Category Archives: Throwdown

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.

Continue reading

Throwdown- Pics Bad

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

This post will be in more 1AR form than nuanced explanation.

Extend our offense- pics artificially inflate bad disads by creating any risk of a link analysis which skews research and pre round prep focus. We’ll defend the whole plan, but forcing us to defend isolated parts in a vacuum is unpredictable and doesn’t reflect real world literature. There is no logical limit to pics- they can change the scope or implementation of the plan in unpredictable ways.

AT: Fix your plan

-no plan is immune to pics, you can’t just “fix” it. Fixing involves making the plan as vague as possible like “provide water africa” a la the hooch 2 years ago that are bad for education.

AT: You were just defending consult

-This is a blog about switch side debate.

AT: Who runs these 1 penny counterplans

-Lots of people run CP’s like grandfather 10% of the permits that the aff is never prepared for, they have solvency advocates and people win on them.

AT: Solvency Advocates check

-Empirically denied- judges are unwilling to firmly hold the neg to this standard- just having a link card is usually good enough. Proliferation of internet blogs (and law review footnotes) allow cards to be found for anything

AT:If solvency advocates exist and net benefits exist, then maybe it’s a real question in the literature.

-“real question” does not equal- far and good for debate. There are lots of “real questions” like how are we going to pay for this that in debate we chose to ignore

AT:The counterplan tests whether the Aff would be a better idea if done slightly differently

-If your disad is not enough to outweigh the case, it sucks. Why should we give the neg a mechanism to make crappy arguments round winners? Sounds a lot like you are defending a K JC…

AT:The damage to the 2AC strategy is done? What strategy are you talking about?

-a good 2ac will not read offense solved by the pic because that would be a waste of time, if the negative then has the CP go away due to theory the aff is left without some of their best arguments

AT:Reciprocal – they inflate the solvency deficit to the same degree. If you can’t win that this outweighs the disad it means either the CP isn’t competitive or you deserve to lose.

-This is false- its easier to construe a net benefit with an impact “including roy in the HC provided by the plan is unpopular” then it is to win a solvency deficit “providing for roy is key to solve”.

AT:A strong 1NC barrage of defensive case arguments and DAs that turn the case accomplishes the same effect

-Yes it does, it takes 10X as much time as reading a 1 sentence cp text which makes it different

AT:This argument also justifies banning all CPs because they force you to make certain solvency deficit arguments and not others

-False, you can use your whole plan as offense against non plan inclusive cps

AT: This neg ability to focus on a specific part of the plan is justified by the aff ability to set the focus of the entire debate

-It does not logically follow that because the aff picked X the neg gets to pick a subset of X-this is a claim without a warrant

AT: See above – aff gets to choose their side in almost every PIC debate. “penny saved” counterplans aren’t viable because the neg can’t win that the DA outweighs the solvency deficit

-This is empirically denied- gfather example above, font pics, word pics, exclude a state, exclude a sub group like natives the list goes on an on

AT: Roy’s counterplans are stupid for reasons other than that they’re PICs, they’re either only textually or not competitive. This logic is the equivalent of banning DAs because you think politics is stupid

– you are hinting at some standard for competition that “only allows the good ones” but you conveniently leave it out because it doesn’t exist. This is the classic problem with PICS, one out of 100 is good/fair/the center of the debate about that aff- the rest are nonsense.

AT: “Using a different mechanism” is the same as a PIC+an additional plank

-No-  USFG do cap and trade vs Japan inject iron oxide into oceans. I think you are trying to say “including the agent makes it a pic” which I think is arguable- it includes none of the plan ACTION. I don’t think if a cp that has a different agent doing a different action includes 1 word or 1 letter or is in the same font as the plan that makes it a pic.

AT: the alternative energy PIC is an example of a “different mechanism” CP.

-Its the exact same mechanism, it just uses a different name


Running the net-benefit without the CP is overly constraining – proving that the plan is sub-optimal and that a viable, competitive alternative exists negates the aff. To answer this statement you’d have to argue neg fiat bad, and that (or even just no PICs) would regress us to 1960s, Greg Varley era debate where the aff always wins.

-It “overly constrains” bad arguments with low probabilities, true. PICS bad does not logically rely on no neg fiat, you have no warrant for that claim.


(to use a real world analogy, the argument that the fact that the plan is an improvement over the SQ is a sufficient reason to merit adoption would hold no water. see the health care debate – rational policymakers don’t adopt policies if better alternatives that are smaller than the plan exist. If the public option PIC succeeds, Obama loses.)

-Yes look at the real world- these kind of minor counter proposals suck and guarantee nothing ever gets done. But more importantly there are constraints in debate like the topic and time which make this model a bad one to import.

