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How to Select a Value

In Lincoln-Douglas debate, we use values to judge, whether or not something is good, right, or of worth. Values can be an end in an of themselves, as an ultimate aim of existence such as peace on Earth, or a means of behavior to reach that ultimate end, such as sacrifice. Values are belief systems or principles. Like attitudes, they are abstract and physically intangible, but they affect behavior and impact human interactions. Values such as freedom, justice, and peace cannot be touched, but people generally agree they know when those values are granted, denied, or restricted. When building a debate case, students usually select one or two values which they consider to be more important or more desirable than all others based upon the resolution being argued. Although there is no rule that says debaters must select only one or two values, it becomes increasingly difficult to defend more.
If the resolution argued were, "Resolved: That the values contained in the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution ought to outweigh all other legal values,” debaters Should first ask them what is being evaluated. What is it is that the First Amendment grants citizens? If the First Amendment grants individuals freedom of speech, press, and religion, and assembly, then debaters need to ask which values are at stake when judging the worth of those freedoms? Why can First Amendment freedoms be considered more important than other legal values? Because they guarantee civil rights, liberty, freedom of choice, individualism, or quality r f life.

Partial List of Values
Altruism Cooperation Duty Equality of Condition Equality of Opportunity Equality of Results Ethical Egoism Feminism Freedom Human Dignity Individualism Justice/Fairness Knowledge Law & Order Liberty Life Majority Rule Meta-Rights Minority Rights Nationalism Natural Rights Peace Pleasure Privacy Progress Property Pursuit of Happiness Quality of Life Retribution Sacrifice Safety/Security Self-Actualization Social Diversity Sovereignty Sympathy Trust Truth/Honesty

If building a negative case for the same resolution, debaters might argue that equality or fairness ought to be of ultimate value because it is only when all individuals have equal access to these freedoms or receive fair treatment whereby all of society benefits.
'Clan’s Lincoln-Douglas Debate Resource Guide

Cooperation usually takes coordination. The argument can be made that this discourages individual motivation and leads to mediocrity or even communism. Instilling a moral duty in people instead may promote voluntary. A counter-value to cooperation could be individualism. etc.joint effort or association for a common purpose.fairness that occurs by assuring that the ends are the same for all.a regard for the welfare of others that overrides concern for oneself. Equality can be defined in at least three ways which can be used to counter each other. Counter-values could be altruism. . not just granted. 2) Equality of Opportunity . although arguments against it sometimes claim that no behavior is entirely altruistic. regardless of the means or conditions. the motivation and skills levels of people are different. . This is not just a cause promoted by women. privileges and immunities to people similarly situated or in similar circumstances. By assuring equality of results. Altruism's counter-value could be ethical egoism.the idea that all actions should be taken only if they are good for oneself. People would not harm others just because they felt like it because they know they might have to suffer legal consequences or social ostracism. moral duty and legal duty can be counter-values. 3) Equality of Results . Laws can be used to enforce a legal obligation. self-will may have to be subjugated. communication.fairness that grants the Altruism . or moral duty. so while a group effort can be time-saving and it can be Argued that it is key to survival. that there is always an underlying. majority rule. and social rights equal to those of men. so conditions can never be equal. government treating adult citizens like children-assuming they are incapable of caring for themselves and perpetuating dependence. membership in a group or society. economic. they also have a duty or responsibility to the group. Although this initially sounds selfish as it seems to disregard the welfare of others. individualism. Arguments against this are that by human nature. Feminism . or used to offset numerous other values including justice and retribution.fairness that grants everyone the same chance to rise in the economic and social system regardless of circumstances of birth. Social welfare programs are designed to enhance equality of condition. Ethical Egoism . goal-oriented compliance. A spirit of cooperation is generally called for when a scarcity of resources exists. This is the idea behind public education and a graduated income tax. In this case. or the overall sense of duty to society can be offset with the counter-value of individualism. and that would not be in their best interests. altruism is regarded as a selfless behavior. individual choice and same rights. Counter-values could be ethical egoism. Cooperation .moral or legal obligation or action that is required by one's position. justice. it can be argued that ethical egoism is actually enlightened selfishness because people would never be motivated to perform actions against their own best interests. It can be argued that if people accept the benefits of membership. or by conscience. when a team effort is needed or when the results can be mutually beneficial to all those participating. but by anyone proposing equal rights for all. Ideally. human love. regardless of the distance or effort it takes to reach that goal. and agreement. A challenge to any argument for equal rights can be that rights have to be exercised and maintained to have substantial impact. but they are generally followed to avoid penalty. Nolan's Lincoln-Douglas Debate Resource Guide . everyone achieves the same goal or end.the principle that women should have political. or that government intervention to distribute benefits to the poor or elderly amounts to paternalism .Definitions of Values 1) Equality of Condition . Duty . self-serving motive behind all actions. A major argument against equality of opportunity is that it may be considered unfair to charge or tax everyone to support social services if they do not partake of them or directly benefit from them.

