gender equality.

131. Resolved: an unjust government is better than no government at all.

132. Resolved: civil disobedience is justified in a democracy.

133. Resolved: That the protection of human rights should have a higher priority in shaping America’s foreign policy.

134. Resolved: violent revolution is a just response to oppression.

135. Resolved: affirmative action programs to remedy the effects of discrimination are justified.

136. Resolved:  Individual freedom should be prioritized over the needs of the society.

  • Based on Ayn Rand and Utility; Libertarianism vs. other

137. Resolved:  on balance, individuals ought to have a greater obligation to themselves than to their community (March/April 1997)

138. Resolved:  Genetic implants are morally permissible.

  • Bionic, mechanical enhancements – mechanical enhancements

139. Genetic engineering :  Human genetic engineering is morally justified.

140. Resolved:  an oppressive government is more desirable than no government.

141. Resolved:  the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

142. Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong.

143. It is unethical to prioritize the needs of one’s nation over the needs of other nations.

144. The welfare of a country’s citizens ought to be prioritized over military/security expenses.

145. Artists have a moral obligation to consider the impact/use of their art.  (movies, video games, lyrics, etc.)

146. Laws which protect citizens from themselves are justified.

 

  • I think that some of the criticism that was leveled against the domestic violence topic could be leveled against #13.
    I think it is unreasonable to expect students, coaches, and judges who have been the victims of homophobia, sexism, and other forms of religious-based discrimination to defend that discrimination in a public forum. 

    • Rebar Niemi

      the US is a christian [tarsney] nation fritz.

  • Rebar Niemi

    specific topic wording advice from rebar niemi:
     2.     The United States ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens. [this one is pretty good, but i think provide is better than guarantee]

    3.     Public colleges and universities in the United States ought to prohibit hate speech on their campuses. [i would take out the word public, i don’t understand why this is restricted… seems like you’re begging for a lot of plan plus to be run.]

    4.     In the United States, unlimited independent expenditures intended to influence elections are detrimental to democracy. [i think this requires some modification of the word detrimental to aid specificity of burden. perhaps “are antithetical to the principles of representative democracy”?]

    5.     When making admissions decisions, public colleges and universities in the United States ought to favor members of historically disadvantaged groups. [again with the public? i don’t get it. i guess it is indisputable that private institutions may morally be bigoted/discriminatory? this also seems like a good topic to bust out the ol’ permissibility on. that or change ought to “have an obligation” because those are the two big possible interps, and you should force commitment to one or the other]

    6.     On balance, the privatization of civil services serves the public interest. [On balance concerns me – see erik baker’s comment]

    8.     Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system. [i think the “in the US criminal justice system” wording could be much better. perhaps “ought to be valued above retribution in the legal codes of the US”. there’s too much variance between the actions of agents in the system and the codified rules of the system to not specify further]

    9.     Oppressive government is more desirable than no government. [love it!!!]

    10.   In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory. [should probably add a modifying clause like “by eligible citizens” just to prevent shenanagins]

    11.   The constitutions of democratic governments ought to include procedures for secession. [THE SOUTH WILL RISE – i would favor a move toward justice on this topic such as “it is just for the constitution of a democratic government to include procedures for the secession of individual provinces, peoples, or states” too much ought on the list, just suggesting a lil variety.]

    13.   Faith-based organizations ought to be exempt from employment law requirements that conflict with their religious doctrines. [flip the wording, this should be ought not. make the neg defend the churches, don’t force the aff to do it. ]

    14.   On balance, labor unions in the United States are beneficial. [i think that restricting to labor unions is really a big mistake – you should move back to a labor rights wording, because the right to unionize is not the only important labor right and more importantly, that would allow more leveraging by both sides of the entire issue, instead of artificially restricting. labor unions create labor rights, but labor rights also create labor unions. i think you need to include more than just the right to unionize/existence of unions. i would also argue this is a specifically conservative framing of the issue – assuming that labor unions are the truly contentious issue rather than focusing on what it means for workers of any kind to have protections or rights, which is in my opinion the core of this debate.]

    this final list is much better than most of the preliminary ones. still don’t like the retreads. but hey we/evs

  • Erik Baker

    First I’d like to say that I have tremendous respect for the wording committee and the largely thankless, exhausting, and important job that they do. I know that I am in little position to criticize do to my own lack of effort to do more to influence the process. But with that being said here are my thoughts/suggestions (I’ve tried to be constructive). 

    1) I think this is a pretty good topic, and is always relevant. I agree with Nick Bubb that “domestic affairs” might be unnecessarily confusing. 

