Reps Throwdown- The Response

Some notes

1. Cards aren’t underlined- a few people whined to be about this. If you are so lazy that not only do you not cut your own cards, but you are complaining that the cards on 3NR aren’t spoon fed enough to you then you prob. suck and should join the band.

2. I couldn’t really decide how to approach this- obviously there is a lot of argumentative overlap between many of these positions, and if you had to give a 2NC to answer all of them it would be a nightmare/probably overrun by theory. So many of the “blocks” below are quite short, and would need to be elaborated upon if the aff chose to go for that argument in the 1AR.

3. Evidence over me talking- many of the better arguments I chose not to belabor and instead provided a card that explains them- I could go either way on whether it is better to have a card or your own explanation, but since I think a lot of people may just cut and paste out of here prob. better they have a card. Let me repeat that for those of you reading this who want to be really good at debate- the cards here contain every argument you need to crush on the neg for the reps K- if you read them carefully, repeatedly, and master then you will be much better off than if you cut and paste a bunch of theory blocks together.

AFF is responsible for Reps/Plan Focus Bad

First, debate percentage- the plan is a much smaller portion of the debate than the representations. Focusing exclusively on the plan limits us to the tip of the iceberg politically. (perhaps read Smith from the judge choice thread).

Second, choice. Plan choice is constrained by the resolution whereas advantages are unrestrained. The fact that they have more choice means they should have more responsibility for the reps and be held more accountable. They don’t have to read bad reps or trite and stupid impact cards like Kagan- they can chose from anything. Live by the sword die by the sword- they chose their reps for a specific strategic advantage, they should have to bear the costs.

Third, Plan focus destroys context- an aff that gave family care to women in the military so they could fight would lose to the word “family” pic with the net benefit of reinforcing conservative values. Word pics are worse than reps K’s- they capture the whole plan, require only 1 garbage card to run, and divorce the 1AC from its context wrecking education. A proposal to abolish slavery so we can send slaves back to Africa is radically different then abolish slavery because everyone is equal.

Fourth, the ballot says “did the better debating” – a team who is unable to defend the majority of the justifications for their policy has not conceivably done the better debating.  Debate is an academic activity- in no other field can you submit a proposal with a bunch of crappy justifications and say “ok just ignore those” in any class you would get a bad grade, in policy making circles your credibility would be destroyed.

AT: Judge Choice- Analytics

First, Judge choice relies on the assumption of plan focus- it’s impossible to articulate a coherent rational for judge choice without presupposing the plan is the focus of the debate, that’s debated elsewhere

Second, Our critique will engage all representations- the justification for this model is that the judge can chose only the good ones, there will be none after we have properly done our job. But if there are- the remedy is the affirmative should be able to leverage those representations as offense. Just like if we read a cap K and only turned one advantage- the fact that our link was to the plan shouldn’t make a difference in impact comparison vs a reps K

Third, Town hall model is false – the affirmative isn’t tacking on good representations to the negative representations of another party, they are directly responsible for the good and the bad.

AT: Judge Choice -Ev

Judge choice misses the boat- symbolic battles of representation are as if not more important than the plan

James K. Stanescu PhD student at Binghamton University (SUNY) in the Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture program 11-8-09 http://wrongforum.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/reps-ks/

Harrigan argues that the representations of the affirmative are not necessary components of the plan, and therefore the judge can choice to ignore them if they are problematic. He goes on to say that the most offensive person can have a good idea. However, Harrigan does not provide a guide for how we are to read the plan text. In Harrigan’s articulation, it seems as if the plan text is the only part of the 1AC that is solid, that is a proposition for action. Everything else in the 1AC seems to be so much chatter, so much ephemeral hints, so many ghosts. Under his view of the round, if someone were to propose not giving missile defense shields to Japan, and had as one of their advantages that our foreign policy should only be dictated by protecting Aryan civilizations, the judge could simply choose to ignore that because the affirmative had other, non-racist advantages. What is missed by this view is that every 1AC, every speech, has many propositions. There are more propositions of what should be done than those under the heading of plan text, and there is no reason that the neg cannot focus on rejecting those propositions (well, there are reasons of course, but that should be in the debate, not predetermined by the judge). Furthermore, the plan text itself is never a full bill (for good reason). But that means we never completely know the ways that a plan will be implemented and interpreted. The representations of the 1AC give us a context, a way to read the plan text. For example, you could have two different people advocating that abortion should be legal in some particular country. One person could be advocating greater social autonomy, more reproductive choices and rights for women, etc. Another person could be advocating that abortion could be a tool for scientific eugenics. The reasons given for a policy could be a hint for the ways that a policy is intended to be implemented. There seems no reason to radically decontextualize plan text, because plan text always needs a contextualization. Also, the reasons given for pushing for a policy agenda could splinter groups, making the real world implementation of such a policy harder to come about. To use the example above, think about the ways that such eugenicist discourses surrounding abortion supporters in the US not only made it hard to get support among women of color, but also further fragmented the feminist movement which has constrained their ability to make other goals. Lastly, it seems to me that Harrigan ignores the importance of symbolic battles. Harrigan seems to purpose that the only thing voted for at the end of the round is plan text. However, to use his example of a town hall meeting (which, I am not granting this is the right framework/analogy to understand debate, but to think within it for a bit), it isn’t just a plan that is being debated about, but an entire series of relays and rhetorics that support such a plan. If, for example, the Nazis really were suggesting health care reform to better protect Aryans, and I said, “Man, I hate Nazis and racism, but health care reform seems grand” I would be allowing the symbolic strength of the Nazis to increase by letting them win a battle of the importance of health care reform. The policy is not the only thing granted legitimacy, but the entire apparatuses and relays that garner support for the policy is also given legitimacy. I think it is perfectly reasonable to say that it might be more important to stop the Nazis and their racist agenda than it would be to pass the parts of the Nazi agenda I agree with. Every debate has a series of symbolic battles, that gather legitimacy through wins, and through the repetitions of those arguments. Now, I understand that all of the examples I give are extreme, but it seems that Harrigan invites such examples by saying that the worst sort can still have good ideas. In short, I think the extreme examples give us an ability to determine if reps sometimes should win the day. And if we believe that, then the entire type of discussion shifts. Debaters give many representations, and many propositions, for their plan texts. They have many rounds at a tournament, and many tournaments in a year. If we want them to not repeat certain representations, we have to open up the possibility that they can lose a round based on such representations. Otherwise, certain symbols are given more legitimacy at the end of the round, and others are given less. There are a lot of things that happen in the 1AC, and all of them are open for debate.

Judge choice obscures affirmative responsibility for advantage selection, the part of the case the aff is most responsible for. It also relies on flawed conceptions of judge, choice, and discourse

Turner, BA Dartmouth, Grad Student UGA, 11-7-09 http://www.georgiadebate.org/2009/11/the-illogic-of-judgechoice

The terminology used here reveals the problem with the theory of “judge-choice.” The focus is on the “necessary” connection between the plan and a justification for the plan. We should not start with a model of policy-formation and advocacy that presumes we are likely to identify necessary connections between action and result. Though the constraints of time mean that components of an affirmative will not be challenged if we’ve learned anything from the process of debate it is that there are no necessary connections only possibilities/probabilities. If we can say that any relationship in a debate is necessary it is that a plan requires a justification in order for the judge to vote affirmative* (I’m not addressing a form of affirmation disconnected from rationality—but that’s not at issue for the discussing the limitations of judge-choice). The extreme plan-focus of “judge-choice” breaks down if we acknowledge that the judge endorses something like a 1AC, not simply the plan text (The theory of “judge-choice” is not significantly different from plan-focus. Judge-choice seems for the most part a way to move the locus of deciding what portions of the affirmative to endorse from the affirmative team to the judge.) Most of the evidence on the importance of framing and representation claims the importance of kritik derives from our ability to demonstrate that what appears natural and necessary should be treated as contingent. Representational kritiks ask the question why given “such terminology is not necessarily an outcome” of a plan the affirmative decided to make the connection between the two. What are the conditions of the possibility for the appearance of the 1AC? Why did the stories that the 1AC initially told make sense to us so as to appear “necessary?” If we take Harrigan’s formulation of “judge-choice” at its word it is not intended to prevent the introduction of representational kritiks. Instead of being a reason to vote negative, in this theory they would be used to exclude certain reasons presented from the reasons for affirmation. The world encouraged by this theory is one of increasingly poorly articulated advantages supplemented by more obscure add-ons. Extra-T presents an analogous situation—introducing any number of reasons to support the plan allows the negative to kritik those advantages but at most to take them out and then have to win any number of other positions to win the debate. Sure, this isn’t “zero-cost” but it’s pretty close. This would fit with a general move away from probability/possibility at the level of link and internal link towards probability and magnitude at the level of impact. In a sense, judge-choice will make the already unfortunate aspects of the combination of plan-focus and quality evidence about the relevance of language/rhetoric/representation even worse. Extreme plan-focus makes any problematic terms in the resolution/implementation literature immediate fodder for any number of negative arguments (see: biofuels, nuclear weapons, CAFO, Sub-Saharan Africa, persons living in poverty, and many many others) that become quite difficult to defeat or increasingly awkward and annoying to avoid in spite of the fact that the 1AC is most constrained when it comes to wording plans. The area where the 1AC exercised less constrained choices* (“choice” here sits uncomfortably with many critical theories that we might draw on for the arguments, but it is required by the terminology of “judge choice” obviously and if we problematize the notion of “choice” that makes for a different way of breaking down the theory) – advantage construction/justification receives the least critical scrutiny. So, for example, an aff about animal liberation on the subsidies topic that articulated a set of advantages based on breaking down anthropocentrism and highlighted their use of the term “CAFO” as a strategic choice for reasons of implementation and access to exiting discursive framings/structures would be highly likely in our current understanding to lose to a PIC out of CAFO as sanitizing language (because there’s “no offense” grrrr…) but an aff that represents the issue of factory-farming purely in terms human-self interest or through connection to disease security can just read an add-on about how factory-farming makes animals suffer and the question of anthropocentrism is settled. On the issue of the judge’s “interaction” with the debate the theory of “judge-choice” as presented presumes a problematic and contestable understanding of the position and role of a judge. First, the theory presumes a purely consequentialist form of evaluation as given by treating “outcomes” as entirely separate from reason-giving. For example, this sentence, “Good ideas are good if they have beneficial outcomes, regardless of how they are justified.” This is a theory of decision-making that presumes that one of the most contentious issues in ethical and political theory has already been resolved. Quality evidence suggests that reason-giving substantially effects outcomes. This issue is likely resolved in this theory by pointing out that even if reason-giving cannot be strictly separated from consquence there is still the ability of the judge to “choose” not to use those reasons that would have negative effects. However, this brings us to another important issue in the understanding of judging. The judge Harrigan refers to “chooses” which reasons to use in their decision. This understanding of the judge-subject is itself the subject of many representational kritiks. The theory of “judge-choice” constructs the judge as an agent who believes that justification/rhetoric/representation can be separated strongly from action – that type of judgment may itself be responsible for many of the negative effects of particularly problematic representational systems. “Judge-choice” presumes that rhetoric is a set of discrete objects over which a detached subject can exercise choice. Negatives could characterize the role of rhetoric as constitutive – thus an affirmative hails us/interpellates us as subjects of a particular type. Alternatively, the subject-position of judge and decision could be an effect of discourse rather than an agent. There are a variety of other possibilities—all of which we should resolve through substantive argument rather than by theoretical fiat. Adding complexity to our understanding of possible judges also helps clarify the claim that only “judge-choice” presumes an “interactive” judge. Interactivity here is constrained to easily detachable reasons that a judge can choose between easily. Affective, constitutive, or ideological effects of speech clearly do not “interact” with this type of judge. Interaction also occurs in this vision only at the moment of decision. It is odd to say that this is the only way to preserve a “dynamic” judge given the static understanding of language and subject that it accompanies. Consider Harrigan’s explanation of the effects this has on our theory of judging: that you should hold speakers to every reason they cite as justification and use it to assess their policy—is one of the most reactionary and anti-critical stances one could take. It prioritizes who speaks over what is spoken about. It ignores content for form. It punishes instead of compromises. And, fundamentally, it is a tactic used by conservative political forces to crush progressivism. Do the critique folk really want to be in this company? I agree that reliance on some language of punishment/severance could be a good argument against the phrasing/theory of language and judgement. That way of explaining what is going on in these debates isn’t our only option (more on this below). However, this groups all criticisms of this style together and presumes they are “progressive” or that content and form can be strictly separated. Ironically, if obnoxiously, we could at this point write a representational kritik of Harrigan’s post regarding the language of “progress.” What seems lik
e one word might indicate a whole system of thought about the end goal of pure consequentialism and a “use” oriented theory of the relationship between language and the subject. At the very least, we should acknowledge that for much of the critical theory we’re drawing on for this type of position would say that what is spoken about constitutes the “who” that is speaking or judging. Rather than associating the construction of the 1AC with the debaters (the “who speaks”) as a type of personal corruption most of these positions rely on evidence about the role of criticism/negation as productive. They do not have to be about punishing individuals but instead about engaging in criticism of processes that all to often occur without much thought because they appear “necessary.” Severance is probably problematic and I agree that importation of counteprlan theory into debating alternatives has typically obscured issues instead of clarified them. The use of terms like severance seems more a symptom of judge-adaptation or inertia/debate-laziness than an intrinsic characteristic of criticism. If we take this claim from Harrigan, “Thus, the judge, at the end of the debate, should be able to choose (for themselves) why to vote Aff or Neg. Logically, one can choose the best arguments from the set of available reasons presented in the debate,” I think it potentially works if we permit plan-inclusive or aff-inclusive alternatives. People fear the number of different arguments that can be raised about individual words. I think that we ought to treat these issues on a case-by-case basis (and with less commitment to offense-defense) in terms of how important a particular set of representations appear for an aff. Frankly, affirmatives should also be thinking about these issues. Also ignored in this fear is that there are significant circumstances where the negative cannot separate the plan from the problematic reasons presented by an affirmative. Negatives have often been dishonest about the degree to which something purely a contingent connection between justification and policy. Particularly in adopting a language that implies a strict separation between the plan (action) and advantage (justification/frame) the negative may be using a model of discourse/representation etc. that is in tension with the overall theoretical vocabulary. However, much of the responsibility for this phenomenon lies in the hands of affirmatives desperate to protect the special status of the plan. We have typically debated all of these as questions of absolute priority (the K equivalent of offense-defense). Rather, most of the evidence read for these claims (including Doty) indicates that these are issues worth engaging, not issues that are logically prior to consequnce—but something that should shape how/whether we ought to evaluate consequences (particularly in the manner described by many affs). I think that the analogy to the town-hall is loaded and misleading (we would change a lot more about debate than the question of representational kritiks and plan focus if we were actually concerned with modeling a town-hall format). However, even if we take it as a guiding analogy for evaluating debate the theory of “judge-choice” fails to account for the potentially productive components of the analogy. First, I would hope that in listening to the various proposals made in public deliberation that attendees would investigate not only the policies being presented or believe that advocacy for a policy could easily be detached from the rhetoric that often surrounds it. If one fails to pay attention to the connections between ideology and advocacy then we will have serious problems in deliberation. In a town-hall style exchange we’d likely witness AIK style advocacies—I agree with the general course of action, but in order not to have the course of action create X set of issues we ought to frame our actions differently.

