Skip to content
December 11, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Making a risk/morality/ethics underview for your affirmative policy debate case

Heres how you do it….

Read framework, but usually in this context it might be called an Underview. Basically the core arguments are as follows:
1. Risk-based DAs = Bad (based on false assumptions) This is usually based on the Black Swan book. My initial tag is a simplification of the argument. (this is 4 to 6 potential cards you can choose from)
2. Rescher/Risk (these probably aren’t as good as the Black Swan argument–because they aren’t as nuanced–but they may work depending on your affirmative. also rescher wrote answers back which perhaps 30 to 50% of teams carry….and about 70 to 80% or more carry on the national circuit. Although I don’t think they are necessarily TKO…..but they probably also have the dual use of answering back the Black Swan argument–so its best to pick your battles.
3. Value to Life. Tyranny of Survival argument by Callahan.
4. Berube –Multi-chained disads = bad (again over simplification of the tag)
5. Your disads are 100% inevitable and non-unique (usually in the mix if they have a card and time)
6. Utility is bad/Consequentialism is bad (some read causality or predictions of impacts bad, but this seems to undercut many affirmatives & even some of their ethical claims….but to each her own)
7. Rights are trumps or our -ism is the only way to stop domination & war.
8. No war. War won’t happen. (a couple cards below)
9. Principle of double effect (may not be on the wiki, but should be in backfiles). This argument says that I am only responsible for the effects of my action alone….I am not responsible for what you do in response. For instance if MLK marched and the KKK backlashed, MLK is not responsible for that violence.

If you search for any of these arguments by name or by author you should be able to find them.
(I searched for “underview” and seemed to find a bunch of LD cases–oh well)

You can find Black Swan in any Barnes and Noble-sized bookstore. Although call in advance just in case. Everything else except Herbeck is available online and has the links. Here is the link to the Herbeck in PDF form: http://www.eric.ed.g…559&_nfls=false

Correction. The CIAO net link is available online…but mostly only colleges subscribe to it…..so best of luck.

Intentional war won’t occur and small conflicts won’t escalate
MANDELBAUM 1999 (Michael, Professor of American Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Project on East-West Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, “Transcript: is Major War Obsolete?” Transcript of debate with John Mearsheimer, CFR,
Feb 25, http://www.ciaonet.org/conf/cfr10/)
My argument says, … on a king.”

No risk of deliberate nuclear war – no countries have the capability
ROTHSTEIN ET AL 2004 (Linda, editor, Catherine, managing editor, and Jonas, assistant editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, BAS, November/December, http://www.thebullet…n=nd04rothstein)
Is an incoming … extremely improbable.

1. Any attempt to calculate probabilities is bankrupt—in the real world, we do not know the odds or the sources of uncertainty—the only notion of probability we can accept is both inherently fuzzy and unable to produce any certainty on the question of outcomes.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, Oxford University, THE BLACK SWAN: THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE, 2007, p. 127-9.

What is the ludic fallacy? […] overestimate it in games of chance.

2. To predict the future, we necessarily need to know everything about it—within risk society either their predictions are entirely bankrupt or the only risk of the future is through their act of rhetorically creating it.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, Oxford University, THE BLACK SWAN: THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE, 2007, p. 171-2.

Popper’s central argument is that in […] an expensive device called a necktie.

3. The attempt to impose narrativity and causality onto past and future events necessarily fails—we constantly reconstruct and re-imagine scenarios in such a way that explanations necessarily fail.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, Oxford University, THE BLACK SWAN: THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE, 2007, p. 70-1.

Our tendency to perceive—to […] by dint of listening to theories.

4. Attempts to explain causality and the “because” of scenarios, especially in scenarios where survival is at play, fall into false Aristotelian categories and assume we can reduce and understand. This is nonsense—in risk society the role of randomness is supreme—any negative DA scenario will ignore a sea of silent evidence.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, Oxford University, THE BLACK SWAN: THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE, 2007, p. 119-120.

This in itself greatly weakens the […] situations where you suspect silent evidence.

5. A preponderance of positives doesn’t prove anything—with a little bit of research, we can always create a story within risk society. The only basis for proof is a negative, which means you should always prefer our defense to their links.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, Oxford University, THE BLACK SWAN: THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE, 2007, p. 55-6.
By a mental mechanism I call […] not much more difficult than that.

First—“there’s always a risk” is not a reason to vote neg – low probability internal link chains should not be used as an excuse to reject the plan.

