More topic thoughts
Sat Apr 29 16:53:11 CDT 2000
It seems that the problems of including the phrase "development
assistance" and the problem of no country list are the outside parameters
of a topic that needs to fall somewhere in the middle:
I agree with Sparky (not some of his choice words, but with his claim)
that specifying "Africa" is way too broad. We would never develop a case
specific debate, because there would be too many countries to do so.
Further, we would overlook the diversity of the individual countries in
Africa, and homogenize the continent, because that's what the Negative
would be forced to do to remain even marginally competitive. Thus, the
two advantages I see of listing the countries are: A) Predictable
limits, and perhaps just as importantly B) Pedagogical benefits to
learning about the diversity that exists within countries.
Some might argue: More countries = more knowledge about the continent
because you would be forced to read more
Quite the opposite, the logical strategy choice would be to abandon any
specificity of argument altogether and to look for a broad generic
strategy that would be run EVERY ROUND despite the specifics of what was
going on in the particular nation. I actually feel a powerful Kritik
style argument could be lodged against a topic that basically required the
Negative to gloss over the differences between the nations in the topic
and debate "African nations" as a whole. What ar e we in the community
then saying about the diversity of the peoples of the African continent?
I agree that something is "lost" when we group peoples by the nation-state
in which they live. But I think there has to be some room for ground for
On the flip-side, the phrase "development assistance" gives the Negative a
link without earning one in the debate. The discussion of the generic
counterplan option GUARANTEED IN EVERY ROUND disturbs me. I've got no
problem with a generic Counterplan strategy THAT YOU NEED LINK CARDS FOR.
For example, I have no problem with people running Clinton, as long as I
can answer: No link: No one in Congress worries about Tanzania; Turn:
Plan supported by "X" lobby group; Turn: Plan in particular is
popular-i.e. LINK DEBATES
Slusher says: We'll have generic strategies no matter what. True. But
what he discards as being not very relevant; "all you need is a handful of
link cards," is answered by saying, sure, you can do that and then deal
with the "truck load of turn cards." Ill conceived generics when not
granted by the resolution are a risky game.
When someone finds the "this plan MUST BE FUNDED BY THE DEVELOPMENT
ASSISTANCE BUDGET or x d/a occurs" more power to them. I never found any.
I found GENERIC TURN cards, but this makes the whole debate generic. No
advantage to the specificity of the Aff., and hence the best strategy for
the Neg. is NEVER TO GO SPECIFIC. Hooray! The best strategy all year is
generic development K's and the budget category counterplan (which can
have as an additional net benefit, the aforementioned K). I know that I
will coach my teams to refine our theory blocks and impact scenarios on
our generics before I tell them to go to the library and research anything
specific to a Sub-Saharan African country on that topic.
I like generic ground as much as the next person, but generic ground
should be answerable by specific mechanisms the Aff. can use to no link or
turn those arguments. The phrase "development assistance" has been shown
in the past to be insufficient to do that.
So let's pick something else so we can debate about specific plans and
Still hoping (but not actually expecting) that we will ACTUALLY DEBATE
AFRICA next year,
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