AT: Policy Relevance

First, there is no “role of the ballot”- these arguments are always arbitrary and self serving. Debate is a competitive game; the only role of the judge is to decide a winner. The ballot says “the team who did the better debating is X” , not “the team who made up the most arbitrary BS reason to exclude the other teams arguments”. The only question the judge  needs to grapple with is which side DEBATED better- measured by argument quality and presentation. The affirmative gets infinite prep to select their justifications, if they can’t defend them they deserve to lose

Second, their interpretation excludes topicality- the judge is not allowed to consider procedural issues. This may be a cheap shot but you would think if you were going to try and cheat your way out of arguments you would at least do it well. This explodes affirmative ground and destroys topic education- this link turns every conceivable affirmative justification for plan focus.

Third, No Basis- the 2AC does not even attempt to provide a justification for why policy relevance is predictable or fair. Obviously relevance is a subjective standard that provides no bright line for teams to decide what they do and do not have to be ready to debate.

Fourth, Kritik is logically prior to policy relevance- making an accurate decision about the plan’s desirability presupposes a certain set of facts that kritik calls into question. You wouldn’t spray liquid on a fire before knowing if it was water or gasoline. Their narrow conception of politics rigs the game in favor of the plan

AT: Policy Relevance

Batterman loses

Lee Jones is lecturer in International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London, BA Honors Univ of Warwick, MA in IR St Anthony’s, PhD IR Nuffield , Journal of Critical Globalization Studies Issue 1 2009

Having conceded where Nye has a point, let’s now consider the ways in which he may simply be wrong. His assumption is that the academic should be, needs to be, policy-relevant. As indicated above, this can be a very pernicious assumption. As an invitation to academics to contribute to discussions about the direction of society and policy, no one could reasonably object: those who wished to contribute could do so, while others could be left to investigate topics of perhaps dubious immediate ‘relevance’ that nonetheless enrich human understanding and thus contribute to the accumulation of knowledge and general social progress (and, quite probably, to those scholars’ research communities and their students). As an imperative, however, it creates all sorts of distortions that are injurious to academic freedom. It encourages academics to study certain things, in certain ways, with certain outcomes and certain ways of disseminating one’s findings. This ‘encouragement’ is more or less coercive, backed as it is by the allure of large research grants which advance one’s institution and personal career, versus the threat of a fate as an entirely marginal scholar incapable of attracting research funding – a nowadays a standard criteria for academic employment and promotion. Furthermore, those funding ‘policy-relevant’ research already have predefined notions of what is ‘relevant’. This means both that academics risk being drawn into policy-based evidence-making, rather than its much-vaunted opposite, and that academics will tend to be selected by the policy world based on whether they will reflect, endorse and legitimise the overall interests and ideologies that underpin the prevailing order. Consider the examples Nye gives as leading examples of policy-relevant scholars: Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both of whom served as National Security Advisers (under Nixon and Carter respectively), while Kissinger also went on to become Secretary of State (under Nixon and Ford). Kissinger, as is now widely known, is a war criminal who does not travel very much outside the USA for fear of being arrested à la General Pinochet (Hitchens, 2001). Brzezinski has not yet been subject to the same scrutiny and even popped up to advise Obama recently, but can hardly be regarded as a particularly progressive individual. Under his watch, after Vietnam overthrew the genocidal Khmer Rouge in 1978, Washington sent tens of millions of dollars to help them regroup and rearm on Thai soil as a proxy force against Hanoi (Peou, 2000, p. 143). Clearly, a rejection of US imperialism was not part of whatever Kissinger and Brzezinski added to the policy mix. In addition to them, Nye says that of the top twenty-five most influential scholars as identified by a recent survey, only three have served in policy circles (Jordan et al, 2009). This apparently referred to himself (ranked sixth), Samuel Huntington (eighth), and John Ikenberry (twenty-fourth).2 Huntington, despite his reputation for iconoclasm, never strayed far from reflecting elite concerns and prejudices (Jones, 2009). Nye and Ikenberry, despite their more ‘liberal’ credentials, have built their careers around the project of institutionalising, preserving and extending American hegemony. This concern in Nye’s work spans from After Hegemony (1984), his book co-authored with Robert Keohane (rated first most influential), which explicitly sought to maintain US power through institutional means, through cheer-leading post-Cold War US hegemony in Bound to Lead (1990), to his exhortations for Washington to regain its battered post-Iraq standing in Soft Power: The Means to Succeed in International Politics (2004). Ikenberry, who was a State Department advisor in 2003-04, has a very similar trajectory. He only criticised the Bush administration’s ‘imperial ambition’ on the pragmatic grounds that empire was not attainable, not that it was undesirable, and he is currently engaged in a Nye-esque project proposing ways to bolster the US-led ‘liberal’ order. These scholars’ commitment to the continued ‘benign’ dominance of US values, capital and power overrides any superficial dissimilarities occasioned by their personal ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ predilections. It is this that qualifies them to act as advisers to the modern-day ‘prince’; genuinely critical voices are unlikely to ever hear the call to serve. The idea of, say, Noam Chomsky as Assistant Secretary of State is simply absurd. At stake here is the fundamental distinction between ‘problem-solving’ and ‘critical’ theory, which Robert Cox introduced in a famous article in 1981. Cox argued that theory, despite being presented as a neutral analytical tool, was ‘always for someone and for some purpose’. Problem-solving theories ultimately endorsed the prevailing system by generating suggestions as to how the system could be run more smoothly. Critical theories, by contrast, seek to explain why the system exists in the first place and what could be done to transform it. What unifies Nye, Ikenberry Huntington, Brzezinski and Kissinger (along with the majority of IR scholars) is their problem-solving approach. Naturally, policy-makers want academics to be problemsolvers, since policies seek precisely to – well, solve problems. But this does not necessarily mean that this should be the function of the academy. Indeed, the tyranny of ‘policy relevance’ achieves its most destructive form when it becomes so dominant that it imperils the space the academy is supposed to provide to allow scholars to think about the foundations of prevailing orders in a critical, even hostile, fashion. Taking clear inspiration from Marx, Cox produced pathbreaking work showing how different social orders, corresponding to different modes of production, generated different world orders, and looked for contradictions within the existing orders to see how the world might be changing.1 Marxist theories of world order are unlikely to be seen as very ‘policy relevant’ by capitalist elites (despite the fact that, where Marxist theory is good, it is not only ‘critical’ but also potentially ‘problem-solving’, a possibility that Cox overlooked). Does this mean that such inquiry should be replaced by government-funded policy wonkery? Absolutely not, especially when we consider the horrors that entails. At one recent conference, for instance, a Kings College London team which had won a gargantuan sum of money from the government to study civil contingency plans in the event of terrorist attacks presented their ‘research outputs’. They suggested a raft of measures to securitise everyday life, including developing clearly sign-posted escape routes from London to enable citizens to flee the capital. There are always plenty of academics who are willing to turn their hand to repressive, official agendas. There are some who produce fine problem-solving work who ought to disseminate their ideas much more widely, beyond the narrow confines of academia. There are far fewer who are genuinely critical. The political economy of research funding combines with the tyranny of ‘policy relevance’ to entrench a hierarchy topped by tame academics. ‘Policy relevance’, then, is a double-edged sword. No one would wish to describe their work as ‘irrelevant’, so the key question, as always, is ‘relevant to whom?’ Relevance to one’s research community, students, and so on, ought to be more than enough justification for academic freedom, provided that scholars shoulder their responsibilities to teach and to communicate their subjects to society at large, and thus repay something to the society that supports them. But beyond that, we also need to fully respect work that will never be ‘policy-relevant’, because it refuses to swallow fashionable concerns or toe
the line on government agendas. Truly critical voices are worth more to the progress of human civilisation than ten thousand Deputy Undersecretaries of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology. (p. 127-30)

AT: Policy Relevance

And policy relevance destroys scholarship- cold war proves- makes effective policy making impossible- that’s a turn

Christopher I. Xenakis Assistant Professor of Political Science, Tidewater Community College What Happened to the Soviet Union? 2002