Throwdown- Pics Bad

As per request, the next throwdown will be on pics bad. There can be a lot more nuance to this than consult I think- whether agent CP’s are pics, pics that compete off the text (word pics) vs the implementation (exclude native americans) etc. I will try and keep this as broad as reasonably possible.

So here is a quick pics bad 2AC, post comments defending pics or attacking these args for the throwdown

PICS are illegitimate
A, They artificially inflate the worth of bad disads by creating any risk of a link analysis
B, They steal aff ground – they change the way we debate every argument by effecting which parts of the plan we can leverage as offense
C, Not predictable- they create an infinite regress to a penny saved is a penny earned style of arguments
D, alternatives solves- they can run the net benefit as a disad or use a different mechanism

This is a voting issue- the damage to 2AC strategy is done, rejecting the argument creates a perverse incentive for them to abuse us

Consultation Throwdown

First I want to say that most of these debates revolve around absurd hyperbole. Consulting NATO over whether or not we should give the homeless mailboxes is clearly not what was intended when the NATO charter was drafted. However, that this was not intended does not deny the fact that NATO and other international actors do in certain circumstances expect (and have a legal basis for doing so) consultation. Similarly, conditioning homeless mailboxes on democracy reform in Tanzania is similarly ludicrous, whereas conditioning public health assistance on that assistance being implemented in transparent and democratically accountable ways is definately something real world policy makers consider. I bring this up becasue I do not think you can draw a brightline theoretically and say “consultation is acceptable in this instance, but not in this other instance” in terms of “is it fair to debate”. If the nature of a certain type of CP, say it includes the whole plan, is illegitimate then it should not matter in what instance on what topic or supported by what evidence.

Lets start off with the Kerpen article

1. The lumping together of all these CP’s as “plan contingent” is flawed for a number of reasons-most notably a delay CP fiats the implementation of the plan as a guarantee. Consultation and condition counterplans do not- the affirmative can make solvency arguments about whether or not the plan would be implemented.

2. This distinction is meaningful- the states CP can claim to result in the plan through federal modeling- that is not a fiated outcome, it is a possible outcome.

3. Kills topic education- umm, turn? This topic is the worst- if you told me I could go to two different tournaments

A. Debate about the poverty topic

B. Consult counterplans and impact turns to their net benefits

I would chose B every time.

And now to deal with the rest of the posts, Cyrus Ghavi:

The problem with the way consultation is debated today is that everybody just writes them off as “stupid counterplans” without having a discussion about why that is true.  The result is that there are multiple generations of debaters that have irrational knee-jerk reactions to the counterplan, saying it is illegitimate when they can either give no reason why or can only make arguments about why it is at a very basic, shallow level.  If this is not true and if consultation counterplans are really that bad, then there is literally no reason why the affirmative would not be winning every single consultation debate on either theory or substance.

“It’s Make Believe”
Both the US-Japan Alliance and NATO have codified prior and binding consultation mechanisms. While it’s true that these mechanisms are limited to security issues, it does prove that the concept of consultation is not a “fantasy of the debate world.” The mere mention of consultation in these institutions means that it is less “fantasy” than most common counterplans (e.g. Lopez/States) or disads (e.g. relations/politics/economy).

While your argument is largely made moot by official international documents regarding consultation, there are also definitely cards written about it. Mochizuki, for example, specifically discusses prior consultation in which Japan “gains the right to say no.” Also, if you’re right about this, then the aff would win all of these debates because there would be no evidence that binding consultation is key, so the permutation would solve the net benefit.

If your argument is that “it would never happen,” then you are both overlimiting and wrong. Most plans and counterplans would never happen in the real world, that’s why we’re able to debate about them. Your standard is not pretty arbitrary given that the entire point of debate is to discuss what we “should” do about a problem as opposed to what we “would” do. The Bush v. Kerry presidential debates in which the “global test” issue was prominently featured also shows that this issue can actually be at the forefront of American foreign policy decisions. In a rapidly changing world in which the U.S. has substantially less soft power, policy-makers consider consultation as an option to bolster goodwill abroad.

Finally, I’ll just appeal to rationality:  why do you think the people that write disads to consultation,
namely hegemony, make those arguments? To answer non-existent consultation advocates? I don’t think so.

As an aside, you didn’t even impact this argument anyways. Discussing only policy mechanisms that are common or traditional encourages intellectual stagnation and provides a disincentive for debaters, and even policymakers, to explore new possibilities or at least understand why certain alternatives are a bad idea.

“Impossible burden”
First of all, it’s important to understand that the burden is squarely on the negative when it comes to “say yes” vs. “say no” debates. If there’s a decent shot that Japan/NATO will say “no,” then the aff will win because they solve the entire case and outweigh the net benefit by itself.  The affirmative is not “expected” to have case-specific evidence, but if they have it they are probably going to win.

