CPs 2 levels
Sun Sep 7 13:50:23 CDT 1997
Good! Fresh new voices...
Ken Sherwood writes:
> I think that there have been two very interesting threads re:
> recent weeks. The first has to do with the question of institutional
> on Neg FIAT. This idea was raised a few years ago by Roger Solt in an
> article where he discussed the necessity of limiting Neg. FIAT. The
> difference being that Roger did not suggest a topic based set of
> but a more permanent approach. The problem I have with this is the
> educational opportunity it takes away from our debaters. Rather than
> agreement or rule about what Neg. teams can or cannot FIAT we should let
> debaters debate whether or not a particular action is argumentatively
> justified. Isn't that part of their job? It seems to me we would be
> a great opportunity for creativity and thought development away from our
> students if we tell them what they are allowed to FIAT and what they are
> Every judge has his/her opinions and ideas re: every theoretical issue
> FIAT is certainly no exception. So why do we need to institutionalize
> approach to the issue? Let them debate it out and see who does a better
I think we all agree that no one is writing the rules of fiat to be
enforced by judges in rounds. We are developing arguments in both
directions, and these arguments can be used to support one position or
another in a round.
> The second issue is the alternate agent issue. A couple of years ago I
> doing a lot of writing about this issue, mostly in convention papers. My
> position is that the counterplan is an argument that serves one purpose:
> That is to help the Neg. make the argument that the resolutional action
> "should not" be taken. If proposing an alternative agent helps the Neg.
> prove this then it seems to me that it would be a legitimate argument.
The argument that I think stands at this time is that the alternative agent
counterplan does not help the neg prove this. That argument is based on
the fact that what "should be done" is dependent upon the current political
and authoritative position of the relevant actors. If the United States is
in a position where it sees that the harm will happen, it should do what is
in its power to avoid the harm (absent DA's that outweigh, etc.) A choice
by the United States that Japan ought to do it, when Japan probably isn't
going to do it, is equivalent to making poor excuses for inaction. But you
get to this below, so I'll continue the thought later.
> I do,
> however, think that this approach includes an aspect of realism. And
> think, is a limit on FIAT that exists logically. There are some actions
> shouldn't be allowed within the realm of FIAT because they simply could
> happen within the realm of policy action.
I don't think that's really accurate. They "couldn't" happen? Or are they
just highly unlikely to happen? You see, you are one step away from
accepting that propensity should be considered for an alternative actor,
but refusing to take the final step. You are saying "will they do it or
not?" when the real question is "what is the probability, given what we
know, that they will do it?" The answer to this final question equates to
the probability of the impact for your disadvantage... If the alternative
actor fails to act, the DA is non-unique. So let's stop seeing everything
in black and white and accept that an alternative actor can solve in a
disadvantage, but not in a counterplan.
> Remember, FIAT is NOT a magic
> wand. The Neg. should not be able to successfully win the argument that
> China will stop being aggressive or that they will stop being Communist
> because neither of these are specific actions, they require a change in
> institutional philosophy and attitude; and one of the most basic theories
> FIAT has always been that you cannot FIAT attitudes.
This is an interesting point of view, but I think it's wrong. Institutions
don't have attitudes, and the negative would be fiating the action of not
invading the Spratleys or whatever, not the change in attitude among
leaders. My aff might go against the views of most of Congress too, but I
fiat it as an action and it's legitimate.
> I hope this helps the discussion. I haven't posted anything in long
> but this one really appealed to me.
Well, it was really nice to have someone new in these discussions.
> Good luck to all.
> Ken Sherwood
> DOF LACC
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