MalgorCast: Answering Reader Questions

Some thought he was dead. It turns out he just smells that way. Malcolm Gordon put down the Xbox and the Krispy Kreme box to join Scott Phillips for another MalgorCast. In this edition, the two sexiest men in the world* discuss some of the reader submitted questions, or more accurately, use some of the reader submitted questions as a pretext to talk about totally irrelevant things.

Topics covered** include:

  • How to impact turn a kritik effectively- dos and don’ts
  • The key to impact turn strategies like de-development
  • Why is the Obama good DA so dominant and the Obama bad disad almost non-existent?
  • How you should do impact analysis for K affs
  • How Malcolm doesn’t really understand the point of ethics arguments
  • Scholarship opportunities at UMKC

As always, you can download this episode directly or access it through iTunes.

* on this podcast
** topics not actually covered

30 thoughts on “MalgorCast: Answering Reader Questions

  1. Ellis

    I disagree with the impulse to skip defensive link arguments when your advantage links to a one-off team. Obviously, if you read a recruitment advantage, it’s stupid to be like no link, we don’t think countries are threats and neither do Kagan and O’Hanlon. But even if you can’t win a link takeout, it diminishes credibility of absurd impact claims that the neg loves—harder to win perpetual genocide and pillage when the link isn’t that coherent. Especially true when a lot of link evidence only relates to the aff’s terminal impact—if the aff says providing healthcare is key to boost US credibility that stops prolif, the prolif link about demonizing rogue states and supporting military interventions in Iran makes less sense. Aff can employ all this on the perm debate.

  2. Scott Phillips


    1. You seem to be discussing "no internal link" not "no link". It is true if the neg can never articulate a coherent link argument then no link is a good response, but that is not a good way to plan.

    2. Saying the plan is good does not justify non prolif reps. Spend your time on something more useful.

  3. Scott Phillips

    It may just be my own weird conceptualization, but I classify those as sort of "impact defense" arguments since they are about the probability of the impact. So if you are impact turning, you def. want to say "our cap doesn't uniquelly= genocide". I think you want to combine several things into one argument for that including
    -a card of defense (like O'kane or dickinson are 2 examples that spring to mind)

    No 2- you said if the plan gives healthcare, that doesn't mean it demonizes Iran. I am saying, since the link is to the prolif impact card, not the plan, pointing out the plan is nice to people/doesn't demonize rogue states isn't that helpful. So you should spend your time winning
    -prolif reps good
    -plan focus good

  4. Ellis

    So basically your complaint is that most no link arguments are either:
    A) Unwinnable
    B) A distraction from prior issues (namely, plan focus and impact d) you need to win for the link defense to get you anywhere

  5. Ellis

    Sure, but then what do you recommend the hedge against grandiose associations between giving poor people mailboxes and dumping incendiaries on villagers? Would just a no impact, we won’t dump on villagers suffice, or is there another way to cut off the connection between mailboxes and amorphous violence that the neg describes? I also don’t know what #2 meant

  6. malgor

    you are talking about no internal link arguments, not no link arguments.

    no link = we don’t securitize.

    no internal link = we don’t securitize enough to cause zphc.

    when you say this:

    “But even if you can’t win a link takeout, it diminishes credibility of absurd impact claims that the neg loves—harder to win perpetual genocide and pillage when the link isn’t that coherent. ”

    that is a no internal link argument-we don’t link in a way that gets from link to impact.

    hope that clears things up.

  7. Alex Zavell

    Im interested what you think about the relationship between the Copenhagen school’s theory of security as a speech act, which says the acceptance of an issue by the audience as actually constituting an existential threat is a prerequisite to a discourse of security gaining salience, and the argument that, even if the neg wins the security framing of the a 1ac advantage is bad, a non-security based advantage for voting aff means the judge can reject the security framing of one advantage and still vote aff for the other.

