I never care so much about prognosticating the debatable aspects of topics so much as the educational aspects, although one or two here have, at least to me, no debate grist whatsoever. In any case, I find five good ones and five not good ones.
Resolved: In the United States, workers ought to have a civil right to unionize.
Don’t they, via the NLRB? Anyhow, the point would be whether they ought to, not if they already do. Given the service economy we’re heading into, it seems a little stale to me in terms of timeliness. Figures show unions are dying out, and about 11% of workers are still in them. Education time should be better spent elsewhere. Thumbs down.
Resolved: The non-therapeutic use of human enhancement technologies is immoral.
This would be fun, albeit a little silly. It will play to debaters’ worst instincts, but at least they’ll have to learn about what’s happening in the science. Thumbs slightly down.
Resolved: The United States ought to provide a universal basic income.
Yes. One of my favorites. I love the idea of imagining how far gov obs extend in the modern post-industrial age. Thumbs up.
Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.
This one is crazy to me. Practically all cases are pled out, and my understanding is that this removes endless court time and costs. I understand the issue of innocent people pressured into pleading, but if that’s what we want to talk about, that’s hardly a general principle on which to build action. Thumbs down.
Resolved: In the United States, reporters ought to have the right to protect the identity of confidential sources.
Interesting, and I think meaty. Thumbs up.
Resolved: A democracy ought to require the separation of church and state.
I like the idea of students studying the meaning of religion, and how it informs society. As a debate, people might think the neg has no ground because we’re all so liberal-biased, but there are plenty of people out there who strongly believe gov should be operated by religious principles. Thumbs up.
Resolved: In the United States, non-human animals ought to have legally protected rights.
Yeah, okay. Not to put too fine a point on it, this was the imaginary topic I came up with in the original Nostrum. I meant it as satire. Thumbs down.
Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.
Yes, please. Let’s study this one. Thumbs up.
Resolved: Privileged individuals ought not appropriate the culture of a marginalized group.
This could be the worse on the list. While we should be learning about privilege and appropriation and marginalization, they are not strong contenders for balanced debate. I mean, who in their right mind would want to flip neg, given that the neg says the privileged individuals ought to appropriate the culture of a marginalized group? Seriously? Thumbs down.
Resolved: The United States’ use of targeted killing in foreign countries is unjust.
Sure. Worth discussion, and probably ground for both sides. Thumbs up.
Once again the committee has come up with a diverse and interesting group of topics, and once again they have gone out into the world as they've deliberated and listened to the opinions of the community at large. That is the way it should be. Good work, all.