Answering some reader Q's

I have been a little lax responding to email related to some recent posts, so I will attempt to knock them all out right now.
A series of questions about beginning of the year prep
1. What do you mean by using “sophisticated theory arguments” “buttressed by definitional support” to portray the perms as illegitimate? If you were to utilize this in a debate, would you define words from the resolution, and say how the perm violates them – the perm doesn’t have to be topical though, right? Assuming this, would you frame it more like this: perm do both (say, on privatization) violates “united states” in the resolution, we’re not saying that the perm has to be topical, we’re merely saying that if the aff is allowed to violate its, the neg loses all ground for actor cps including international actors and then proceed to defend theory standards?
A few issues. Do perms have to be topical- I think the most reasonable argument is that perms can be extra topical but not entirely non topical. So if the neg reads a CP to give food aid, you can do the plan and food aid (feed africa), you can’t just do the CP because that perm includes no topical action/is severance. Similarly, if the CP bans/diminishes some aspect of the space program that conflicts with your case, using T evidence to prove the permutation cannot increase is a reasonable strategy (imo). So the point of reading this ev is not to read a T violation versus the perm per se, but to prove that the CP is legitimate negative ground/the aff should not get to make severance perms that no longer defend topical action.
So in the privatization example, you could define various words to prove that topical action requires the USFG to “own” the space explor/develop and that any perm that solves the net benefit would sever this ownership. So even if the plan doesn’t say “US owns” your definitions support that argument.
In the grand scheme of things, do you “need” this evidence? No, certainly not. You can get away with running a cheating CP without it for sure. However, when you debate an evenly matched team who is less likely to roll over and play dead, its these small tips at the margins that truly pay dividends. Having this kind of T evidence will make your strategy seem better researched, and more related to the topic. Which in addition to you winning the substance of your argument, makes judges more likely to WANT to vote for your abusive nonsense (because it makes it appear less like abusive nonsense)
2. When you say that you should come up with “reasons the cp alters traditional solvency calculations”, how should we articulate this to the judge?
For example, would the following scenario work?
1ac – US colonize
1nc – china cp
2ac – only US has resources necessary and only US infrastructure can deploy those resources effectively, china sucks at space stuff
2nc – AT: solvency deficit –
1. china is better than the US – blah warrants
2. even if they’re not better, they’re at least equal – there’s no clear differential between the 2 space programs that is supported by evidence
3. disregard their solvency deficits – their conception of china as inferior/bad is based on a realist epistemology which obscures actual chinese intentions (read pan or security link)
This is actually a decent example- reading a K of “US key warrants” is an excellent negative strategy in the block since it is very hard for the aff to generate new offense (straight turn) this in the 1AR, making it a low risk option. Another example might be if you had a plank in the CP that ramped up the Chinese space program and then read evidence that said “the Chinese program fails now due to lack of support, new levels of support fix all the problems” then you would say “aff evidence assumes underfunded chinese efforts, the CP fiats a sea change in Chinese policy that their authors don’t assume, in that instance you should presume negative on CP solvency” etc. Another example might be if the CP had multiple planks that addressed the same advantage, say asteroid defense. If the CP did 4 or 5 things to be ready for an asteroid, even if each of them alone was inferior compared to the plan, the combination of all of them may be equal to/superior to the aff solvency. So you may want to make an argument along the lines of “combined solvency of the planks results in no deficit even though each plank alone would be inadequate.”
3. How exactly do you articulate that the da impact outweighs the solvency deficit? Would it be like the following?
1ac – sps
1nc – econ, privatization cp
2ac – solvency deficit for sps in general, solvency deficit for heg
2nc – the da impact economic collapse outweighs the solvency deficit –
1. economic collapse turns solvency – no sps possible if we don’t have money, so extinction from economic collapse happens first
2. even if fiat solves that, economic collapse kills the timeframe of deploying sps – normal means of gathering money for the plan after economic collapse would be slow, so extinction would happen before the plan could solve the advantages
3. even if the timeframe for funding is fast enough, economic collapse creates political and social instability which destroys the effectiveness of the institutions they use to implement their plan, i.e. private charter or nasa – they can’t solve
4. even if they can solve, economic collapse turns heg – a bad economy kills our global credibility
5. even if their heg evidence is space specific, economic collapse outweighs heg – our impact will happen faster than they can solve heg – sps would take a while to demonstrate, deploy, and increase hegemony but the funding for the plan is instant (instantaneous fiat)
I think these arguments are for sure on the right track, though I am assuming you have truncated the explanation for the sake of brevity here.
I would combine these with a total assessment of arguments in the round, so something like
The disad o/w the solvency deficit because
(prob of disad)(prob disad turns the case)> (prob of case impact) where prob of case impact is decided by (impact of case) (percent solvency deficit) (case defense)
The idea is that any CP you are choosing to go for should solve a higher % of the case then say 50, and any disad you are going for should have a risk higher than 50%, so the calculation should always be in your favor (or you should be going for aspec). The arguments you explained above would work equally well WITHOUT a CP- so since you have a CP your explanation/analysis should change to account for the CP as well.
About offense/defense
A bunch of questions were just like “duh reasonability is sweet”.
I agree. Reasonability is awesome. The problem is reasonability, like offense/defense, only makes sense in certain instances.
Lets start by making sure we are on the same page about what reasonability is. It’s not the judge looking at the debate and randomly deciding “yep, reasonable”. Reasonability is the idea that if you argument is good enough, but not the best, that its sufficient. So if you are defending conditionality and you win the affirmative still has a decent amount of ground, you win even though no conditionality would provide them with better ground. There are a few possible justifications for this
1. Substance tradeoff- extreme offense/defense in theory encourages people to go for theory and not debate/research the topic. A good example of this would be teams who only go for topicality on the negative instead of researching case strategies.
