Released: Filed Under: Stoa Lincoln-Douglas
About "Social Contract"
Social contract theory is to Lincoln-Douglas debaters what the Jones Act is to team-policy debaters: There always seems to be some way to incorporate it into any resolution. Although many debaters are tired of the social contract, it is an extremely useful and, if run correctly, simple idea that effectively communicates the relationship between the government and its constituents.
The idea of the social contract is quite simple. It’s an agreement between the people and their government that consists of a trade. This trade means that the people of the country give up some portion of their natural rights, and in return the government protects them by putting laws into place.
The main tip to running this case is a rhetorical shift. Make sure that you make the affirmative side sound more like the side of justice, security, and human life, because “truth seeking” can seem weak without a link to innocent human lives. The key to persuasion (and this is true in any Lincoln-Douglas debate resolution) is to make your side seem like the emotional—yet reasonable—choice, and to shift the rhetorical debate to make your opponent’s side seem unimportant.
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Micah Chapman is a homeschooler from Keller, TX, who is going into his 7th year of competition. He has participated in all 3 forms of debate, and many various speech events. He has had 1st and 2nd place finishes at various tournaments, and placed 3rd in Parli at NITOC 2016. This last NITOC he received 1st place in Cold Reading.