Resolved: Culture ought to value assimilation over multiculturalism.

E Pluribus Unum, the motto of the United States, means “out of many, one.” But one what? Is America a melting pot, where people from all corners of the earth become the American culture? Or, is America one big salad bowl, where each culture adds unique flavor? Never in our history has this question of identity been more important. This resolution will allow debaters to understand and appreciate values gained from various cultures within the American fabric. Students will also understand the importance of a unified American culture. Diversity and multiculturalism will be values explored for their worth. So too will patriotism and unity. This resolution should be less about the sins of racism and ethnocentrism, than about who we are as a people and what it means to be a nation.

Resolved: Technological augmentation of humanity in the absence of medical necessity is moral.

Biomedical engineering is an emerging field, full of new ground to discuss and questions to explore. In this topic, debaters will be challenged to think about human enhancement (improvements beyond normal healthy states). Think applications like designer babies, biologically enhanced soldiers, and amplified intelligence. This topic is ripe with philosophical clash, and there is plenty of new research available for review. Biomedical engineering has been a hotly contested issue at the University level and remains on the front lines of research and scholarship.

Resolved: Intellectual property is overvalued in the United States.

IP is a fascinating area of debate because even among the ranks of limited government advocates, there is disagreement. Is the protection of intellectual property a justified role of government? And if it is, to what extent should those protections be given? Should intellectual property be treated the same as one’s physical property? On the one hand, protections for new inventions give companies the incentive they need to invest money into research and development. On the other hand, it’s unclear for how long those protections should last, and what types of things should be protected. This topic will challenge debaters to ask whether current IP protections go too far, or if they are appropriate given the nature of intellectual property and its value to society.