Public Forum

November Public Forum Resolution Overview and Topic Analysis – Refugees

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Public Forum November Resolution Rough Transcript:

Resolved: In response to the current crisis, a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over its national interests.

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Our November Public Forum Brief is 235 pages long and includes in-depth Topic Analyses by Belen Mella, Michael Norton, and Charles Starr, 225+ cards, General Information about the topic, Framework suggestions, and more!

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Includes resolution analysis, two fully developed Affirmative cases and two fully developed Negative positions ready to debate, and extension evidence in our answers section


This file includes a broad collection of evidence that highlights the primary arguments found in literature supporting the core of each side of the topic.

Hello and welcome to Debate Clash, in this video will be going over the new Public Forum debate topic for November. This video will first go over the background information that you need to debate this topic after finally looking at some of the major arguments presented on both sides of the debate. The resolution that seemingly ripped straight from the headlines is resolved: In response to the current crisis, a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over its national interests.

The current crisis the resolution is talking about is the European refugee crisis. Millions of people are being forced to leave their friends, families, and homes behind in search for a better life. These refugees are coming from Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many other countries, however the most talked-about country that they’re coming from is Syria. The youtube series in a nutshell gives a great explanation as to why this is.

Syria is located in the middle east on ancient fertile and settled for at least ten thousand years since the nineteen sixties it’s been led by the Assad family who have ruled as quasi dictators until the Arab Spring happened in 2011 the revolutionary wave of protests and conflicts in the Arab world that toppled many authoritarian regimes but the Assad’s refused to step down and started a brutal civil war different ethnicities and religious groups fought each other in changing coalitions Isis a militaristic jihadist group used the opportunity and entered with the goal to build a totalitarian Islamic caliphate very quickly became one of the most violent and successful extremist organizations on Earth.

These people found themselves stuck in between an aggressive dictator and several violent extremist organizations, instead of staying millions decided to flee their country out of desperation Yahoo News reports of where these refugees are going to. Two million people have already left and thousands more are leaving every single day. Here’s a look at where they’re all and this is putting a tremendous economic and political strain all these nations.

When you have a constant stream of hundreds of thousands even millions of people coming into your country with nothing more than the clothes on their back you’re going to face those social, political, and economic issues that Yahoo was talking about. Countries are now in charge of feeding them, clothing them, giving them shelter, water, access to health care all at the same time is maintaining your own country. Politically this raises several questions.  Are other country’s going to let them in or are the other international organizations going to come?  Jordan’s Minister of Planning and international cooperation explain some of the effects of this refugee crisis is placed on his own country waters and it has been really affected by the fact that there is this Jordan that is the director but also jordan has lost a lot of trade activities with syria the transit industry we have to keep in mind investment climate the tourism and other sectors that is directly affected by the overall turbulent in the region

This scratches the surface as to the problems that these nations are having and these problems aren’t just unique to Jordan nor are refugees only streaming from Syria the resolution then offers the question does a government prioritize the humanitarian needs of these refugees over its own national interests?

In this analysis we’ll be going over what you should be defining in the Public Forum November resolution and then moving on to the main affirmative and negative arguments. The first word in the resolution that I would be defining is current crisis. What is the scope? Can we talk about South American refugees? Only the European crisis? Just the Middle Eastern crisis? Maybe this is exclusive to Syria? Define what current crisis is and give several reasons as to why. Even more crucial to define is this word “prioritize.” Governments can only take care of the refugees or its national interests is it when the two are in conflict? Make sure you’re defining this is the very beginning of the round to avoid he said she said arguments later in the debate. I might also defined national interests and humanitarian aid and give a couple examples. The more clarification on this topic the better.

The main affirmative arguments you’ll be seeing in November will focus around four categories philosophical, extremists, instability, and emotional. Let’s move on to the philosophical side of the debate. Most people in Public Forum don’t know how to debate philosophy, meaning if you know how to, you’re going to have a massive advantage. You’ll likely see utilitarianism or as you’ve heard it the greatest good for the greatest number of people if you’re looking into these type of arguments one of the philosophers you should read up on it is Peter Singer to win a country should not help this case you would basically argue that as long as your country doesn’t fully collapse you should still use refugees out the next argument that you can buy comment if you don’t know what these are definitely need to lookup Kant and his categorical imperatives because your opponents will likely be running now that you likely won’t be seeing very much that they are very welcome to ride is that borders immoral we create a society just because I won the lottery was born in a stable country doesn’t mean that I deserve any more right to a better quality of life that Syria to get sucked into that instability the next philosophers can look into is a lesson from the University of Oxford she actually writes the literature the Syrian refugee crisis and what country should do and finally any philosophers that talk about why or the quality of life or how we’re all equal any of these philosophers will go slightly relate the affirmative strategy make sure you’re running anything right make sure that the judges ok with philosophical arguments and make sure that they’ll actually vote on them before you can also make sure that you do a lot of work in the framework to make sure that these arguments don’t just pushed to the side

The second major argument surrounding instability. These refugees offer two alternatives, the first is we take them in, cloth them, we give them healthcare, a job get back on their feet and stabilize our economy. The country that accepted and essentially the Middle East the second alternative is that we let them die while trying to cross the sea. That doesn’t stabilize the Middle East, that doesn’t stabilize my country because there’s still chaos in the Middle East. These refugees are still trying to get into the country and evidently probably will if we take care of these refugees that we also take care of our national interests this is a perfect example of a root cause argument. If you can prove that the country accepts refugees in and accepting the refugees will help stabilize the Middle East you have access to a world of impacts. Anything  stemming from terrorism to Middle Eastern instability to the European economy, etc.