co nf in e m en t or re pr es si o n.-Siffiafiffae.: F re e d o m a st at e w he re th er e is an ab se nc e of re st ra in t.ff.J.Y1OI '$2 V fssy. B ec au se pe op le do no t op er at e in a va cu u m. or th e q ua lit y of be in g fr ee fr o m th e co nt ro l of so m e ot he r pe rs on or ar bi tr ar y po w er to ex er ci se se lfwi ll. it ca n be ar gu ed .

expr essio n. Hu ma n Dig nity . and relig ion com mon to all hum an bein gs with out discr imin ation . prop erty.that all free dom is subj ect to som e form of restr aint Free dom' s coun tervalu es coul d be coop erati on. F or th at re as o n. thou ght. duty. co o pe ra ti o n. It can be argu ed th at th er e m a y b e ti m es w h e n ot h er c o m p el li n g m or al cl ai m s m a y re q ui re th at ea c h in di vi d u al' s d es ir es b e su bj ec t to a d ut y to so ci et y or to co o pe ra ti o n fo r a co m m o n ca us e. secu rity of pers on.the idea that ever y hum an bein g is entit led to both the free dom and the resp onsi bilit y to deve lop his/h er pers onali ty with right s to life. equa lity. or sacri fice. liber ty. an d la w & or de r m ay be co . and the fund ame ntal free dom s of opin ion. cons cien ce. polit ical parti cipat ion. d ut y.

indi vidu alis m. Indi vid uali sm the idea that indi vidu als sho uld hav e free dom o f c h o ic e a n d fr e e d o m t o m a k e d e ci si o n s t h at a r e s u b je ct o n l y t o t h e r e ci p r o c al o b li g at io n to re s p e ct th e ri g ht s o f ot h er s. prog ress. T hi s p r o p o s e s th at ri g ht s s h o ul d n ot b e re st ri ct e d b y g o v er n m . Hu man love 's cou ntervalu es coul d be ethi cal egoi sm. or retri buti on. or a feel ing of brot her hoo d and goo d will tow ard othe r peo ple. justi ce.unte rvalu es. Hu ma n Lov etend er feel ing of affe ctio n or dev otio n to anot her pers on. It can be argu ed that deci sion s bas ed upo n hu man love may be blin ded by emo tion rath er than obje ctiv ely eval uati ng all cons equ ence s.

A ri st ot le c o n si d er e d ju st ic e to b e tr . ld gres e be s.the o hou qual w t ity n gua of ju bein rant d g e a n d e x e c ut io n er . e to ri and be g that sub ht the ordi J real_____________________________________________ nate o sec to h urit cou n y of nter L ever o y valu c nati es k on such e lies as m in mor ai its al nt resp and ai ect lega n for l e indi duty d vid . rest can fa is be ir the argu .g ent ees i bec for m aus indi p e vidu ar self alis ti m. ait and tion. al inte It . th ual coo at righ per w ts. h that law o dem and ut ocra orde ju cy r. m s a and Just n unw ice/ is ork Fair hi able ness s wit . pro ed c per that o goal indi rr of vidu e all alis ct hu m a man may n acti hav d ons. or a mea sacr c nin ifice h gles . st wou pro ic e. a n d th at n at ur al ri g ht s c o ul d n ot b e pr ot e ct e d.

eati ng equ als equ ally. it c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d u n f a i r a n d v i n d i c ti v e . and une qual s in pro port ion to thei r relat ive diff eren ces. argu ing that the less wea lthy dese rve mor e help . Joh n Ra wls adv ocat ed distr ibut ive justi ce base d upo n nee d. S. syst em of justi ce. Alth oug h the prin cipl e that equ al righ ts befo re the law is at the core of the U. o r ( c o n t i n u e d ) n' s L i n c o l n D o u g l a s D e b a te R e s o u r c e G u i d e N o l a . argu men ts abo ut wha t is fair gene rally com e dow n to two prec epts: 1) I f j u s ti c e i s n o t p r o p o rt i o n a l t o t h e s it u a ti o n .

