Archive | “Road Less Traveled”

Resolved, that public nudity be decriminalized.

Freedom of expression is a highly valued right of the American people. Public nudity is currently being viewed as not included within the constraints of the First Amendment, and is most often associated with acts of protest and the naturalist/nudist movement. The nude human body is often seen as offensive and inherently sexual. Proponents of the illegality of public nudity argue it as both a sexually perverse act and immoral act. However, public nudity is currently legal in Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia, and many believe shame of one’s body to be a result of an overly prudish society, and that public nudity is within their Constitutional rights. Does the federal government have the right to establish a “standard of decency” that criminalizes public nudity?

KS/APR/11

Posted in "Road Less Traveled"1 Comment

Resolved, that every ethnic group deserves its own nation state.

The United States is a country built upon the idea of religious, racial, and cultural diversity. Disputes arise when different ethnic groups live together, but it is also in a sense, a beautiful thing to have differences be put aside. But can differences be forgotten so easily? Should each ethnic group secularize themselves into a nation-state? Even the proponents of this idea differ in their views; some believe only oppressed ethnic groups deserve to be self-governing; others view every ethnic group deserving of self-governance. Nation-states are often founded because said ethnic group could not escape persecution elsewhere. Does each ethnic group deserve to be self-governing, oppressed or not?

KS/APR/11

Posted in "Road Less Traveled"0 Comments

Resolved, that a committee be appointed to translate bills passed in Congress into plainspeak.

One of the most common objections to the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was that few legislators had actually read the bill they passed. Though the text of the bill was published online, it was nearly 2,000 pages in length and riddled with legal jargon. This bill was not unique; everything passed by Congress is written by lawyers. However, most Americans are uncomfortable reading such technical English, as they are not trained in law. Some commentators have suggested that Congress produce a version of every bill in such a way that the legal layman could understand. This informal text would supposedly grant the average citizen greater access to Congressional activities. Critics of this idea claim that much would be lost in “translation,” thereby deceiving the American people, and they point out that this new committee would require funding. Should Congress proceed with this idea about plainspeak bills?

~KS APR ’11

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs1 Comment

Resolved, That the First Amendment protects polygamists.

Background: The First Amendment to the Constitution makes clear that any American has the right to practice his or her religion. However, the religious practice of polygamy has been deemed illegal by the United States government. Is the government crossing itself by outlawing the practice, or are there legitimate reasons to ban polygamy all together?

Pro:

  • Polygamy is a traditional religions practice, which the First Amendment should protect from any infringement.
  • The only exceptions made to this rule are practices that are destructive to society. Polygamy does not have an adverse effect on society as a whole and is therefore protected.

Con:

  • The First Amendment protects the right to have a certain faith, not to act radically on it. In other words, “beliefs” are protected, not certain “actions” stemming from the beliefs.
  • It is difficult to ban only non-religious polygamy, as it has developed into both a religious practice and a social one.

Sources:
– Utah cases challenge whether anti-polygamy laws are Constitutional.

<http://articles.cnn.com/2004-07-29/justice/hamilton.polygamy_1_polygamy-marriage-ar gument?_s=PM:LAW>

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs0 Comments

Resolved, that the U.S. institute a period of mandatory public service.

Public service in the United States can range from serving the United States Army to participating in a Public Health Organization. Some arguments for mandatory public service are that not only does it instill pride within the American citizen, but it also provides a steady workforce to the government in all aspects. However, according to traditional American values, being forced to do anything in particular to serve the country has been vehemently opposed since the Draft was not more. Do try the same method? Or provide our nation with thoughtful but still compelled service?

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs3 Comments

Resolved, that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals be considered a terrorist organization.

PETA, also known as People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, has often used controversial methods in the name of ensuring America’s animals are treated fairly and safely. While many sympathize with the efforts that PETA tirelessly pursues to ensure ethical treatment, opponents of the group state that the group uses methods that are not only controversial, but also downright dangerous. They cite incidents of PETA raiding testing labs that use animals to conduct testing, as well as, the president of the organization’s outspoken support for “direct action” against those who put animals in harm’s way. While PETA has become a cornerstone of America’s political discourse, the recent controversies that have arisen surrounding the group present the question: is PETA a terrorist organization?

KS~MARCH 2011

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs2 Comments

Resolved, that a committee be appointed to translate legislation into colloquial terms.

Currently, bills written by Congress tend to be verbose and difficult for people to understand. For example, the recent Health Care reform bill was approximately 2000 pages. Bills contain legal and technical terms that many people cannot understand. Some claim that making legislation easier to understand will allow the public to be better informed about legislation. Others claim that such a committee will waste money and will serve a role that the media already fills. And political opponents of a bill are free to comment about same.  So should there be a governmental committee tasked with making legislation easier to understand through non-partisan, plain English summaries?

KS~MARCH 2011

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs2 Comments

Resolved, that the sale of human organs be legalized.

Recently developed medical, diagnostic and surgical techniques have greatly improved the success rate of organ transplants; however, the discrepancy between the number of available organs and the number of patients requiring a transplant operation has increased significantly. Although the National Organ Transplantation Act of 1984 prohibits the sale of human organs from either dead or living donors, some see this as a possible solution to the crippling shortage of available organs. They argue that it is reasonable for the seriously ill to be entitled to spend their own money on saving their own lives, as is the case with private healthcare. Opponents, however, argue that legalizing the sale of organs would diminish the number of donations greatly and allow only the rich to survive. They also state that the opportunity for individuals and governments to gain considerable capital for organs sold will lead to appalling human rights violations like harvesting organs from prisoners. Should a legitimate market in the sale of human organs be created, or is putting a price on the human body inherently morally wrong?

KS~MARCH 2011

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs1 Comment

Resolved, that marijuana be legalized.

Background: The psychoactive drug marijuana, also known as cannabis, has been used for spiritual, religious, medicinal, and recreational purposes since the third millennium BCE. Nations began criminalizing marijuana in the early 20th century, with the first restrictions in the United States put into place in 1906. In modern times, an estimated 42% percent of Americans have used the drug at least once in their lives. This, when combined with the growing amount of marijuana illegally produced in the united states ($14 billion in 2006), has led many to call for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis. Although California’s Proposition 19, a measure designed to legalize pot, failed, many advocates still push for its legalization.  Ever since then, the use of marijuana has become a very popular remedy for numerous illnesses and diseases, as well as just for casual use.  Marijuana wasn’t completely illegal for no-medical use in the United States until the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937.  Up to this day, only twelve states have enacted some form of legalization concerning the medicinal use of the drug.

Pro:

  • With many state economies in dire states, legalization and taxation of marijuana could be both an economic reprieve and a way to amend failed drug policies
  • With limited resources, law enforcement officers should be focusing on larger problems than possession of marijuana. Additionally, some claim legalization would weaken Latin American drug cartels by removing one of their main products.
  • Medicinal marijuana has been proven an effective painkiller and antianxiety treatment.
  • Because cannabis is illegal, its users are more likely to be exposed to people who sell and use other, harder drugs, thereby creating the “gateway” effect
  • If a federal tax is placed on marijuana, it could be a large, additional source of income for the government

Con:

  • Today’s marijuana has a higher content of THC, thereby making it more dangerous for consumption.
  • Some studies have found subjects who smoked marijuana were 40% more likely to develop respiratory problems, stroke, anxiety, psychosis, depression, and other psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
  • Illegality accounts for marijuana’s high price, some say, therefore making taxation and regulation unprofitable.
  • Strict anti-drug policies have been shown to reduce use, especially in adolescents, as shown by the decline from 9.8 percent to 7.6 percent reporting use under the Bush administration.
  • Marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead to cocaine, methamphetamines, or harder drugs.
  • Smoking marijuana is not scientifically proven medicine.
  • Crime, violence, and drugs all go together.

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Domestic Affairs, Pop Culture2 Comments

Resolved, that the use of torture in the face of an imminent threat is morally acceptable.

Today, threats can be instantly triggered around the world, over the Internet or over the phone, yet our own information-gathering systems still rely on often time-consuming methods. The War on Terror and other conflicts in the current Information Age have led to calls to lift or weaken the ban on torture in the United States. While most disapprove of torture in normal cases, many support a “Jack Bauer exception”: The use of torture in the face of an obvious, real, and imminent threat. The effectiveness of torture has never been concrete; guilty persons have been known to be more likely to give false information under duress than with other techniques. Additionally, innocent victims have also given false information in acts of self-preservation. But in the face of read and impending danger, is torture an acceptable resort? When does moral conduct conflict with national security?

Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Hot Topics, Military, Philosophical2 Comments