A lot of people will be making arguments on the affirmative extremists or extremist organizations lot of people form the argument that nobody will help these people out so these refugees will likely join terrorist organizations and bomb the host countries that wouldn’t let them in in the first place. This argument is very enticing because it has large impacts, however I don’t think that the links are fully there. Most of these refugees are actually running away from these extremist organizations, they don’t want to join them and that’s why they’re getting out of their country. Now I think the other way that people will run this argument which is probably a little bit better with stronger links but less impact is they’ll run this by saying that petty crime or just crime in general will increase for example if you took millions of refugees into their country and they don’t provide humanitarian they prioritize national interests over those refugees they may have to resort to stealing or doing something in some way that would be bad. I think this is probably the stronger argument that we need to prioritize humanitarian aid once these refugees come in to prevent crime from increasing. The links are there, the impacts maybe not so strong but if you can create stronger impacts by all means go for it.

The fourth category you will likely be seeing but that I personally wouldn’t run. Anyone that’s followed the news or this crisis at all will know that people are dying, people are being torture, everyone knows about the image of that little boy that washed up on the shore because he was trying to escape his country and didn’t make.  If you get the right judge you can play these emotional arguments off like none other. They are personally not my format or style that I like to run but if you get the right judge these arguments can go quite far.

The negative also has four major foundations of arguments. The economy, then extremism, philosophical arguments, and finally work arounds. Now going to negative economic arguments there are so many links to the economy it’s hard to conceive the first one you will likely be seeing a lot is just the sheer millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to these refugees. A lot of people argue that this could collapse the economy. If you’re going to run this make sure that you have strong links as to how that deficit or debt will likely be hurting the economy. The second argument that you’ll likely be seeing a lot of is consumer and business confidence. Very very strong foundation. If a lot of refugees are coming into my country and I’m a business owner we’re spending billions of dollars into helping them out me personally I don’t want to invest in other places and as a consumer I want to see some money just in case things get worse, essentially the idea with consumer and business confidence is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, as soon as you think that the economy is going to collapse it does because we change our spending habits and investments.

Another link that the negative has to the economy is supply and demand for basic necessities. The supply is going to remain relatively the same for basic necessities whereas if you have millions of refugees coming into your country this is greatly going to increase this demand. This usually causes price hikes and affects the economy in a variety of ways. There are also several other economic links the negative can use for their case.

There have been several allegations that a lot of extremist organizations are disguising themselves as refugees and coming into a hosting country. Negative could propose suspending humanitarian aid to anyone that we could potentially have a screening process or even that we could halt the aid to anyone that’s committed a crime. There are several ways that you can prioritize national interest over humanitarian aid to protect your own assets or your own country. Another argument is that we should spend more money fighting terrorism and stabilizing these countries. Refugees are running away from that this will prevent future spillover that it will decrease terrorism I think this argument has a lot of potential very strong impacts if you can provide the links it’s going to be fantastic.

The third category is philosophical arguments. The affirmative has a lot of arguments that they can make regarding philosophy, the negative also has some firepower. The first of it is the social contract. As a lot of people know we give up rights as citizens for the government to protect us, so the government should prioritizing US national interests over the refugees. Another way you can argue this is the purpose of the government there is a lot of literature out there that says that the government was established to protect its citizens, every single government no matter what country you belong to was designed to protect its national interests and its citizens. They’re so hard to really take part in this paper he’s actually said that if we’re all on a lifeboat we can’t let everyone that was on the ship onto our small little boat. If we do that we’ll all drown. I think this concept can definitely be applied to the resolution, accepting more refugees into our country could possibly destabilized us and cause more chaos.

The final category for the negative is workarounds, essentially these are word plays with the resolution. Negative can run to their advantage the first one that we look at it we can still give aid to the refugees.  Make sure the judge knows the word prioritize doesn’t mean we choose national interests or refugees we can do both but if there is a conflict we choose national interest and take care of our own citizens. I think the negative can play this very well. The second argument is non-governmental organizations or ngos the negative can argue the government’s responsibilities is to protect its national interests however non-governmental organizations like the United Nations or nato is to provide that this country can give money to the united nations to take care of the refugees but the country as a whole should prioritize its citizens or its own national interests. I think you could also make the argument by saying that multilateralism works better by going through these organizations to turn out better for the refugees.

Another work around is the current crisis in the resolution the negative can say right now in the present time we don’t need to prioritize you manage over national interests however in the future we have to prioritize national interests, but we’re not talking about that now, we’re talking about the current crisis right now it’s not bad enough to prove that the native has a lot of work arounds definitely helped them win.

There are a couple tips I suggest using. This resolution first one is that clarification is the key. The absolute worst thing that can happen is have a judge see the affirmative prioritize define and prioritize a different way and have those clash so at the end of the round me as the judge gets to decide who wins based on which I like better. Make sure they are clashing with the definitions and clarify everything in the first cross-examination is going to be your sanctuary. Make sure you define what national interests and  humanitarian aid word prioritize maybe what current crisis means if you can agree with your opponents all these things maybe come to a middle ground then you can actually develop into a good debate. You can’t find what you’re defending what youre talking and it will help everyone in the round. Just the second to short and sweet the resolution is not US specific the resolution says a government should prioritize not the US government. And finally you have to understand the topic and watch your words. This topic in perfectly set up for some offensive and very racist or offensive remarks recent stories blogs watch videos about these refugees the horrible treat them like they are they are individuals please don’t say anything racist not only will it look bad on you but the judge will instantly vote you down as well.

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