By Srdjan Miletic
As usual, I won’t write about the social side of the tournament because, frankly, that’s not my area of expertise. What I will write about is the motion, which were as follows:
Motions (as posted by Micheal Dunn):
I believe that the motions for round 1 and 2, while interesting, were probably unbalanced, favouring Prop and Opp respectively. Here’s why:
This motion requires current substance abusers (A.K.A: addicts from any decent Gov) be given lower priority than non abusers. The basic, obvious arguments I would expect to see from gov are:
The problem with the motion, and the reason I suspect it is unbalanced, is that these arguments are easy to make, intuitively appealing and hard to rebut. Moving to Opp, there are far fewer obvious arguments and even rebuttal of the Gov case, while by no means impossible, is far from simple.
First, rebuttal. Obviously, it is easy to rebut argument 1, drug users being less deserving of life, by pointing out that drug addiction is not a choice or through other means. The real difficulty comes with argument 2, that drug users are less likely to benefit from the organs and that we should allocate organs so as to maximise the amount of lives saved/extended. There are two options here, opp can argue that:
The issue with the first line of argument is that I struggle to see an alternate system of allocation that is anywhere near as appealing as allocating to maximise lives saved. The problem with the second argument is that it does not seem possible to entirely rebut the fact that drug abuse leads to a higher risk of organ rejection. While it is possible to frame out certain health risks, for example, by pointing out that STD’s or immune problems acquired due to drug use are already accounted for by the health check’s done to determine rejection risk, it is not possible to frame out the risk of re-addiction and consequent rejection as that is a risk a doctor cannot know of without taking into account past history of substance abuse. Also, framing out the health risks of drug addiction by shoving them into the “general health” requirements can be a bit iffy if Gov are smart enough to argue that certain health risks associated with addiction are not possible to independently verify/discover. Hence, my belief that the motions is likely unbalanced
While this is a round I personally find much more interesting, it is one which seems to be even more unbalanced. This time, I’ll start with the possible opp lines (many of which are lifted from other people in the tournament)
I find these arguments to be, generally speaking, quite obvious, easy to argue and persuasive. On the other hand, I struggle to see what Gov can argue and most of the obvious lines are comparatively weaker. i.e:
Note that this is not to say that it is impossible to argue for Opp. I would be glad to do so and I think many philosophy students or high-level debaters would be capable of doing so. My point is that it seems to be far easier to argue for prop, especially for the average debater in the average room, which leads me to believe that the motion could be unbalanced.