2) If j u s t i c e i s n o t a b s o l u t e . p r o g re ss . o r s a cr if ic e. i t c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d a r b i t r a r y . c a p r i c i o u s. in di vi d u al is m . K no wl ed ge is ne ce ss ar y fo r in fo r m ed de ci si on m ak in g. a n d i n c o n s i s t e n t. It c a n a l s o b e a r g u e d t h a t j u s ti c e c a n n o t a l w a y s b e a c h i e v e d. C o u nt er v al u e s c o ul d b e al tr ui s m . K n o w le d ge ha vi n g an un de rst an di ng or a fa m ili ar it y wi th a bo dy of fa ct s or pr in ci pl es . an d . d ut y. s i t u a t i o n a l.

or cust om to main tain peac e and sere nity in a com mun ity or soci ety by imp osin g limit s on in di vi d u al b e h a vi or . legis latio n.is imp orta nt whe n weig hing all vari able s or pred ictin g long term effec ts and cons eque nces . It can be argu ed that ther e may be time s whe n igno ranc e is bliss or whe n acce ss to kno wled ge need s to be limit ed for natio nal secu rity. A co nc er n w it h gr an ti n g so m uc h p o w er to g o ve rn m en t is th at g o ve rn m en t its el f ca n be co m e ty . Law & Ord er a syst em of rules of cond uct esta blish ed and enfo rced by auth ority . L a w & or d er ar e c o ns id er e d to b e th e to ol s fo r se c ur in g in di vi d u al li b er ty a n d pr ot ec ti n g m e m be rs fr o m an ar ch y. Cou ntervalu es coul d be safet y/se curit y or trust .

Cou ntervalu es coul d be ethic al egoi sm. hum an dign ity. A rg u m e nt . C o u nt er v al u es c o ul d b e al tr ui s m . or la w & or d er . peop le will reso rt back to a state of natu re. liber ty is rega rded as free dom from arbit rary restr aint.rann ical and oppr essi ve. arbit raril y viol atin g indi vidu al will and subj ugat ing liber ty. Lib erty rega rded as one of the thre e natu ral righ ts inhe rent in all hum ans. Alth oug h indi vidu al liber ty is cons ider ed vital to pers onh ood. d ut y. c o o p er at io n. L if e bi ol o gi c al st at e of e xi st e n c e g e n er al ly re g ar d e d as n e c es sa ry fo r a n y ot h er h u m a n v al u es to b e of w or th . indi vidu alis m. it can be argu ed that if indi vidu al liber ty is not bala nced with soci etal goo d. h u m a n lo v e. and liber ty.

w it h o ut m aj or it y ru le . M aj or it y ru le re st s u p o n su p er io r fo rc e. e v er y in di vi d u al w o ul d a ct o n hi s o w n. The cou ntervalu e of life in a deb ate coul d be qual ity of life.s can be mad e that und er cert ain circ ums tanc es whe re free dom and liber ty are restr icte d. or whe n surv ival dep ends upo na tort ured exis tenc e. Maj orit y Rul ewhe re the laws are mad e by. a c o m m o nl y ac ce pt e d pr ac ti ce . M ai nt ai . Unle ss ther e is unan imo us c o n se nt or a di ct at or s hi p. or at least refle ct the wish es of the maj ority of soci ety. or rule by the choi ce of the majo rity of thos e who can actu ally vote. life is not wort h livin g. a n d is c o ns id er e d a lo gi ca l m ea ns fo r m a ki n g d ec is io ns . whi ch rank s the wort h and cond ition of exist ence .

ethic al egoi sm. or justi ce. Arg ume nts mad e agai nst rule by maj orit y are that it can lead to rule by tyra nny if it uses its num bers to oppr ess or sile nce min oriti es. .ning the soci al cont ract dep ends upo n maj orit y rule. or in som e case s. hum an dign ity. indi vidu alis m. if the maj ority is unre ason able in dem andi ng unif ormi ty and inti mid atin g to thos e who dare to be diffe rent Cou ntervalu es to maj ority rule coul d be duty.

