Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – The Challenge

So this is the first of the “throwdown ” posts. Basically, I will post an argument, then wait like a week or so. During that week anyone can post in comments a response or series of them. I will then write a new post with how I would answer those arguments as if this was an actual debate. Thats were it will end though as I will have to move on to more pressing matters like Fallout 3.

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

A few notes on comments

-no need to post like 1,000 things- don’t just cut and paste your 2NC block into the comments. I won’t waste time responding to things where the answers are probably well known among non mouth breathers. So think about either tough arguments you have had to answer and were stuck on or something like that

-don’t post repeats- that will just slow everything down

-the response will be measured to the initial comment- so if you post a 3 word claim I will respond with a similar short warrantless arg like “you smell..bad” or some such. If you post a legit arg or god forbid a card, you will get a legit response.

Perhaps more ground rules will be thrown out later. So this week we will start with the classic aff choice fwork arg. I will articulate it here as I very first wrote it though I think many more subtle nuances make it more easily defensible, I will defend it in its raw and unct form:

The aff should get to chose the framework- the negative has position on us- there are an infinite amount of mutuall exclusive frameworks they can pick so there will always be one we don’t fit in- they could say debate should be an iron chef competition and since we didn’t cook anything we should lose.

Obviously this argument is not related to other generic framework args like role playing good/bad etc so save those for when Alderete judges you.

michigandebate_aldereteHE IS THE LAW!

8 thoughts on “Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – The Challenge

  1. Roy Levkovitz

    Editors Note: Aff choice is true, but secondly scott has been begging our background be flames since the inception of this website, Bill has finally caved and given him flames, I was not willing to negotiate with the terrorist, must be the Israeli hawk in me.

  2. Joe Balistreri

    Aff choice is just as arbitrary as letting the negative choose the framework – the affirmative could choose to initiate an iron chef contest, which would leave the negative completely unprepared. It would be better to choose the framework by debating the merits of the framework proposed by the affirmative against the counter-framework proposed by the negative. Even if this detracts from time spent discussing substantive issues, productive debate is impossible if one team can leverage framework choice in a way that avoids clash.

  3. Roy Levkovitz

    Seriously I’m not even part of this and I’m sick of Iron Chef references. This analogy was briefly funny in 2002 and has not been for the last 7 years. You’re better then that JoeBalls

  4. gulakov

    I don’t think the traditional arbitrariness response is the best route to go on this. Scotty P would just say most debate norms and rules are sort of arbitrary, but they’re still good for debate, and he’d say aff choice is constrained by topicality so Scotty on the aff can’t make the debate something like a weight loss competition without being badly beated by both T and substance. But SP would probably word this reply in a way that’s so awesomely hilarious that it’ll make you laugh uncontrollably (which is actually a bad thing, it’s been linked to causing ball cancer.) So I’m making this post, mostly because I feel there’s a lot of illogical arguments that are repeated in these aff choice debates and I want lay out some of my thoughts on why aff choice doesn’t make sense to me. It makes less sense than why I’m seeing a little smilie in the bottom-left corner of every page.

    Negative frameworks are relevant opportunity costs to the affirmative and testing op costs is the point of debate. Often affs read a definition of a word in the resolution or the shively card to show why the resolution is policy focused. I find that this is a neg argument if anything since it describes what the AFF must defend. Resolution constrains the aff and everything else is neg ground. The fact that the resolution calls the aff to fiat what the USFG does means the neg gets to test op costs given up by this prescription of USFG action. There is no negative resolution, and it makes no sense to say the neg should abide by some of the constrains (fiating politically-relevant action) that are part of the aff resolution. this is really a “wrong forum” argument, ie aff chooses the forum. the neg has a right to test the statement “usfg should do x” from all angles, and that includes op costs given up by the making of this statement. to say reciprocity (we debate policy, you should too) just doesn’t make sense… it’s not really a debate then – the negative’s fiat/ground isn’t reciprocal to the aff, it’s the opposite. substantiate arguments in debate shouldn’t be reciprocal, they should be opposing. the impact – this is bad because we need a unrestricted testing of op costs on the negative to have a full debate on an issue. imagine a hypothetical heg aff where all the articles in the literature base mentioning it are from military people and have one starting assumption, but that assumption is actually bad according to philosophers who don’t write in that literature base. we would be reaching a possibly false conclusion about the policy being good if we disallowed this K rebuttal. This can’t be solved by a CP because many Ks might question your need to have everything solved by an institution and authors just don’t write CP solvency cards.

    The debate over framework is inevitable, and substantive fw debate is better vision for debate than theoretical exclusions. all arguments are backed by some framework of thought as to what is the most important thing. in the gitmo debate, the left might argue assuming rights are more important and the right will assume security is. none of their arguments can convince the other side unless they make arguments within the opposing side’s framework or make arguments why one framework is more important than another. this is the same in debates between the realists and the pomos. specific arguments about whether china is a threat can never be convincing to anyone who’s not pre-disposed to agree with that given framework, unless the primary question of which assumptions/view of IR is resolved first. This is why it makes more sense to have framework debates not about theory but about evidenced arguments as to why fiat-simulation should be preferred. These can be like a “civic engagement DA” that you read to the advocacy of non-CP opportunity costs. It doesn’t make sense to say “one side gets to chose fw FOR THE DEBATE” since that makes the debate one-sided – a debate’s only truly a debate if it’s between different frameworks.