Why did so many American Soviet experts fail to anticipate the possibility of reform taking place in the USSR? A number of prominent scholars, whose work we have examined at length in these pages, have argued pointedly that Cold War Sovietology was perversely influenced, or co-opted, by totalitarianism model thinking and the Cold War consensus. And it stands to reason that if Sovietologists themselves thought they were co-opted, some of them probably were. This explanation accords with Thomas S. Kuhn’s account of why scholarly communities are often reticent to accept new and anomalous data. As Alexander Dallin and Gail W. Lapidus recalled, the Gorbachev reforms of the mid-1980s “challenged the prevailing academic paradigms and conventional wisdom regarding the Soviet system. The initial Western reaction to the Gorbachev program was one of profound skepticism,” the two scholars noted.86 “The widely held belief among U.S. Soviet experts was that “basic [Soviet) change was impossible and could not be carried out by people who had themselves grown up in and benefited from the system.” Eventually, with the delegitimation of Communism in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a “scientific revolution” occurred in western Sovietology, as Soviet experts saw many of the familiar realities they had taken for granted—notably, the Cold War and the USSR—changing or evaporating. Stephen F. Cohen adds that Sovietology was politicized from its inception as a result of its dependence on government funding and the formation of an unhealthy “scholarly consensus” around the totalitarianism model. Wedded to this model, many Sovietologists “eliminated everything diverse and problematic from [their] subject.” and Soviet studies became, in quick order, a kind of Kuhnian normal science that found it difficult to assimilate new information about the Soviet Union. “What belatedly infused new ideas into Sovietology was less its own intellectual dynamic than political changes in (Moscow] that the profession had not anticipated and could hardly explain” or ignore, Cohen said. The discipline of Sovietology came into being “during the worst years” of the East-West conflict. Cohen added, at a time when U.S.-Soviet relations “intruded into academia both] politically and intellectually ” The Cold War put a premium on “usable scholarship” that served Washington’s policy interests and diminished “more detached academic pursuits.” If most early Sovietologists were honorable and well-intentioned scholars, “many came to [their discipline through] wartime experience and [their] interest in ‘national security,'” and not out “of an intellectual passion” for Soviet studies. These were joined by ex-Communists who had more political zeal than expertise. Foundations subsidized general Russian studies, but the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency asked for—and only funded—”policy-related research.” Scholars “established many open and reasonable relationships with government” during this time, “but also some that were covert and troublesome. As a result, academic Soviet studies became, a highly politicized profession imbued with topical political concerns, a crusading spirit, and a know-the-enemy raison d’etre.” Cohen concluded. It taught “its basic ‘lessons’ in a single voice, which fostered consensus and orthodoxy.” This practice “narrowed the range of [acceptable] interpretations,” and “minimized intellectual space to be critical-minded and wrong”11 Similarly, Alexander Motyl revealed that during much of the Cold War, the influx of government money into academic political science departments and Russian studies institutes went hand in hand with the government’s attempt “to set Sovietology’s research agenda” along policy-analysis lines.*8 But this was aFaustian bargain for American universities, because “notwithstanding its importance for democratic government, policy analysis inclines Sovietologists to eschew the very stuff of theory—big questions with no simple answers.” Analogously, Frederic J. Fleron and Eric P. Hoffmann argued that far too many U.S. scholars were focusing on short-term policy-oriented research during the Cold War years. Such analyses were “neither historically grounded nor far-sighted”; they “place[d] heavy emphasis on current political personalities, top-level power relationships, and international and domestic crises” and skimped “on the thinking and behavior of counter-elites and citizens; on underlying socioeconomic and scientific-technological trends; and on policy options, policy implementation, and policy outcomes at the national, regional, and local levels.”*9 In addition, such research was “more focused on means than ends, more speculative than analytical, more partial to simplistic than complex explanations,” more eager for quick fixes than durable solutions, more accepting of official than independent views, and more cognizant of immediate than eventual political costs and consequences.” According to scholar Raymond C. Taras, Cold War scholarship simply followed geopolitics and followed the money. Since the government was paying universities and think tanks for research pertaining to the Soviet threat, little attention was focused on the Baltic states or on the individual Soviet republics.90 Even as late as 1992, “western universities ha[d] trained few students in the languages spoken in the breakaway republics, making prospects for incisive empirical research not promising.” The existence of a pervasive co-optative relationship between academic Sovietology and the government is also suggested by the career mobility many scholars enjoyed between these two environments. According to Jerry F. Hough, there existed, throughout the Cold War period, a virtual revolving door between American universities, think tanks, and government foreign policy and national security-related agencies and departments—and a number of Soviet experts moved repeatedly and often from one of these professional environments to another.91 Not only did Sovietologists move freely from academia to government and back again; this study argues, more perversely, that there was an insidious homogeneity of scholarly opinion within these settings. While there were significant distinctions between realist, political cultural-historicist, and pluralist points of view, the scholarly differences between professors, researchers, and policy makers of the same Sovietologiest school were relatively slight. Thus, political cultural-historicists tended to think alike, whether they taught at a university or sat at a policy desk at the State Department—and the same was true of realists and pluralists. What this suggests is that Sovietological co-optation by government was endemic—both in the early Cold War years and in the 1970s and 1980s—if for no other reason than that all Sovietologists, regardless of the professional setting in which they worked, needed good data, and the government both supplied much of this data (for example, in unclassified CIA and Department of Defense studies) and controlled scholars’ ability to acquire it on their own (through the tacit threat of denying research grants and passport renewals to researchers who stirred up trouble). If it is true that many scholars became policy makers, and in turn, that a significant number of government officials were also scholars, then we should expect that these professional communities courted and cooperated with one another as much they competed against each other. And it should come as no great surprise that academic Sovietologists were co-opted by policy-making interests, or that, as Cohen argued, this cozy relationship between government and the academy was asdeleterious to good scholarship as it was commonplace. (p. 165-7)

AT: Policy Relevance

The affirmative’s interpretation of “policy relevance” is self serving and flawed- this card will smoke them

Greg Marston, Bachelor of Social Science (QUT), PHD (UQ) Social policy and Discourse Analysis , 2k4 p. 14-15

The positivist paradigm informs an idealized rational actor understanding of the policy-making process. The rational approach to policy-making is an extension of particular forms of positivism and neo-positivism that seek to purge the social scientist of values (Bryman, 1988, p.14). This idea of reason without values is maintained through instrumental and technical rationality. Instrumental rationality in policy-making can be defined as follows: ‘in any organization there might be a number of ways of reaching goals; and when faced with the need to make a choice between alternatives the rational decision maker chooses the alternative most likely to achieve the desired outcome’ (Ham and Hill, 1993, p.77). The idealistic representation of policy as a form of ‘rational decision making’ between available choices and options is problematic for a number of reasons. The limitations of rational approaches to policy-making arise from an insufficient account of the political context, insufficient emphasis on the participants in the process (and their conflicting interests) and the ‘ideal type’ nature of the models themselves (Dalton et al, 1996, p.17). A positivist view of policy-making asserts policy solutions as universal truths waiting to be discovered by the so-called policy ‘expert’. Hillyard and Watson (1996, p.324) argue that this perception denies the constitutive role of discourse. In short, a positivist epistemology is not an adequate position for researchers and policy analysts aiming to explore and understand how policy meanings are discursively constructed, how regulatory functions of the state are being transformed and how policy actors represent and articulate policy problems and solutions. By focusing on ‘objective’ outcomes and grand narratives of ‘progress’, ‘rationality’ and ‘truth’, we remain blind to the multifaceted nature of policy-making processes. Positivist accounts of the social world do not recognize the constructive nature of discursive processes that produce knowledge and identities, or how conflict over policy meanings is manifested within specific policy environments. While not denying the place of positivist informed research in social planning, this paradigm is limited when it comes to understanding questions of power as experienced in the production, reproduction and transformation of policy agendas. As Yanow (1996, p.6) argues. ‘positivist knowledge does not give us information about meanings made by actors in a situation. When we read a policy we see more than just marks on a page. we hear more than just sound waves’. Exploring the discursive dimensions of policy-making requires alternative theoretical frameworks and epistemologies that are able to capture the processes of subjectification and the relationship between agency, identity and discourse in local policy contexts. The various strands of critical social theory and post-structuralism are areas of theorizing that offer social policy researchers different ways of thinking about language and culture.

This is an independent link- the claim that policy relevance should have priority masks oppressive structures and epistemological problems

Diane Stone , Marie Curie Chair and Professor of Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest Towards a global polity P. 139-42 2k2

‘Knowledge’ does not signify a single body of knowledge that is commonly recognised. On the contrary, it implies a struggle between different ‘knowledges’ or what are often described as ‘discourses’. ‘world-view s’ and ‘regimes of truth’. For many, the issue is not simply the creation and dissemination of knowledge. but the kind of knowledge that is produced and the kind of knowledge that dominates. This requires recognition that knowledge and expertise are contained by and connected to material interests. Those who demand and fund the creation and supply of policy analysis, advice and research can have powerful sway over what is researched and the issues considered important. There is also demand for information to be managed. International organisations and governments require knowledge organisations and reputable professionals to sift and vouch the welter of ideas, information and analysis pressed upon them by NGOs, governments. corporations and others. Editors, filters, interpreters and cue-givers become more in demand, and this is a source of power. There will be an imperfect market for evaluators. Bland names and the ability to bestow an international seal of approval will become more important. (Keohane and Nye 1998: 89) Consultants, think tanks and academics represent legitimate and neutral vehicles to filter, to make sense of the conflicting evidence, sets of argument and information overload. The social status and reputation of academics, thinkers, experts and professionals are an important dimension of the trust that both the general public and official actors place with them as ‘filters and interpreters’ of information. However, it is not only as mere filters that they gain power. Knowledge creation, dissemination and application bestow power. Foundations, professional associations, scientific assemblies, actuarial bodies advocate their own intrinsic intellectual value, policy relevance and knowledge capacities. However. it is not necessarily that the most sound knowledge or best ideas will inform policy developments. A danger in this kind of analysis is to privilege the influence of experts and over-state the power of ideas. Ideas matter but so do interests. Furthermore. as noted in a study of Eastern and Central European think tanks. ‘It is the management of expert discourse and not in-depth research that has empowered think tanks’ in post-communist transition (Krastev 2000). This statement need not be restricted to think tanks: academics, foundation executives, consultants, law firms and financial advisers adopt a discourse of intellectual authority and/or deploy their professional rhetoric in order to gain access, to influence and to benefit from global policy networks. Certain practices and nonnative standards are essential in maintaining the public stature of knowledge producers or their ‘brand name’. Some research is more rigorous, professional and scholarly, adhering to recognized standards of peer review. Standards need to he cultivated and protected as policy-makers and other users want policy research and analysis that meet professional standards. Attracting foundation support or funding from national (social) science regimes bestows credibility. Rhetorical resort to the professional and scientific norms of scholarly discovery, intellectual investigation and impartial advice is particularly important to think tanks and consultancies in order to set themselves apart from NGOs and highlight their superior knowledge base, professional standing or business experience. Practices such as peer review and professional accreditation are exclusionary processes in which only those with the relevant credentials can participate. Such authority and legitimacy is a necessary component in effectively diffusing ideas and propelling then) into official domains. The power and authority of those with knowledge when interacting in policy networks lies in knowing how to locate and juxtapose critical pieces of information and being able to organize certain modes of understanding that others will demand. In other words, they make ideas Matter and use their intellectual authority to verify certain forms of knowledge as more accurate. persuasive or objective. For example, transnational knowledge elites are often attractive to local governing elites. They represent an authority beyond their borders to which to appeal in reform processes. The major bond-rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s set international standards in global financial markets (Sinclair 2000). In other circumstances, conditions attached to development assistance or foreign loans coerce governments into accepting foreign expert advice awl international ‘best practice’. Here, the discourse coalition/communities literature is of use. A specific set of ideas of progress and reform – financial liberalisation and the `PM mentioned earlier – have prevailed over other paradigms. The discourse of certain think tanks and consultancies has come to be viewed as technical, expert and authoritative. This status is reinforced when foundations, governments and international organisations like the OECD direct funds and other resources to such experts. It holsters their position and it serves to amplify favoured discourses throughout official circles and civil society. Accordingly. questions about what is deemed to be international ‘best practice’ conic to focus on the mobilisation of bias, and why some ideas are selected and others systematically ignored. Global networks -and the individual experts and knowledge organisations in them – are instruments for the ‘mobilisation of bias’ in the global polity. Networks are flexible, evolving, re-structuring arrangements that move within and around institutions. Connections, intersections and overlapping of networks present nebulous and opaque policy arrangements based on consensus, informal power and ‘soft laws’. It is an assumption of responsibility and ‘reinvention’ of authority (Sinclair 2000). The global governance of HIV/AIDS. the definition of the world’s development problems, and the dialogues of corporate and government leaders establish decision-making processes, lead to resource allocations and institute policy practices that are beyond existing structures of public scrutiny. ‘Networks undermine responsibility by shutting out the public’ (Rhodes and Marsh 1992: 200). Public representation in this mode of global governance has not been advanced as if in many national polities. Accordingly, the global polity is responding better towards the well-organised, wealthy, skilled and knowledgeable who are organised through networks and other institutions rather than to disorganised, poorly financed, unskilled groups and those who target the institutional structures of nation-states. Moreover, members of the general public often have neither the expertise, nor the time, nor the inclination to be active participants in the policy at the national level, let alone participate in global policy debates. As a consequence of the lack of transparency and mechanisms for public representation, transnational policy communities are more able to act with relative autonomy. Additionally, they are more able to thwart the emergence of challenges to the dominant values or interests in the global polity, suppressing demands for change in the existing allocation of benefit and privilege. Pluralists usually stress the openness and informal participation to decision-making offered by networks. This tends to he the flavour of trans-national advocaey networks that are non-exclusionary in character and are often effective in exercising ‘voice’ in global policy debates. Networks can promote greater pluralism or representation of diverse views, but networks can also function as exclusionary devices that limit alliances and curtail exchanges to a select elite. As has been said of the epistemic community literature, but which applies to many other network approaches, the approach is ‘a model of elites by elites for elites’ (Jacobsen 1995: 303). It can also be said that a network approach accommodates Marxist perspectives that networks are dominated by intere
sts representing capital (Smith 1993) and especially neo-Gramscian accounts that focus on knowledge creation and idea formation as central to the capitalist system of hegemony (Gill 1999: Sinclair 2000). However, the hegemony of established interests is incomplete. uneven and contested. While there are many question marks over the democratic accountability of networks, they also represent a medium through which alternative world-views and new policy thinking can be articulated, although discourse structuration and institutionalisation may remain elusive. This is the case with the GDN which is characterised by many schools of development research and knowledge. However, it is also a research association where certain mainstream liberal economic institutes have acquired a dominant position, have privileged access to resources and whose research agendas agree in considerable degree with thy policy preferences and values of the main CDN sponsors. The asymmetries in the broader global polity are reflected inside networks in their internal power arrangements.