but issued at birth. or shared experience.John Locke referred to the rights to life. and property as natural rights. and that without these. tradition. human dignity. The U. or justice. civilization will be destroyed.a group with a smaller number of votes than the majority. or a racial.More Values Meta-Rights . offering tunnel vision rather than a global outlook. Countervalues could be duty. not bestowed by any government. duty." An argument against minority demands is that they can be unrealistic. custom. language. Both rs. philosophy professor at Wright State University." On the same page he provided this example: "Even my right to life is more valuable if I have the meta-right to waive this basic right Those who would deprive me of my metaright to waive my right to life have done me a great disservice: They have transferred my right to live into a duty to remain alive." It can be argued that nobody has the right to waive life itself because in doing so. religion. Nolan's Lincoln-Douglas Debate Resource Guide . This makes the "America first" type argument. race. ethical egoism. government has long attempted to operate on the principle of: "Majority rule. William Irvine. and laws for the good of all. For that reason. nationalism can develop into a real or imagined fear and shared hatred for others. and is considered crucial because it offers the criticism and alternative program suggestions that democracies thrive upon. wrote on page 486 of the December 1989 issue of The Freeman.right lo waive ex. n maintained that these were inalienable rights. law & order. (Thomas Jefferson substituted pursuit of happiness for property). S. Especially Nationalism is stressed and valued. those basic rights with which a person is born. liberty. controlling group in a community or nation. ethnic or political group differing from the larger. ethical egoism. society could be deprived of a valued member. minority rights. As with human dignity. Taken to extremes. a slippery slope might occur where respect for all life declines. Nationalism . liberty or property. and if this happens. Natural Rights . The voice of a minority serves as a Constitutional check on the power of the majority. and sacrifice may be counter-values. it can be argued that there may be times when other. Minority Rights . Arguments against nationalism are that it is isolationist and ignores the interdependence of nations. cooperation. Counter-values could be altruism. Counter-values to meta-rights could be duty or life.devotion to one's nation in a union formed from bonds of geography. "Basic rights are worth having because we can relinquish them. humans would not survive. or duty to a world society.transfer basic rights to life. more compelling moral claims require that the rights of the individual be subject to a duty to society or to cooperation for a common cause. religious.

cooperation.the right to be let alone. liberty. Pursuit of Happiness . and a compelling public right to know begins. equality of condition or equality of results. that peace is against human nature. and to live without unwarranted interference by the public in matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned. Property . or it can be argued that there may be times when society's needs outweigh an individual's right to pursue happiness. or disorder. Arguments against progress are that it sometimes creates such substantial harm that its costs exceed its benefits. Even if we can develop a new technology. quality of life. if one person's pursuit of happiness interferes with that of another.belief that human nature can be improved and that society is moving toward a better form of life. law & order safety/security. Progress . or safety/security. Counter-values might include justice. This is why counter-values that emphasize societal rights or altruism. Taken to extremes. In this sense. or quality of life. retribution. The dilemma here is where a private issue ends. peace. Although John Locke said all men were born with natural rights to life. Counter-values could be moral duty. liberty and property.considered by John Locke to be one of the three essential natural rights along with life and liberty. Counter-values could be altruism. Pleasure . to be free from unwarranted publicity. . or if it ignores societal consequences. as in the case with atomic and nuclear bombs. duty. duty. the pursuit of happiness meant people had a right to pursue any lawful business or vocation in any manner they chose that was not inconsistent with recognizing the equal rights of others. and the pursuit of happiness. Counter-values could be justice. then conflict results. public disturbance.state of harmony and freedom from war. knowledge. law & order. this doesn't necessarily mean that we ought to use it. this value can seem hedonistic and selfcentered. or safety/security. the right to know. Thomas Jefferson emphasized in the Declaration of Independence that man's inalienable rights included life. or sacrifice.the right to seek satisfaction and contentment in life. Arguments could be made from a Hobbesian viewpoint. Obviously. justice. and sacrifice. or sacrifice could be appropriate. Privacy . Counter-values to pleasure could be altruism.Peace . or that it simply does not last when resources are scarce. Property is an individual's exclusive right to ownership and unrestricted use or disposition of objects and ideas that is protected by the government Arguments against property are that it may lead to an inordinate focus on materialism and may not be equitable.state of satisfaction that avoids pain and is self-gratifying.

