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Stefan Bauschard

Debating Kritiks

Introducing Kritiks Writing a chapter on debating kritiks is a relatively difficult task because there are many different types of kritiks, the theory surrounding kritiks is far from settled, and there is a heated debate in the community as to the legitimacy of critiques in general, particularly of many of newest forms. Presenting a description introduction is therefore a difficult task. Twenty or thirty years from now many of the issues related to kritiks may be settled – at least as much as the issues relating to counterplans are.   But, as of today, kritiks are less then twenty years old. The first time a kritik was run was in college debate in September of 2001. It took a few more years for the kritik to start to gain traction in high school debate, making it only about 12 years old there. And, in many parts of the country in high school, critiques have just started to catch-on. At all levels, we are dealing with a relatively new argument type when dealing with kritiks. Since the idea of a critique in debate is relatively new, many of the terminology and ideas related to disadvantages and counterplans have been used to make sense of critiques. It is absolutely essential that you have an understanding of that theory and terminology before you can understand the critique. If you have not read the introductory chapters on Disadvantages and Counterplans, you should do so before reading the rest of this chapter. You will normally see “Critique” spelled with a “K.” You may think that is a misspelling, but supposedly (I’ve been told) that it is the German spelling of the word. Some of the original proponents of the critique were obsessed with German philosophers and philosophy so they have adopted this spelling, which has largely caught on. Second, much of the theory and terminology that is used when discussing and debating critiques stems from the theory and terminology of disadvantages and counterplans. To gain an understanding of kritiks are all about, it is useful to look at the history of the argument and the different manifestations of it. Assumptions & Disadvantage-style kritiks. The first critique that was run in debate was a Critical Legal Studies kritiks that has become very popular in debate. This critique essentially argues that the law is not this wonderful set of doctrines and institutions that we think it is and that it more often serves to hurt, rather than help, the interests of those that we believe it protects. This critique essentially served to challenge the assumptions that many affirmative teams make that the law is effective, that the affirmative could solve by using the law, and, subsequently suggested that the law was bad – that the affirmative’s use of it was disadvantageous. This style of critique was hardly revolutionary. It still fit within he framework for how debates are normally evaluated — negative’s challenge the affirmative’s ability to solve and point out that their may be disadvantages associated with

Debating Topicality

Introducing Topicality Topicality arguments are similar to disadvantages, kritiks, and counterplans in that they are major forms of negative arguments that are presented in the 1NC. They are different however, in that they are procedural arguments that question the very legitimacy of affirmative advocacy in the first place. Topicality arguments claim that the plan presented by the affirmative does not fit within the bounds of the resolution. For example, if the affirmative only increases education spending by $1, the negative will argue that it is not a substantial increase. Most affirmative teams will claim that they do fit with an interpretation of the resolution (even an affirmative case that only increases spending by $1 could say they are substantial if they define substantial to be .0000000000000001%). To win that the affirmative is not-topical, they have to prove that the affirmative does not meet one or more of the terms of the resolution as defined/interpreted by the negatve. It is generally wise to present a topicality argument in the 1NC. First, teams may simply be prepared to answer it, and if they are you will win even if you lose every other argument in the debate. Second, if find after the 2AC that you are unlikely to defeat the affirmative with the substance of the arguments you have introduced, you can always extend topicality. Third, it is a no-risk argument. The affirmative can’t “turn” it. If they prove that they are topical the debate simply moves on from there. The affirmative can’t win just because they are topicality Structure of Topicality Arguments A negative topicality argument has three parts. Definition/interpretation. The first part of the topicality argument is the definition or interpretation. To continue with the example above, the affirmative may define “substantial” to be 1%. This is their interpretation of what the word “substantial” should mean for the purposes of debate. Violation. This second part of the topicality argument is simple –they will argue that the affirmative’s plan is inconsistent with their interpretation of the topic. Standards. This is the more complicated part of the topicality violation, but it really should not be that confusing. In the standards section, the negative outlines reasons why their interpretation of the word(s) in the resolution is the one that the judge should accept when evaluating the debate. Negative teams can create their own standards, but the following are popular ones: Limits. Negatives will argue that words should be given limited meanings in order to limit the potential size of the topic. Topics that are interpreted too broadly make it very difficult for the negative to prepare. Bright-lines. Negatives will argue that there should be clear meanings behind terms and that there should be a clear dividing line between topical and non-topical cases. Ground. Negatives will argue that particular interpretations of the topic provide better ground for the negative. For example, they will argue that if substantial is interpreted to mean at least one percent, an increase of this size will at least be