AT: Solt

First, if representations are secondary you are doing it backwards- the way policy making should work is we develop an understanding of a problem to the best of our ability and THEN search for solutions. This evidence is a link- it concedes the affirmatives isntrumentalized approach to the world is the opposite- decide on a course of action and then search for a justification. This process produces error replication- Vietnam, Iraq, etc. If representations are “discredited” the policy conclusion CAN NOT logically hold.

Second, this assumes a purely defensive reps K- i.e. “You are not 100 % accurate”- that’s above.

I think reading these debate theory cards is a bit lame, but to be thorough:

Solt presupposes a rationalist mode of policy making that is incomplete and totally at odds with real world policy makers- their model of debate has nothing to do with actual policy analysis

Pat J. Gehrke (MA. California State University, Chico) is a doctoral student in Speech Communication at Penn State University.  CONTEMPORARY ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE 19 (1998)

One of the primary criticisms leveled against all such critiques is that they fail to address policy questions (Jinks A14; Shors and Mancuso A 1 5; Solt, Anti-Kritik xiii; Solt, “Demystifying” A9). Most debate theorists who oppose critique arguments advance a rationalist paradigm of policy evaluation. In their minds, a strict cost-benefit analysis, particularly a quantitative analysis based on the preservation of human life, is the only means by which an advocate can justify or dejustify a policy. In his criticism of scientific models of public policy, Robert Formaini, the former vice president for public policy at the Cato Institute, explains the rationalist policy paradigm: According to the policy rationalist, if the risks are “acceptable” and the “benefits” are greater than “costs,” what person can argue that the proposed policy ought not be done, and on what inductive basis? It will not work to say that the proposed policy is “wrong,” “immoral,” “unjust,” and a “waste of time and effort.” These arguments are “unscientific” and “value-laden” with the citizen’s personal, irrational prejudices. (69) In policy debate, the rationalist perspective marginalizes critiques by mistakenly representing a particular approach to policy evaluation as the essential means of policy deliberation, implying that one theoretical perspective is both appropriate for all policy questions and preferable to all other means of policy comparison. Marouf Hasian and Edward Panetta argue that “both the promise and the peril of the critique come from its use as a method of questioning some of the assumptions behind `policy’ debate itself” (47). They continue, “the use of ‘the critique’ in policy debate means a virtual abandonment of many of the cherished assumptions of policy decision making” (53). If by policy debate and policy decision making, Hasian and Panetta are referring only to the conventional practices of academic debate, they would be correct. However, their criticism is not that critiques simply challenge academic policy debate as we commonly practice it, but rather that critiques are “politically irrelevant and counterproductive” (54). This conclusion is arrived at by giving primacy to rationalist policy models, including claims such as that “debating is an inherently rationalistic activity” (54). Faith in rationalism as the core element of policy debate leads Derek Jinks to posit that if critiques have any theoretical legitimacy, “they should take the form of disadvantages, counterplans, solvency arguments, etc.” (A14). Jinks argues that resolutions imply the context for academic debates, and since contemporary resolutions are interpreted as policy questions, they should be addressed from a policy perspective (Al2). While this line of reasoning may bear some merit, Jinks begs the question of whether the rationalist model is the only possible policy perspective. Jinks relies on a rationalist cost-benefit analysis model for decision making. He argues that policy decisions cannot be made without comparing unique costs and benefits of proposed courses of action (A14). Jinks likewise contends that policy debate should begin from a set of shared assumptions about the values at stake, which should simply be taken as true (A13). Matthew Shors and Steve Mancuso propose an extreme division between critiques and policy discourse. Shors and Mancuso make the same error as Jinks by generalizing from rationalist policy models to all policy deliberation. They claim that critiques are “utterly irrelevant” and that critiques ask us to believe that “it is pointless to discuss policies” (A16). Shors and Mancuso would have us believe that critiques “ignore policy issues altogether” (A16). It is because critiques do not argue unique commensurable costs or benefits that they contend that critiques carry “little, if any, weight in policy comparison” (A16). Only by failing to recognize the broad diversity of policy perspectivescan Shors and Mancuso come to conclude that “the Critique is wholly incompatible with, and non-germane to, policy debate” (A17). Perhaps the most vehement opponent of critiques has been Solt. Solt makes many of the same assumptions about policy analysis as do Jinks, Shors, and Mancuso. Solt so strongly believes that critiques challenge the assumption that “what we are essentially engaged in is a policy debate” that he recommends the first response to critiques be to reestablish the policy framework (“Demystifying” A9). For Solt, “the kritik is a non-policy argument” (Anti-Kritik ii). He sees debate as a policy forum, and critiques are considered not to be “germane to the subject at hand” (Anti-Kritik xxii). Solt argues that “at root, the kritik misunderstands the nature of the policy calculus” (Anti-Kritik xxiii). Solt’s rationalist assumptions are apparent in arguments encouraging us to “take an a priori ethical and political framework for granted” (“Demystifying” A 11). Similarly, he ignores a whole body of interpretive and communicative policy analysis literature when he claims that “ideas are more important than the rhetoric with which they are expressed” (“Demystifying” All). Here, Solt is attempting to refute language critiques by retreating to a separation of policies and the words that express, present, and form those policies. For Solt, the policy has a pure form outside of language, and it is that form that is to be evaluated, rather than any of the words that might malign it. Such a position is distant from much of both contemporary communication studies and policy studies literature. The arguments against critiques advanced by the policy debate rationalists are suspect because they are grounded in the traditions of academic debate rather than contemporary theories of policy studies. Consequently, they dismiss questions they can not force-fit into policy rationalism as neither worthwhile nor relevant to policy discussions. As two policy analysts wrote of the hegemony of the rationalist paradigm, “When all you have is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail” (House and Shull 163-164). Berube attacks critiques from a perspective not overtly founded on policy rationalism, holding that critiques are fundamentally pre-fiat arguments and that they disregard post-fiat substantive claims (“Criticizing” 68-72). Nonetheless, he bases his arguments upon similar assumptions about the relationship between critiques and policy debate. Here, “fiat” is a stand-in for “policy focus,” in that fiat represents an enacted policy. To claim that critiques disregard issues that arise after fiat is to claim that they disregard questions raised by enacting policies. Berube’s argument is also predicated upon the assumption that academic debate should extend no further than “intentional, intended, naïve, objective, and rogate” meanings (“Criticizing” 77). This means that debaters and critics should not question any of the assumptions or presuppositions of texts or advocacies, uncritically accepting the premises inherent in propositions. In the context of policy analysis, Berube’s standards require that policy advocates and analysts not ask of each other: “But what are your assumptions? Are they valid, or consistent, or morally acceptable?” This position is extraordinarily dangerous. Wayne Booth argues that we must consider precisely those questions texts attempt to foreclose: Each literary work implicates within itself a set of norms about what questions are appropriate. Hemingway, to choose a favorite example of the new feminist critics, does not demand of us that we ask of his works, “Is it good for men or women to accept uncritically my machismo bravado?” Indeed, he seems to work quite hard to prevent our asking such a question. But surely, the feminist critics say, and I think they are right, surely any teacher who teaches A Farewell to Arms without inviting, somewhere along the line, a critical consideration of Hemingway’s heroes as human ideals, and of his portraits of women as reflecting a peculiarly maimed creative vision, and of his
vision of the good life as a singularly immature one—surely any such teacher is doing only half the job. (301) Similarly, we might say that any policy debater who does not seek a critical consideration of the questions that a policy proposal tries to foreclose is only doing half the job of a policy analyst. 22-5

This turns their offense- their version of policy making results in worse decisions

Pat J. Gehrke (MA. California State University, Chico) is a doctoral student in Speech Communication at Penn State University.  CONTEMPORARY ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE 19 (1998)

Policy narratives both rely upon and reinforce basic value assumptions about human beings and the world that we construct. If we fail to take value assumptions and implications into account, we cannot consider that we have a meaningful analysis of a policy question. Connie Bullis and James Kennedy note that policy analysts too often ignore values because of rational models of policy evaluation (543). The primacy of the rational model of policy evaluation similarly undercuts academic debate’s ability to consider policy options. Garry Brewer, a policy scholar at Yale, and Peter deLeon, a policy analyst for the RAND Corporation, note that theories and models for social description and policy choice involve making value judgments (135-137). The long term implications of any policy option are perhaps best reflected by the value systems that support them and the options they reflect and reinforce (Bullis and Kennedy 543). When one implements a policy, one also implements a value system. While the implementation and technical aspects of the policy may shift through agency and interpretation, the fundamental core value assumptions of the policy may be more enduring and have broader implications. The intrinsic connectionbetween values and policies were not ignored by early non-policy debate theorists. For instance, David Zarefsky’s notes the importance of criteria for the evaluation of quasi-policy propositions (9-10) and Jan Vasilius comments that “values precede policy formation, influence policy implementation and assess policy results” (35). Policy debate that fails to incorporate value discussions may be deceptive and misleading. A belief in the ability of humans to produce an analysis of human interaction not laden with values can only be a grave self-deception. Value-free policy analysis is neither possible nor useful. This is in part because both policy analysts and policy makers inextricably inhabit “a world structured by values” (Vickers 95). Thus, as one sets forth to clarify and evaluate options, one inevitably ends up clarifying and ordering values. This is especially true in policy debate, where the entire argument rests fundamentally on some conception of what is the public good. Thus, it is inevitable in debates over policy options that we engage in the construction of value systems and moral premises. The real question is whether we should do such a priori, behind a veil of objectivity, or as a part of the subject of the debate itself. The latter alternative is far preferable. No strict ethical rule or community standard can replace debate about value choices. Nor can the policy rationalist perspective account for value choices. The policy rationalist relies upon methods such as cost-benefit analysis to strive for scientific objectivity and authority in policy evaluation. Brownlee and Crossman note that cost-benefit analysis is unable to incorporate value conflicts into policy deliberations because cost-benefit analysis relies upon objective commensurable measurements that are often not possible with values (4-6). Rationalist policy analysts “either omit certain values or force them into inappropriate comparisons” (Brownlee and Crossman 6). It would be a grave mistake to push normative value considerations out of the debate round and behind some mystical curtain. As one senior policy analyst put it, “Simply, values are too central to the various stages of the policy process to permit them to be covertly inserted, neglected, or left to some hidden marginalist hand ‘muddling through'” (deLeon 39). We can reasonably expect to find our way through such issues only if we continually open them to discussion and include them in policy deliberations. We should consider that public policies and policy debates are about things that are happening. Debate is not fiction. The evidence and advocacies of our authors do not mystically originate in a vacuum, nor do they come from some entity creating game pieces for our amusement. It is essential that as policy advocates and analysts we not lose sight of these normative roots. 28-30

AT: Batterman- Voting neg not required

Voting aff or neg is not an endorsement of an advocacy or ideology- it is a statement about which side did the better debating. If the affirmative cannot intellectually sustain the arguments they presented in the 1AC, they are not doing the better debating.