    2) This topic just doesn’t seem to have much ground, especially because the wording makes it seem like it is an assumption of the resolution that universal health care is automatically achieved in the aff world. 

    3) I’m surprised that this was chosen after all the brouhaha about sensitivity that accompanied the domestic violence topic. Also, this might seem like a good topic on the surface but there just isn’t that much topic lit on both sides, but especially aff, that approaches the topic in a rigorous way.

    4) My problem with this one is the same I have with 6, 9, arguably 10 & 11, and 14: I think the wording really murders framework debate. At least the ones about democracy are better than the ones that seem to be most reasonably interpreted to demand a consequentialist evaluation. I think that these in whole or in part cut off access to one of the most educationally beneficial parts of debate. 

    5) This one is kind of interesting but I think it has been debated in public ad nauseam. 

    6) I don’t like this for two reasons. First is the one mentioned above with “serves the public interest”. Second is the fact that this resolution arguably has an objectively correct answer. The widely accepted Sappington-Stiglitz theorem states that an ideal government in the abstract can almost always run an enterprise more efficiently itself than through privatization. This presents a problem: either the government is ideal, in which case the neg is pretty clearly correct, or the government is non-ideal (ie the real world), in which case efficiency is probably industry-specific and an on balance answer is difficult. This could largely be avoided, however, if this resolution was just an “ought” question instead of the current wording.

    7) I think this topic is just absurdly boring. Maybe I’m a terrible citizen but I just can’t imagine listening to two months of debate on this issue.

    I think that the remaining ones are all among the best topics I have ever seen, and I applaud the committee for their inclusion. I think that the labor topic is really quality, and I think it’s much better served by the “beneficial” wording than other topics. I also really like genetic engineering, though I don’t think that “for medical purposes” should be included. This is because 1) the phrase is hella vague and I don’t want one of the best topics in the last few years ruined by a ton of pointless theory about what a medical purpose is and 2) a lot of the most interesting areas (in my opinion) of the topic come from non-medical applications, like the idea that we can just improve physically/mentally as people through genetic engineering apart from any disease fighting goal. This also opens the door to more analysis of the topic from a social/political perspective which I think is interesting.

    So overall I actually am more pumped about this list than I was when I started writing this, given that I think that half of the list is fantastic and only two are really bad. Thanks again to the wording committee people. 

  • Anonymous

    Wording suggestions:

    I think the healthcare resolution (#2) would do better with a word like “provide” in place of “guarantee”. The current wording is phrased too strongly in my opinion.
    On resolution #8 change “in” to “by” (or otherwise incorporate the government as the actor). It’s a minor distinction but it prevents shady arguments like “criminals in the CJS should focus on rehabilitation”.

    • Dave McGinnis

      “Provide” has a specific meaning in the health care industry that precludes its use in the topic. 

      In context “guarantee” means the same thing as “provide” — the government has to ensure that its citizens have health care available to them. 

      We thought about using “ensure” but decided that the near homophony with “insure” would create confusion for some debaters and judges. 

      You don’t want a weaker term than “guarantee” because you don’t want the aff to be able to shift its advocacy — “The neg disadvantage doesn’t apply because I don’t have to make SURE everyone has health care…” 

  • Topic 12 gets at a great topic area, of a sort that (IMO) we’ve neglected over the years, but I can’t figure out what “is moral” is supposed to mean: by default, I’d interpret it as just a crude way of saying “is morally permissible,” but if so, why not just write the topic that way? If it means something like “is morally good/morally right,” then I’m not sure what aff ground is supposed to be–I can’t imagine an argument that *any* instance of HGE for medical purposes is morally good,  or any sensible way of debating the topic “on balance,” other than debating whether the existence of the practice as a whole would be a net good, but if you want to understand the topic in those terms and still have an agent, it effectively becomes a debate over whether governments ought to permit HGE. So, why not either:

    (a) Human genetic engineering for medical purposes is morally permissible.
    or

    (b) Governments/A just government/The United States government ought to permit human genetic engineering for medical purposes.

    (Obviously these two questions are non-equivalent–there are some pretty plausible reasons why one might negate (a) but not (b), or vice versa.)

  • Nick Bubb

    Reacting to the NFL’s list of 14 topics:

     On topic #1 (intervention) – Can someone explain what purpose “in the domestic
    affairs” is supposed to mean? Why do we need to limit where the
    intervention is occurring? I’m trying to understand what the difference
    is between the wording as proposed and “The US is justified in
    intervening in other countries to stop human rights abuses?” or “The
    United States’ interventions in other countries to stop human rights
    abuses is justified”?

