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Author Topic: Federal Definitions Topic Paper  (Read 24182 times)
Ermo
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2013, 12:56:22 PM »

Focusing on whether or not there is competition based on the FG misses the boat. Charles's point is that definitions literature is so deep that you can have competitive content and the question about aff relationship to the FG is largely irrelevant. The statement that judges vote for the perm when the aff is non-USFG action and the neg says USFG action good has nothing to do with this claim.

Admittedly, Olney's use of the term "policy teams" led me to infer the alternative would occur at that level. Having a social movement advocate one thing and the USFG advocate/do the precise opposite is NOT competitive - in fact, it is often important for the social movement's life cycle that this be the case.

The same is true about social movement X and social movement Y - their positions might be 100% opposed, yet both can co-exist. Right now, they probably DO. I think you are assuming that the alternative uses the same agent as the affirmative? If so, you have to make sure the affirmative can't just be a social movement of two. The negative may not operate from a social position which entitles them to prescribe action at all. Even that assumes social movements must have perfect internal consistency, which is often not the case. Worst case, you might split the movement - and there could be lots of advantages to doing that as well.

Obviously, you can win competition by net benefits if you can win a (unique) DA to whatever agent the affirmative assumes (if you can get that info out of them). But, even the opposite idea isn't necessarily competitive, as debates get judged. Maybe they should be judged in a way that disallows philosophically inconsistent perms, but you have to figure out how to fiat the judging pool....
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2013, 02:46:26 PM »

Focusing on whether or not there is competition based on the FG misses the boat. Charles's point is that definitions literature is so deep that you can have competitive content and the question about aff relationship to the FG is largely irrelevant. The statement that judges vote for the perm when the aff is non-USFG action and the neg says USFG action good has nothing to do with this claim.

Admittedly, Olney's use of the term "policy teams" led me to infer the alternative would occur at that level. Having a social movement advocate one thing and the USFG advocate/do the precise opposite is NOT competitive - in fact, it is often important for the social movement's life cycle that this be the case.

The same is true about social movement X and social movement Y - their positions might be 100% opposed, yet both can co-exist. Right now, they probably DO. I think you are assuming that the alternative uses the same agent as the affirmative? If so, you have to make sure the affirmative can't just be a social movement of two. The negative may not operate from a social position which entitles them to prescribe action at all. Even that assumes social movements must have perfect internal consistency, which is often not the case. Worst case, you might split the movement - and there could be lots of advantages to doing that as well.

Obviously, you can win competition by net benefits if you can win a (unique) DA to whatever agent the affirmative assumes (if you can get that info out of them). But, even the opposite idea isn't necessarily competitive, as debates get judged. Maybe they should be judged in a way that disallows philosophically inconsistent perms, but you have to figure out how to fiat the judging pool....

What you've described here is an Agent CP that does the opposite of the plan with only an internal net benefit -- that's a bad strategy no matter what the aff is. I would hope judges are voting on the permutation.

I am not an advocate of passive voice (for other reasons), but Charles's point about plenty of competition at the level of CONTENT still holds. Yes, I am assuming that both teams ignore the actor in such a discussion of competition under a passive voice res. Or, in terms of your post, the neg advocates the same actor as the aff. But I am assuming content that actually competes. If the aff allows humans to marry animals, to compete the CP definition has to do less than "all humans can marry all animals." You can't CP to only allow humans to marry plants, obviously.
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Ermo
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2013, 03:11:44 PM »

I am not an advocate of passive voice (for other reasons), but Charles's point about plenty of competition at the level of CONTENT still holds. Yes, I am assuming that both teams ignore the actor in such a discussion of competition under a passive voice res. Or, in terms of your post, the neg advocates the same actor as the aff. But I am assuming content that actually competes. If the aff allows humans to marry animals, to compete the CP definition has to do less than "all humans can marry all animals." You can't CP to only allow humans to marry plants, obviously.

So you assume that a passive voice resolution would lead to the affirmative making broad claims in passive voice, thus setting up lots of agent exclusion PICs? I assumed from the suggestion that it would allow people to retain USFG should plans that it would also enable teams to defend other agents, probably in extremely narrow terms and perhaps without 1AC precision about the scope of the affirmative. In my experience, teams that don't read a "USFG should" plan but advocate for a general premise are not bound to defend that premise in other contexts (including USFG enactment).

