NSDA LD Topics for 2014-2015 Released

Update 6/18/14

The NSDA LD Wording Committee has confirmed the topics for the 2014-2015 season below. This list will begin to be used starting in November.

1. The “right to be forgotten” from internet searches ought to be a civil right.
2. Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens.
3. Just governments ought to require that employers pay a living wage.
4. Sin taxes are just.
5. Historic preservation is a legitimate constraint on property rights.
6. United States foreign policy ought to value women’s rights over the pursuit of its economic interests when the two conflict.
7. Justice requires reparations to Black Americans.
8. Inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.
9. Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States should be subject to term limits.
10. Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.



The LD Topic Committee at NSDA Nationals has narrowed their proposed list to 24 topics, and is asking for commentary and feedback before producing the final ballot.

The topic committee wraps up their work over the next day or so, so the sooner you can get your comments in, the better.

Share Your Comments Here

  • bill

    if you guys would not mind telling me

  • bill

    i was just at the national tournement and i saw a bunch of people with small foldable pudiums and i was wondering where i can get one.

  • iamadivergentshadowhunter

    I think i might puke. this topics make me sick. Switching to IE! I really liked the past seasons topics expect humanitarian aid (curse that topic)

  • lomo_cat

    Why aren’t the unused topics from this year’s pool allowed to be potential topics for next year? There are a few that I’d be happy with from the 2013-14 list especially when compared to this years.

    • Seth Beavers

      The Sept-Oct topic will be one of the unused 2013-2014 topics.

  • Jacob Ronkin

    I think the initial 24 topics were better, but I think topics 4, 5, and 8 can be very interesting topics. Also, I think the future generations topic and the nuclear power topic would have been great, but unfortunately they weren’t chosen.

    • WhattaBeast

      The nuclear power topic would have been amazing, I was crossing my fingers for it

  • Emilio Rivera

    I’m actually really interested in a debate for #6. I kind of want to see how the debates would play out, even if on face it seems morally atrocious to some people’s eyes. It’s something that definitely seems interesting to research. Hopefully the lit would be good enough on both sides to foster good debates.

  • Emily Massey

    Many of these topics seem interesting. 4 and 9 are especially clearly worded. The wording of several other topics confuses me. Why do 1 and 10 say “X ought to be a right” when “right” is already normative? Don’t they mean “Y ought to recognize X as a right”? That wording would also be nice because it would specify an agent.

    Why do 2 and 3 say “a just government ought to…” rather than “governments ought to…”? The way they’re worded now implies that they apply only to governments that are already ideal in all other respects. Alternatively, you could say “a just government would…”, but to have both “just government” and “ought” is redundant.

    6 is odd in that US foreign policy doesn’t have economic interests. It’s the US itself that has economic interests.

    • Michael Crabtree

      The whole “just government” thing creates a T-Inherency double bind for all plans. I.e. if they are a just government wouldn’t they already be doing it? So technically you could never meet T.

      • Chad Burgess

        Naaaah, “Just governments’ just means that “only governments should” and not other actors like individuals. Solves plan ground but doesn’t deny the normal phil ground that is expected from these resolutions. EZ PZ done

        • Michael Crabtree

          That would be a super weird T-interpretation because the resolution would become “Only governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens.” So what about food kitchen programs, companies no longer have to ensure their food is safe to eat, etc? Does the affirmative then have to defend getting rid of these programs? I think the resolution is intended for just to be in the normative sense, and not in “only” sense, which bites into the double bind. Also, the “only” form is a adverb, not an adjective. The resolution uses the “just” as an adjective, meaning “morally right.” Plans on this topic would just be bad, which is a bummer because it is a topic that yearns for plans.

  • Noah Simon

    1. i think this is too new of an issue to have a ton of really good topic lit on it
    2. fine but not great
    3. this is overused
    4. too non-specific
    5. not a whole lot of cares
    6. i can’t see how you can negate
    7. a good topic that would quickly become super controversial due to running insensitive cases
    8. fine but not great
    9. so overused
    10. fine but not great

  • PlazaMexico

    Its never to late for Sanctions. The uniqueness on my Israeli Strike DA is still on fire!

  • Michael Crabtree

    Are the ten displayed here the narrowed ten? These are truly terrible. Does the NSDA really think we write a case that states women should be valued less than the economy? I guess what is even more appealing is that someone suggested that as a topic.