    On topic #2 (health care) – I’m trying to look this up, but I assume someone else
    already has: are we confident in the to/for answer? I don’t know if it
    makes a difference, I just want the topic to be correct.

    On topic #3 and #5 (colleges) – Does the list go down to 10 or is this the list?
    If so, we should only have one college topic. I prefer the admissions
    debate over the hate speech topic. The hate speech topic is an oldie and
    a nice starter, but the admissions topic seems more fresh.

    On topic #4 (PACs) – Is there any fear of people PIC out of “PACs” with
    other technical jargon (501c3) or “SuperPAC.” I think the conflict might
    be better served with broader language, that way people aren’t trying
    to pick and choose which kind of structure is/is not okay.

    On #6 (privatize) – I think this topic has merit, but the wording is broad and
    vague. First, it seems grammatically/definitionally impossible for a civil service to
    not serve the public. So, I think we need a new evaluative term (is
    beneficial/serves democracy… something else). Second, I know what you
    mean but “civil services” is not a term of art. Civil service is usually
    contrasted to military service. I think the plural makes it more
    confusing and invites the idea that any government privatization is
    germane – including military contractors, which is a much different
    literature base than contractors to determine Food Stamp eligibility and
    the like.

    #7 – (term limits) It’s a proposition of policy as currently written. Can we
    re-phrase it to a value resolution “Term limits for federal judges in
    the United States” (promote democratic ideals/are consistent with
    democracy, etc.) or something similar.

    #11 – (succession) seems strange. I think some of the democratic process
    selections proposed were better – although they were a bit
    Wisconsin/California specific. If we need to have a number lower than
    14, this would be one I’d cut.

    #12 – (Human Gentic Engineering) Isn’t the reverse a better way of presenting this conflict?
    Something just seems a little reminiscant about giving the aff the
    burden of proving that something is moral. With a debatable issue, isn’t
    that impossible? Isn’t that giving too much power to the neg? Also,
    what does this topic gain with “for medical purposes?” If the direction
    is flipped, I think it’s best without a specific circumstance (Human
    genetic engineering is immoral).

    Topic #9 is my favorite LD topic ever (opp gov v/ no gov). Please keep it on the list.

    • Anonymous

      I agree wholeheartedly with everything Nick Bubb has said with the exception that I don’t think the “oppression vs anarchy” topic will allow for very good debates. I’m not really sure what a high quality debate on this topic would look like. I much prefer #8 (rehabilitation v retribution). It’s a values clash with plenty of philosophical literature, but it’s also very applicable to current government policies.

      • Rebar Niemi

        jacob, i can’t believe you don’t see oppression v anarchy as generating good debates. high quality debates on this topic have a wide range of possibilities – it could go “get of the rock” v “anarcho-cap” or “population control” v “primitivism” or “security” v “resilient communities”

        i mean – the amount of good topic ground for both sides is staggering. it can engage basically every problem/issue in the modern global system, or focus on a few select concerns.

  • Old School

    You come off like a real tool…..

  • Old School

    Ahhhhh the annual cyber griping about resoloutions!!!! And before the committee is even done! AND WHEN THE COMMITTEE ACTIVELY ASKED FOR INPUT! Congrats to NSD for hosting this annual ld tradition, and taking it to another level!

  • I am pleased by the lack of resolutions that include the word “permissible.”

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. The negative really needs permissibility ground, they have it hard enough already.

      And for some of these topics it makes more sense intuitively for the aff to prove it permissible. For example, most of the debate around capital punishment seems to be about its permissibility, not whether or not the state is obligated to carry it out. Same for genetic engineering. It also makes sense from a fairness perspective, since the lit already seems to be skewed negative (on death penalty) so it’s going to be hard to affirm on that topic in its current conception.

      • Erik Baker

        Definitely. One of the better topics here is ruined (I think) by essentially making aff ground “mercy bad.”

  • I am pleased by the lack of resolutions that include the word “permissible.”

  • Dave McGinnis

    Rebar – you posted zero input when the list was initially posted. All you did was post complaints after the list was shortened. It’s like all you’re capable of doing is complaining. And you do it in the most insulting way possible. Stop for a second to think about the fact that we’re sitting in a room doing this work for no money, no reward of any kind. They don’t even give us a special ribbon for our name tags. So stop insulting us. And you don’t have a right to complain about the work if, given the opportunity for input, you say nothing. 

