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Author Topic: Perm: protect both aff and neg ground in the mechanism  (Read 2588 times)
Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« on: April 21, 2013, 08:55:18 PM »

I think we should abandon competing discourse about whether the goal of the topic committee is to provide aff flexibility or protect negative ground. Folks who want big topics and folks who want small topics will not see eye to eye on which value should control topics because it is clearly an ideological divide. More importantly, I don't think the committee can regularly satisfy both sides of the aisle with a single mechanism term or phrase.

Instead, I think we should model the Sanctions and Agricultural topics which explicitly provide both a floor and a ceiling on the mechanism. The floor provides stable neg link ground while the ceiling caps the ultimate extent of aff flexibility.

On sanctions, the aff was required to establish a policy of Constructive Engagement, including removal of sanctions, toward some countries.

On the agricultural subsidies topic, the aff was required to reduce agricultural support, including eliminating nearly all of the domestic subsidies, for a variety of crops.

Expected ground for the negative is quite clear: every aff will need to virtually eliminate all subsidies or eliminate sanctions.

Including CE and Ag Support offers opportunities for the aff the flexibility to adapt to the solvency literature as they find it (I'm sure we can agree that we'll never scope out the entirety of the literature base for a topic before the TC even meets). It also provides space for aff innovation.

At the same time, the ceiling does cap aff flexibility. There were meaningful definitions for CE that could be used for T arguments that would limit the topic. The same was true of agricultural support. But even if these terms were very broad, the floor requirement in these resolutions mitigated the impact of broader aff ground. It also gave the neg the opportunity to use a generic PIC to use against affs that went far afield of CE or Ag Support (if they preferred this route to T).

So, let's seriously consider this model in order to make aff and neg ground explicit in the topic wordings, rather than fighting the same fights about which side the TC is supposed to really care about.
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