At the end of the term, I always hold team debates in my introductory international relations course. After each team has presented, I hold a “just-for-fun” vote of the class on each resolution. This term, I had them debate the following resolutions. Some of the results surprised me, particularly since I try to craft reasonably balanced debate propositions.
Resolved: That NATO should send military aid to Ukraine to deter Russian aggression and stabilize the country.
The class voted against this resolution, 75%-25%.
Resolved: That the principal reason for the decline in violent death rates over history is the rise of the territorial state.
The class voted in favor of this resolution, 51%-49%.
Resolved: That the optimal level of U.S. counterterrorism expenditure is much lower than it is now.
The class voted in favor of this resolution, 87%-13%.
Resolved: That the World Trade Organization should incorporate labor and environmental regulations with loss of trade preferences as a sanction for defection from them.
The class voted against this resolution, 56%-44%.
Resolved: That for most countries, floating exchange rates are clearly superior to fixed ones or to currency unification.
The class voted in favor of this resolution, 100%-0%. (First unanimous vote I’ve ever seen.)
Resolved: That transnational advocacy networks make little difference in the human rights practices of authoritarian regimes.
The class voted in favor of this resolution, 77%-23%. (Due to an odd number of teams, I took the “con” side of this debate. The other students whipped me.)