    Now, for the specific responses to your block: “The aff should get to chose the framework- the negative has position on us-there are an infinite amount of mutuall exclusive frameworks they can pick so there will always be one we don’t fit in”

    In fact it is precisely because the negative has position as the negative that they get to negate your chosen framework from all angles. The aff should get to chose the framework… for their side, not for the neg.
    There is an infinite amount of neg frameworks, but that is actually a good thing. There are also an infinite number of possible disads that can be read. Alternate frameworks are like opportunity costs disads to yours. The point of debate should be to explore all of the infinite ways to attack a point of view. Aff choice is like saying “we only claimed advantages from the action outcome, so you can only claim disads from the outcome” so no politics disads. or it could be, “you can’t run china backlash disads because there’s an infinite number of countries they could claim would backlash and we can never prepare, talking about what other countries would do takes away from case-specific research, voting issue”. It’s not an impossible research burden since you only need to cut one block defending your framework. It’s just like you only need one US key block even though there are infinite alt country CPs

    Neg frameworks are in fact resolutionally based – they’re a negation of that resolution. This is true because the rez isn’t a question. It doesn’t ask “should usfg do x” (which would make the neg reply no). Instead it offers a statement that the aff must endorse, and the neg can negate not only with an opposing statement (usfg should not do x) but also negate the aff’s very making of the statement itself (since that’s also op cost negation of making that statement.) Rez is a Statement, and it’s the neg’s job to ask the Questions in the debate, like: “should congress really do this?” or “should we engage in policy simulation or take a individual in-round stance against capitalism?”

    SECONDLY, my other thought on this issue is that we should abandon the myth of role-playing, it has nothing to do with debate fw. a more productive way to look at debate rounds is what we actually are: high school students who’re interested in saying what the government should or shouldn’t do. who on earth got the idea that we have to preface everything we say with “if i were president, i will” (as the rawls card defends)? that doesn’t even make sense resolutionally. the rez doesn’t say “if i were the usfg, i will” it says “usfg should”. that means we can still retain the fact that we’re ourselves. this c/i is more real world since individuals make choices all the time. i don’t know many debaters who get all excited about role playing the president, what we value in debate is the way it shapes our own opinions. like you and I can have a debate about which candidate’s health care policy is better to help us form our own opinions on who to vote for. what i am looking for is a warrant or where is it written that you need to or get to magically pretend that the USFG just increased alt energy incentives. the resolution never says you have to pretend to be the USFG or pretend USFG did something. i just think it sounds a bit silly to keep defending “fiat is necessary distortion of reality for debate to occur” when it’s obviously not needed (we can argue about the government without pretending to be it or pretending it happened) and it’s just not accurate — we’re high school students after all. the aff choice perspective is like saying we debaters should agree to come into a debate round to be like two fellows from AEI having a debate about governemnt policy, but the K is like that disruptive audience member from the Cato Institute who jumps up to yell “statists!! all of you!!” and then is escorted outside the building. even though debate coaches have for a long time passed this on, where is it written that we have to pretend to be policymakers? since the reality of the situation is that you’re individuals who advocate that the government should do something, what is the WARRANT why we can only run op-costs to what would happen if the government adopted your should statement, but we can’t run op-costs to the actual reality of the fact that you’re an individual making policy advocacy through normative statement of what government should do?

    also, Iron Chef

  5. TimAlderete

    How do I attach pictures to comments? I have a few I’d like to add…

    Right to Choose is bad because Debate is Good. Allowing one side to dictate the terms of debate is anti-thetical to everything else that we do in debate. In a sense, Of Course the Aff gets to choose the framework that they would like the judge to use to evaluate the plan. Then the Negative gets to respond. How is this even controversial? In what other area of debate to we protect one sides’ right to Not Have To Engage with their opponents arguments? How is the Affirmative’s defense of their framework somehow undermined by their requirement to DEFEND it? Engagement, Research, Argument, Response – these are how we approach everything in debate. An affirmative plan is Made Stronger by negative’s engaging, researching and responding to it. A negatives position is Improved by debating about it. Both in the round and in the activity as a whole. Why in the world would an Affirmative want to Undermine both the credibility and depth of their own framework by isolating it from Engagement, Research and Response? Baffling.

    The aff doesn’t get to choose the definitions to the resolution; they don’t get to choose the judges’ paradigm; they don’t get to choose the negative’s strategy; they don’t get to choose which arguments are fair and which are illegit; they don’t get to choose the status of the counterplan, or the internal links to politics. All they get to choose is what they will defend. If they are not willing to defend it, then they shouldn’t make it. If they don’t think that their framework can withstand scrutiny, research and debate, then either they are the ones who can least afford “Aff Choice” or they need to change their framework. The negative is obligated to make responsive arguments. If their kritik doesn’t link, they will lose. If their counterplan isn’t competitive, they will lose. The affirmative ought be held to the same burden of rejoinder.

    As to the comment about my judging – from my philosophy. “I have never yet been convinced to vote on “Affirmative/Negative choice” arguments.” And it is difficult for me to imagine circumstances in which I would. Because I think debate is good.

  6. Joe Carver

    Gulakov should be working on his word economy. I like the flames though. Well done

  7. Pingback: The 3NR » Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – Scott’s Response

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