    • Rebar Niemi

      dave, you know (or should know) that i respect the hell out of you – and really the majority of the elder coaches in the community. i am deeply sorry to have insulted you – i really mean that. but yeah, you’re right – i should have checked my snot nosed mouth at the door and just tried to give real talk without the snark and caps. but god i love caps. and complaining. you hit the nail on the head there. 
      you’re right, i should have been checking nsd update/nfl online and giving feedback – honestly i haven’t been on this website in like a week before today, so that is totally my bad. but idk in the abstract i guess based on the amount of condescension that people on the committee typically project to people like me, you wouldn’t need my help. if i had known in advance i would have a more active way to contribute, i surely would have. maybe you need new blood on the committee because it sounds like the people on it don’t really want to do it, don’t feel like it is sufficiently rewarding, and ultimately do a crappy job because they’re tired, underpaid, overworked, have better things to be doing, its shoehorned into NFLs, etc. this is not supposed to be insulting, this is my review of the job that has been done thus far (from what i can very limitedly tell over the internet):everyone means very well… but that doesn’t guarantee effective engagement of students and issues. there are far too many retread topics on that list. 

      i have to ask could you please elaborate for us on the reasoning behind the topics that have been picked thus far?

      at one time in my life i thought changing the world was cool – then i thought it was impossible and lame – i recently came back to thinking that there were good things to be done, at least in terms of my interactions with individuals. it is sad to me to see such competent people turn out such a thoroughly mediocre product. i don’t harbor any ill will toward anyone on the committee, i just think that similar people make similar decisions over and over and what you get is just… so much less than what debate could be. i’m happy to have a more in depth convo about this. i’m not a coward. i’ll defend my opinion. also, power to choose what people can discuss is a pretty incredible reward in my opinion. i would gladly swap with you – you take bainbridge and being in seattle, i’ll take valley and being on the committee. S’alright babalooie? S’alright queeekdraw!

      • Dave McGinnis

        Rebar: “based on the amount of condescension that people on the committee typically project to people like me, you wouldn’t need my help.”

        Also Rebar: “the committee is primarily regressive and conservative in its bearing on what debate should contend with. 
        i can all but guarantee that 50-70% of the final topic list WILL BE as bad as 34.”Also Rebar: (bearing in mind that there IS a labor rights topic on the list: “”it is absolutely unbelievable to me that the ONLY econ topic chosen was some IDIOTIC LIBERTARIAN CRAP. what about labor rights?!?!?! what about actual fiscal policy?!?!”
        Also Rebar:
        “looks like the ballot is going to be a bunch of repetitive rehashed topics (OH HEALTH CARE AGAIN? KEWL!!! HATE CRIMES AGAIN??? KEWL!!!) and then a few narrow ones that are dumb and have no chance of being voted in…”
        Also Rebar:
        “OR ANY OF THE VAST NUMBER OF “TOPICS” THAT ARE NOT TOPICS AT ALL BUT JUST VAGUE SUGGESTIONS LIKE “OOOOH LEZ TALK ABOUT HUNGER”

        Isn’t it a *little* ironic that you assert that committee members condescend to you? Considering your aggressive rudeness?

        You’ll note, Rebar, that you haven’t suggested a single topic wording, nor have you suggested a single change to an existing topic wording. A number of members of the LD community have been making substantive recommendations on topics to add, eliminate, and alter — without calling names or being insulting. You’ll find that this committee, and pretty much any other committee of adults, will pay much more attention to you if you approach them professionally. 

        • Rebar Niemi

          dave… here are all the topics i suggested this year:

          1. A just democracy requires transparency of procedures as a check on unconstrained power.
          2. It is morally permissible for an individual to break the law in order to respond to injustice.
          3. Politicians ought not base their platforms on religious beliefs
          4. National security is not an excuse for the violation of civil liberties
          5. Art is a necessary part of moral virtue.
          6. Cyberbullying ought to be prosecuted as a felony charge.
          7. Corporate personhood is not beneficial to free market operations.
          8. Militarization of space is unjust.
          9. Environmental concerns outweigh the individual rights of people.
          10. There is only one correct way to conduct oneself morally.
           11. On balance, open transnational borders are better than closed borders 

          oh, and these:

          1. Violence in response to political repression is not necessary to install democratic principles. I believe this resolution accesses one of the most interesting fields of international events in recent history. It covers both democratic promotion efforts that originate from abroad (such as US efforts in Afghanistan) as well as internally generated actions (revolutions, the “Arab Spring”). It distills an extensive policy literature into a fundamental conflict of moral and ethical principles relating to government. I would argue that a number of values and criterial structures can be deployed on either side of the topic, but its wording also leaves it open to alternate interpretations to foster a diverse argument base. A recent concern has been balancing resolutions affirmative to counteract the large negative wins bias at many tournaments. This topic gives the affirmative a low and specific threshold to meet: they have to prove a lack of necessity. The negative is bound to a positive burden, which will prevent a number of dastardly negative strategies – as well as ensuring that each side will actually have to engage the crux of the resolution. 