2. Self Serving/Arbitrary bad – usually the difference between a “reasonable” interpretation and “the best” is that the best is slightly better for the side advocating it- slightly more limiting for example. The team arguing this will always say their side is better for them, so this differential could be ignored as biased.
I’m unsure how this argument/principle applies to instances like the examples in the article where a risk of solvency deficit has to be assessed vs a risk of a disad(especially when the risks are low). There are obviously alternative rationals for reasonability (one reader suggested combining it with Rescher style impact fw evidence). If someone has an explanation, please post in comments.
Reasonability as a concept makes an increasing amount of sense as the arguments made by your opponent become more and more unreasonable. When two teams are making reasonable arguments, reasonability becomes more difficult to use as a guide for making a decision. So the spectrum might look like
Unreasonable arguments                                                                                  Reasonable args
Reasonability best                                                                                    competing interpretations best
The time where there should be a debate over which is better is when you approach the middle, at the extremes you should not need to win the framing issue because doing so accomplishes less than spending that time winning the issues would.
Questions about kids today
What is the point of structure? Shouldn’t your tags make things clear enough?
Yes, your tags SHOULD make things clear. The problem is they don’t. In fact, in order to translate your email into English took about 20 minutes so I’m guessing your tag writing could use some work. Here is the deal with structure, its related to reasonability. Your structure should be explicit enough that a reasonable person can follow along/figure out your arguments. The more complex your arguments, the more explicit your structure needs to be. The more simple/familiar your arguments are the less you need structure. Debating conditionality you don’t need numbers if you have clear argument tags like “real world” ” best policy option” etc. Judges know these arguments well. Debating a new theory issue where conventions haven’t emerged structure becomes important to tell the judge where one argument ended and a new argument began. It also relates to making an argument without a card- if your arguments are less than 10 words, no amount of structure can save you because even read conversationally your arguments are too short for judges to keep up.
This brings me to another thing that grinds my gears. When you are fast, some people think you should slow down on theory arguments. I disagree- I think you should ADD more explanation to your arguments. So here is what I mean
Slow debater
Real world: policy makers regularly jettison ideas and advocate new ones, conditionality prepares us to debate in the real world
Moderately fast debater
Real world: Policy makers regularly jettison ideas in favor of new, better ideas, and they do so in response to the arguments of their opponents- artificially limiting the negative to one set of issues creates a bad model of advocacy and won’t prepare us for actual real life debates
Fast debater
Real world: advocates are attacked from the left and the right, in debate there is only one negative, conditionality is essential to simulate real world debates by allowing us to advance both, often contradictory positions. This is key to train ourselves to be better advocates, and to find the best ideas- the affirmative should have to defend the middle vs attacks from both extremes.
Use your speed to develop and expand your arguments, don’t just slow down and read a stupid block with no explanation.
Which brings me to another point- if your opponents have to read over your shoulder to follow along, you are being unclear. This occurs more in LD where the jumping of speeches/viewing computer thing is less common prior to a speech, but in policy there are other signs that you are being unclear. This irks me as someone who was a fast debater, when people see a debate today and say “blah blah blah how do you understand that” it is getting harder and harder to explain why because often times I just can’t. Back in the day when a judge told someone to be clear they usually both slowed down and tried to enunciate better. Today they usually just talk louder. Someone saying you are unclear is not a personal insult, nor should it be taken as one. It is in YOUR best interest to convey your points clearly to all interested parties, that this has to be written is an atrocity. That a judge took the time to say clear when they could just as easily have ignored all your arguments (and been well within their rights) and voted against you is a courtesy plain and simple. When someone is courteous, you should respond in kind.
Moving on to the last question of the day, it was pretty long so I truncated it severely
Blah blah blah the neg reads 1 off how do I fill the 2AC
Being unable to fill the 2AC vs a 1 off K usually is a result of a lack of planning. Given the widespread availability of K answer files now on the internet its not a problem of finding the evidence, its a problem of preparing it. Lets say you are debating the classic cap K after you read a space exploration case. Usually a 1 off cap team will make all of the following arguments (at a minimum)
-3 or more link arguments
-some sort of hoop like epistemology/ontology for you to jump through
-an arbitrary framework
-a value to life impact (and or an “ethics” impact)
-an extinction impact-probably a laundry list card about the environment/resource wars etc
-a root cause/turns the case impact
-a “rev coming” uniqueness card
-a dumb alternative that alleges to collapse global capitalism
I will stop the list there because that is 8 things and it makes this math look much neater. If you are well prepared, you should have at least 1 minute of things to say to each of those arguments. So 1 minute on each of those equals…. wait for it…. 8 minutes.
So what does 1 minute on any of these look like? Lets look at a few examples, but the basic formula should be 2 or more witty analytics and 2 or more pieces of evidence (which would be 4 arguments/minute or 15 seconds per argument (which I will admit is pushing it/requires great efficiency to do correctly))
Vs value 2 life
-analytic about why this impact is dumb/can’t be weighed (see previous K challenge flag post for more depth here)
-card on why its dumb/extinction comes first
-card on why cap preserves value to life
Thats probably it for that one
Vs Alternative
-theory argument about its absurd nature
-card that we need a blueprint/people will resist
-card on why human nature makes capitalism inevitable
-analytic about why its emp failed to work
Now when you get to the 1AR, you won’t extend every argument from any of these 2AC groups, you will pick and chose maybe 1 from each group (sometimes none) and expand on it. That means in addition to the ev/arguments needed to fill up 2AC time (1 minute) you should also have prepared enough extensions to fill up 1-2 minutes of additional 1AR time.
I can’t get this comment to post in response to your comment, so here is my reply-