    • Anon

      At first glance, the topic seems to be ‘women’s rights abroad vs national self interest in regards to economics’ with some obvious arguments about cultural imperialism, on second glance it looks like ‘women’s rights vs vicious imperialist capitalism that causes femicide’. I don’t know how the neg can be non-offensive or repulsive.

      • Salim Damerdji

        the neg solving femicide doesn’t meet the “when the two are in conflict” clause

        • Anon

          I didn’t claim it solves femicide. I’m saying the neg has to defend it.

          • MassacD

            Why would the neg have to defend femicide? Why can’t the neg run positions critiquing the notion of the US spreading its own ideals being or read reasons why a focus on “women’s rights” is heteronomative and ignores the violence against LBGT persons? Also, the lack of an obvious NC forces debaters to generate specific case negs and to do in-depth research for debating as negative which I would assume is good in helping offset the “neg bias” everyone keeps complaining about. I really like this topic and hope it gets picked next year!

  • Guest

    April fools was like 3 months ago. Real topics please!

  • Guest123

    Topic 4 is the best. I’m ready with T are.

  • Calen

    The topics they propose get worse every year… Whats up with those education topics?!

  • Anon

    these are all terrible

    • Salim Damerdji

      Don’t debaters say this every year? Anyhow, I’d really look forward to one of these topics being picked:
      – Justice requires reparations to African Americans.
      – In the United States, collective bargaining ought to be a civil right.
      – In the United States patents ought not be granted for biological substances.
      – The First Amendment’s protection of political speech ought to extend to financial contributions.

      • Salim Damerdji

        Nevermind they got rid of all the good topics.
        1. Last year’s camp topic already showed phil lit on privacy is shallow. I also doubt there are big util scenarios either.
        2. cap vs. socialism 1.0
        3. cap vs. socialism 2.0
        4. isn’t the point of a sin tax that no one likes talking about it?
        5. “hey let’s try a topic as far removed from debaters’ lives or interests as possible”
        6. i dare you to imagine an NC that isn’t offensive
        8. 9th grade english class
        9. “hey let’s try a topic as far removed from debaters’ lives or interests as possible”
        10. do people actually think affirming is true?

        Let’s get a live stream of this process. Not even for transparency reasons; just like, the justifications for these selections have to be hilarious

        • Anon

          Why is number 7 immune to criticism?
          By the logic of the #6 criticism, #7 would also be pretty bad: most framework chooses are offensive (I’ve seem quite a few people loose running util off intervention to cases claiming to minimize oppression, so not just skep. Not claiming this is a bad thing: just saying it may be problematic for a whole topic.). It’s also an important discussion to have, but the flamewars, intervention and drama to come with it…

          • Salim Damerdji

            Elsewhere I had said I liked 7. Anyhow, both pofo and ld have had affirmative action topics in the past, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented. If you’ve been following the debates spurred by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article, the topic really isn’t that heated and the people who negate aren’t offensive. (Occasionally ignorant about oppression against Blacks, but not offensive.) If anything is offensive, it’s responding to accusations of implicit, internalized racism by avoiding discussions of race as much as possible.

      • BenjaminKoh

        I don’t have that much of a problem with this list. At least a domestic crime topic for Jan/Feb seems unlikely (thank God). I’m bummed that the literal GMO topic got cut out, but I guess food security would include it. With the wording as it is now, and GMOs bad being probably the best neg arg (at least off the top of my head,), this seems like it would collapse to T Aims v. Implementation debates over and over again.


        But I do like the topic lit.

        I think labor unions is a really interesting topic, but it seems like the opposite problem here as opposed to GMOs, i.e. the living wage topic seems to be trying to capture some areas of the collective bargaining debate though insufficiently. I guess kind of along the same lines, net neutrality seems to be a much more interesting internet topic than the right to be forgotten. But, I don’t have much of a gripe w/ this topic.

        The women’s rights v. econ interest topic seems to be a really weird way of phrasing a military intervention topic. I agree that the neg lit is not diverse enough and will most likely implicate something offensive. Regardless, I’d be down for food security and minimum wage. Just pls no term limits.

        • Salim Damerdji

          I assumed the food security topic was about food stamps. I think the main issue with that topic is just that neg ground is T-ensure, cap good, or plan-specific answers. I’m not sure what you’re saying about the labor unions topic.