    To clarify and provide and example, The aff would articulate this argument by saying something along the lines of:

    Their K disproves the validity of our construction of immigration as a security threat. The theory of securitization says that in order for the discourse of security to have any real world affect, the target audience must accept the speakers attempt to elevate an issue to that of an existential threat. Therefore, when we concede their arguments that the way represent immigration is constructed and not grounded in reality, the judge does not grant legitimacy to our argument. Because the security discourse of the 1ac has been denied salience, it is unable to result in mobilization in favor of violence or legitimation of using extra normal means. Therefore, they no longer have an internal link to their impacts of violence in the name of security and the non security benefit our plan provides of giving immigrants health care which reduces their suffering (etc.) outweighs.

    The benefit I see to this articulation over just saying “they dont have a link to our other advantage” is it precludes the neg from weighing the impact of the security speech act against the other advantage.

    It is distinct from judge choice because it doesn’t require the judge to make arbitrary decisions to sever parts of the affs discourse; rather, it is a strategic concession by the aff.

    Related questions: 1. are most debate neg security K authors considered in the Copenhagen school? (I know the Welsh school also gets used, but that seems to be more pos. peace type stuff than the typical neg K of threat con)

    2. are there versions of security Ks that the argument i made above is explicitly not responsive to?

  8. Casey Harrigan

    At risk of starting another immensely consuming discussion…


    That is Judge Choice.

    JC is an argument made by the Aff. It is a "strategic concession" — in the sense that the Aff agrees with parts of what the Neg said but says that it, overall, is not a reason to reject the Aff. Maybe the name threw you, but JC is not something that the judge just up-and-decides to do. Its an argument advanced by the Aff about what the criteria for the ballot should be.

  9. Bill Batterman

    @Layne Kirshon

    The neg's advocacy is the status quo. Voting negative for the status quo does not require endorsing apocalyptic representations of the economy. If (a) passing the plan prevents the passage of health care reform and (b) the benefits of health care reform outweigh the benefits of the plan, the judge should vote negative. In your hypothetical, the aff has demonstrated that apocalyptic representations of the economy are undesirable, not that the plan is superior to the status quo. If the negative wins an impact to their DA that is not indicted by Coviello but that nonetheless outweighs the case, the judge should vote negative because the status quo is superior to the plan.

    That's how I would explain it, at least.

  10. Scott Phillips


    Certainly not all "security K" authors are members of the Copenhagen School, in fact prob a very small number are. While "securitization" was closely associated with COPRI in the 80's and 90's, nowadays many academics use the term to apply more broadly to a variety of critiques of security.

    As to your question about the role of the judge, while it is a mainstay that the concept of security is inter subjective, if I was negative and the aff made that as their response I would probably say that the judge is certainly not the only audience member, nor is the affirmative exclusively a "speaker" of security rhetoric. Their process of writing and speaking the 1AC involves them playing many roles and trying to reach many audiences.

    The more postmodern/postructural you get, the less arguments like this become responsive.

  11. Layne Kirshon

    maybe a discussion about judge choice on the neg is in order and how it differs from on the aff i.e. neg reads a HC ptx DA with an econ impact – if the 2AC reads coviello, considering there’s not a plan the neg can “sever”, how does the neg deploying judge choice differ from the aff deploying it.

  12. Pingback: The 3NR » Podcast Episode 11: You Asked, We Answered

  13. Robert

    FYI: Obama bad disads are still run and run well –
    WY GH ran DADT bad at Harvard and won a few prelims and an out round on it
    Lex won an out round at UGA on it

  14. malgor


    whether or not there is a way for the neg to kick the DA is the more relevant question to me. If there is no defensive argument then you should think of the reps K similar to how you'd think of a parallel impact turn.

    if there is a defensive arg like no link or no internal link, then you can kick the DA and say it's no longer part of the neg's advocacy. much easier to win your args above in that scenario then one where there is only a reps K on the disad.