AT: Incommensurability

One slight editorial- incommensurability does not mean “can’t weigh things”, though that is the way it has recently been thrown around in debate. The conclusion drawn by some, “can’t weigh things, throw out K” is also so contrary to the theory it is mind boggling. I will write responses, however, assuming Batterman’s articulation.

First, It’s inevitable- rights vs death, Economy vs Hegemony, intrinsic perms vs conditionality, debates always have to compare the incomparable. To dodge the harsh questions through theoretical fiat does an educational disservice- the alternative is that the affirmative could argue the positive benefits of the plan outweigh representational damage

Second, Incommensurability relies on a false dichotomy- there is always a third language that speaks the common ground between theories

Ruth Ronen, Tel Aviv University, Incommensurability and Representation AS/SA Nº5, Article 3 : 1998

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/french/as-sa/ASSA-No5/RR4.htm

This change of emphasis in Kuhn is related to the fact that most of his critics center on the question of translatability between languages when raising objections against the notion of incommensurability. Philosophers of science who criticize Kuhn’s incommensurability see it as tantamount to untranslatability; they hence aim to show that two languages will retain referential relations even under substantial conceptual change.1 Both Kuhn and Feyerabend were criticized for denying the idea of “a third language“, for overseeing the fact that as radical as a scientific change may be, at critical moments in the history of science, there is always a language in which this change is registered. No matter how discontinuous the choice of scientific theories may have been, scientists “must have at their disposal a range of terms adequate to the empirical testing of these theories, whose meaning was unaffected by the theories themselves“.2 There is hence an idiom within which continuity is held, even if temporarily. Equipped with a third language, radical changes in meaning do not entail epistemic and ontological incompatibility. It can be shown, then, that there is no incommensurability once the difference between theories is reduced to a difference between two scientific languages. (continued- this is footnote 2 from this section) 2. Hung Hin-Chung (1987). “Incommensurability and Inconsistency of Languages.” Erkenntnis 27, p.323-352; Hung shows how the paradox of incommensurable theories (the fact that they are both about the same subject-matter and differ in subject-matters) can be accounted for. Behind the intensional relation of inconsistency in the content of theoretical assertions there is an extensional relation of realizability. Hence incommensurable theories differ in internal subject-matter but they share an external subject-matter: true sentences of one language are realizable in a second language. For instance, Thermometry is the external subject- matter of both the Caloric theory and the Kinetic theory of heat. The resulting inconsistency between these theories is however an intensional notion. The relation of extensional sameness which guarantees realizability in a new theory (of the sentences formulated in another theory) also enables scientific growth.

Third, representations critiques are the FOUNDATION of a coherent concept of incommensurability

Ruth Ronen, Tel Aviv University, Incommensurability and Representation AS/SA Nº5, Article 3 : 1998

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/french/as-sa/ASSA-No5/RR1.htm (Applied Semiotics is a peer reviewed journal)

Incommensurability occurs in science where two theories lack a common measure, a standard reference, or an external criterion that could have served as grounds for comparison. Yet, although incommensurability appears to stem from the absence of a world beyond theory, I will claim that there would be no place for the notion of incommensurability in our epistemology were we not giving our theories realistic interpretations. In other words, in order to assume that theories are incommensurable, we have to assume that each theory works as a conceptual net through which the world is seen differently. We have to assume that a theory employing the term ‘star’ sees an object through this term; and each theory can give the term ‘star’ a different realistic interpretation, that is, identify the term with another celestial body. Incommensurable theories, while each sees the star differently, all represent stars. Without realism towards theories and towards the entities they assume, theories would have been straightforwardly intertranslatable and commensurable.

AT: Reps K’s are Defense

The K isn’t defense- while accuracy is one element we contest, we also present offense about why the affirmatives representations have negative effects on the real world. This isn’t the equivalent of saying “collapse of heg doesn’t cause war” as impact defense on the case. Their downplaying of our impacts is an independent link- self serving categorization of what impacts “matter” is the ideological process that sustains representational violence.

AT: Intrinsic to the Plan /Intrinsicness Perms

First, Define Irony- creating a system of resolving debates based on a K of “importing cp language” and then make as one of its main tenants the idea that reps K’s aren’t “intrinsic”. This is stupid- obviously no representation is directly tied to the plan EVER- the aff choses them. /discussion

All of these arguments rely on an incoherent model of debate as explained on plan focus/rob etc etc etc. This is all just plan focus repacked a million different ways.

AT: Faber its inevitable/math card

First, representations may be inevitable, that doesn’t mean the judge should normatively endorse them- it’s a total non-sequator- inevitability does not prove that the affirmative did the better debating.

Second, that card is irrelevant.

AT: Perm- alt solves the links

Don’t use the plan as the basis of comparison- our K doesn’t indict the plan, “permutations” as a “test of competition” are designed to test the link- ergo combining something we are not claiming a link argument to is asinine- its like saying skateboard and do the alt. The only way this argument is winnable is if they win plan focus which is a separate discussion.

No possible aff offense-any inclusion of their representations links to our offense meaning the perm is always less desirable than voting negative alone.

AT: Perms That no longer defend 1AC Reps

Argument consistency is essential to negative ground- the affirmative gets the first and last speech, write to chose case area and plan wording, and infinite prep time. In order to balance these advantages they must defend a stable advocacy throughout the debate. These kind of permutations make debate impossible because the affirmative can jettison the arguments we generated our links off of. This is entirely self serving- if we read a K of the plan they could easily argue the opposite- that the plan was less important than their representations.

AT: Perm- Plan Plus Alternative

First, the kritik should not be tested as to whether it’s competitive with the plan since that isn’t what we are arguing against. The affirmative should be responsible for their justifications (separate block), so the test should be “is it desirable to represent things in the alternative fashion outlined by the negative AND the way the affirmative represented it, or is it more desirable to only use the negatives representations”.

Second, the affirmative should be held to a basic standard of argument consistency- they need to have a stable advocacy for the debate to occur. If they can advocate inconsistent positions from speech to speech being negative is impossible- we can never answer their 2AR clarification. The permutation violates this standard-this is proven by the link arguments and is facially obvious.

55 thoughts on “Reps Throwdown- The Response

  1. br

    i'm kinda confused about this "who did the better debating" argument – why shouldn't the ballot be an endorsement of which policy/ alt/ advocacy is better, and why don't things like low-point wins and judges calling for cards after the round etc. prove that the win is not like all contingent on the debaters' abilities

  2. Layne Kirshon

    scott one thought that comes to mind is that it seems like "who did the better debating" begs the question of what you're debating about, which is why "role of the ballot is X" is an argument on which one team does the better debating. I agree with you but I'm just playing devil's advocate – it seems like if the aff wins that judge choice is a good model they have done the "Better debating"

  3. br

    yeah i know thats what the ballot says but (i'm probably wrong on this i guess) i dont really think many people judge like that though, don't they combine the better debating with like how good the cards are and some other factors i guess?

  4. Scott Phillips

    What they do is not really important- if no one voted for/against the plan that would not stop people from making that theory arg. I don't get why you think the quality of your evidence is not a factor in how good of a debater you are/how good the debating you did was.

  5. Casey Harrigan

    Two points, then back to NDT prep:

    1. Quick note on Stanescu (which I meant to post long, long ago):

    The "symbolic battles" argument has plenty of place in debate. Its called a DA.

    Read this again:

    "If, for example, the Nazis really were suggesting health care reform to better protect Aryans, and I said, “Man, I hate Nazis and racism, but health care reform seems grand” I would be allowing the symbolic strength of the Nazis to increase by letting them win a battle of the importance of health care reform. The policy is not the only thing granted legitimacy, but the entire apparatuses and relays that garner support for the policy is also given legitimacy."

    Link: Nazis support healthcare reform. Passing healthcare reform grants them legitimacy.

    Impact: Nazis are bad.

    Of course, this presumes that "Nazi support" is a *mandatory* justification for the plan – which seems to be a suspect proposition. But, it will sometimes be the case, in which instance the "Representations DA" seems perfectly logical to me.

    2. To be perfectly clear, to everyone in the debate-o-sphere, regardless of ideological or political agenda: nothing about judge choice is a "dig" on the use of the critique in debate. I've judged a ton of rounds where the K has been a great strategy and really do think that debate is enriched by the inclusion of critical thinking/literature.

    But, like any other argument that has developed over time, it is important for the critique to be theoretically self-reflexive — to be willing to examine its own foundations. The discussion about judge choice is an attempt to do that.

  6. Layne Kirshon

    one last time

    that entire argument presumes that voting aff neg is voting yes/no for healthcare – every argument scott made is a reason why that is a bad model for debate b/c the politics of naziism that surround it are "arguments" and "advocacies" in the same way the plan is.

  7. Casey Harrigan

    "Judge choice is a bad model – it ignores symbolic battles the underlie policy decisions"

    ..

    "No it doesn't. Most symbolic battles are *mandatory* justifications for action. Stanescu's own Nazi/healthcare example clearly proves"

    ..

    "Harrigan is dumb – this all begs the question of whether the plan is different than anything else said in the debate"

    …?

    Layne: something here doesn't compute. Stanescu's argument was unrelated to indicts of plan focus. I didn't mean to respond to every argument that has been made, just to this specific one that has bothered me for a little while.

  8. Casey Harrigan

    Oh, and for the record, saying that the plan is no different than anything else said in the 1AC, that it literally has the same rhetorical/representational/symbolic value as "Contention One: Inherency" or the text of an internal link card is ridiculous. More on this later.

  9. Scott Phillips

    Ha I mean i guess you could get into whether font choice or reading dates or what kind of paper etc is all an "advocacy", but yes. Plan focus says only the plan is an advocacy, evidence here says other things are as well.

  10. Casey Harrigan

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-4432">
    Scott Phillips :
    Plan focus says only the plan is an advocacy, evidence here says other things are as well.

    This is why Judge Choice is different than plan focus. Judge Choice *acknowledges* that representations are powerful — they influence and often determine the outcome of policy action. As such, framing/justification is an incredibly important part of decision-making.

    The question is just "which representations are required to vote Aff or Neg"?.

    Its fine to disagree, but to dismiss this as "Oh, that's just plan focus. Insert 1997 theory block. Next!" is silly.

    Also – I've violated my "back to NDT prep" pledge. Gotta get back to cutting cards if I'm going to catch the Russia/Canada game later.

  11. David Mullins

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-4435">
    Casey Harrigan :
    The question is just “which representations are required to vote Aff or Neg”?.