          2. It is just for the USFG to regulate financial markets by nationalizing corporations. In my opinion, this topic covers the recession, occupy wall street, madoff, and a number of other crucial areas. To be unwilling to debate this or not recognize that we are in dire need of educating students and giving them voices in terms of the economic structure of our country would be an incredible lapse in our duties as educators/the NFL mission. The topic area is large, has ample ground for both sides to clashing economic theories as well as different theories of justice (Rawls v. Nozick, etc etc). It also will be relavent and timely for every single state and level of competition, from the very highest TOC bid tournaments to the most local of one-day tournaments. Although judges may feel personally biased/implicated by this topic, I feel that it maintains relative distance from the actions of individuals and concerns itself primarily with how our government should respond to companies that are remiss in their duties. While you feel it may be similar to the 2007 Jan/Feb topic, your members just voted to redo the domestic violence topic nearly word for word from 2006, and this topic provides a new and interesting spin on the questions of corporate malfeasance and governmental response.

          3. Government ought not be able to foreclose personal choices that do not affect the safety of other people. While potentially too broad, and covering some of the same ground as the drug abusetopic from 2010, this topic also includes things like abortion – smoking – homosexuality – etc, while avoiding forcing either side to directly defend or attack those personal choices. An affirmative case could talk about specific personal choices, or make broader arguments for the role of personal choice in government through the social contract, democratic ideals, checks on tyranny, and a number of key political and human rights. If we are willing to discuss repeated domestic violence (although I prefer the term intimate terrorism), it would incredibly hypocritical to refuse to discuss things such as pornography, sexual fetishes, smoking/not wearing seatbelts, etc. Especially since these things are in many ways far more public of issues than RDV, and in many cases will be less graphic and horrifying to discuss in the abstract.

          4. The limited rights of minors in the educational system of the US is unjust. A very relevant topic in my opinion, considering that debate is about giving students opportunities to speak out and be heard. This seems like something we MUST confront considering cases like the infamous “Bong hits for jesus” (Morse v. Frederick) and the contingent status of most rights granted to minors in the US. Authors like Henry Giroux and Paulo Friere consider censorship and forms of education on very in depth levels, and it is possible to reach into classical philosophy and nearly every other school of thought in order to address the status of education of the young. This topic would also allow for a legal debate, but does not necessitate it. 

          5. It is morally permissible for agents of the law to apply violence in order to force the compliance of protestors. This topic is not US specific, but engages a number of recent events as well as international events such as the responses in Egypt to protests. It will engage police brutality, as well as things like the Kent State incident in which the national guard killed several students – thus connecting important events in history with the status quo. It doesn’t require the affirmative to defend police brutality, and not even lethal force. Only violent force. This is sort of a re-wording of my #1, but takes an opposite tack in certain ways and doesn’t require a situation of political repression to be relevant. 

          6. Labor rights are a necessary component of a just society. A debate that is more important than it might seem, since many in our government believe that labor groups and the rights they advocate for are destructive and a force for corruption and evil. This country has a longstanding history of labor disputes and the evolution of labor laws, and there is no reason that we shouldn’t engage this debate in the status quo. There is a ton of literature on both sides, and many students are completely ignorant about the long history of struggles and debates over labor rights.

          • Dave McGinnis

            I rescind my criticism that you haven’t suggested topics. I applaud you for submitting these.

            All received due consideration and at least one of these made the list (albeit reworded.) 

            A few of these were thrown out at the outset due to wording issues. The education one, about restricted rights of minors, was initially reworded to be more specifically about speech/expression rights (because the range of rights that are restricted for minors is too broad to be discussed intelligently in a debate) but did not make the first cut because our experience is that education topics do not get selected. 

  • Rebar Niemi

    to clarify: i support actual cannibalism of households with yearly incomes exceeding 500,000 per annum. 

  • Rebar Niemi

    whoever suggested this topic: 67. Resolved: The United States federal government should correspondingly decrease taxes for the parents/guardians of private school minors.

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH EAT THE RICH LOLOLOLOLOLOL

  • John Scoggin

    Would you all consider throwing an econ vs. environment topic back into the mix, I think that may be a little more interesting than the econ topic that is above. Also perhaps one more run for debt repudiation?

