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Literific Schools’ Debating Competition
28/02/2019

Congratulations
to Zara Watson (L6X) and Jasmijn Hofman (L6V) who have won the sixth annual Literific Schools’ Debating Competition at Queen’s. Thirty teams from fourteen schools took part in the event recently.
 
In Round One MCB proposed the motion that ‘This House Regrets the Rise of Voluntourism’ against St. Ronan’s College, Lurgan. Zara argued that voluntourism focuses on feeling good rather than doing good, claiming that photographs of smiling students abroad serve to manipulate the public into thinking that voluntourism is more effective than it actually is. Jasmijn explored the issue of eco-voluntourism, arguing that saving a panda is not going to achieve the more important aim of saving an entire ecosystem. She concluded her argument, claiming that it is morally repugnant to exploit the suffering of those in developing countries in order to pad out your own CV.
 
In Round Two MCB opposed the motion that ‘This House Would Break the Law’ against St. Columbas College, Donegal. Zara outlined the definition of social contract theory, arguing that it is obsolete at the point where people select which laws they want to obey. Jasmijn seconded the argument by insisting that there is a moral imperative to adhere to the law and that, crucially, once laws have lost their meaning, there is no remaining mechanism for enacting social change.
 
Having qualified for the final, the girls proposed the motion that ‘This House Believes All Vaccinations Should be Compulsory’ against St. Columbas College, Donegal. Zara argued that an outbreak of measles in France was caused by a girl who had not been vaccinated. She continued by emphasising the key point that bodily autonomy only extends so far as you are not putting other people at risk. She concluded by reiterating that when a choice is made based on false information, it is not a valid choice. Jasmijn highlighted the fact that measles is now becoming more prevalent in the U.S. despite having been almost eradicated. She concluded by turning her attention to the MMR scandal in which the media falsely claimed that it was linked to autism.
 
The adjudicators praised the girls for their rhetorical flair and for their robust engagement with the many complex issues under discussion.

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