There could be many reasons given why solvency mitigation is more meaningful/important than impact defense, but I am unsure of any that would be related to the offense defense paradigm itself. I think a compelling case can be made that certain solvency arguments come closer to absolute defense than impact mitigation given the grandiose/unqualified claims made by affirmative solvency evidence vs impact authors. So to take your warming example

-many qualified experts agree warming is occurring and is anthropogenic
-a smaller subset of qualified authors think it causes extinction in the debate sense

-a  few somewhat qualified authors think SPS could work/is feasible
-few, if any, think the plan text of the affirmative uses SPS to solve warming in the short term

So when doing impact calculus I would make an argument along the lines of an epistemology claim “Discount the affirmative advantage severely- though our defense isn’t absolute in the sense that they have contested it, the evidence/authors they use for solvency are unqualified/don’t assume the affirmative plan text- this means you should prefer our evidence. Even if this defense isn’t absolute, it should be treated as very close to absolute- this means even if they win econ decline doesn’t cause war defense the relative risk of the disad is still much much higher than the case”

In a probability sense, I’m not exactly sure how to explain the difference between reduced solvency and reduced impact. So if warming is likely to cause extinction, but they are unlikely to solve it, unless they make some sort of Schell esque infinite risk argument, the risk should still be pretty low. That is why I arbitrarily made extinction 100 in the math in the original post, to convey this idea visually 100 is a small enough number that multiplying it by a small risk will make it appear very small.

3 thoughts on “Answering some reader Q's

  1. yxu

    I thought your point about indicting the epistemology/methodology of the aff's authors was an interesting way to undercut solvency claims. Is there utility in deploying a similar type of argument to support presumption when defending the status quo? An articulation of this argument might be:

    a) Empiricism as a methodology flips neg – the aff's internal links might be empirically sound (i.e. carbon dioxide emissions cause warming) but their solvency and impact claims (i.e. SPS solves warming and warming leads to extinction) are impossible to defend historically because there's never been a large-scale, sustained governmental effort to implement SPS, especially in the context of "solving warming," and the KT extinction was definitely not caused by anthropogenic climate change. Their authors use 90% theory (previous studies for analogous policies, war games for military affs) and perhaps 10% test cases to support claims like "SPS can generate x amt of energy and that induces a complete transition away from fossil fuel consumption" – therefore, their solvency and impact claims are highly suspect.

    b) The status quo is stable absent the aff's "try or die" claims, which are probably weakly supported by massive, contrived internal link chains of authors advocating a conglomeration of ideas, none of which independently equate to "extinction's inevitable."

    Is there a more persuasive/strategic (and more efficient) way for the negative to point out and impact the disconnect between "the plan is a good idea" and "the plan prevents extinction"? And, do you think investing in these types of arguments is cost-beneficial if judges are collectively reluctant to accept them as absolute impact/internal link defense?

    1. Scottyp4313nr

      I think your argument is good,but I'm not sure investing that much time in a warrant for presumption is a better idea than spending that time winning a bigger risk of your disad. I think when the aff has outlandish extinction claims/solvency issues you should address them frankly in the manner of "this internal link is absurd" and maybe at most read 1 reasonable card explaining why. I would then reference such points when discussing probability in your impact calc part of speech.

  2. keysalemass913

    The use of the word "SHOULD" in this post justified an ontological genocide against the tenses, a flaw into the collective English fabric and framework. My invisible partner and I advocate the entirety of this post without should – the ontological damnation literally turns the 3NR.

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