    • Rebar Niemi

      i would be wholly on board for debt repudiation. 

  • Rebar Niemi

    at the end of the day… i guess i’m just bitter that “art is a necessary part of moral virtue” isn’t going to be picked.

  • Rebar Niemi

    i would also really appreciate it if the next pared down list posted could be more clearly formatted.

  • Rebar Niemi

    i hate how many boring and generic human rights topics there are in the pared down list – i’d say the committee has already excluded some of the most interesting topics. it is absolutely unbelievable to me that the ONLY econ topic chosen was some IDIOTIC LIBERTARIAN CRAP. what about labor rights?!?!?! what about actual fiscal policy?!?! 

    looks like the ballot is going to be a bunch of repetitive rehashed topics (OH HEALTH CARE AGAIN? KEWL!!! HATE CRIMES AGAIN??? KEWL!!!) and then a few narrow ones that are dumb and have no chance of being voted in…

    i just do not understand how a committee could have “pared down” to CYBERBULLYING TOPIC…. OR ANY OF THE VAST NUMBER OF “TOPICS” THAT ARE NOT TOPICS AT ALL BUT JUST VAGUE SUGGESTIONS LIKE “OOOOH LEZ TALK ABOUT HUNGER”

    i guess i’m into biomed stuff

    • Erik Baker

      I really agree. It’s the same topics over and over again because any subject area too radical is immediately marginalized. The same debates reoccur and prep is continually recycled and there is no desire to move beyond topics that re-entrech traditional dichotomies. Biomed is a great subject area, mostly because it will give me an excuse to re-watch Gattaca. 

      • Anonymous

        Maybe this wouldn’t happen if we were once again willing to pick policy-oriented topics. If we debate sanctions then nukes then targeted killings, the same frameworks will be recycled but there’s fresh topic lit each time around. The depressing trend this past year and with this current list is to move towards more broadly philosophical topics without a concrete action or government actor. It seems impossible that a topic as specific as “Resolved: The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity” would ever be selected again, let alone for Jan/Feb.

        Looking back, this seems kind of cyclical. From what I gather, everyone seemed to hate the ’06-07 topic (corporations) which is why the community was drawn towards policy-oriented topics, and now there’s been a backlash against those so we’re moving back toward philosophical topics.

        • Erik Baker

          First, I don’t understand how that’s true in today’s meta-ethics framework heavy world topical debate is significantly marginalized; when frequently the debater who wins the framework wins the round then when “the same frameworks will be recycled” then we see the same debaters over and over. Second, almost every foreign policy topic implicitly contains those dichotomies I was talking about. It’s util vs. deont (roughly) every round. When every policy-based resolution questions the permissibility of a violation of autonomy that probably promotes “the greater good” then debate A) becomes boring and B) fails to promote critical thinking by taking certain philosophical questions as “foundational” and collapsing the entire field of ethics to a particular set of theories.

          • Anonymous

            I’m sympathetic to your claim that lots of debates are rehashed ad nauseum, but don’t you think that’s more a problem with the debaters/debating than with the topic? What kind of topic would you choose that would exclude the potential for util v deont debates?

            I definitely think there’s space for other ethics and assumptions in debate; I’m just not sure how the specific resolution comes into play with those things.

          • Erik Baker

            I think that that debaters/debating is an issue, but I also think that the topic does have something to do with it. For example: I heartily endorse transhumanism as a topic. Obviously there’s clear util ground, but it’s not a matter of “is it okay to hurt someone to protect others” like almost every policy resolution I’ve debated (and I recognize that this is probably in part due to the fact that I really only have 3 years of debate experience). Some matters of political philosophy (like the constitutional secession topic that I thought was great) also don’t collapse as easily to dichotomy. The ethics of suicide is another topic that offers a lot more philosophical ground besides util and deont, though I’d be shocked if that was ever chosen for sensitivity reasons. But I definitely think that a large part of the reason why topics frequently devolve into that debate over and over again is because a lot of novices are taught “the only two ethical theories are util and deont” and there’s little desire to move beyond that framing. 

          • Anonymous

            Hmm I think those examples are fair. I don’t think the conclusion of that, though, is to not care about the topic literature or to say it’s irrelevant. 

            The topic lit is definitely relevant on your topics, but I also think it’s relevant on a more policy topic–not merely a util v deont framework debate. Either way, I think we agree that more topic-oriented debate would be great.

          • Erik Baker

             I’m not sure where you’re getting that I think topic lit is irrelevant. I definitely think that topic lit is crucial and one of the reasons for the recent death of topical debate was a paucity of topic literature on both the Nov-Dec and Jan-Feb topics. I would welcome policy topics with diverse philosophical ground and/or that haven’t already been debated ad nauseam (which is why I think that targeted killing, for example, was a fantastic topic) but few of those proposed on the giant list satisfied those conditions or even the more fundamental condition of not being an extemp question.

          • Anonymous

            Can you list some case ideas for a transhumanism topic that don’t collapse into any of the dichotomies you talk about? Or explain how the topic would uniquely interact with the commonly run ethical theories so the rounds aren’t just more of the same? I’m trying to think how this topic would provide an exception, but it’s escaping me.

          • Erik Baker

             Off the top of my head: A survivalism case that argues that the continuation of one’s life is the only thing that is valuable, a naturalist case that argues modifications to the human form are wrong, a case that argues that the presence of death and aging is somehow valuable, a case skeptical of technology, a case that argues that a sort of Gattaca-esque class separation or domination would occur, etc. Obviously there is a ton of util ground because any topic has util ground, but the util ground is probably more evenly distributed than most recent topics and there’s no clear “Is it okay to harm one person to promote the greater good” question at the heart of the topic. I can’t even begin to imagine how one would go about writing a Korsgaard case.

          • Anonymous

            I think a lot of that is in response to this years’ topics. When there’s actual topic lit, it’s a lot harder to just focus on the framework, when the other side can link turn you or generate extinction impacts to make your deont violation irrelevant (it’s very rare that someone wins an extinction impact and loses unless the other side runs ‘extinction good’). But when you’re literally just debating whether or not there’s a moral obligation to help people, obviously there’s not a whole lot other than framework. (The way you phrase it is illuminating — you seem to believe that policy topics come down to util vs. deont, not plan vs. DA. I think you’re a product of the past couple of years’ resolutions)

            And if the aff gets good deont ground, then the problem is avoided altogether. If the aff decides to go all in on deont, the neg just runs a CP and solves the violation. Otherwise, the aff runs a short deont framework and 4 minutes of util, which helps offset the neg’s time advantage. In my experience, these kinds of debates were incredibly common last year, so it’s not too much of a stretch.

            Also, if this is really true and there’s nothing we can do about it, then the topic doesn’t matter because the framework will always come first regardless. Whatever crazy innovative topic you can come up with, there will always be debaters running Kantian frameworks and Gauthier and util and that will come lexically prior to the topic lit. So might as well make the topic fun for the few of us who still debate it.

        • I think the NFL should create an event specifically designed to make use of policy topics. 

        • I think the NFL should create an event specifically designed to make use of policy topics. 

    • Dave McGinnis

      Your rudeness is rendered hilarious by the fact that there is a labor rights topic on the list, and there has been since the beginning.

  • Anonymous

    VIOLENT REVOLUTION.

  • There has to be something about Citizens United (especially with elections coming up in the Fall).  What right, if any, does a corporation have to free speech?

    • Dave McGinnis

      We played around with corporate free speech and corporate personhood generally, but decided to go in the direction of “what impact does unlimited individual or corporate money have on elections?” –> Since the corporate pershonhood question can apply to a number of scenarios, and at this time of the year the importance of corporate personhood seems to rest primarily with its electoral implications.

  • Anonymous

    A lot of the above topics use rhetoric like “x ought to be valued above y,” but I’d caution against adopting such a wording. The summer that VBI used the topic “When in conflict, a nation ought prioritize universal human rights above its national interest” (or something to that effect), there was a ton of general confusion about the interpretation.

    What happens if UHR is good for the national interest and there’s no trade-off? What if prioritizing UHR leads to a good utilitarian end in terms of security–has UHR really been prioritized? I’d prefer to see a wording that was more grounded in a certain implementation of the topic, or at least how a specific agent might evaluate the trade-off, as opposed to broader “value x above y” wordings.