Debating Disadvantages

Introduction A disadvantage is a negative argument that proves that the affirmative plan is undesirable.  It is really one of the simplest ideas in debate – it is an argument about a negative consequence that will result from adopting the affirmative plan. For example, the affirmative plan may save lives.  The disadvantage proves that the affirmative plan may hurt the economy, triggering poverty and death. Debate is not the first time that you have considered disadvantages when making decisions.  For example, even when making a simple consideration of whether or not to buy a shirt, you take into consideration disadvantages.  One disadvantage to buying a particular shirt is that it will take away money from something else that you may wish to spend it on – like another shirt or a pair of shorts.  Or, you may think the shirt will look bad on you.  These simple arguments are all disadvantages. It is important to note that any given disadvantage alone is not necessarily a reason to vote negative.  Negatives must argue that the disadvantage (or combination of disadvantages) proves that the affirmative’s plan is net-undesirable – that the costs outweigh the benefits.  To continue with the example above, the negative would need to prove that it is better to buy the pair of shorts with the money than the shirt. Similarly, sometimes you may put on an ugly sweater, even if you are cold, because being warm outweighs being seen in an ugly sweater. What are the parts of a disadvantage? In debate, disadvantages have a number of different parts. Although these parts make the disadvantage appear more of a difficult argument than what has just been discussed, the different parts will actually assist you with both understanding different types of arguments generally and with constructing and answering disadvantages. Link.  The link is the part of the argument that ties the negative disadvantage to what the affirmative is arguing.  For example, a link to a spending disadvantage argues that the affirmative’s plan will spend money.  Disadvantages can have more than one link. In this instance, different links would focus on different reasons that the affirmative plan spends money.  The more the affirmative plan spends, the stronger the disadvantage link. Internal link.  The internal link connects one link to another link or one link to an impact.  For example, if the negative argues that the plan spends money, an argument that spending money causes a recession is one internal link and an argument that a recession will turn into a depression is another internal link. Disadvantages can have multiple internal links, though negatives will strive to limit of internal links necessary to reach the impact. Disadvantages with many internal links are less persuasive because even one of the internal links fails to happen, there is a break in the disadvantage chain, and the entire disadvantage is beaten. Impact. The impact is similar to a harm claim, though the term impact is usually used in the context of the disadvantage.  The disadvantage

Basic Structure of Policy Debate

The Basic Structure of the Debate There are four popular types of high school debate – policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas, Congressional Debate, and Public Forum Debate (a relatively recent addition). This book is focused on policy debate. Policy debate is a “team” activity. “Team” means that you debate with a partner. It’s two on two – two people defend the affirmative and two people defend the negative. Each two person team from a given school, school district, or other entity (it can be an after school program (rules of tournament entry vary by region and tournament)) makes-up a larger squad that you are a part of. Each person in the debate gets one constructive speech, one rebuttal speech, is asked questions for three minutes by the opposing side after his or her constructive speech, and has one three minute opportunity to ask questions of the other side. A debate lasts approximately an hour and a half and is broken down in the following way. First Affirmative Constructive (1AC) 8 minutes Cross Examination of the 1AC (by the 2NC) 3 minutes First Negative Constructive (1NC) Cross examination of the 1NC (by the 1AC) 3 minutes Second Affirmative Constructive (2AC) 8 minutes Cross Examination of the 2AC (by the 1NC) Second Negative Constructive (2NC) 8 minutes Cross Examination of the 2NC (by the 2AC) First Negative Rebuttal (1NR) 5 minutes First Affirmative Rebuttal (1AR) 5 minutes Second Negative Rebuttal (2NR) 5 minutes Second Affirmative Rebuttal (2AR) 5 minutes Each time also receives a “bank” of preparation time that partners divide amongst themselves in any way that they wish to prepare for speeches during the course of the debate. The amount of preparation times varies by tournament, but is usually either 5, 8, or 10 minutes. The responsibilities of each side and speaker are briefly discussed in the next section and are discussed in more detail in the following section. The Affirmative The job of the affirmative in the debate is to support the resolution, and more specifically (and importantly) a particular plan, that falls within the resolution. This year’s policy debate resolution is, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.” Affirmative teams will not support the resolution in general, but will find an instance of the resolution and argue it is a good idea. They will argue, for example, argue that we should increase school choice opportunities for students. The affirmative’s proposal – their plan — will advocate change away from the status quo – the present world that we live in. They will say that all students, regardless of income, should have the opportunity to choose a school of their own, including private schools, and that the public subsidy of tuition should follow the students where they go. The affirmative’s arguments are bounded by what the resolution means. Under this year’s resolution, for example, proposing to give foreign aid to Africa would be “out of bounds.” If