Dale A. Herbeck, Professor of Communication and Director of the Fulton Debating Society at Boston College, and John P. Katsulas, Debate Coach at Boston College, “The Use and Abuse of Risk Analysis in Policy Debate,” Paper Presented at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (Chicago, IL), October 29th-November 1st 1992, Available Online via ERIC Number ED354559, p. 10-12.

First, and foremost, we need to realize … ignore minimal risks in debates.

Second—psychological factors will make the neg’s extended internal link chains appear more credible than they actually are – do not be fooled – systematic evaluation of these scenarios will reveal their intellectual bankruptcy.

David M. Berube, Associate Professor of Speech Communication and Director of Debate at the University of South Carolina, “Debunking Mini-max Reasoning: The Limits Of Extended Causal Chains In Contest Debating,” Contemporary Argumentation and Debate, Volume 21, 2000, Available Online at http://www.cedadebat…2000_berube.pdf, Accessed 02-21-2009, p. 65-69.

A final set of tests deal with … has not been sufficiently systematized.

Fourth—organizing politics around these improbable apocalypses is bad in itself – the possibility of planetary destruction is a consequence of their bad risk model.

David M. Berube, Associate Professor of Speech Communication and Director of Debate at the University of South Carolina, “Debunking Mini-max Reasoning: The Limits Of Extended Causal Chains In Contest Debating,” Contemporary Argumentation and Debate, Volume 21, 2000, Available Online at http://www.cedadebat…2000_berube.pdf, Accessed 02-21-2009, p. 69-70.

As an exercise in a logic classroom, … that allows smoke to trump fire.

Finally—refusing their method is critical to move away from this bad form of risk – rejection within the laboratory of debate spills over to policy making.

Dale A. Herbeck, Professor of Communication and Director of the Fulton Debating Society at Boston College, and John P. Katsulas, Debate Coach at Boston College, “The Use and Abuse of Risk Analysis in Policy Debate,” Paper Presented at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (Chicago, IL), October 29th-November 1st 1992, Available Online via ERIC Number ED354559, p. 14.

It is sometimes argued that debate .. in our battle with the bogeymen of our age.

Heres a link to the Rescher sites used in debate outlines: http://wiki.debateco…ch/view/rescher

Also, here are the tyranny of survial cards cross-posted from the SDI wiki:

Details last edit by sdiencyclopedia sdiencyclopedia Jun 16, 2007 12:02 am – 2 revisions hide details
Tags

Protected
The “Tyranny of Survival” is a book written by Daniel Callahan about responsible control of modern technology. In the book, Callahan discuses what he calls the “tyranny of survival”, or a need to survive that becomes so pervasive we are willing to sacrifice all that makes survival desirable.

One of the more popular pieces of evidence used in debate rounds comes from this book. More often than not, in utilitarian vs. deontology debates, the team defending the value of human rights will read the Callahan evidence arguing protecting life at the cost of rights eliminates the desire for survival. Below I have included the piece of Callahan evidence from the book “Tyranny of Survival”

The subordination of rights under extinction claims locks us into the tyranny of survival – eliminating the reason life is valuable.

Daniel Callahan, Co-founder and former director of The Hastings Institute, PhD in philosophy from Harvard University, “The Tyranny of Survival” 1973, p 91-93