    • Alex Kramer

      I’m confused as to how there was so much interpretative confusion from that topic’s wording, since it seems like specification of “when in conflict” would guarantee the relevant tradeoff. Was the confusion that it was difficult to isolate a specific situation in which the ideological conflict in the resolution would occur? A generic comparative resolution without the “in conflict” clause would open itself up to problems like “X is identical to Y,” but unless the two are literally equivalent in every case, there isn’t an issue. Arguments like “X can often lead to Y” or “in many cases, X and Y are really similar” or “in many cases, X and Y go hand in hand” or “there isn’t a tradeoff in most cases” don’t matter because the resolution, with the appropriate tradeoff clause, concerns the situations those arguments necessarily don’t cover. Regardless, at minimum, it seems reasonable to expect debaters to be able to contextualize what it means to “prioritize” or “value above,” which seems to solve remaining potential for confusion. For example, if we take some action with a motivation or justification different from the action itself, arguments could be made as to whether the descriptive action or the motivation behind the action is what is most relevant to determining ideological prioritization.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know whether there ‘should’ be a ton of confusion, but I know that there definitely was. Here’s an example:

        If Neg reads a framework about realism or protecting national interest, and then claims that prioritizing a nation’s interest best achieves its interest. Aff concedes the Neg framework and claims that favoring UHR is actually more consistent with the criterion of a nation’s interest. In this case, it’s unclear whether the country should prioritize UHR, because that’s the best way of getting a nation’s interest, or whether evaluating UHR through a lens of national interest outright cedes that national interest should be prioritized. This debate happened in almost every round I participated in. I would link to some LDDebate threads from around the time of camp, but their archives are now locked.

  • Erik Baker

    Just my two cents, but I think that transhumanism is a FANTASTIC topic. The trick is just the wording. There is so much quality literature on both sides, it provides a refreshing change of pace from a lot of recent topics, and best of all there’s good Bostrom ground. 

  • Dave McGinnis

    We’re going to finish up the list tomorrow or Wednesday. If you are not at NFL, you should consider posting your thoughts online! You can post at the official NFL site linked above, or you could post them here. The more input the better.

    • Rebar Niemi

      dave i strongly recommend that the committee bust out of their staid and clearly retread personal preferences in favor of trying something new and more relevant. although frankly, it seems that mediocrity looms larger and larger because the paring down basically consisted of “what are things we haven’t done before? lets not do those!”

      • Dave McGinnis

        Thanks for the specific, detailed suggestion. 

  • Quinn Olivarez

    the first topic made me laugh. i hate horses. the cultural artifacts topic is awesome, and I think a stem cells research topic would be solid as well (although wording would need a major improvement). also like the intervention topics, the labor rights topic(s), as well as the foreclosure on personal rights that don’t affect safety.

  • Anonymous

    There’s obviously going to be a topic on revolution/democracy/repression (basically half the list) and that has potential, but otherwise it looks very sparse. I think the following could be workable topics:

    133 (human rights and US foreign policy), 111 (globalization vs. national sovereignty), 103 (US obligation to prevent hunger), 100 (open vs. closed borders), 51 (government health care), 47 (Stand Your Ground)
    The following would be fun topics and good for plan debate, but have no chance in their current form:

    107 (NATO and Mexico), 102 (aid to Pakistan), 97 (militarization of space), 73 (bank regulation)

    • Anonymous

      Just a note: it says patriarchy, I think it’s supposed to say paternalism.

      I think there’s a difference between an Arab Springs topic and national sovereignty topic. Obviously the two overlap but I think it’s a mistake to just lump them into one topic (especially when together they comprise about half of the original list). I guess a democracy/revolution topic could fall under the “government structure” category though.

      Besides that, there are some interesting topics here — torture, hunger, paternalism, and transhumanism (I would have thought that paternalism is boring but it’s very relevant in light of the NYC large soda ban). Death penalty could also be good and would be a good Nov/Dec topic for novices. But outside of that, I really hope we don’t have to debate things like hate crimes, gender issues or race as a factor in college admissions — I have a feeling those kinds of debates could get offensive fast and no one wants that.

  • Jokes aside, I think the most important thing that can happen from this is input and adjustments made during the topic selection process, much like they occur in the CX community. Such community involvement could resolve and fine tune the wording of topics that often have good intentions but fall victim to lack of foresight as to the implications of their wording.

  • 101 all the way. But for real, I think 4-6 are all very pertinent and interesting topics which could lead to good philosophical debates.

  • I had to stop at 146

  • Anonymous

    the nsd april fools day joke came late this year

  • I vote for 101.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you to the NFL for doing this. I think this kind of openness is a great improvement.

    • Anonymous

      Hopefully it gives debaters appreciation for whatever topics the committee whittles it down to. No matter how poorly received the topic is, it’ll never be as bad as 34.

      •  About the same level as what my team decided the most common interps of Nov-Dec this year boiled down to:  “Resolved:  People”

      • Rebar Niemi

        this actually makes me more furious that i was not able to attend NFL – and gives me reason to believe that the committee is primarily regressive and conservative in its bearing on what debate should contend with. 

        i can all but guarantee that 50-70% of the final topic list WILL BE as bad as 34.