    Yes and judge choice answers that question with "the representations that are required to vote aff or neg are the ones 'intrinsically' (a qualifier that defies definition…) tied to the plan."

    i.e. Judge Choice continues to assume that the ballot is chiefly a referendum on the desirability of the plan. You can no link out of this all day by claiming that "reps are still important" but the framework you are advocating says-

    First, that the aff is not tied to their reps (because they still justify the PLAN with other reps)
    And second, this is justified because reps are not a political choice or advocacy in of themselves (what all the reps focus matters cards say), but are in fact just the foreplay before the climax of policy statement. The REAL business of the aff is the plan text, the reps are just there as JUSTIFICATIONs, not ADVOCACIES in of themselves.

    Thus, judge choice links to all the plan focus bad offense.

  12. Layne Kirshon

    ya also i think the distinction between judge choice and plan focus that you (casey) and bill are making is, while valid, arbitrary and lacks an impact.

    The warrant, if I understand it correctly, is that plan focus says reps are irrelevant while judge choice says reps are relevant but not mandatory outcomes *of voting for the plan* – notice *of voting for the plan* has asterisks around it b/c IT STILL PRESUMES THE JUDGE VOTES FOR THE PLAN.

    The only distinction between judge choice and plan focus is judge choice says reps are relevant but not *offense* b/c the judge can VOTE FOR THE PLAN for other reasons. See mullins above.

    Also, sidebar – Mullins, I hate you.

  13. Casey Harrigan

    The impact is that there is no link to arguments like "plan focus bad – ignores representations, which are really important. [Insert Doty or one of the other cards Scott posted above]". Its the opposite of arbitrary because its grounded in logical decision-making (I won't repeat this long-winded rant here).

  14. Casey Harrigan

    @David Mullins

    If debate is not about the plan, what is it about?

    If "advocacy", what counts as advocacy? Do you agree with Scott that "Contention 1: Inherency" is not advocacy, or do you think that everything said in the 1AC is–for the purpose of justification–equal?

  15. Kevin Hirn

    "Our critique will engage all representations- the justification for this model is that the judge can chose only the good ones, there will be none after we have properly done our job. But if there are- the remedy is the affirmative should be able to leverage those representations as offense. Just like if we read a cap K and only turned one advantage- the fact that our link was to the plan shouldn’t make a difference in impact comparison vs a reps K"

    How does the affirmative leverage these representations as offense? Specifically, if reps focus is good, how does one weigh the impacts of a bad representation against the impacts of a good representation? In the world of a cap K, this is somewhat obvious – it's the same as a CP/DA debate. But in a reps K debate, do we weigh the educational value of these reps, the policymaking value, the impact straight up…?

  16. Scott Phillips

    @Kevin Hirn

    The same way you would weigh anything else- the neg will have an impact "bad reps cause X", the aff will have one "good reps cause Y". Then you argue about it. I don't know of many reps K's that impact in education, but if they do you can certainly o/w it.

  17. Layne Kirshon

    also, it's asinine to say "o dur so u mean someone could say contention 1 inherency is bad!?!" If you lose to saying that is bad then you should quit the activity. Stupid arugments like that exist in every facet of debate – see 98% of politics DAs and OSPEC. That's just a reason why that is stupid. The aff could probably kick the shit out of whatever reason that is bad w/reps of environmental crisis are good XYZ. The aff can clearly win their reps are good in other instances and *weigh* them against the bad ones just like a DA v Adv.

  18. Bill Batterman

    @Layne Kirshon

    also, it’s asinine to say “o dur so u mean someone could say contention 1 inherency is bad!?!” If you lose to saying that is bad then you should quit the activity.

    I'm working on a longer post about some of the theoretical issues embedded in the debate about representational critiques, so I won't delve into that here. However:

    1. "The" PIC.

    2. Occularcentrism. "Do the plan but don't say 'observation'—that's a visual metaphor and visual metaphors are bad/exclusionary." How does the aff beat that argument?

    A. If the neg gets to advocate the plan sans the occularcentric reps, they clearly win.

    B. If the neg doesn't get to advocate the plan sans the occularcentric reps, they still probably win. Let's say the aff is your STEM case and includes a warming advantage and a hegemony advantage but says "Observation" a couple times.

    Neg: Occularcentric metaphors are bad—they exclude visually impaired people and cement a particular way of approaching the world that causes bad things like Vietnam (or whatever—doesn't matter).

    Aff: Maybe, but (a) securitizing global warming is key to mobilize public support for policies to confront it—we securitize global warming in the 1AC and (b) talking about threats to hegemony is good because it reduces the likelihood of conflicts between great powers—we talked about hegemony in the 1AC. Our "good reps" outweigh our "bad reps".

    Neg: Occularcentrism is not necessary to securitize global warming or to valorize hegemony. We should securitize global warming, valorize hegemony, and reject occularcentrism. Vote neg.

    Aff: ?

  19. Layne Kirshon

    Low blow on the "The" pic reference. too soon. too soon

    regardless, those arguments are bad b/c PICs/word PICs are bad, not b/c representations are not relevant discussions in debtae

  20. Scott Phillips

    Batterman-

    Aff says "heg and growth are good"

    Neg says "growth bad"

    Aff says "but heg is good"

    Neg says "but growth is not necessary for heg, we should have heg and not growth"

    Aff says?

    Oh wait, the aff would say that is stupid because the neg cant just make up crap like "thats not key". Seriously this is pretty silly. The neg can't say "you should vote neg for the politics DA and to endorse the aff advantage". The problems you are creating here do not stem from a recognition that reps have value. You have yet to explain why you think this weighing is impossible, you have just repeated ad nauseum that you think it is.

    Furthermore, "observe" does not imply vision, it refers to any sensory data.

    Also, OBVIOUSLY the "The" pic is WORSE in a world of plan focus/no reps- see turner card about this.

  21. Bill Batterman

    @Scott Phillips

    "You have yet to explain why you think this weighing is impossible, you have just repeated ad nauseum that you think it is."

    You haven't provided an example of *how* to do this "weighing". Use the example above—explain what the 1AR should say to prove that the judge should vote aff because the "good reps" (securitization of warming and valorization of heg) outweigh the "bad reps" (occularcentric metaphors). Maybe then I'll stop being "silly" and finally understand.

  22. Scott Phillips

    Bill,

    I/others have said repeatedly the same way you would weigh anything else, since you think that can't work the burden is on you to explain WHY it can't work.

    In your example the aff should prob. say something like- Occularcentrism is stupid- there is no link since observation does not refer exclusively to vision. Low magnitude of the link means low risk of the impact. The impact is also empirically denied- they can't point to a major act of violence caused by occularcentrism. Environmental collapse outweighs- without tasty species to harvest we will be dead and unable to debate the merits of visual metaphors- we have the only impact that accesses global extinction.

    Etc etc etc.

  23. Layne Kirshon

    Ya like this is silly

    It's no different than saying how would u evaluate a rider politics DA v the advantage if the advantage is based on food stamps while the rider is just based on the legislative process. Ya, there is somewhat of an indeterminate magnitudal difference but you can obviously weigh the links and impacts v one another. Reps Ks have been around for a while and judges don't award a double loss and say "this is a quandary that i can't evaluate"

  24. David Heidt

    Regarding:

    "In your example the aff should prob. say something like- Occularcentrism is stupid- there is no link since observation does not refer exclusively to vision. Low magnitude of the link means low risk of the impact. The impact is also empirically denied- they can’t point to a major act of violence caused by occularcentrism. Environmental collapse outweighs- without tasty species to harvest we will be dead and unable to debate the merits of visual metaphors- we have the only impact that accesses global extinction."

    I don't think this answers Bill's example, which involves the neg agreeing with aff reps of environmental securitization or hegemony good and focusing exclusively on occularcentric reps in isolation (ie "We should securitize global warming, valorize hegemony, and reject occularcentrism"). The correct 1ar needs to include reps PICs bad, otherwise the neg wins on something like "low risk of dumb occularcentric K, but no risk of offense".

    But this potentially creates a quandary: if the neg reads a disad with a hegemony and warming impact, is that a PIC of the aff reps? Reading a warming impact to a disad means the neg has depicted warming as a threat, and, in effect, "advocated" the aff's reps (under the loose definition of what constitutes "advocacy" argued above). If reps are a legitimate focus for competition, it seems like any negative disad impact that turns the case in some way constitutes a negative's endorsement of whatever impact they are turning – and is essentially a reps PIC. Saying reps PICs are bad in the occularcentrism example seems like an easy sell at first but it logically implies that the neg can't read disads with similar impacts to the 1ac. This seems like a standard that few judges would accept.

  25. Scott Phillips

    Dave,

    The "agree" argument was explicitly addressed in a previous comment.

    Your disad example is a misnomer. In a "pic" the neg explictly advocates some argument of the affirmative, in the disad example they are trying to access through logical argument, not coopting through fiat. The affirmative can argue that they don't access (solve) as well, just like they could with any other disad or advantage counterplan. The occularcentrism example is not unique to reps, it applies anytime the neg tries to just assert that they agree with something fort hays style.

  26. Casey Harrigan

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-4760">
    Scott Phillips :
    In a “pic” the neg explictly advocates some argument of the affirmative, in the disad example they are trying to access through logical argument, not coopting through fiat.

    This distinction is exactly that being made by Judge Choice. Can't have it both ways.

  27. Scott Phillips

    Harrigan,

    No it isn't. Point me to that discussion anywhere. Arguing "reps matter" does not preclude you from saying "you can't just agree with our reps, you have to win a link to them".

  28. Casey Harrigan

    If impact claims ("eco collapse causes extinction") are just "logical argument" and not a "fiated advocacy" (not sure fiat is relevant, but whatever), then there is little reason that the Aff is tied to them. A logical decision-maker could agree that the plan is good but reject some, but not all, justifications presented for action.

    If impact claims *are* advocacy, then your distinction to respond to the DA/PIC quandary doesn't make sense.

  29. David Heidt

    Scott,

    I guess I missed the "agree" argument.

    If the standard for a reps link argument is low enough that it can be tied solely to something the aff has depicted as a justification for the plan, why is a disad – a depiction of a justification to not do the plan – not a negative advocacy? I don't understand why fiat matters here, given the nature of the link.

    Agreed this isn't unique to reps but putting it in the category of fort hays style doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

  30. Scott Phillips

    Using some of the words you use does not mean I agree with your model. Lets go through this in painful detail, at which point unless judge choice advocates do something other than repeat the same mantra I think we are done here.

    The aff says "do plan X to solve heg and the environment"

    The neg says " environment reps bad, we agree heg is good"

    The aff says "unfortunately this isn't the agree club, this is the debate team. You can't simply agree with what we said, if you do we should win cause we are clearly the better debaters".

    This did not rely on
    -judge choice
    -plan focus
    -rational policy making

    If you have an advocacy, and the other team TURNS it, you should lose.

    For example

    Aff- Do x to solve heg and the environment
    Neg- Enviro reps bad, and DA- the plan reduces heg
    Aff- you cant just agree heg is good, this is the debate team
    Neg- thats why we argued you would be bad for heg, you didn't do the better debating

    Did not need
    -just choice
    -rational policy maker

    The theory that the neg should not get to advocate what the aff says as does not rely on the plan being key, or reps being advocacy. It just says its not fair/good for debate for the neg to be able to coop what the aff says. By use of the term fiat i am trying to draw a distinction between "theory" and "substance". For example, intrinsicness vs politics is a different category of argument then "no link, the plan doesn't cost capital". Its a theory argument. Similarly, the aff can reasonably argue the neg cannot – through theory- coopt their advocacy. That does not mean it is illegitimate for the neg to try and link to it in another way.

  31. David Heidt

    Scott,

    I'm fine with the claim that the "neg cannot – through theory – coopt their advocacy".

    But to clarify – in your second example – if the neg reads an impact to hegemony – ie depicts that hegemony is worth pursuing – are you agreeing that this constitutes a negative advocacy? Or – does the neg's attack on the hegemony advantage solely rely on the quality of the link to the plan?

    Assume in example 2 the neg has conclusively won "reps focus good/plan focus bad". The aff is going for "reps of hegemony outweigh reps of the environment" – and is winning that security reps outweigh. The neg says (and is winning) the plan is bad for hegemony, the aff says "irrelevant – this isn't about the plan, its about the reps, we conceded your argument, and the act of you reading a disad isn't enough for you to capture our reps, you can't coopt our advocacy via theory."

