Sean Harris harrissr
Sun Sep 7 19:56:16 CDT 1997

On Sun, 7 Sep 1997, Benjamin Coulter wrote:

> 1.  It seems to me that the problem with counterplans like "have China
> disarm" is that they require the negative fiat the object of the plan.  In
> other words, the negative should not be allowed to fiat that the problem
> itself go away.  An example from last year's NDT comes to mind.  Debating
> Iowa PR in the out rounds, Gonzaga counterplanned to have the Native
> Americans(the object of the affirmative adv) reject uranium mining.  As
> Rayburn said, "Except for a few fiat problems, this was a very good idea."

There's a big difference between fiating the object of the *advantage* and
fiating the object of the *resolution*.  I do think that fiating the
object of the resolution has definite legitimacy problems.  To use your
example, the CP would be for the businesses (those who would be regulated
by the plan) to stop uranium mining on Native lands.  That would be
fiating out the problem, as you put it.

However, a CP that utilizes an agent specified in an affirmative advantage
does not *necessarily* suffer the same legitimacy problems.  I think your
example is a case in point.  Gonzaga's CP did not fiat "the problem
itself" because the problem was whack businesses, not Native America.
Gonzaga merely fiated an action by a group specified by the affirmative.
It's absurd to think that the scope of negative fiat can be constrained
by the affirmative's choice of advantages.  If this were true, then this
year I could run Japan, China, and ASEAN as my three advantages, and claim
that you couldn't fiat an action by them because they were my advantages.

A quick caveat before y'all go off:
I am not saying that it is legitimate to fiat out affirmative
advantages.  A CP which fiats that China will not be aggressive has
definite abuse issues.  That is different, though, from a CP that uses an
actor which happens to be involved in an affirmative advantage.

Perhaps the distinction is small, but I think it's important.


Sean Harris
Whitman College

>From  Sun Sep  7 21:23:45 1997
Message-Id: <SUN.7.SEP.1997.212345.0400.>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 21:23:45 -0400
Reply-To: BeejHuff at AOL.COM
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Bj Hoffpauir <BeejHuff at AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: CPs 2 levels
Comments: To: cd_smith at

In a message dated 97-09-07 14:49:08 EDT, cd_smith at OU.EDU writes:

<< This is an interesting point of view, but I think it's wrong.
 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 think you missed the point of Ken's argument.  Fiating a change in a
specific policy may not be fiating a change of attitudes, per se, but those
policies we change/create in debate rounds do not exist in a vaccum.  They
are reflective of attitudes of the actual policy makers within an
institution.  And though you may be right that "institutions do not have have
attitudes", I think that stance ignores the fact that institutions are guided
by principles.  The PRC may not have an attitude, per se, but the institution
is guided by a set of principles that defies description of merely the
collective "attitudes"  of the leaders of the PRC.  This also ties into the
idea of what should be the temporal limits of fiat.  The Neg may be able to
fiat that on a given instance, the PRC will not invade the Spratlys, but can
this continue forever?

I feel that that C/P's that fiat that something should "not"  occur
inevitably raise questions of theoretical legitimacy.  Those sorts of
policies ignore the ability for changes in leadership, and other changes
within any Nation/State that affect the world in which both the plan and the
C/P are evaluated.  I think it these sorts of C/P's that create the image of
the "magic wand of fiat."  Advocating that a specific action should occur,
(for example, that the PRC should invade the Spratlys)  tend to avoid these
theoretical legitimacy dillema, since they only advocate the adoption of a
policy once.



>From  Sun Sep  7 21:29:45 1997
Message-Id: <SUN.7.SEP.1997.212945.0400.>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 21:29:45 -0400
Reply-To: BeejHuff at AOL.COM
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Bj Hoffpauir <BeejHuff at AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: agent counterplans
Comments: To: hullgd at

I guess my intent in the original post was not as clear as I wanted.  My
point was not to say that court cases should not be used to interpret debate
theory.  My point was that we tend to overlook the procedural implications of
legislative actions not because they are not important, but because it is
easier to understand them.   Also, since the majority of topics debated tend
to have a more traditional focus on legislative/executive policy
making/implementation, debators find less of a need to develop those
procedural implications, at least in my own humble opinion.

Personally, I love court cases, and topics that center on questions of the
court.  I also personally think the legitimacy disads are bunk.  Not that
they are invalid, but the conclusions debators tend to draw from the
literature surrounding this topic are at best OVERSTATED, or at worst, not
advocated by the actual authors.  Most legitimacy issues are discussed within
the ivory tower of legal academia as issues of philosophy.  I think there
purpose is to illustrate the care that must be taken in the drafting of court

At the same time, I also feel the same way about most traditional disads,
such as Clinton, or you name it.  Though it's not surprising, given the way
the media reports news.  The tendency to write grandiose statements in order
to increase circulation and revenues for those who publish the news is often
overlooked.  It's necessarily a bad thing, but the news is for the most part
uninteresting, at least in my own opinion.  The people who make a living
realize this, and do their best to make it interesting, so that we'll buy
their papers, magazines or watch their news shows.



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