Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – Scott's Response

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

First, as clearly explained in the original post this is not a question of “policy focus”- fort hays can just as easily say the aff should get to chose as wake forest can. A good majority of responses totally missed the boat on this so yeah for reading comprehension. I will give a few cursory defenses of “policy only” but its not really my bag as I think it’s stupid as explained in previous blog posts.

Second, this post is more of a hybrid between rant and speech than just “speech” like I said it would be. I felt like going a tad more in depth to alleviate confusion in some spots, so obviously just copy and pasting this into your 1AR block would be disastrous (well for many reasons).

“Aff Choice is arbitrary”

-Arbitrary means done without principle or logic- aff choice is the only logical option- we have to talk first. You can’t give a speech and make arguments without implicitly selecting a framework. Since frameworks are often mutually exclusive the framework we select is the only non arbitrary one- the negative does not logically need a new framework to refute ours, therefore lack of affirmative choice is arbitrary.

-Debating the “merits” of alternative frameworks trades off directly with topic education- this should be self evident. You can productively decide whether to eat at McDonalds or Burger King without a metaphysical debate about western capitalism.

-Alternative frameworks avoid clash- they sidestep the central questions posed by the affirmative. You can easily clash without needing your own framework.

“Negative frameworks are relevant opportunity costs”

-if frameworks trade off so to speak, that proves our point-the negatives framework will exclude 8 minutes of affirmative arguments, which is unfair (obviously done for strategic benefit) and anti educational (since the 1AC is the only thing close to being about the topic in most debates)

-Impact framing solves offense- if there are logical kritik arguments that respond to the 1AC you should not need a new framework- i.e. if threats are not real, that is a substantive response to the china war advantage, the only reason you need an alternate framework is to artificially inflate the worth of bad arguments and exclude reasonable affirmative claims with argumentative sleight of hand.

-There are many opportunity costs, not all of which are relevant- reading mead 92 instead of Bearden is a tradeoff- that doesn’t mean the neg should win if they convince the judge bearden is a better card. This theory of opportunity costs logically supports one of my least favorite arguments deployed with the reps K- do the plan but for different reasons. Debates, like economic hypotheticals, are improved when we assume away many tedious questions to focus on more interesting issues.

“definitions prove the aff must defend”

-This argument is interesting but I think would result in the most generic and irrelevant kritiks being unbeatable (like the “the”pic). I don’t think that because the affirmative defends the resolution, they must defend each word in a vacuum. If the resolution said “we should fight Nazis” and the neg read a k that argued Nazis were evil and we should not use that word, that would seem to miss the point of the resolution entirely, but if the aff is forced to defend the word nazi without reference to the rest of their 1AC it is pretty dicey. Obviously an extreme example, but is kind of what happens in a lot of instances I can think off where the resolution is “change X” and the neg K says “traditional notions of X are bad” and the aff is all like “uhh, but we change that” and the neg is like “but you don’t get your plan!”. Now this is certainly not every k debate ever, maybe its like 20-30% of them at most. But those debates are so annoying they stick out in my mind. One step further, if the neg had a sweet K of the word should or substantially they would own every topic (btw- why is substantially in every topic- in some of the proposed college wordings its in there like 12 times- does substantially have lobbyists that wine and dine the topic committee? What is the deal…). I may go into this more in depth later because I do think this is the most interesting of the arguments, but I will stop here with superficial top level analysis and absurd analogies.

“No neg resolution… no reason to constrain neg etc”

-CP’s are different- I understand that an agent cp may “moot” the 1AC in some way by solving an advantage for instance. But the solvency of the CP is debatable, the aff can still win its relevant. Framework arguments try to definitionally exclude things- this may be a thin distinction but I think its relevant and meaningful. I think just due to the strategic benefit it grants the neg it is obvious that these two args are different, though close together theoretically. I think your military/philosophers example is a good example of the way this can be dealt with in an alternate way- its just a qualifications issue where the biased ev should be discarded. That doesn’t require a framework that says “anyone who read biased evidence should have all of their arguments excluded”. I guess maybe this begs the question of what exactly is a “framework” and what is impact/argument comparison. When I think framework I think like, conceptual schema, not like util vs deontology. Aff framework choice doesn’t exclude arguments it just exclude the exaggerated impact claims about XYZ coming first. If you can prove that your argument is relevant to the aff (that it indicts or undermines their claims) you can still read it. Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but if you can’t prove its logically relevant without recourse to framework I think that’s probably a lame arg you have there. I think your china threat arg is illustrative- you can prove china is a threat in a realist AND constructivist “framework”- it just requires radically different arguments. So if the aff is realist, and you read a china threat K, the aff can elaborate on their 1AC and respond. If instead you make a framework argument about how reps of china come first, and they already made bad reps of china so even if they make alternative reps they are SOL since they said a “dirty word” or something like that, that stifles debate instead of encouraging it.

“there are a lot of disads”

-disads don’t fundamentally alter the question being asked/answered in the debate so they don’t moot the 1AC

“you only need one block defending yours- no research burden”

-it will be difficult to win vs a prepared neg when you have no specific responses to their framework. Just think about debates where the aff is like “policy good” and the neg says “policy bad and reps good”- when the aff has no reps cards they usually lose.

“in what other area do we protect one side to not engage”


-you do it all the time when you arbitrarily exclude dropped arguments that you don’t personally agree with

“the aff doesn’t get to chose XYZ”

-they do get to defend their plan. If your framework makes their plan irrelevant, then they get to chose nothing, and there is no point in them being involved in the debate

The negative is obligated to make responsive arguments.

-kind of my point