Open full view…

Advanced Theoretical Tips

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 13:27:48 GMT

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:32:58 GMT

I just have a quick question, probs unrelated to this post. How do you feel theory debaters should make their arguments against pre-fiat or micropolitical debaters?

Yang Yi
Wed, 05 Feb 2014 22:46:24 GMT

Great question! I think most people would agree that in order to win a pre-fiat position, the pre-fiat debater must win that a) the position is pre-fiat and b) the position itself. The b subpoint is especially important because very few judges would vote on a pre-fiat/ micropolitical position just based on the fact that it's read or it's real world implications- the debater would presumably have to win solvency or reasons why their advocacy would be better than the negatives. What this means is that it doesn't matter how bad oppression is if the other debater wins a link turn proving they solve oppression better. But I think we can take the b subpoint one step further by asking what does it mean to "win" the position. I think there are two ways to win a position: legitimately (with the difference being based on the skill discrepancies of the debaters) and illegitimately (not by one debater being more skillful at debate, but because one debater had a head start over the other). A good analogy would be that of a race between runner A and runner B. Runner B is the faster r unner but runner A obtained an enormous head-start that runner B could not overcome. Runner A "won," but few would call him the better runner. Thus, one way you could go about it is to argue that theory (specific to the position, not generic theory) determines whether the pre-fiat layer is fair for both debaters, that it is key to determining whether the winner of the pre-fiat position won via skill rather than exclusion. For example, pretend a debater ran a pre-fiat position on oppression, but made it extremely difficult for the neg. to engage because their alt. used a form of utopian fiat, a reject alt., shifted based on the neg. advocacy, etc. The point is that the neg. would have a much harder time generating offense and engaging the position, not because they didn't want to, but because they were functionally excluded from the debate. And if the aff. debater "won" the K, it is reasonable to question whether they won via skill or via a "head-start." Only by answering the theoretical layer can we answer this question. I'd like to conclude (sorry this is extremely long) by using an example that is extreme and probably won't occur but gets the point across. Assume that the aff. debater reads a performance about elitism in the community and as a part of their performance, they smash their opponent's laptop to symbolize their stand against elitism. Assume the neg. debater is fine with their laptop being smashed and the only qualm they have is a theoretical one, that losing access to their laptop skews their strategy because they had prep on their laptop against the K that they have now lost access to. If the position precluded theory that was SPECIFIC to the position, then if the aff. won their position, the neg. shell would have no weight. Obviously, this is non-sensical because if the aff. ended up ahead on the elitism position, the aff. didn't actually win the position, they won because they hampered the neg. from engaging. That, and I don't think any judge would genuinely buy the argument "what I did was ok because my position comes first!"