Summary: The essence of this case is capitalizing on the uncertainty inherent in any decision.
Released: Filed Under: Stoa Lincoln-Douglas
About "National Security (NEG)"
The essence of this case is capitalizing on the uncertainty inherent in any decision. Predicting the future is, by definition, uncertain, and the affirmative is advocating that we should go to war before we know we need to. Your job is to advocate for a much more measured approach. Portray the affirmative as a trigger-happy warmonger rushing preemptively into advanced conflict. Then, show the consequences of buying into that worldview.
You do that through four contentions. The first one serves as a foundation, and it’s very provable. If you can maintain its link to the rest of your arguments, you can keep coming back to the mantra of “the future isn’t knowable.”
The second contention builds off the first, and extends the magnitude of the consequences of preemptive war. It uses the example of the rise of ISIS in the Middle East and links it to the preemptive war in Iraq that started in 2003. You’ll need to be careful here, because most of your judges will have strong opinions and a fair amount of knowledge about this war. Most competitors weren’t born in 2003, and some of you (like me) have dim memories of hearing bits and pieces of the news from parents in route to karate class. So, read up.
Contention 3 is similar, but different in nuance. While Contention 2 says that we have a hard time predicting the future, Contention 3 says that we have a precedence of failure that proves that preemptive warfare is ineffective. C2 looks forward and says “who knows,” C3 looks back and says, “I do: preemptive warfare is bad.” It uses the example of Japan and outlines how Pearl Harbor landed the Japanese in a world of trouble. If you want additional support about how China is a threat and Japan’s weaponry is inadequate, just do some googling. There’s plenty of advocacy that wouldn’t fit into a Negative Constructive, but the work may help with rebuttals.
Contention 4 is a conclusion and wrap-up. It ties it back to the value and has some persuasive rhetoric. I find that having a “taggable” closing works better than bare rhetoric. Flow judges usually ignore rhetoric and love tags, so it helps to make your closing a contention.
Mainly, keep coming back to the fact that we can’t know the future, but we can judge based on the past. In the past, preemptive warfare has failed miserably, because bureaucrats thought they could predict what was going to happen in the future. So, to make sure our future is bright, learn from the past, don’t try to predict the future, and avoid voting for the resolution.
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