counterplan agents

Michael Korcok mmk1913
Sun Sep 7 20:12:09 CDT 1997

yes, the imbecile gets a reply, but this isn't it.

two intriguing questions have been raised privately.  even though one or
both might have unexpected depth, i think there are good answers to

the first is "why should the affirmative get to constrain the agent?"
the second is "why is the action the debate and not the actor?"

 the answer to the first question is "the affirmative doesn't get to
constrain the agent".

my argument is not that the counterplan must use the same agent as the
affirmative plan.  the counterplan must merely be within the scope of
the authority of the decisionmaker choosing whether the affirmative plan
ought to be done.  this merely requires that the decisionmaker have
authority to choose plan, not that the decisionmaker be the plan actor.
so, for example:

plan: the Big Red One parachutes into Cambodia.

possible decisionmaker 1: the General in command of Fort Riley
possible decisionmaker 2: the Army
possible decisionmaker 3: the DoD
possible decisionmaker 4: the President
possible decisionmaker 5: the USFG

now which of these (or other) possible decisionmakers is the
"appropriate" decisionmaker is up for grabs.  the literature and
discourse, legal and Constitutional considerations, ground fairness, and
other concerns seem to me possible sources of justification for the
various decisionmakers.

the difficulty with "same agent" solutions is that the affirmative can
just choose "the Navy's Office of Tactical Irrelevance" as their actor,
making all or nearly all counterplan ground vaporize.  but "same agent"
is unnecessarily strict:  the decisionmaker need not be the affirmative
actor, the decisionmaker only needs authority over the affirmative

there may be further depth here, of course.  could the affirmative
choose an actor which is resolutional but which is not accountable to
"superiors" in regard to the plan's actions?  if so, then there might be
no scope for ANY alternative actor counterplans.  no examples come to
mind, but perhaps...

and Solt #3 in the context of this solution is: choose a decisionmaker
along with the resolution.

 the answer to the second question is "the plan as a whole is the

this solution does not "fix" the agent in the way that either "same as
the affirmative actor" or "only the resolutional agent" solutions would.
for both of those solutions, the debate would essentially eliminate the
question "why should THIS actor do it rather than someone else?".  i
DON'T think the resolution "assumes" the agent, asking ONLY the question
"what should THIS agent do?"

the resolution parametrizes possible affirmative actions or policies.
those are stated as an actor or actors taking an action or actions.
once the (resolutional) affirmative plan is specified, the debate
becomes whether to adopt that plan.  any reason NOT to do so is a
legitimate negative argument. some of those reasons focus on the
problems with the actor and the benefits of alternative actors while
others seem to focus on the problems with the action and the benefits of
alternative actions and still others reject both actor and action.  i
think all are "fair game", none excluded by "assuming" that the actor is
a given or that the action is a given.  mine is NOT Becky Bjork's
argument (no disrespect, it just isn't).

furthermore, it is a mistake to assume that this solution ONLY impacts
potential counterplan actors.  both the counterplan actor AND action
must be within the scope of authority of the decisionmaker, but any
given decisionmaker's authority ranges over both actors and actions.
the "who" is no more "protected" than the "what" by this solution.

perhaps because the obvious application is to get rid of many of the
alternative agent counterplans, that this solution seems to prevent
"testing the actor".  it doesn't:  it merely recognizes that "authority"
(that is, "fiat") is proscribed for ALL decisionmakers, and over both
actors and actions.

one last example here to illustrate that actors are neither more nor
less the "focus" of this solution than actions.

plan: the CIA will "retire" Hun Sen.

decisionmaker: William Clinton

ok cp: the CIA will "acquire" Hun Sen.
ok cp: the Seals will "retire" Hun Sen.
ok cp: the Rangers will "acquire" Hun Sen.

(all of the above assume competition and that Clinton has the authority
to do so)

bad cp: France will "retire" Hun Sen.
bad cp: the California Highway Patrol will "retire" Hun Sen.
bad cp: the CIA will "retire" American sympathizers of Hun Sen.

(all of the above assume competition but that Clinton doesn't have
authority to do so.)

thank you for reading,
michael korcok

>From  Sun Sep  7 19:05:01 1997
Message-Id: <SUN.7.SEP.1997.190501.0000.>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 19:05:01 +0000
Reply-To: atauber at GLADSTONE.UOREGON.EDU
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
Comments: Authenticated sender is <atauber at>
From: Alan Tauber <atauber at GLADSTONE.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: Re: Aff Bias Update
Comments: To: democrat at OVNET.COM
In-Reply-To: <341341C0.49ED at>
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Speaking as one who competed at the 1997 NFL National Tournament, I
feel qualifed to put in my two cents.

I do not believe that you can legitimately claim that the skill
levels of the competitors is the same.  I debated in Oregon a state
that,frankly, isn't renowned for it's HS debaters.  Of the four teams
that went one was the state champ(my self and partner), one was the
second place at state while the other two didn't make outrounds at
state or at other tournaments.  It has always been my belief that NFL
nationals is not a sign of having any great amount of skill but of
having one good tournament, the qualifier.  I personally hit teams
from all skill levels.  A case in point: if the skill levels were all
the same then you should not have an 0-12 team, yet we had one.  In a
tournament with comprably skilled debaters every team should have at
least one win, and according to the theory of affirmative bias, close
to if not more than half.

I aggree with Mr. Bryant that the TOC is a much better tournament to
look at because a team must do well at three major tournaments.  I
personally didn't make it to TOC (a further endorsement) but from
what I understand, it is a much tougher tournament than NFL

A final note,  the judging pool at nationals is so varied that an
affirmative bias, if one exists, would be nullified.  After all the
final round was judged by 3-4 experienced HS/Collegiate judges while
the other 5-6 were everyday members of society.

Just a thought,
Alan Tauber
UO Debate

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