  15. Brian Kersch

    Zavell, the problem I have with your characterization is that it's "because they have proven that our impacts aren't true, they no longer get an internal link to an impact." It seems disingenuous to say that because security representations are false that they therefore can't mobilize violence. That actually (empirically, see: Iraq and WMDs) is the opposite of true. At best the argument is "they've already K'd our reps in this round, and that should be enough to solve. Vote aff because there's no reason not-to. The neg's pointing out of our flawed-reps is enough to solve regardless of who gets the ballot."

    Edit: I want to clarify the Iraq point more. I feel (or rather, am pre-empting) your reponse will be "The American public would never have supported the war if it had come out prior to the war that they didn't have WMDs". I still feel as if this proves, what I would call "the debate fallacy." That the aff can claim fiated impacts, et al, but reps links have only "existed" for 20ish minutes by the time then 2ac is through. We learned *during* the Iraq war that Iraq, pretty clearly, didn't have WMDs (I'm not counting the 2 warheads that we gave them that were degraded.) and yet the damage had already been done, and the war continued. That's how I feel the debate *should* play out. Your representations have longer-lasting effects than "but we only believed them for 8[9] minutes!"

  16. Alex Zavell

    with your logic; why is it not “disingenuous” whenever the aff kicks any advantage?

  17. Brian Kersch

    Because the negative didn’t make a no internal link claim to *their* impact. Look dude, it’s as if I read De-dev and econ decline doesn’t equal war. The aff can’t kick it by conceding econ decline doesn’t equal war. They’re answering a different internal link than they are impact turning. Your war won’t take place is distinct from creating scares of war bad. Creating scares of war is irrelevant to the question of whether that war would ever happen.

  18. Rajesh Inder Jegadee

    @Kersch + Pimp Alex

    I'm undecided on the whole judge choice good/bad debate, but I feel like a better analogy would be–

    AFF — CTBT advantages — Iraq Withdrawal Good, Heg

    Neg–CP–Ban Iraq Withdrawal,
    IW Bad

    AFF — Perm Ban Iraq Withdrawal, vote for our AFF because of Heg

    Neg "But we said Iraq Withdrawal was bad and in your 1AC you said it was good"
    AFF "True, but your CP (K alt) is not mutually exclusive with our aff. It's possible to say both heg good, our aff good and iraq withdrawal should not happen"


  19. Bill Batterman

    @Rajesh Inder Jegadeesh

    The neg would really say "Our CP was conditional and we're not going for it, but you dropped our Iraq Withdrawal Bad turns—extend them, they outweigh the heg advantage."

    Which is why conditionality is lamesauce or teh awesome, depending on your point of view.

  20. miles

    rajesh – that example presupposes that the aff only has to defend the plan / the plan is the only important aspect – the reps K obviously calls that into question because the kritik is about your world-view not an 8 word plan – so while yes, the K is not mutually exclusive with the plan, the neg never says it is bc it thinks competition is not based on only the plan

  21. Alex Zavell


    my argument is that they did make a no internal link claim when they said that what the aff represents is not real/constructed

    if one accepts this argument as true (i.e. aff concession), the theory of security as a speech act says that these representations no longer hold the power to legitimate any sort of violence. So essentially, it is not severance because the aff doesn't say that what they said in the 1ac goes away. Instead, the aff says that by accepting the negs claim that their impact is constructed, the discourse of terrorism (or whatever is being criticized) no longer has the potential to result in/ legitimate violence and therefore the other advantages the aff solves outweighs.

    The logic of this extends from critical security literature that claims that the designation of something as a security threat is more than just a neutral description of the world, but rather an action in an of itself that has the power to legitimate certain solutions. This literature base claims that in order for references to threats to constitute salient actions that actually affect the way the problem is responded to, (i.e. the conditions necessary for there to be an impact) the threat needs to be accepted as true by the audience.

    This cannot be thought of in the context of dedev and normal internal link takeouts because the K itself doesn't function in that fashion and deals with things unrelated to "necessary" effects of the plan like a DA argues. An advantage makes the claim the plan necessarily results in preventing econ decline, therefore if the neg impact turns, without saying the aff doesnt solve the econ, the aff cannot divorce econ collapse from what its effects. In the context of the K, the negs argument is essentially impact turning "accepting their view of X as constituting a threat" by arguing that if one sees others as threating their existence, they can do violence in the name of preventing it. My argument is that when the neg goes beyond just saying "accepting the 1acs view of X leads to violence" and they include the claim "the aff is wrong about what they say," (i.e. your shits just constructed) they are introducing a claim, that if conceded by the aff, interrupts the potential of the 1ac to actually justify violence.

    The only problem people seem to have is the legitimacy of making this argument given the "severance" objection. I think I have been pretty clear why this is not, in fact, severance.

    It seems to me that no one has contested my claim that: if the aff acknowledges that they were wrong, the neg no longer has an impact. I think that contesting this part of my argument makes more sense claiming that it is severance, so I would like to hear arguments why what I have said doesn't actually make the negs impact go away. (I feel like I can be persuaded on this issue, I just would like to know how one would make it)

    edit: it seems i missed Kersch's edit to his post where he tried to make this argument.
    In response:
    I dont really know what the impact to "scare of war bad" is, if the same person who tries to scare people acknowledges that they were wrong about war really being bad, besides the impact of them looking like a jackass . I dont see how anyone would ever be convinced that torture(/whatever the K impact is) would be a legitimate thing to do to prevent a war if it was conceded that the war isn't bad or wouldn't happen.

    To respond to your Iraq example: this assumes that the judge votes to do the plan/endorse the 1acs reps immediately after the 1ac and then decides if they should repeal that action or not based on what the neg says. This is clearly a bad model for debate. You should assume the entire debate is the deliberation leading up to the an endorsement or rejection of the proposed actions/justifications. A more appropriate use of the example would be: If Bush had acknowledged critics argument that the Bio Weapons program was not real during the deliberation leading up to the decision to invade or not, would people have still supported it?

  22. miles

    @ alex -i didn't have time to read your whole post but in quick resposne to what you said at the bottom
    "assumes that the judge votes to do the plan/endorse the 1acs reps immediately after the 1ac and then decides if they should repeal that action or not based on what the neg says. This is clearly a bad model for debate. "

    do you think that this means that the aff can sever reps in the context of a perm?

  23. Brian Kersch

    That would actually seem to be the necessary case for what Alex says is true to be true. If it's only then *end* of the round that determines what 1ac the judge is voting for severing reps *is* justified.

    Also – Alex that is part of what I also pre-empted that I think is a flaw of debate altogether. Even if Bush acknowledged Iraq's lack of a bioweapons program the representations had already been made and already affected (effected?) the media, and specifically, the right wing hawks. If Bush looked "weak" on Iraq after already coming out with such violent representations there would A) be MAJOR backlash against Bush and B) Probably be no change to what happened because of the perception of the public and the main members of Bush's cabinet.

  24. anonymous

    Your example doesn't apply.. the only people in the room are the judge and your opponents. The affirmative can take the securitization reps back safely in the instance of a debate round.

    Although, if you have people watching in the back of the room the negative may be able to win a runaway scenario..

  25. Alex Zavell

    I don’t think “taking it back” describes my position exactly…

    Here is some ev that I think supports my position that conceding that a threat is constructed undermines the speech acts impact/ability to mobilize violence (i didnt include full paragraphs because i cant underline and didnt want to post too mucg text):

    “We may begin with the stipulation that when talking of performatives, we assume that they are actions, i.e. a specific ‘bringing about that p’, where the value of ‘p’ indicates the new end-state to be achieved as a result of the discursive action.19 Communication is successful, from this point of view at least, to the extent that the speaker and the hearer attain a mutual knowledge that prompts the receiver to do something. The main implication is that the hearer and speaker are engaged in responsive activity within a dynamic situation. Thus, the power involved in communication is relational, rather than being merely substantial or ‘self-actional’ (Emirbayer, 1997). Indeed, to study securitization is to unravel the process by which a securitizing actor induces an audience to agree with a given interpretation of an event or a set of events.”

    more ev:

    “The fact is, to move an audience’s attention toward an event or a development construed as dangerous, the words of the securitizing actor need to resonate with the context within which his/her actions are collocated. With this awareness of the limits of an internalist position, I would like to advance a second, externalist approach to connecting security utterances to a context.
    While the CS insists that the concept of security modifies the context by virtue of a successful application of the constitutive rules of a speech act (illocutionary act), I suggest, on the contrary, that to win an audience, security statements must, usually, be related to an external reality (see Grace, 1987: 48-9). Hence success, that is, the possibility of marshalling the assent of an audience (perlocutionary effect), rests with whether the historical conjuncture renders the audience more sensitive to its vulnerability. If so, the alarming discourse put on the ‘marketplace of ideas’ by the elites would elicit the required conduct from the masses (Snyder and Ballentine, 1996; Kaufman, 1996). This means that the success of securitization is contingent upon a perceptive environment. Therefore, the positive outcome of securitization, whether it be strong or weak, lies with the securitizing actor’s choice of determining the appropriate times within which the recognition, including the integration of the ‘imprinting’ object – a threat – by the masses is facilitated.15 This tends to subscribe, moreover, to the view that the public would accept the description of threats deployed by elites, and securitization will successfully take place, if the times are critical enough.
    Therefore the meaning of security derives from the mutual recognition of the content of the threatening object that is symbolically referred to. The configuration of securitization evolves within a symbolic context of forces that define what a conceptual event (security) is for an audience, and when the use of that concept resonates with the context in order to increase or win the support for the enunciator’s policy. To the extent that this interpretation makes sense, it would seem to follow that the challenge of a securitizing agent would be to convince the audience (e.g. a nation) to recognize the nature of a symbolic referent subject. Hence, we arrive at the assumption that securitization is audience-centered.”

    Clearly this evidence doesn’t directly support “taking it back” but it does seem to support the claim that a speaker conceding that the threat isn’t real would undermine the ability of the speech act to resonate with the audience and justify the mobilization of violence (because the issue would no longer be perceived as so dire that stuff like torture could be justified).

  26. Alex Zavell

    @ kersch: if you are right that the articulation of security reps is irreversible, then there is no way your alt can solve because people (like the authors the aff quotes/government officials) have already constructed the threat prior to the 1ac. (and by extension, the presentation of the alt occurred after the 1ac, so, using your logic, it wouldnt even be able to solve the instance of the 1ac’s reps)

    Note: I don’t agree with this logic, but I am just pointing out what accepting it would mean for the K.

  27. Brian Kersch

    I'm only answering the second post, didn't want to read the ev, might do that at a later date.

    Correct, to a certain extent, which is why I think floating PIKs are (bad for debate) flawed in their ability to "do the aff without its reps". This is why an alternative is more than a discursive apprehension of what the affirmative *said*. I've never seen an alternative that claims to fix the speech act, but rather it would attempt to fix the system in a way that responds to that speech act non-violently.

    Don't get me wrong, I think that's VERY clearly permutation solvency. I don't think the security K is the end-all-be-all of debate arguments, much less the K overall. Of course the negative will be able to articulate a link as a solvency deficit to the permutation which is why the alt alone is better. But I don't really see many disursive alternatives. Even the Der Derian alternative problematizes realism as the international security model because "language is a prisonhouse".

    EDIT: @anonymous, if you're right that we can "safely take our reps back" because it's "just the judge and the debaters" then I will win on "vote negative on presumption. The judge has no power to change or enact law. Voting aff is meaningless."

Comments are closed.