And, often the notion of a singular premise is optimistic. It often high quality link extension to stop people from perming something fundamentally inconsistent with the thesis of an aff - assuming the aff has a thesis at all. Most debaters I've had who preferred topicality against such affs haven't refused to try other options - they've just found the standards for links and competition depend greatly on who you are hitting and who is judging.
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2013, 03:39:44 PM »

I am not an advocate of passive voice (for other reasons), but Charles's point about plenty of competition at the level of CONTENT still holds. Yes, I am assuming that both teams ignore the actor in such a discussion of competition under a passive voice res. Or, in terms of your post, the neg advocates the same actor as the aff. But I am assuming content that actually competes. If the aff allows humans to marry animals, to compete the CP definition has to do less than "all humans can marry all animals." You can't CP to only allow humans to marry plants, obviously.

So you assume that a passive voice resolution would lead to the affirmative making broad claims in passive voice, thus setting up lots of agent exclusion PICs? I assumed from the suggestion that it would allow people to retain USFG should plans that it would also enable teams to defend other agents, probably in extremely narrow terms and perhaps without 1AC precision about the scope of the affirmative. In my experience, teams that don't read a "USFG should" plan but advocate for a general premise are not bound to defend that premise in other contexts (including USFG enactment).

Actually, my objection to passive voice is that it really doesn't fix the problem of being tied to USFG action. "Federal definitions should be changed" still requires the aff to talk about the federal definitions. No one else can change them, so it's still USFG action. I think what people are really looking for to disconnect the aff from the demand of USFG action is value topics (that's a whole other can of worms).

So no, I am not assuming that passive voice leads to broad affs that are actorless. Instead, I am suggesting that, strategically, negatives will opt to discuss the same actor as the aff, whatever that may be. The definitions topic can sustain those debates because there are plenty of alternate definitions that may be adopted that are defended in the literature.

And, often the notion of a singular premise is optimistic. It often high quality link extension to stop people from perming something fundamentally inconsistent with the thesis of an aff - assuming the aff has a thesis at all. Most debaters I've had who preferred topicality against such affs haven't refused to try other options - they've just found the standards for links and competition depend greatly on who you are hitting and who is judging.

I'm just not really sure what this is about. I'll just reiterate that standards for links and competition regarding personal advocacy affs are not different: you have to have a reason that particular strategy of the aff is bad in all cases. Any benefit of the CP that is not a rejection of the particular aff strategy will lose to the permutation. This is true of CPs with internal net benefits and Ks too.
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Ermo
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2013, 04:07:44 PM »

Instead, I am suggesting that, strategically, negatives will opt to discuss the same actor as the aff, whatever that may be. The definitions topic can sustain those debates because there are plenty of alternate definitions that may be adopted that are defended in the literature.
If the affirmative is part of the agent and the negative is not, I expect that issue will overshadow relevant literature. Either way, there are often differences between the literature and the affirmative. These are often - not always - resolved in ways that shield the affirmative from the literature.

Any benefit of the CP that is not a rejection of the particular aff strategy will lose to the permutation. This is true of CPs with internal net benefits and Ks too.
This assumes consensus about what the 'particular aff strategy' is.
I'm sorry, but my experience is that these questions vary, whether or not they should. It's not likely you'll persuade me otherwise. Those reading will probably consult their experiences to resolve the question.
If they don't vary, I wonder why we put so much energy into judge placement questions.
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2013, 04:54:01 PM »

If the affirmative is part of the agent and the negative is not, I expect that issue will overshadow relevant literature. Either way, there are often differences between the literature and the affirmative. These are often - not always - resolved in ways that shield the affirmative from the literature.

I think this is where Charles and Justin stepped in to say that judges in the middle (and I think it's broader than the 40-60%) will be more receptive to framework arguments if the negative position is "look our argument is that the aff's specific definition of marriage is wrong and the aff claims there is no link" rather than "they didn't use the USFG."

Any benefit of the CP that is not a rejection of the particular aff strategy will lose to the permutation. This is true of CPs with internal net benefits and Ks too.
This assumes consensus about what the 'particular aff strategy' is.
I'm sorry, but my experience is that these questions vary, whether or not they should. It's not likely you'll persuade me otherwise. Those reading will probably consult their experiences to resolve the question.
If they don't vary, I wonder why we put so much energy into judge placement questions.

Yes, it does assume consensus about what the aff strategy is. I find this easy to discern as a judge because the aff says it. I get that is often harder to figure out before the debate. I think, however, that the problem is more about listening to the aff explain their argument literally, without ideological blinders, than it is about theoretical disposition towards the permutation.

