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Joshua Mirth vs.

Will Malson – LD page 1of 4

Negative Constructive

Negative Constructive

“Either men will learn to live like brothers, or they will die like beasts.” - Max Lerner, American
Journalist. Cooperation is all that prevents us from descending to immorality, chaos, and death, and
because of that, I stand resolved: that cooperation is superior to competition as a means of achieving

I will begin with my refutation of the affirmative's case.

First, his definition of competition. While some competition involves the struggle between organisms
or species, this is not a generally applicable definition. While it may be useful in some contexts, I wish
to present the counter-definition of competition as: “The act or action of seeking to gain what another is
seeking to gain,” from Webster's New International Dictionary, 3rd Edition, Unabridged. Because this
is a more versatile definition of competition, it is the one we ought to use in this round.

Two: resolutional analysis. I accept this point. As mentioned in cross-ex, it is incumbent upon both
speakers [or, writers?] to prove their reasoning logical.

Three: framework. The affirmative wishes you to treat this debate as one of fact. That competition is
superior to cooperation. However, as he admitted in cross-ex, competition is not always superior to
cooperation. By his own admission, therefore, the resolution is not categorically true. It may at times
be true, and at times be false. Thus, his framework statement is flawed. We must compare the good
between the two sides of the resolution through the values they present. Because the affirmative has
presented no value, he has presented no good that will come through upholding competition, and there
is no reason to prefer an affirmative ballot.

Refutation of contention one: The aff claims that competition is necessary to survival; however, this
is empirically denied, as I will show in three points:

A) There is no link between competition and “small adaptations” which allow organisms to thrive. He
denies the existence of natural selection (and that isn't competition either, by the way), and simply
claims that species develop small adaptations via competition. While adaptation to an environment is
beneficial to survival, he has failed to show how that is the result of competition. There's no warrant
and therefore no reason to believe this claim.

B) Acquiring food is not based on competition. Again, the affirmative presents no warrant as to why
food gathering would be a competitive process. Most food is grown on farms, even meat is rarely
hunted anymore. But even if meat products, as he claims, are completely derived from the competition
of hunting, it is possible to live, and to survive without meat. Ask any vegetarian (like my sister) for
proof. Additionally, food prices are not necessarily determined by competition, either. In Belarus, for

“The government... regulates food prices. It sets price ceilings for farm products, limits the
profitability of processing firms and imposes compulsory mark-ups for food wholesalers and
retailers. Price regulation is one of the most widely practiced agrarian policies of Belarus.”1
Joshua Mirth vs. Will Malson – LD page 2of 4
Negative Constructive

So just because US food prices may be determined by competition, that doesn't mean this is a fact of
life or the way things must be.

C) Turn: Survival generally demands that individuals work with rather than against each other. Not
only is competition not necessary to survival, it actually hinders it in many cases. Competition between
species means that one must gain what the other also wants. If what is sought is necessary to survival,
the loser will likely die. Cooperating, on the other hand, would ensure that both species received what
is necessary. As Petr Kropotkin found, after extensive research:

“Competition … is limited among animals to exceptional periods… Better conditions are created
by the elimination of competition by means of mutual aid and mutual support…'Don’t compete!
— Competition is always injurious to the species, and you have plenty of resources to avoid it!'
That is the tendency of nature, not always realized in full, but always present.”2

The impact of this is that it turns the affirmative contention. The negative is not being hypocritical, the
affirmative is. Competition harms life, while cooperation preserves it, so without cooperation, the
affirmative would not be here to debate, because he wouldn't be alive.

Refutation of contention two:

A) Debate requires both competition and cooperation. In addition to the necessity of cooperation to
life, cooperation is a necessary part of debate. By taking part in this Vdebate, we are cooperating on
choosing the rules to abide by, by agreeing on a judge, by agreeing how long to have between speeches,
and by agreeing that the resolution is worth debating. The entire act requires cooperation, just as much
as it requires competition, and therefore neither side is being more hypocritical than the other by the act
of participation.

B) Like he said, hypocrisy is bad. However, unlike what he said, it is the affirmative who is being
hypocritical, as I showed under contention two. The affirmative's case has been turned against him,
and it is him you should vote against for speaking contrary to his actions. All of his impacts about
hypocrisy can be applied here to him, and because the negative is not being hypocritical, you have no
reason to vote against me.

Now you have a reason to vote against him, and none to vote against me, but I want to give you a few
reasons to vote for me. Therefore, I present my negative case.

Value: In today’s debate, I believe a negative ballot furthers the value of general welfare which is best
understood as a value which advocates greater human rights, better standards of living, and greater
prosperity for all. The general welfare is the sum total of individual values that we desire; values like
life, liberty, property, security, order, and prosperity. While all of these values are important, we value
them more when they are combined together into the whole value of general welfare. Thus, the general
welfare provides us with the maximum value in our hierarchy. In addition it values them for all people,
not just ourselves or those whom we would directly wish to help.

Criterion: To further the general welfare, I advocate the criterion of moral action. Noah Webster
Joshua Mirth vs. Will Malson – LD page 3of 4
Negative Constructive

defined morality as “The doctrine or system of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social
character; ethics.”3 As I will explain in my second contention, moral action is fundamental to the
upholding of the general welfare.

Contentions: In proposing my case today, my central thesis argues that when humans cooperate under
proper ethical standards, society will be just and peaceful. When humans choose to compete against
established ethical conduct, then society will tends towards strife, violence, and injustice.

Contention 1: Moral individuals uphold the general welfare

The key to a just society does not lie in legal rules or government institutions. Nor does it lie in
university educations or think tanks. The key to upholding the general welfare is to have a society
where the majority of individuals commit themselves to moral action. Otherwise, human action
unguided by moral virtue will always tend towards disruption.

The American and French Revolution provide the perfect contrasting examples. As was made clear in
the Declaration of Independence, the founders were guided by their moral duty in resistance to
England. Therefore, the American Revolution, on the whole, was conducted in an honorable and
orderly fashion with riots like the Boston Massacre being the exception, not the rule. After the war, the
founders constructed a governmental system based on the assumption of strong moral character in
society. As John Adams said, “"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is
wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

However, in France, Robespierre and his fellow revolutionaries were motivated by rage and violence.
Robespierre himself said, “The principle of the republican government is virtue, and the means
required to establish virtue is terror.” As a result, the French Revolution was a time of bloody riots and
tyranny which lead to the Reign of Terror.

Contention 2: Cooperation is superior to competition

Morality is a filter by which all ideas and actions must be weighed before being determined as good or
bad. There’s no doubt that competition can be a desirable thing, but that is only the case when the
competitors agree to cooperate according to underlying moral rules. Competition among businesses is
healthy so long as businesses don’t make fraudulent claims against each other. In athletics, competitors
must first agree to follow the rules of the competition before they compete in their sport. In other
words, prior agreement to cooperate according to moral rules with resulting moral actions is what
makes competition possible and enjoyable. Therefore, because competition is only valuable insofar as
underlying cooperation exists, we can conclude that cooperation is superior to competition.
Joshua Mirth vs. Will Malson – LD page 4of 4
Negative Constructive


1. Dzmitry Babicki, Stephan von Cramon-Taubadel, German Economic Team in Belarus, “Is price
regulation the proper way to achieve food security in Belarus?”, IPM Research Center, December
2004, http://pdc.ceu.hu/archive/00002760/01/pp1804e.pdf

2. Kropotkin, Petr, “Mutual Aid,” 1902, p 74-75, quoted by Alfie Kohn in “No Contest: The Case
Against Competition,” Revised Edition, 1992, Houghton Mifflin, New York NY, ISBN 0-395-63125-4, p.

3. Morality, Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary