Monthly Archives: May 2010

"Worst Case"

Many aff’s making security claims on the last two topics have responded to K’s with an argument along the lines of: we can’t ignore the worst case scenarios, to do so would cause disaster. Cards I would lump into this broad category are like that Macy SFP is backwards card, Fitzsimmons, most of the fear good cards like Sandman, a bunch of Krauthammer cards about terror/attacks on the US etc.

Most negatives respond to this by reading the monkeys throwing darts card, and maybe a Bleiker card about how prediction hurts agency with no impact. I don’t really think these cards are adequate.

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Kritik Concepts 1: Inevitability is a Link not a Turn

It seems no matter what kritik is run in this day and age, the affirmative responds with some kind of gripe about “inevitability”. Realism inevitable is probably the most well known, but it has recently been joined by capitalism, calculation, patriarchy and many other children in the “it’s inevitable” family. And for good reason- the inevitability question is often not responded to well by the negative, and provides the affirmative with both a strong uniqueness claim and an indict of the alternative.

Claims of inevitability, however, are not as powerful as they appear. In fact they are often the strongest/easiest to articulate link to whatever K you may be reading.

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Some thoughts on permutations

One thing that has annoyed me a lot recently is the proliferation of a million rapid fire permutations in the 2AC. These things work because oftentimes the other team won’t here them all, or the judge will allow the affirmative to clarify later in the 1AR/2AR what the 3 words said in the 2AC meant and how that avoids the net benefit. So I’ve put together some thoughts on how judges should evaluate permutations and how debaters should respond to them.

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Chain Reaction: The 1995 Barkley Forum Coaches Luncheon Keynote Speech

While doing some electronic housekeeping I came across a wonderful article from the December 1999 issue of the National Forensic League’s Rostrum magazine. A written version of the speech delivered by Jim Fleissner at the Barkley Forum Coaches Luncheon in 1995, it is a poignant and compelling affirmation of the value of high school policy debate and a testament to the importance of those who teach and coach it. With another season winding down, it is a good time to reflect on the amazing power of our activity to transform lives. The full text of Fleissner’s speech is below the fold.

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Necessary and Sufficient Conditions: Tips For Debating Causality

Central to almost every high school policy debate round is the concept of causality: one event is said to cause a second event, either good or bad. Debates are laden with the language of causality: “X is key to Y” is the most popular phrasing of taglines, as in “deficit spending is key to the economy” or “military readiness is key to hegemony”. But what does it mean for one thing to cause another? Philosophers have been discussing this very question for millenia and there is no easy answer, but the concept of necessary and sufficient conditions is one way to make sense out of claims of causality.

What is the difference between a necessary condition and a sufficient condition? And how can debaters use these concepts to improve their debating?

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