    How would you resolve the above?

  32. Scott Phillips

    @David Heidt

    It seems to me the neg could definitely make a case that their disad reps suck up the aff offense about why securitization is good. It seems like the more generic the affs cards are the easier it will be for the neg to do this. For example if the aff internal link was "gotta stop rise of china" and the neg read a da with a different internal link to heg, and the aff cards were just kagan 98 then it would be tough for the aff to distinguish a reason why the neg DA didn't solve the reps. If, however the aff had specific gotta bash china reps cards then it would be much harder for the neg to win they accessed it. Now obviously this requires the neg to explain at some point that they are accessing this aff offense not through the DA link to the plan but through their own representations. In your 2nd example if the neg never said the DA accesses the aff reps offense through reps and not through the plan then I think I would vote aff and give them a nice hat tip for being sneaky. Their argument is not very good, but the neg has not done a good job of handling it well.

    I also think the aff should be more critical of "reps come first" warrants. The only warrant for that argument that makes sense is when the reps are epistemologically challenged- like predictions fail (that I know of- I am unaware of why blanketly reps should just o/w policy other than their interpretive effects)

  33. David Heidt

    Scott,

    While I agree with your assessment of how to evaluate the dilemma I proposed – your response seems to give credibility to the neg's "we agree" approach – that the neg can advance their own representations via a disad to capture the aff's offense.

    I'm interested in how you would judge the same dilemma under a couple of changed conditions:

    Aff goes for heg reps outweigh, is winning it. Neg is still winning "reps focus good / plan focus bad" but unlike before, the aff isn't conceding this, but has been overwhelmed by all the ev you posted above. Neg goes for the same heg disad, but gets crushed on the link and is at best winning a 5% risk of it and you decide the plan is much more likely to be good for hegemony than bad. 2nr says "irrelevant – we're winning reps are the only thing that matters, and even though we're behind on the link to the disad, that depends on an outdated concept of plan focus, what matters is that we're defending the status quo because we are depicting that its good for hegemony, we read the same Kagan 98 card the aff read, our disad captures the same reps, they have no offense". 2ar goes for "you can't do that – you have to prove the plan is bad to capture our hegemony offense, you tried and got crushed"; but they have no persuasive defense of plan focus.

    How do you vote?

  34. TimAlderete

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-4769">
    Bill Batterman :
    @Scott Phillips
    I wrote this before seeing comments 33-and-on, so apologies if this interrupts the discussion that has developed.

    I/others have said repeatedly the same way you would weigh anything else, since you think that can’t work the burden is on you to explain WHY it can’t work.

    “Weighing representations” is distinct from “weighing policy outcomes”. In the former case, the judge is assessing the desirability of particular descriptions of the world. In the latter case, the judge is assessing the desirability of a course of action. This distinction is meaningful.

    This is an inaccurate description of how many teams argue representations. The judge is not "assessing the desirability of particular descriptions of the world." The judge is assessing the desirability of DESCRIBING the world in a particular way. The judge is not weighing the descriptions – the judge is weighing the impacts of Speaking those descriptions – Speaking is "a course of action." Debating is an Action (by Debaters) itself, And many (most) debates are about Actions by Governments. You agree that judges can weigh the impacts of a course of action – Scott is saying that you can weigh the impacts of the Course of Action of Speaking the Descriptions, the same way you evaluate any other course of action.

    Your distinction relies on the notion that Some actions (governments enacting policies) are "Courses of Action" while other actions (students speaking/advocating policies) are Not "Courses of Action." This distinction is the heart of the Plan Focus debate; the "impossible to weigh" argument doesn't further that debate, it only restates one side of it. I also think that only viewing government action as "courses of action", and Not viewing speaking as a "course of action" is a very narrow view of both policymaking and education. Eric Gorham, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University, 2003 [http:l/civiced.indiana.edu/papers/2003/ 1052345788.doc "A Political Argument for Service-Learning in Higher Education" November

    "We need to accommodate these aspects of political thinking if service-learning is to play an effective part in training the new citizen. We ought to design service-learning programs that help students learn the contestability of the very concept of politics and how to employ their understandings of politics strategically, not only to their advantage but to the advantage of the communities they define for themselves. This will not happen if service-learning pedagogies become mere methods to teach political science. Where the pedagogy is only a method to help learn material better or to help people become more involved in governance traditionally defined we, as critical thinkers ourselves, do a disservice to our students. We hand them concepts already defined for them (e.g., government, power, political freedom) and objectives that constitute the political (e.g., parties, interest groups, committees in Congress), and say to them, "that is the political, now learn it-but you can use practical experiences to help you do this." Reinforcing a restricted vision of the political, the position ironically distorts political reality and the learning of political facts. Moreover, it inhibits the cultivation of critical thinking because it discourages students from criticizing concepts and practices defined by their professors and the discipline of political science. Service-learning as educational method or pedagogical adjunct to the teaching of political science, then, actually frustrates learning politics."

    I know that Gorham is talking about service learning, but his conception of political pedagogy seems perfectly synonymous with policy debate. I think that it is also much more closely aligned with my conception of how a judge functions, both as a teacher and as a judge. If I think of myself as teaching people how to advocate policies (I do), then the actions that I focus primarily on are those Actions of Advocating policies – policymakers do not just spend their time voting on the passage of policies – they also spend a great deal of time Arguing and Speaking about policies. That argument is Action. I teach students how to improve that Action/Skill. Voting for the team whose Action (advocacy) has the most/biggest advantages will encourage students to improve the skill of Advocating policy.

  35. David Heidt

    *Also, I agree strongly with the last paragraph of what you posted above and provides a good way out of this dilemma – but given that this rarely argued by an aff, assume they didn't do this.

  36. Layne Kirshon

    Dheidt,

    your entire argument is predicated on an all or nothing black and white dichotomy between "action" and "language" – if the aff read a warming adv and the neg got up, read a DA, and then read tickell, 08 and said we said warming is bad and reps of warming good no risk of the adv, the aff would clearly say but the SQ doesn't rectify it b/c the plan is key. Saying describing warming as catastrophic is *beneficial* for solving warming does not mean that it is *necessary* let alone *sufficient* – Your, bill, and casey's approach to this presumes the two ways to evaluate the plan are all or nothing. In your example, plan focus bad does not mean don't evaluate the plan – as scott pointed out those role of the ballot claims are arbitrary and self serving.

    also, if alderete made a joke, we could call him lolderete.

  37. Scott Phillips

    Dave,

    I am unsure about your last example. Just based on your description I guess I would lean neg since they are crushing on reps o/w, but again the warrant for that is prob. specious. I would also prob. lean neg because who votes aff? I mean seriously, voting aff is so 1995.

  38. Bill Batterman

    @Scott Phillips

    I wrote this before seeing comments 33-and-on, so apologies if this interrupts the discussion that has developed.

    I/others have said repeatedly the same way you would weigh anything else, since you think that can’t work the burden is on you to explain WHY it can’t work.

    You sound like an LDer when you rely on burdens arguments to avoid explaining your position. Requiring those that disagree with you to prove a negative seems unreasonable; if you can explain how “weighing reps” works, then presumption obviously shifts in your favor. In any case, I appreciate the attempt to provide an example… I’ll address those arguments below after first fleshing out my position on incommensurability.

    “Weighing representations” is distinct from “weighing policy outcomes”. In the former case, the judge is assessing the desirability of particular descriptions of the world. In the latter case, the judge is assessing the desirability of a course of action. This distinction is meaningful.

    The evaluation of policy outcomes reduces to a single nexus question: should the policy under consideration be enacted? The decision-maker can evaluate a multitude of arguments relevant to that decision but ultimately s/he must conclude “yes” or “no” (or “not sure,” I guess).

    The evaluation of representations does not reduce to a single nexus question. Possibilities include:

    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations desirable?
    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations superior to the negative’s representations?
    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations acceptable?
    * Are any of the affirmative’s representations unacceptable?

    If all speech is advocacy, then all representations are equally important considerations of the decision-maker (but not equally important in terms of their impact); the plan has no special significance. This makes determining what it means to vote affirmative or vote negative more complicated. “The better job of debating was done by …” relies on some framework for determining good debating. “Good debaters don’t advance bad representations” is not a coherent framework.

    If the affirmative’s advocacy is inclusive of their plan AND the representations used to support it, weighing the desirability of the policy outcome of the fiated plan against the desirability of the outcomes (policy or non-policy) of the representations used to justify it relies on an incommensurable framework (and by incommensurable I mean lacking a common standard of measurement).

    How do you weigh, for example, the desirability of the United States federal government enacting a policy to include immigrants in the Medicaid program against the desirability of portraying immigrant populations as the loci of disease outbreaks?

    Aff: vote aff because the USFG should include immigrants in Medicaid—that is key to the economy and to prevent disease outbreaks.

    Neg: representations are incredibly important—vote neg because the way the affirmative represented immigrants as a diseased population that threatens public health relies on racist assumptions and manifests itself in disastrous policies that harm immigrants.

    If, at the end of the debate, the judge concludes that the USFG should include immigrants in Medicaid in order to prevent an economic collapse AND that the affirmative’s representations of immigrants as a disease threat relies on racist assumptions and results in harmful policies, for whom should s/he vote?

    If the plan has no special status, how—if at all—is it weighed? The affirmative had editorial control over the justifications it provided for the adoption of the plan and one of their two stated justifications has been proven undesirable/harmful. Do they win because one legitimate justification for the enactment of the plan remains? Or do they lose because the harm of their objectionable justification is such that the judge ought to vote against them regardless of the other justifications they have provided for the plan (and in fact regardless of the desirability of plan adoption)?

    How does one determine whether the harm done by the objectionable representation “outweighs” the benefits of the plan’s adoption? “The debaters will have to debate it out, stupid!” is not enough. *How* should they debate it out?

    Hunter Brooks’ conception of representational critiques as theory arguments makes the most sense to me here because this strikes me as a threshold question. Like topicality, this argument requires the judge to determine whether a certain threshold has been crossed that justifies rejecting the team regardless of the benefits of plan enactment. In short, were the representations of the affirmative egregious enough to pass this threshold and justify voting negative? If yes, vote neg. If no, vote aff (or continue on with an assessment of the desirability of plan enactment).

    Other implementations of “Reps K as VI” beg the question of framework. What is the debate about? What question is the judge tasked with answering? (See paragraph #4 above).

    I’m sure Scott, Layne, et al. will disagree vehemently about all of this, but I hope that y’all are at least a bit self-reflexive. I might be wrong about all of this, but it is not for lack of analytical effort; rational people can engage in serious disagreements about debate theory without either side being silly/stupid.

    Now, returning to the Occularcentrism example:

    In your example the aff should prob. say something like- Occularcentrism is stupid- there is no link since observation does not refer exclusively to vision. Low magnitude of the link means low risk of the impact. The impact is also empirically denied- they can’t point to a major act of violence caused by occularcentrism.

    These are “no link” arguments, not impact comparisons. I have no interest in defending the content of the Occularcentrism argument, obviously, so for the sake of argument let’s just assume the neg won their argument: the aff used visual metaphors and that’s bad. How does that—the undesirability of the affirmative’s visual metaphor—get weighed against the rest of the affirmative’s advocacy (their plan and their other reps).

    Environmental collapse outweighs- without tasty species to harvest we will be dead and unable to debate the merits of visual metaphors- we have the only impact that accesses global extinction.

    Why can’t the negative also securitize warming while criticizing visual metaphors? This comes down to a question of *what is the negative advocacy?*. Is it the status quo? Is it *their* representations? If they have not taken a stance on whether warming should be securitized, why can’t they incorporate “we should securitize warming” into their advocacy? This reminds me of the “counterpermutation” concept that Bill Shanahan described in a lecture at DDI two summers ago… it seems to make sense in this situation. Thoughts?