Cutting “say no” cards is not an impossible burden given that there are only a couple consultation counterplans with the binding consultation evidence required to win.  Also, it’s their plan – the affirmative is in a much better position to have evidence specific to the case.  More importantly, your argument about “say yes” evidence that is tangentially related to the resolution cuts both ways. If the neg is relying on generic “say yes” evidence then the affirmative can use equally generic, tangentially related evidence in the debate.

Your “Japan cares about food” example, you should have pointed outthat the card only proves Japan cares, not that they would say yes. If you made arguments why they wouldn’t like the plan, you probably would have won. You don’t need absolute defense. If you win they’ll say no, you will win the debate.
This argument is also infinitely regressive because politics disads and other generics all use tangential links to the plan, and just like in consultation debates, the negative is more likely to win when they have specific links and the affirmative is more likely to win when their link takeouts/turns are more specific (analogous to “say no” cards in this instance).

Even if you are right about the “say yes” vs. “say no” debates, the affirmative can still beat consultation without ever making a “say no” argument. There are several generic consultation disads that can be read, go for perms, impact turn the net benefit, or use a short-term advantage to outweigh the net-benefit.

Not surprisingly, I’m offended by your argument that the neg will “leave debate only knowing how to cheat and not how to research or strategize.” That could only be true for bad consultation debaters. In order to win these debates consistently at the highest level debaters have to do a lot of research and be learn to execute the argument near-flawlessly. This is particularly true if a team gets a reputation for reading a consultation counterplan (as I did) because the affirmatives will start to do a substantial amount of research in preparation for these debates. In order to win in these circumstances, good debaters need to do the same things necessary in any big debate: prepare new responses to the litany of attacks the circuit comes up with and keep a constantly updated file — from CP
uniqueness and disad answers to say yes evidence and add-onb advantages.

Your cheapshot aside, the education argument has other problems. First, it begs the question of what the plan’s mandate is. Consultation doesn’t require passage of the plan, so it’s not the same as the plan. It’s also not immediate, as the plan mandates. If you don’t that a plan mandate then you are also eliminating all agent counterplans, which is another debate altogether.

Second, many accepted debate arguments are similar in terms of education.  I’ll go with the politics example again.  It’s a stock negative strategy that is often a crutch for 2N’s that requires non-topic related research.  You’ll say that at least they have to do research before the tournament, but good consultation debaters will do the same (uniqueness updates, say yes updates) and I don’t think that research for the sake of research is a good standard by which we exclude or include arguments in the community. Politics disads are only specific to the aff via their link argument, just like consult counterplans are specific to affs with their say yes evidence.

It is also short-sighted to argue that these debaters will ignore the topic completely.  No one reads one-off consultation counterplans.  You have to have a strategy outside of the 90 seconds it takes to read you Mochizuki cards.

Granted it’s not the same, but there is also much to learn from reading consultation counterplans, and indeed I feel that I have. In my research I have become educated on Japan’s population, political structure, extended deterrence, military alliances, etc. Also a benefit that people might not realize is that when looking for say yes evidence it requires you to delve into the policy specifics of affirmatives, giving you a detailed look at what the affs are all about.

Also, consultation forces better education. The secret to beating consult is combining a decent “say no” argument with an affirmative with a short-term advantage. The delay in the counterplan becomes its worst enemy — that means that consultation encourages affirmatives with timely advantages/impacts so that we actually debate the IMPORTANT issues in the topic, not just the random squirrly cases.

And let’s get rid of the blinders and make one thing perfectly clear about debate: people are there to win.  How many times to you remember walking into a round, seeing your opponent and thinking “gee, I really I hope I get to learn something new in this debate!” Highly unlikely, I think most debaters are busy thinking about how they are going to beat their opponent into submission.
“Aff Ground”
Give me a break. Side bias is a dumb argument generally, but when you make these generic whiney claims it actually makes sense. YOU’RE THE AFF. You get to pick your plan, which means you can take a little bit of time to research some say no cards OR a short-term impact to your plan OR some consultation disads OR some uniqueness cards against the counterplan.

Your neg bias argument is another example of bad consultation debate. No good neg is going to win with Consult Costa Rica. There are not infinite consultation actors, you need real, legit evidence if you are going to win — and that basically limits it down to Japan and NATO. I could also say counter-interpretation, only consult coutnries in which there is a treaty-based mechanism to do so (Japan and NATO) – much less arbitrary than your interp.

I’m not sure what you mean by the argument that the aff will be rejected if you make a “say no” argument. That would only be true if you had a Japan advantage to your aff — in which case, I think you
should probably be ready for the CP since it’s pretty relevant.”

