Submit LD topic suggestions!

The NSDA is taking LD topic suggestions until June 1. You can submit your suggested topics here.

I plan on submitting some or all of the following topics. The wordings are pretty rough. If you have any suggestions for improving them (or just think some of them definitely should or should not be submitted), please let me know in the comments section below. Please remember to submit your own topic ideas, too!

  1. Mandatory retirement policies are unjust. (Or: The European Union ought to prohibit mandatory retirement policies in all member states. Or: The United States ought to allow private employers to adopt mandatory retirement policies.)
  2. The United States ought to impose a federal wealth tax.
  3. It is permissible to intentionally harm noncombatants in a just war. (Or: Noncombatants are vicariously liable to be harmed to avert the threats of unjust aggressors.)
  4. In the United States, private employers should be required to adopt affirmative action policies.
  5. The United States ought to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  6. The United States ought to prohibit factory farming. (Or: It is morally permissible to eat humanely farmed meat. Or: It is morally wrong to eat factory-farmed meat. Or: The United States ought to impose a tax on animal products.)
  7. In the United States, corporations should (not?) be protected by the free-exercise of religion or free-speech clause of the First Amendment.
  8. The legal inheritance of private property is unjust. (Or: The United States ought to impose a near-total inheritance tax on bequests other than those in the public interest. Or: The United States ought to eliminate limits on estate and gift tax.)
  9. The United States ought to institute quadratic voting, proportional representation, range voting, or elections by lottery.
  10. The United States ought to require large technology firms to compensate individuals for user-generated data.
  11. The United States ought to permit voluntary active euthanasia.
  • I’ll add some to the discussion. Here are a few I will be submitting:

    The United States ought to enact a federal jobs guarantee
    The United States ought to act as an employer of last resort
    The United States ought to grant individuals property rights over their personal data
    The United States ought to establish that individuals have a property right to their personal data
    The United States ought to regulate social media platforms as public utilities
    The United States ought to provide universal pre-kindergarten education
    The United States ought to provide universal child care
    The United States ought to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the use of military force

    Additionally, here are a few topics I know other coaches will be submitting that I found worthy of discussion:

    The United States ought to reduce restrictions on voting in federal elections
    The United States ought to nationalize the internet
    The United States ought to require increased use of renewable energy sources.
    The United States ought to restrict offshore oil drilling within its territorial waters.
    The United States ought to decriminalize marijuana.
    The United States ought to legalize marijuana.
    The United States ought to decrease trade barriers on other nations.
    The United States ought to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
    The United States ought to increase its constructive engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
    The United States ought to increase its coercive diplomacy towards the Russian Federation.
    The United States ought to guarantee universal healthcare coverage within the United States.
    The United States ought to restrict its offensive cyber operations.

    • Bennett Eckert

      I also like these topics! a thought about the AUMF topic: Is there more than 1 aff on it? I don’t know a ton about it, but it seems like the only plan would be basically the text of the resolution. Maybe the aff could defend repealing part of the AUMF, but it’s not clear to me that that would be T based on the way the topic is written. (Maybe “all or most” phrasing would help or something? But I do not know if you can repeal ‘most’ of an act?)

  • Bennett Eckert

    I like pretty much all of these topic areas! some misc thoughts about two of the topics I like –

    [4] Affirmative action
    [a] Why the passive voice? I think that “The United States ought to require employers to adopt affirmative action policies.” (I still do not love this one because of the notorious bare plural “employers” but I generally think active voice in topics is better than passive voice in topics – it avoids problems like “the topic has no actor so we can defend any actor” (!!) and T-“in”) This also applies to some of the other topics (1, 7, 8) in ways that can easily be fixed. I’m more worried about topic 3 (noncombatants) because there is not an obvious/easy way to word the topic as “[Actor] ought [to/not] [action],” and the lack of that wording often messes with the scope of what affs are T (whether any affs of the form “the united states should…” are T?), policy ground, things like that.
    [b] I like the affirmative action topic area, but I wonder whether the topic should be about employers or about college/university admissions (e.g. “The United States ought to require [public?] colleges and universities to adopt affirmative action policies.”). The Harvard trial may provide some reasons to favor the latter (e.g. courts arguments, more recent lit directly about it), but I haven’t thought about that a ton/don’t have a super strong opinion either way.

    [6] – Non-human Animals/Factory Farming – big fan of having a non-human animals topic, but I think that factory farming is probably not the best one. It strikes me as pretty one-sided (are there any decent defenses of factory farming that may outweigh animal suffering + climate advantages? maybe I just haven’t read enough of the literature on animals), and there are other good/more controversial non-human animal topics like animal testing/animals in scientific experiments/xenotransplanation/things in that genre.

    • Jake Nebel

      Thanks Bennett!

      I’ll change the affirmative action topics to active voice, and will suggest both the employment and admissions versions.

      Re: bare plurals, what do you think about adding “all or nearly all” before “employers” and “public colleges and universities”? (Or do you prefer “some”?)

      Makes sense re: factory farming. I don’t really know anything about those other topics. Do you have any suggested wordings for those?