Defeating the K-Countering Shenanigans

To add a little balance, and to be less of a dirty hippie, I figured I would post a little about how to defeat the K. So in this post I will look at a few K practices, explain why they work, and then like a fancy salad deconstruct them.

So first, good K debaters often make use of analogies. Knowing how to “re-analogize” things will not only help you in debates, but also potentiall on your SAT’s. So why are analogies helpful to the K debater? I can think of a few reasons

-explanation- if your K is really complicated or uses a lot of big Butleresque words then you will want to try and figure out a way to explain it to someone like they were a four year old.

-entertainment value- analogies make debate more interesting and area  good way to work jokes in. An entertained judge is more likely to pay close attention to what you are saying, and almost as importantly they will be more likely to remember what you are saying. A good analogy will make your arguments stick out in their mind after the round when they are sorting through evidence and trying to figure out who won the debate. Keeping your arguments in the forefront of the judge’s mind will make sure that they put a positive spin on everything that is to your benefit.

-Extended metaphor- if you have an analogy for your argument it often allows you to characterize many of the opponents arguments in a negative light that is easily understood. The best example I can think of for this is that the statism critique can be packaged as a critique of the “american dream”. Then , when responding to the permutation you could say something like, our alternative is an attempt to wake up from the american dream while the permutation hits the snooze button. This may seem like a simplistic tactic, but these kinds of explanation make your 3 generic maskin cards seem a lot more specific and make them stand out to the judge.

So if analogies can do these sort of powerful things for the negative- then it makes sense that you would want to take advantage of this on the affirmative as well. To do so there is a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way is to try and argue the negatives analogy and point out reasons it doesn’t make sense to you. When you do this you are spending a lot of time on an argument that if you win gets you very little- defeating the analogy does not necessarily defeat the other sides critique. Plus, merely disproving their analogy does not capture for you the benefits explained above- it merely tries to prevent them from getting the benefits. This is basically defense.

So instead you need to create your own analogy. This can be difficult given the time constraints of the 1AR but it is essential to fight fire with fire. So how do you come up with an analogy? Well there are basically 2 types of affs

-Struggle affs- these affs fight oppression or discrimination- when debating critiques their offense is usually organized around the state or the necessity of action. For these aff’s you need some kind of analogy/example about where someone could of acted or not and their choice to act was a good one. So think of a movie or story where someone is presented with this kind of choice and explain it.

-Nuke war affs- these are generally some ridiculous internal link to mead or khalilzad such as lack of cyber cafes collapses US leadership. These affs usually debate critiques of the international relations sphere about the origins of conflict/enmity and representations of such conflict. So these affs need to think of movies/analogies that explain why we need to identify threats and counter them instead of skipping our way down lolly pop lane.

If you come up with a few for your kind of aff and think about them ahead of time you will be ready to deploy them as necessary. So for example, lets say you debate the critical geopolitics argument that says the world is not objectively reported on by the affirmative but instead their description is the result of politically motivated imaginings of how the world is. Your advantage claim is that education is key to leadership and so you teach being a jerk in schools to make sure our next generation leaders don’t do sissy crap like talk with other countries. The negative is lazy and so they explain their argument using the cliched Matrix analogy. So now you need to re-analogize things. What do you say? Post examples in the comments and I will critique- I will post an example I came up with later.

The second thing K debaters do is use empirical examples. The thing about empirical examples is that they don’t really require any rigorous academic screening- they are generally delivered as off the cuff remarks. However, since they are about history they are generally weighted by judges as if they were evidence. Many times historical examples are inaccurate if not down right backwards. But since this is debate and not history class rarely does anyone take the time or have the knowledge base (or evidence) to refute the empirical examples given by the other side. The strategic uses of this should be self evident.

Again, much like with analogies, refuting the other teams empirical examples is often only defense (unless you can actually turn them), so you generally need to come up with empirical examples of your own. To do this you need to think about the issues your advantages deal with and think about other points in history where there was a similar occurrence. Simplistic examples are like “great depression, –> ww II” or “collapse of Roman hegemony —> massive instability”. So think of some that relate to your advantage and write them down ahead of time.

A note on debating empirical evidence- the classic example of this in debates about kritiks is the holocaust. Most K debates involve some sort of argument about the aff or neg causing the holocaust. The important issues to debate here are

-correlation vs causation- this is the classic d-heidt “hitler wore pants” argument- just because something happened during the period leading up to the holocaust does not mean it was the cause

-Proximate vs Ultimate causes- a proximate cause is an event that is (usually temporally) closest to the action we are examining. So the assassination of Ferdinand for WWI. The ultimate cause is the more removed structural cause that made that kind of event happen- so the alliance system for example. Debating which one is more important and which side has access to each is extremely important.