The value of survival could not be so readily abused were it not for its evocative power. But abused it has been. In the name of survival, all manner of social and political evils have been committed against the rights of individuals, including the right to life. The purported threat of Communist domination has for over two decades fueled the drive of militarists for ever-larger defense budgets, no matter what the cost to other social needs. During World War II, native Japanese-Americans were herded, without due process of law, to detention camps. This policy was later upheld by the Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944) in the general context that a threat to national security can justify acts otherwise blatantly unjustifiable. The survival of the Aryan race was one of the official legitimations of Nazism. Under the banner of survival, the government of South Africa imposes a ruthless apartheid, heedless of the most elementary human rights. The Vietnamese war has seen one of the greatest of the many absurdities tolerated in the name of survival: the destruction of villages in order to save them. But it is not only in a political setting that survival has been evoked as a final and unarguable value. The main rationale B. F. Skinner offers in Beyond Freedom and Dignity for the controlled and conditioned society is the need for survival. For Jacques Monod, in Chance and Necessity, survival requires that we overthrow almost every known religious, ethical and political system. In genetics, the survival of the gene pool has been put forward as sufficient grounds for a forceful prohibition of bearers of offensive genetic traits from marrying and bearing children. Some have even suggested that we do the cause of survival no good by our misguided medical efforts to find means by which those suffering from such common genetically based diseases as diabetes can live a normal life, and thus procreate even more diabetics. In the field of population and environment, one can do no better than to cite Paul Ehrlich, whose works have shown a high dedication to survival, and in its holy name a willingness to contemplate governmentally enforced abortions and a denial of food to surviving populations of nations which have not enacted population-control policies. For all these reasons it is possible to counterpoise over against the need for survival a “tyranny of survival.” There seems to be no imaginable evil which some group is not willing to inflict on another for sake of survival, no rights, liberties or dignities which it is not ready to suppress. It is easy, of course, to recognize the danger when survival is falsely and manipulatively invoked. Dictators never talk about their aggressions, but only about the need to defend the fatherland to save it from destruction at the hands of its enemies. But my point goes deeper than that. It is directed even at a legitimate concern for survival, when that concern is allowed to reach an intensity which would ignore, suppress or destroy other fundamental human rights and values. The potential tyranny survival as value is that it is capable, if not treated sanely, of wiping out all other values. Survival can become an obsession and a disease, provoking a destructive singlemindedness that will stop at nothing. We come here to the fundamental moral dilemma. If, both biologically and psychologically, the need for survival is basic to man, and if survival is the precondition for any and all human achievements, and if no other rights make much sense without the premise of a right to life—then how will it be possible to honor and act upon the need for survival without, in the process, destroying everything in human beings which makes them worthy of survival. To put it more strongly, if the price of survival is human degradation, then there is no moral reason why an effort should be made to ensure that survival. It would be the Pyrrhic victory to end all Pyrrhic victories. Yet it would be the defeat of all defeats if, because human beings could not properly manage their need to survive, they succeeded in not doing so.

When answering the Callahan evidence, it is important to point out that Callahan’s argument is not that we should ignore legitimate threats to our survival in the name of human rights. Rather he points to examples where the “threat” to survival justified infringements on human rights. Specific examples he talks about are the “threat” the European Jews were to the Nazi state, the “threat” Japanese Americans were to the security of the United States, and the “threat” communism was to the western world. About 10 pages further into the book, Callahan admits a focus on survival is legitimate when the threat is real.

Daniel Callahan, Co-founder and former director of The Hastings Institute, PhD in philosophy from Harvard University, “The Tyranny of Survival” 1973, p 103

But let us assume that the stage of a dark cloud on some distant horizon has been passed, and the evidence is good that serious deterioration has already set in. At what point in the deterioration should survival become a priority? Observe that I said a priority; it should never become the priority if that means the sacrifice of all other values. But there are surely conditions under which it could become a priority, and a very high one. The most important of those conditions would be the existence of evidence that irreversibility was beginning to set in, making it increasingly impossible to return to the original conditions. That situation, combined with visible evidence of serious present deterioration for instance, an urgent need to develop compensatory technologies would warrant a focus on survival; for that is just what would be at stake.

It may also help to point out Callahan is not talking about global politics when he mentions a “tyranny of survival” mentality, he’s actually talking about health care. Remember, Callahan’s book is actually a criticism of technological developments to fulfill human needs. When he discusses the “tyranny of survival” mentality, he is actually critiquing those who extend their lives through unnatural ways, which often leave them in poor health, but alive.

Finally, Callahan also specifically address the threat of nuclear war earlier in his book, concluding that pursuing individual rights at the cost of survival is just as bad. In fact, he gives the name “tyranny of individualism” to the opposite extreme. Below is another piece of evidence from the book “Tyranny of Survival” that may help in defeating the utilitarian bad arguments.

( ) We have a moral obligation to avoid nuclear war even at the cost of rights

Daniel Callahan, Co-founder and former director of The Hastings Institute, PhD in philosophy from Harvard University, “The Tyranny of Survival” 1973, p 33
First, if morality is about choice, then to underestimate the significance of states and boundaries is to fail to take into account the main features of the real setting in which choices must first be made. To pursue individual justice at the cost of survival or to launch human rights crusades that cannot hope to be fulfilled, yet interfered with prudential concerns about order, may lead to immoral consequences. And if such actions, for example the promotion of human rights in Eastern Europe, were to lead to crises and an unintended nuclear war, the consequences might be the ultimate immorality.

I suggest doing searches to find the full links…..sorry that they didn’t carry over from my original cut and paste to my blog. Happy researching and debating!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: