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May 21, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Dehumanization on the Space Exploration Debate Topic

This is about the various strategies of using dehumanization on the affirmative (but also the negative).

The best internal link to dehumanization might be “enemy creation” (threat construction) and sovereinty/borders–making the argument that space conciousness transcends various forms of -isms (racism, ethnic discrimination, nationalism) which are the root cause of war (and everything bad in the world).

I would say there are primarily 3 ways:

1. scarcity (ie scarcity coming. scarcity leads to dehumanization in a Mad Max like scenario (ie lack of power, water, energy, etc..).
2. poverty (ie economy internal link)
3. rights check or democracy checks dehumanization (probably a clearer internal link than the economy/globalization debate)

Various other ways that economy, technology, US leadership, democracy, and soft power solve dehumanization.

I think both of these debates will boil down to:

1. Does globalization increase or decrease dehumanization?
2. Does economic growth = or decrease dehumanization?
3. Does technology decrease or increase dehumanization?

I think there are seven tricks out of this debate for the affirmative–

1. the enemy creation/threat construction way
—On Security or something that references “enemy creation” like Keen.
2. the sovereinty way (ie nation-states, borders, etc are forms of exclusion and enemy creation)
—These cards are a dime a dozen–but two authors come to mind–Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics (there is a old Kentucky file on this on Scribd–there is also a an old Kentucky critique answer toolbox which has about 15 pages of answers to borders style arguments which might even apply to state bad arguments).
3. space conciosuness good (solves 1,2, and more isms). also there will be more lines of argument developed at camp.
4. some external impact checks back (ie softpower/rights check dehumanization or something which gets you into the genocide debate or democracy checks dehum)
5. Growth/technology intrinsic to humans. This means several things. (this has the possibility of being a try or die story)
6. Space conciousness transcends tech conciousness (not sure how well this one will work–but it has the possibility of being a try or die story)
7. Free trade is key to freedom & dignity.

The big problem is that Montague and Matson are speaking to technologically induced dehumanization–so it may be that people on the affirmative will opt for other evidence to make this seem to be a more credible argument given that most affs seem required to engage and/or endorse technology for their affirmative.

More Thoughts on the Dehumanization Debate on the Space Topic:

I think whom ever gets to the core of what it means to be human will own this debate. Secondarily, being able to address coming assaults on human dignity or enemy creation may also help shape this debate–along with a host of possible link turns on both sides of the debate. If you are affirmative try to stay away from Montague & Matson unless you are ready to defend that their advocacy runs 100% opposite of what you are arguing for (admittedly in academic circles I don’t think this would be a problem–you are only agreeing with them on one point–not the entire thesis of the book). We wouldn’t quote anyone if this was the standard and debate would be utterly boring.

One important other strategy: the work you do on this question is likely to relate to the critique debate–depending on what the impact stories are. If you aren’t threat constructing China or Russia–and even if you are–you will likely be in position to at least read defense that your defense of a more cosmopolitan perspective is better than a nationalistic one which currently exists (and is endorsed by the negative critical arguments).

One side note. I remember there being some “nationalism doesn’t have to be exclusionary” arguments on the National Service topic from 4 or so years ago (2006 to 2007 if I recall correctly). Even if this evidence doesn’t make the argument–I think it can perhaps articulate a viable middle ground between: unity (cosmopolitanism/globalization) on the one hand and radical individualism on the other (radical nationalism). On the flip side–remember that in most nations–nationalism means elite power–its kind of hard to divorce those two. The reverse scenario is the WTO or the CTBT–but both agreements tend to leave hegemonic nations with more power/wealth…and lesser nations with less (although comparatively better than they would have been otherwise).

Cosmopolitianism Vs. Nationalism
Ultimately, figuring out how to justify cosmopolitanism (which goes back to Immannuel Kant in his essay Perpetual Peace if I’m not mistaken)–and if justifications of cosmopolitanism have to support globalization (and if so all forms of globalization or just certain types of globalization). I would look at essays which address cosmopolitianism in the context of democracy–because its an interesting and helpful lens to leveraging in looking at that question. I’m not sure how much literature or the quality there of–but its an important debate to sort out.

If you are defending cosmopolitianism I think you also get to stand against pre-emption & unilateralism (aka the Bush doctrine) whether or not you see Obama as continuing it. Cosmopolitianism stands as a bulwark or check against such evil practices. It also probably stands against torture in the war on terror. Otherwise, you **might** be able to defend international law and multilateralism as well (although these are probably notably more hegemonic–they can still be used to solve a laundry list of problems like landmines, human rights issues/slavery, etc…) And it seems to me hard to quantify or qualify the negative aspects of that specific manifestation of hegemony esp. vs. the specificity of the ills of landmines & slavery, etc.. (insert your international issue of importance).

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