More Values .

violate the sovereignty of other nations in its name whether a threat is real or not. tolerance is abhorrent and criminal. Tolerance . or justice of another person or an institution. It can be argued that retribution is a societal check necessary to maintain law & order and a sense of fairness. moral duty. it can involve forgiveness for an offense or the lightening of a sentence that would normally result in a harsher punishment Arguments against sympathy could be that it may not provide the societal check necessary to maintain law and order or provide justice. and forsaking the emotional safety provided by such values as liberty or freedom. Counter-values can be individualism. combining the best of multiple worlds and the talents of numerous people. stealing or cheating. Sympathy . and that it allows for feedback and realignment of goals.the condition of being guarded from internal or external danger. and retribution.belief or confidence in the honesty. The argument here. Truth/Honesty . Self-Actualization . when facts are in alliance with reality. justice. Having trust that is not misplaced allows a spirit of cooperation to flourish. Retribution . or different.compassion. and prevents acculturation. or in essence. Both individual safety and the safety of the nation tend to be highly valued as safety is one of man's most basic motivators. injury. being free of prejudice and bigotry. that it sometime$4esults after abusing others in society. the pursuit of happiness or progress. or that some do not deserve sovereignty if they violate the human rights of their own or other citizens. A countervalue to trust could be knowledge. understanding.state of recognizing and respecting views or customs of others that are different from one's own. Sacrifice . In the U. Or Wrongful acts can have serious and permanent consequences. Countervalues could be justice and retribution. civil position. Arguments against truth claim that truth is always changing. integrity. Countervalues could be cooperation or justice. but if that trust is unwarranted. is whether or not the sacrifice is wholly selfless in motivation or a wise choice. Arguments against this are that all life should be considered worthwhile and that if a ranking can be assigned to the worth of life. Arguments against promoting diversity often center on the fact that highlighting differences sometimes breeds intolerance and impatience. social diversity has long been regarded as strength. and safety/security.a government position that is independent from foreign control or intervention and has the power to regulate its own affairs. The major counter-value to quality of life is life. justice. and that it can be brutally ruthless and have negative consequences on the people involved. this will result in a slippery slope to a devaluation of all life starting with the mentally or physically impaired. Debaters can use this value in a dispute regarding topics such as euthanasia. debaters can point out that under certain conditions.sincerity and genuineness. and if they do. an incorruptible soundness of moral character. If sympathy extends to mercy. It can be opposed by insisting that individuals should be independently motivated to act from a sense of moral duty. "being all that you can be. as in that against altruism. ethnic. S. not lying. (when a terminally ill patient is suffering) to determine whether biological existence has value without a dignified quality of life and whether or a not a patient should then be permitted to determine that value. Arguments can be made that some governments are not capable of selfregulation. Counter-values could be quality of life today or pleasure. the old. or sympathy. it can lead to dependence and rapid decline. most pragmatic charges to make against self-actualization is that very few people in the population ever achieve this state. Sovereignty . Counter-values to truth/honesty could be ethical egoism. Although being tolerant is allowing others to coexist and have their beliefs. reliability. Sacrifice for future generations or deferred gratification is a common claim of duty.a reward for doing some good or a pay back or deserved punishment for committing a wrong.Quality Of Life . Counter-values under certain conditions can be cooperation and human dignity. Nolan's Lincoln-Douglas Debate Resource Guide Social Diversity .the complete development of one's ambitions. Counter-values can be human dignity. For example. A countervalue could be nationalism. but rather adhering to ethical principles that are expected.ranking or evaluation of a condition existence in comparison to others in a similar social or. to put money into a bank to guarantee their children’s' higher education.to forego something of value for the sake of a more pressing claim.population made up of a variety of people from different racial. or damage. weak. . "Safety/Security . or place a disproportionate emphasis on possessing the physical safety provided by having a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep upon (which they can have even in a jail cell). parents may sacrifice entertainment today. and cultural backgrounds. moral duty. Arguments against safety are that people can avoid risk-taking to a foolish extreme because of it." One of the easiest. Trust .. rather than acting from fear or expectation of retribution. that truth depends upon a person's perspective that it is often hard to verify. and pity for the plight of others. Counter-values could be altruism.