    Finally, @Layne Kirshon:

    Reps Ks have been around for a while and judges don’t award a double loss and say “this is a quandary that i can’t evaluate”

    Most reps K debates are resolved on theory/framework issues. If “weighing reps” occurs, it is usually couched in the language of pragmatism (do the right thing for the wrong reasons, etc.). Decisions will be made even when the issues involved are complicated, of course; the question is whether these decisions are logically sound.

  39. David Mullins

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-4514">
    Layne Kirshon :
    Also, sidebar – Mullins, I hate you.

    Scott Phillips, I DEMAND that this comment be removed and Layne Kirshon be heretofore banned from gentleman's discourse (representations too) on this fine website. If Layne didn't like something I said, he could e-mail you or bill privately to have it removed and then feign ignorance, like a gentleman. Instead, it would appear he has challenged me to a public duel. Cafe o'le Mr. Kirshon!

  40. Scott Phillips

    @Bill Batterman

    This is messy- I cant figure out how to do the quotes like Batterman does in a comment

    Bill- I will respond to this comment, but until you come up with a response to the cards from experts in the field critiquing your conception of policy relevance this is all a moot point- you have lost a meta theoretical discussion that excluding issues like representations critiques makes your theory of policy making terrible.

    “You sound like an LDer when you rely on burdens arguments to avoid explaining your position. “
    Zing! I do love a good LD slight, however I have explained my position numerous times. You keep repeating “cant weigh” but until this post you have not in any way explained the problem except to misuse the term incommensurability. It is difficult to respond to a critique when it is never explained. If that makes me an LDer I guess I’m in the right line of work.
    “ “Weighing representations” is distinct from “weighing policy outcomes”. In the former case, the judge is assessing the desirability of particular descriptions of the world. In the latter case, the judge is assessing the desirability of a course of action. This distinction is meaningful.”
    Again, obviously. Proving they are different and that that difference is meaningful does not prove one is impossible. This still relies on the idea that the plan is the “only course of action” and that the reps are totally distinct from the plan. This is a false dichotomy.
    “The evaluation of policy outcomes reduces to a single nexus question: should the policy under consideration be enacted? The decision-maker can evaluate a multitude of arguments relevant to that decision but ultimately s/he must conclude “yes” or “no” (or “not sure,” I guess).
    The evaluation of representations does not reduce to a single nexus question. Possibilities include:
    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations desirable?
    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations superior to the negative’s representations?
    * On balance, are the affirmative’s representations acceptable?
    * Are any of the affirmative’s representations unacceptable?”
    This is cheap verbal sleight of hand. All of your questions could be posed about the plan. Is it better than the SQ, is it better than a CP, is it morally superior or just consequentially? Your “single nexus” is a rigged game. Obviously if the fwork is resolved as “reps first” then teams could debate which of these questions is the one the judge uses, just like if the debate is about the plan teams can debate if predictions work, whether or not property rights o/w etc. This is no different then if the aff plan had multiple planks
    -on balance is the plan desirable
    -on balance is the plan better than the sq or cp
    -are any parts of the plan unacceptable
    “If all speech is advocacy, then all representations are equally important”
    This is obviously false. If some reps have a bigger impact, all are not equally important. I don’t really know where this came from that reps k’s say every word= to every other word. It will obviously be easier to win a meaningful (magnitude wise) k of a concept that plays a larger part in the 1AC than a concept that plays a smaller part.
    “This makes determining what it means to vote affirmative or vote negative more complicated. “
    So does coercion, deontology etc.
    ““The better job of debating was done by …” relies on some framework for determining good debating. “Good debaters don’t advance bad representations” is not a coherent framework.””
    Yes, it leaves open the fw, that is the whole point. Plan focus closes the question, reps k’s leave it open.
    “If the affirmative’s advocacy is inclusive of their plan AND the representations used to support it, weighing the desirability of the policy outcome of the fiated plan against the desirability of the outcomes (policy or non-policy) of the representations used to justify it relies on an incommensurable framework (and by incommensurable I mean lacking a common standard of measurement). “
    This is addressed in the initial post. You can pick a standard like death to be the common unit of measurement. More on this below.
    “How do you weigh, for example, the desirability of the United States federal government enacting a policy to include immigrants in the Medicaid program against the desirability of portraying immigrant populations as the loci of disease outbreaks?
    Aff: vote aff because the USFG should include immigrants in Medicaid—that is key to the economy and to prevent disease outbreaks.
    Neg: representations are incredibly important—vote neg because the way the affirmative represented immigrants as a diseased population that threatens public health relies on racist assumptions and manifests itself in disastrous policies that harm immigrants.
    If, at the end of the debate, the judge concludes that the USFG should include immigrants in Medicaid in order to prevent an economic collapse AND that the affirmative’s representations of immigrants as a disease threat relies on racist assumptions and results in harmful policies, for whom should s/he vote? “
    For the team that did the better impact analysis for their side. This is not an argument, you have just rephrased the same rhetorical question multiple times. Is the impact of disease reps worse than the impact of exclusion from Medicaid- if not then vote aff. Obviously if the neg were good, they would also call into question the affirmatives advantages as being constructions/epistemologically unsound. If they are so dumb that they don’t do that then odds are high the aff should be able to outweigh. You repeat the same basic question several times below with the “k of 1 adv but not the other” example but do not ever make an argument that assumes a decent debate has occurred. I will concede in that example where the neg sucks this model doesn’t work if you can explain how in a good debate your model would work.

    “Hunter Brooks’ conception of representational critiques as theory arguments makes the most sense to me here because this strikes me as a threshold question. Like topicality, this argument requires the judge to determine whether a certain threshold has been crossed that justifies rejecting the team regardless of the benefits of plan enactment. In short, were the representations of the affirmative egregious enough to pass this threshold and justify voting negative? If yes, vote neg. If no, vote aff (or continue on with an assessment of the desirability of plan enactment).”
    Again, presupposes terrible debate where 1 of 2 is indicted. It also makes reps a no cost option which is critiqued in the initial post, it also ignores the political/ideological costs associated with advocating for flawed views of the world.
    “Other implementations of “Reps K as VI” beg the question of framework. What is the debate about? What question is the judge tasked with answering? (See paragraph #4 above).”
    No, they EXPLICITLY answer the question what the debate should be about, as does plan focus. But they don’t do it through theory- like plan focus- which is always arbitrary and self serving. They do it through providing evidence that representations are important that the aff can counter with their own evidence about why they are less important than policy, why focusing on them is bad etc etc.
    “These are “no link” arguments, not impact comparisons. “
    At least when I judge, link magnitude is a relevant argument when comparing impacts. I think it falls under “probability”.

    “How does that—the undesirability of the affirmative’s visual metaphor—get weighed against the rest of the affirmative’s advocacy (their plan and their other reps).”
    I feel like I’m repeating myself here, the same way it would be if the link to occularcentrism was to the plan. Hopefully each team would make arguments about the relative strengths of the impacts in terms of their likelihood and magnitude, and then the judge would decide which was better. The aff could answer with arguments about uniqueness, empirics, and link magnitude which should be more than enough to beat occularcentrism.

    Furthermore, another never answered argument- plan focus makes these minute K’s of words WORSE because it divorces the plan from its context. So a team that read 7 mns about how blind people were oppressed and then had a plan that offered assistance to those “observed to be blind” would lose on the observe Pic with the net benefit being the aff hates blind people. Similar to this years “your plan to help people in poverty proves you hate them” pov word pic.

    “Why can’t the negative also securitize warming while criticizing visual metaphors? “
    This is analogous to an advantage CP, I don’t see why they couldn’t. I do see why the aff should probably object if they just assert that they can through theory(which I called fiat before but will not anymore for clarity). More on this in a response to dave.
    “This comes down to a question of *what is the negative advocacy?*. Is it the status quo? Is it *their* representations? “
    Representations K’s call into question the idea of the status quo- so obviously the neg is not defending a world about to get nuked due to a lack of hegemony. This problem “the neg alt is vague” has nothing to do with reps K’s- k’s of the plan are just as vague because many of them hold as a fundamental tenant a K of political blueprints. So just like vs regular K’s the aff can make an argument about why this vagueish alt is bad substantively (Tuathail, Taft-Kaufman etc) without needing recourse to theory.
    “If they have not taken a stance on whether warming should be securitized, why can’t they incorporate “we should securitize warming” into their advocacy? This reminds me of the “counterpermutation” concept that Bill Shanahan described in a lecture at DDI two summers ago… it seems to make sense in this situation. Thoughts?”
    I mean, I agree that this is a good tool for the negative in terms of cheating. In terms of fairness though I think the aff could make a good case about why it isn’t fair. It would be hard (I think) for the negative to extend evidence about why reps have XYZ effect, and then say that since they agree with heg, the affs heg reps have no effect. I don’t think any of the traditional reps cards would support such an assertion. The negative would have to argue that the 1AC could be divided up and K’ed in pieces, which runs contrary to the theoretical underpinnings of the rest of their arguments.

  41. David Heidt

    Ok, Layne (and maybe Scott) – I seek additional clarification.

    Is your argument that reps divorced from the plan are NOT advocacies? Layne, at least, you seem to be saying my second example is unreasonable because the depiction of an impact alone is insufficient (it has to be tied to an agenda for change).

    This maybe creates a middle ground – in that "contention 1" reps Ks wouldn't be relevant and the aff could sever them because it isn't necessarily a justification for the plan. But it seems to lend a lot of credibility to 'judge choice' – at least in certain circumstances.

    By this logic – if I read a security reps K and advanced an argument that said the aff doesn't solve hegemony – could the aff concede the solvency argument to say their security reps don't matter anymore and go for their environment advantage?

    I'm not sure about your position Scott, but Layne, your post seems to be the perfect justification for this move. After all – the 1ac security reps are no longer tied to the plan – by conceding the neg's argument.

  42. Layne Kirshon

    My B dave, I may have been a bit unclear

    My argument is not that reps divorced from an advocacy are irrelevant – if in a debate the 1NC is politics, a security K, and case and the aff advs are heg and warming, and the 2AC says environmental crisis reps good – mobilizes action to solve warming, you're right the neg could get up and read tickell 08 and be like oh em jee voting neg solves warming! If the aff is stupid they will lose. If the aff says the plan isn't happening in the sq and is the lynchpin then they won't. I am in no way saying that reps divorced from policy are irrelevant – in fact, im saying the opposite which is that language and "policy action" are in tandem with one another.

    Also, props to roy for insulting mullins. I still hate you, mullins.

  43. SP

    Dave,

    I think the warrant in most K evidence is that the plan and the reps are connected, not because of causality as we would say the advantages are connected to a plan in a “policy” debate, but because the representations/justifications lay bare certain assumptions, ideologies, and systems of thought that inform the 1AC. One thing the affirmative should do better is argue that the plan effects the reps as much as vice versa. In the case of eco disaster, the best impact cards say eco apocalypse reps cause authoritarian/anti democratic hoarding of environmental resources. If the affirmative uses disaster reps to argue in favor of a moderate conservation program, say cap and trade, and reads an advantage about economic democracy they should make the argument that while reps are certainly bad in some instances, in their particular instance the connection between disaster and authoritarianism has been short circuited. When argued effectively, it should be difficult for the neg to win the reps residually result in more authoritarianism than the plan results in democracy. So while I agree that in many debates the neg argument lacks sophistication and boils down to “reps divorced from plan come first”, I don’t think that argument is
    A. Supported by the evidence
    B. Logically tenable
    C. Difficult for the affirmative to defeat substantively instead of theoretically.

    If the affirmative can point out a valueable symbiotic relationship between their plan and their representations they should have a good hedge vs the neg trying to coopt them.

    Edit- I also think the negative usually tries to have their cake and eat it too- arguing that the aff reps o/w or come before the plan,and then using as an impact that the reps cause bad implementation/policy making. Thereby cutting the aff off from plan based offense while still winning plan based disadvantages. While this is obviously tricky/some brilliant cheating, it is also philosophically and logicaly incoherent.

  44. Pingback: The 3NR » Good “Policy Relevance” Card

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