And if MPJ is being used to find judges who will vote for "CP solve different things than the aff" with no DA to the specific aff.........
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jkeeton
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2013, 07:02:48 PM »

Cameron beat me to the post as we talked about this at our team party today.  I share his concern that there might not be much neg ground specific to just changing a definition.  I'm also concerned that aff's could develop a pretty good link shield/changing a definition is not perceived to answer politics too.

Beyond that what about solvency?  My reading of the paper is that the aff would be changing the definitions contained in The Dictionary Act/USC 1.  If so does that alone really do anything?  If aff plan changes the definition of marriage in USC 1 to allow same sex marriage does that automatically supersede/end DOMA or would it just create a situation where the language of two different US laws contradict.   Perhaps, and admittedly, this is too narrow an interp but it seems an aff would probably want to do more than just change a definition to solidly access their advantages in anticipation of the advantage cp the neg could read.

Love to hear others thoughts.
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jregnier
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2013, 10:12:34 PM »

Not that I think politics is A+ negative ground, but I'm pretty sure that a change in definition of any of these terms would be perceived.  These terms define the left/right split in America today.
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FrancesWoodworth
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2013, 10:27:08 PM »

^ This.  Unfortunately... This.

Unless the aff uses the courts.  Then maybe you have Courts politics or Court legitimacy. I would say Hollow Hope, but the Same-sex marriage ruling should NU that.

Still not sure how we answer the amendment CP and one of those disads.
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olneyce
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« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2013, 01:06:48 AM »

I guess I should be clear where I'm coming from here.  I think that affs should, more or less, get to set the tone of the debate. Neg complaints about that choice and/or word PICs (and their ilk) are almost never as interesting or engaging as actual engagement with the CONTENT of the aff.

However, given the current method of writing topics, there is very little incentive for K teams to construct affs that encourage such clash.  The closer you get to defending a topic, the hassle of being aff goes up exponentially.  Given this, many teams have very reasonably decided that if they're going to be stuck debating T/framework, they might as well avoid some links, generate a more powerful 1AC, and *really* debate framework.

A topic which provided actual, serious space for the affirmative to talk about the stuff they care about in the fashion they value would do a lot of good.  In that world, I have faith that a lot of 'policy' teams would recognize that you can debate against a 'non-USFG' aff quite easily as long as it's organized within a structure that generates meaningful clash.

Obviously, if people are bull-headed and debate in exactly the same way with a significantly different topic, the debates will be terrible.  I'm suggesting that debaters are smart and engaged enough to debate a little bit differently if they are given the opportunity.

It would be a lot WEAKER, because the 1ac was a topical version of the aff.
Right.  Meaning that policy teams would finally have to, y'know, put their money where their mouth has been for 10 years.  They/we have been saying all this time that there's nothing wrong with debating different framings or modes of engagement as long as it's connected to predictable topic-based limits.  They/we have been saying that it's in the aff's best interest to read a topical aff, because clash is the best way to improve the quality of arguments.

Well, let's write a topic that gives K teams aff ground that isn't completely indefensible from their perspective and find out.  Sure, it still requires eventual engagement with the USFG, since its definitions are the ones that need to be changed.  But there's a world of difference between the imaginary act of fiat and the active engagement that comes from social criticism or movement-building.

And if, given that space, teams still want to critique the entire premise of the FG...well, I'm guessing that those 2/3 of judges in the middle will be a little more inclined to buy the neg's argument that the topic is reasonably inclusionary.

More evidence requested.
It's not a scientific poll or anything.  Talking to people.  I'm obviously not around as much these days, so maybe I'm just out of the loop entirely, but it seems to me that the rhetoric around teams like Emporia, West Georgia, Towson, etc. is a lot less charged than it was back in the day (re: Louisville, Long Beach, Fullerton, etc.).  I talked to lots of people after the NDT final round who wanted the policy side to win, but were perfectly willing to admit the forcefulness of Emporia's argument.  That feels different to me. 

And, framework arguments have evolved a lot.  These days, they're much more about the quality and nature of debate.  They no longer speak with bewilderment about the possibility of even engaging the aff, but focus instead on the value of policy engagement on these questions.  People seem to increasingly comprehend that "K teams" debate each other all the time and manage to successfully conduct debates.  This suggests some increased awareness.

Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I really do think if we (for once in a lifetime) built a topic designed to accommodate a degree of non-policy space we would all be pleasantly surprised.

And BTW, the politics DA absolutely does link to the 'social criticism' version of the aff.  You don't think it would restructure the political outlook on a wide range of things if a serious and vocal movement erupted from the Left on the subject of corporate personhood?  The politics-blogosphere is absolutely full of people yelling at each other about whether people should express their radical values or shelve them in the name of promoting a more 'viable' mainstream political agenda. 
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ScottyP
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2013, 06:24:17 AM »

Not that I think politics is A+ negative ground, but I'm pretty sure that a change in definition of any of these terms would be perceived.  These terms define the left/right split in America today.

