agent counterplans

Joel David Rollins JD.Rollins
Thu Sep 4 12:15:49 CDT 1997

in general i don't belive agent counterplans to be appropriate arguments,
but i vote for them all the time, primarily becasue affs are unwilling to
wade through the 25 arguments made to "prove" legitimacy of these
counterplans. i have yet to hear one decent argument among the several
offered in support.

 the issue for me is one of location.  the topic locates the actor as the
usfg.  states and alternative agent counterplans work becasue they shift
the locus, a neat trick but one that would be laughed at by argumentation
scholars, analytic philosphers, and policy-makers (after all, isn't that
what we're training to be ;).  in other words, these counterplans avoid
testing the question by artificially imposing an alternate reality, thus
decontextualizing the question.  these "counterplans" should rightly be
disads--if the us acts it hurts japan's ability to act or prevents thailand
and cambodia from working out their own problems. debating from the same
locus would encourage teams to find link cards rather than asserting the
counterplan that japan will act or simply supporting that japan would be a
better actor.

cast yourselves back to 1954, assume you are the supreme court about to
decide brown versus board--you wouldn't get to counterplan that the states
would act, solving the case and overcoming the federalism links--the
arguments would be that federal action impinged on states rights and that
they "may" be able to solve better, but fiating the state's acting would
wholly decontextualize the issues, history, and arguments surrounding the


Joel D. Rollins, PhD
UT @ Austin
JD.Rollins at
512 471 1918 (office)
512 471 3504 (FAX)

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