Throwdown #2: Consultation Counterplans – The Challenge

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

The Consult CP is now the official black sheep of the debate family, hating on it is so hot right now. To try and stem the tides of arrogant unilateralism, this Throwdown will be defending the Consult CP and will have a guest appearance by US-Japan relations expert Cyrus Ghavi. So post your objections here- you can copy and paste your 2AC block or write out a more long winded rant but this will be limited exclusively to non permutation issues- so you can argue that the CP competes artificially for example, but this will not be a response to all the various consult permutations.

Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – Scott's Response

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

First, as clearly explained in the original post this is not a question of “policy focus”- fort hays can just as easily say the aff should get to chose as wake forest can. A good majority of responses totally missed the boat on this so yeah for reading comprehension. I will give a few cursory defenses of “policy only” but its not really my bag as I think it’s stupid as explained in previous blog posts.

Second, this post is more of a hybrid between rant and speech than just “speech” like I said it would be. I felt like going a tad more in depth to alleviate confusion in some spots, so obviously just copy and pasting this into your 1AR block would be disastrous (well for many reasons).

“Aff Choice is arbitrary”

-Arbitrary means done without principle or logic- aff choice is the only logical option- we have to talk first. You can’t give a speech and make arguments without implicitly selecting a framework. Since frameworks are often mutually exclusive the framework we select is the only non arbitrary one- the negative does not logically need a new framework to refute ours, therefore lack of affirmative choice is arbitrary.

-Debating the “merits” of alternative frameworks trades off directly with topic education- this should be self evident. You can productively decide whether to eat at McDonalds or Burger King without a metaphysical debate about western capitalism.

-Alternative frameworks avoid clash- they sidestep the central questions posed by the affirmative. You can easily clash without needing your own framework.

“Negative frameworks are relevant opportunity costs”

-if frameworks trade off so to speak, that proves our point-the negatives framework will exclude 8 minutes of affirmative arguments, which is unfair (obviously done for strategic benefit) and anti educational (since the 1AC is the only thing close to being about the topic in most debates)

-Impact framing solves offense- if there are logical kritik arguments that respond to the 1AC you should not need a new framework- i.e. if threats are not real, that is a substantive response to the china war advantage, the only reason you need an alternate framework is to artificially inflate the worth of bad arguments and exclude reasonable affirmative claims with argumentative sleight of hand.

-There are many opportunity costs, not all of which are relevant- reading mead 92 instead of Bearden is a tradeoff- that doesn’t mean the neg should win if they convince the judge bearden is a better card. This theory of opportunity costs logically supports one of my least favorite arguments deployed with the reps K- do the plan but for different reasons. Debates, like economic hypotheticals, are improved when we assume away many tedious questions to focus on more interesting issues.

“definitions prove the aff must defend”

-This argument is interesting but I think would result in the most generic and irrelevant kritiks being unbeatable (like the “the”pic). I don’t think that because the affirmative defends the resolution, they must defend each word in a vacuum. If the resolution said “we should fight Nazis” and the neg read a k that argued Nazis were evil and we should not use that word, that would seem to miss the point of the resolution entirely, but if the aff is forced to defend the word nazi without reference to the rest of their 1AC it is pretty dicey. Obviously an extreme example, but is kind of what happens in a lot of instances I can think off where the resolution is “change X” and the neg K says “traditional notions of X are bad” and the aff is all like “uhh, but we change that” and the neg is like “but you don’t get your plan!”. Now this is certainly not every k debate ever, maybe its like 20-30% of them at most. But those debates are so annoying they stick out in my mind. One step further, if the neg had a sweet K of the word should or substantially they would own every topic (btw- why is substantially in every topic- in some of the proposed college wordings its in there like 12 times- does substantially have lobbyists that wine and dine the topic committee? What is the deal…). I may go into this more in depth later because I do think this is the most interesting of the arguments, but I will stop here with superficial top level analysis and absurd analogies.

Continue reading

Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice – The Challenge

So this is the first of the “throwdown ” posts. Basically, I will post an argument, then wait like a week or so. During that week anyone can post in comments a response or series of them. I will then write a new post with how I would answer those arguments as if this was an actual debate. Thats were it will end though as I will have to move on to more pressing matters like Fallout 3.

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

Throwdown with Scott Phillips

A few notes on comments

-no need to post like 1,000 things- don’t just cut and paste your 2NC block into the comments. I won’t waste time responding to things where the answers are probably well known among non mouth breathers. So think about either tough arguments you have had to answer and were stuck on or something like that

-don’t post repeats- that will just slow everything down

-the response will be measured to the initial comment- so if you post a 3 word claim I will respond with a similar short warrantless arg like “you smell..bad” or some such. If you post a legit arg or god forbid a card, you will get a legit response.

Continue reading