Being percieved and changing the agenda are different things
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lgarrett
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2013, 07:00:39 AM »


And BTW, the politics DA absolutely does link to the 'social criticism' version of the aff.  You don't think it would restructure the political outlook on a wide range of things if a serious and vocal movement erupted from the Left on the subject of corporate personhood?  The politics-blogosphere is absolutely full of people yelling at each other about whether people should express their radical values or shelve them in the name of promoting a more 'viable' mainstream political agenda.  

I think a lot of your points are reasonable. Maybe it is an erosion in the politics DA, but I am still not seeing why a movement outside the government would disrupt Obama's agenda setting (under the assumption the capital agenda DA is the only game in town due to even less quality spillover/insulation from thumper evidence for the other manifestations of the DA).

More importantly, I don't know why the AFF would be a serious vocal movement that erupted on the left. If it is true the AFF likes talking about their stuff while simultaneously not linking to stuff (as is the choice they have made when picking between dealing with process based arguments or dealing with framework) not sure why a similar thing wouldn't happen on this topic. AFFs can talk about what they want, not link to stuff and be topical.

Now I get it is not the AFFs job to link to stuff the NEG says. The usual (albeit unsophisticated) solution to this problem has been to write topics that seem to ensure if the AFF has a plan the NEG gets a politics DA and if they don't the NEG gets framework. I think people want to know if a similar arrangement exists on this topic, in terms of the NEG having the edge on some link questions in a few spots.

It seems like this topic does not have a lot of links based off the mechanism. It will depend on the content of the AFF. If that is added to the fact the AFF doesn't have to defend the USFG (another go to stop for links) and be topical (go to stop for FW) then the NEG is left waiting until they hear the content of the AFF (to ensure the specificity to not lose to "not our X"/perm arguments). I think saying you can research corporate personhood good is not enough when the AFF has the option to carve out a narrow space where they do something individually and specific that radically departs from existing literature (and what AFF wouldn't do this? It is the best conception of the AFF given the parameters in previous posts).

That topic would be a nightmare for those NEGs willing to go down the rabbit hole and only finding out none of their stuff is specific enough to win (assuming you can find stuff to say against gay marriage in the first place).
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 07:04:57 AM by lgarrett » Logged
Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2013, 08:49:47 AM »

There is one super-generic strategy available against all affs under this topic, and thats "Don't resignify under the umbrella of the term". That is, is all the historical baggage around marriage or person so toxic that we need to throw that term under the bus and begin to produce an imaginary that is otherwise, or is there still something that can be reclaimed within the arc of that term?
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Ermo
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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2013, 09:06:06 AM »

More importantly, I don't know why the AFF would be a serious vocal movement that erupted on the left. If it is true the AFF likes talking about their stuff while simultaneously not linking to stuff (as is the choice they have made when picking between dealing with process based arguments or dealing with framework) not sure why a similar thing wouldn't happen on this topic. AFFs can talk about what they want, not link to stuff and be topical.

Well stated. If an affirmative chose to change the current federal definition of marriage by no longer considering it binding upon themselves (without actually getting married), wouldn't they have an affirmative with personal benefits that the negative lacks the social location to engage, a solid perm for Paul's K (reject the concept of marriage in all cases), and a social movement localized enough not to have a measurable effect on most questions in the broader literature base?

People have read affs like this to push the negative into topicality. If you make them topical, it will be interesting to see what theory the negative is forced to invent to make arguments, and how long it will take the judging pool to decide which elements of that theory to legitimize.  Since the judging pool will be operating in a community that has rejected the notion of a negative right to stable ground, it could take awhile.
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jregnier
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2013, 09:12:57 AM »

However, given the current method of writing topics, there is very little incentive for K teams to construct affs that encourage such clash.  The closer you get to defending a topic, the hassle of being aff goes up exponentially.  Given this, many teams have very reasonably decided that if they're going to be stuck debating T/framework, they might as well avoid some links, generate a more powerful 1AC, and *really* debate framework.

I'll echo this.  Currently, there is an incentive to go "all in" on framework because the middle ground risks getting beat by both sides.  It's the only way to generate enough offense for the Aff.

I don't know if it's relevant to this discussion, but I'll add that one of the influencing factors here is the norms that the community uses to evaluate disads.  The minimax existential risk DA calculation forces a kind of minimax reasoning on the other side.
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