LD Committee Releases Final 17 Topics, Seeks Input.



Salt Lake City, UT — The LD wording committee has released the final 17 topics being considered for the 2016-2017 list. The final list will be narrowed to 10. The committee is seeking input from students and coaches on a.) which of these 17 topics should make the final list and b.) and wording issues that can/should be correct.

  1. In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory.


  1. The United States has a moral obligation to adopt a single payer health care system.


  1. The United States government ought to curtail the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President.


  1. Capital punishment is immoral.


  1. The United States ought to expand free trade with foreign nations.


  1. A government’s sponsorship of gambling to raise revenue is unjust.


  1. Civil rights ought to be prioritized over national security.


8 In the United States, public colleges and universities ought not prohibit speech protected by the Constitution.


  1. The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.


  1. The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.


  1. Employees ought to have a civil right to unionize.


  1. The United States should accede to the International Criminal Court.


  1. The United States ought to end its provision of arms to foreign military organizations.


  1. A just government ought to abolish intellectual property protections for genetic resources.
  2.  In the United States, public colleges and universities ought to be tuition-free.


  1. Non-human animals ought to be recognized as legal persons.


  1. The United States ought to further incentivize the use of renewable energy sources.



  • saltysailor

    1. Nope
    2. As defined by who’s morality?
    3. Taken care of by the Constitution of the US
    4. No. If one doesn’t understand the difference between the taking of an innocent life and that of a societal predator, we’re doomed.
    5. The US needs to insure that such trading is indeed free. Too much of what passes for Free Trade does not factor in an uneven playing field. In fact, it fosters it.
    6. True. Conversely, the government should not be in the business of generating revenue by so called “vice taxes”.
    7. Incorrect. Both should receive equal focus. Failure to enforce one can imperil the existence of the other.
    8. For the most part true. However, the right to shout down or preclude speakers supporting topics that are not supported from speaking should not be tolerated. Speech is either free or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways.
    9. True. Compelling interests deserve an equal footing in the courts.
    10. Incorrect. Nothing in the Constitution supports such a notion.
    11. Yes. Companies should also have a right to refuse compulsory union workforce.
    12. Absolutely not.
    13. Each must be qualified and above board with terms for limits, costs, expectations, duration, and measurable goals clearly stated an put up to a vote of the people.
    14. No. The government has already shown a powerful disdain for eminent domain, the takings clause, and 4th Amendment restrictions. The elasticity clause might as well be used as a bungee cord for dives off of the Washington Monument.
    15. Anyone believing this is clearly suffering Mental Health breakdown. We already see from the Public School System what happens when you throw money at something without an expectation of positive results.
    16. Are you serious?
    17. Absolutely. There needs to be an energy plan were ALL energy sources are involved to varying degrees.

  • Danny DeBois

    2-I prefer “ought” or “should” to “has a moral obligation to”–that seems to create a bigger burden on the aff, and can also lead to weird negs that agree that single-payer is good but there isn’t a moral obligation to enact it.

    I agree with something Alderete posted on facebook–3 and 5 are straight-up policy topics, except they’re even broader than the policy topics they’re based on. I think either adding more context to limit the topics, or word them such that they’re generic and about related values instead of policies would improve them.

    4–is there any reason the wording community chose “immoral” instead of “unjust.” Not sure if it matters, but justice rhetoric seems to work better for criminal justice topics.

    7–would prefer some type of “when the two conflict” rhetoric.

    11–I like this topic area. I at least think the topic should have “just government(s)” as the actor if the wording committee doesn’t want to specify the US.

    16–who does the recognizing? I think even “just governments” rhetoric would substantially improve this topic.

    17–this topic also seems to a) require plans and b) be so broad that a ton of plans would be topical.

    My list of 10 would be: 1 2 4 5 7 8 10 11 15 16

  • Jeremy Hadfield

    Final topics should be 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17.

  • Gavin McCormick

    Ax 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, and 16 — the topic lit is too narrow. Heavily revise 6 and 12; topic 6 has potential, but the phrase “ought to be” should be in there so people can run plans and stuff. Topic 12 should be “The United States should accede to the Law of Sea” because that would be a LIT topic. Also they recycled jury nullification last year 🙁 Final topics should be: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, and 17.

  • Charles

    1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 17 should all make the cut

  • fdrobertson

    Good topics to narrow down. Nice work by the committee. Thanks. As to any feedback, #6 would have about as much chance to be voted a topic to debate as the Bears have to win the Superbowl next year. However, if I was in Vegas this summer, I would probably bet the Bears to win the Superbowl, so I may just be confused. It is possible, I suppose, that the topic could somehow by voted in; therefore, you should think carefully before possibly forcing judges to suffer through high school kids arguing about gambling. I spent years trying to explain keying a horse in an exacta to some of my debaters and the schmucks never got it. High school debaters simply don’t know anything about the subject, and these debates would be torture to observe and evaluate. I oppose torture. I suppose it has been long enough on capital punishment, so maybe that is a good idea to resurrect the resolution–#4. Like the Bernie topics–#’s 2,and 15. And it seems #16 may also have been inspired by Feeling the Bern/Bird since that podium perching tweeter perhaps wished to get a cut of the $27 per person for giving BS a brief burst in popular appeal (see, the bird has legal status and claims her/his image was used by the campaign). They say when you have to explain a joke, it isn’t that good, and I suppose they are right. Anyway, as much as I do care about animals’ treatment, and always have, I find #16 to be whackadoodle. #`17 seems a reasonable topic area but I’d sure like to affirm every time, “further” is all I have to prove? sounds easy. #’s 1,2, and 3 are very strong, in my view, but 3 has been on the list quite a few times in various wordings and it never gets voted in. 11 is also pretty darn good. Possibly Bernie inspired as well. 7, it seems to me, could use some context or a “when they conflict” or something. If I was still a head coach and voted for 5 of these, I’d choose 1,2,3,4, and 11.

  • Tom Geairn

    Final topics should be: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

    1. It would really be nice to narrow it down to associate citizenship or enfranchisement with service rather than just “compulsory”. What is the penalty? I think it ought to be specified.
    10. You can’t “guarantee a right to housing”, such a right either exists or doesn’t. How about we “guarantee access to affordable and adequate housing” and let the debaters argue over whether or not such a right exists.
    12. It would like to see more legal specificity such as “decisions of the ICC ought to supersede decisions by the Supreme Court”
    16. This is hilarious but fun.
    Oh and 13. ought to specify “all” military organizations otherwise we’re going to hear aff plans of “end aid to Israel” or similar things and then the rounds will be all about topicality and whether or not plurality of “organizations” implies all or… blah blah blah.
    And please leave number 4 exactly as it is.