Stoa Voting Guide 2018-19: Policy Resolutions

Stoa's new policy resolutions are out. Let's take a look!

1. Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reform its international policies towards infectious diseases.

Good: Unexplored Scenarios

Most policy resolutions pick a generic domain and suggest change. (What if we changed agriculture? How about the Federal Courts?) Within any of these resolutions is the aggressive option: point out a disaster within the system and propose a fix for it.

Policy debate gets interesting when the topic zeros in on disaster itself. Reforming our response to natural disasters would be a similar route, but focusing on infectious diseases is robust enough to present plenty of case options. The stakes are high, and negatives will learn to run strong disadvantages to beat the affirmative's "we save lives" rhetoric.

Bad: Extremely Narrow

The word "international" is a mistake. Any regional or domestic diseases are off topic: the affirmative can't talk about them. You can expect an echo chamber of cases, and by January or so, affirmatives will be pulling logical acrobatics to cram their cases into some international context. 

Minor quibble: the word reform implies substantiality. Saying "substantial reform" is like saying "surprising surprise party". Either say reform, or say substantially/significantly change.

Rating: 2 stars.
Longevity: 15 rounds.

What it should've said: "The United States Federal Government should substantially change its international policies towards life-threatening infectious diseases."

2. Resolved: One or more international conventions on environmental issues should be substantially reformed. 

Good: Open Agency

This res is fun! It doesn't use the USFG as an agent, so expect intermediate/advanced debaters to run cases acting as Russia, China, etc. There's plenty of room for a unique discussion of environmental policy.

Bad: Insane Scope

This res is intended to target large agreements like the Paris Accords and the Kyoto Protocol. There is a finite number of agreements, but there are technically thousands of conventions to choose from. Some of which are really obscure and could clearly use some love. And since all you have to do as aff is find one of those 3000 broken ones and change it however you like, the res is wildly skewed in favor of aff.

Rating: 1 star.
Longevity: Several years.

It has incredible longevity, but as written this res is not competitively viable.

What it should've said: "The international community should reform its environmental policy".

3. Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reform its foreign aid.

Good: Relevant Without Polarizing

It's difficult to aim at a relevant debate topic without becoming polarizing (see Stoa's suggested gun control resolution). This resolution walks the line well. Foreign aid is clearly controlled by corrupt interests and de-corrupting it is common sense, but negatives will find a path of advocacy. This topic presents a lot of cool case options and raises some important philosophical questions in the process.

Bad: Kind of Boring

Voting for this res isn't very exciting. Aff cases are either going to cut aid or introduce it. Even though its the best, plenty of people will want to avoid this topic simply because it doesn't turn any heads.

Rating: 5 stars.
Longevity: 100 rounds.

Not super interesting, but nonetheless a great topic for next year.

Vote for Res #3.