[eDebate] Korcok et al/agent

Josh Branson harobran
Fri May 12 18:30:53 CDT 2006

Korcok et al---
Very interesting---I?ve got 3 thoughts

1. Your argument about the role of the judge necessitates a very strong 
defense of intrinsicness. The neg would have no Bush agenda DAs at all 
(obviously Congress would never NOT do something because it might cause 
themselves to pass another really bad bill---the rational ?choice? would be 
to do the plan and not pass the India Deal). Your logic also probably tanks 
most relations DAs, court appointment DAs---indeed most non-kritik/non-case 
turn strats. Which might not be a terrible thing, but I think that might be 
pretty bad for neg ground in a lot of instances---it would also make new 
affs essentially unbeatable the first and second times around. And ground 
questions will remain primary over the true technical accuracy of agent CP's 
and whether or not they force competition.

2. I think the role of the judge is more accurately just an intellectual 
envisioning *some* action. I agree with you, we?re obviously not ?role 
players? (I have never once thought of ?myself? as the USFG in any debate, 
and I don?t know anyone else who has either). But I *don?t* think that the 
critic is limited to the ?appropriate decision-maker,? the ?resolutional 
actor,? or anyone else in particular. The resolution is not the basis for 
fiat powe---unless you?re going to strap in on no neg fiat---it?s simply 
there to ensure that we?re talking about the same thing and have a chance to 
research etc.  And with this view of the resolution, CP?s that use a 
non-resolutional actor DO force a choice. I thought the example about Roe 
was a good one---I know very little about Courts/Congress outside of 
Rosenberg and Epstein etc---policy advocates and scholars often *do* make 
choices about what agent should enact reform, and there are trade-offs 
involved (thus Hollow Hope etc).
Your response to this is that Blackmun would have never considered the 
Congress CP as an arg during an abortion decision, and you?re right, but you 
here have again presumed that the judge of the debate is somehow analogous 
to Blackmun. I don?t think that?s an accurate analogy. We're debaters, and 
the terminal impact to our actions (if there is one) is NOT direct policy 
change. It is instead inculcating a certain attitude/knowledge, and in this 
light, the Congress is competitive with the Courts.

The ?real-world? impact to this might play out in that *allowing* agent CP 
debates the whole year might convince the debate community that Congress is 
the better forum to address the resolutional issues, and thus when those of 
us debating turn into policy-makers/justices/think tank people later on in 
our careers, we?ll take those institutional knowledges with us. And maybe 
somewhere down the line these knowledges will affect the FG's position over 
abortion---or more likely, it might affect the shape of the academic debate 
over that position in the US.
Now of course, there's probably no "real-world" impact to any of this---but 
if that's true, then the decision doesn't really "matter" outside of how it 
educates us, and in this light, all the "agent debates matter" arguments 
become O against your position.

3. This turns the hybrid car example---you?re right, the prospect of your 
neighbor buying a hybrid car should not negate your choice to buy one, but I 
think the more apt analogy is this: you are thinking about telling Friend A 
that they should buy a Prius---but then you realize that if you tell Friend 
B to buy one instead, it will accrue the same environmental benefits while 
avoiding Friend A?s wife leaving him b/c it will bankrupt the household 
budget. While the prospect of friend B buying the car is irrelevant to 
Friend A?s abstract choice about the car, it IS relevant to you as the 
third-party in terms of your strategy for encouraging/thinking about hybrid 
car buy-up.
Just because there might be some statement you're pondering that says 
"resolved: that friend A should buy a prius" does NOT mean that somehow 
friend A is the only person that is relevant to you. It's just what you've 
chosen to start the discussion, and if there is an opportunity cost to that 
action, then that should be relevant to your calculus.

The whole discussion reminds me of a Roger Solt article I once read about 
whether or not the judge has ?fiat power? over the intrinsicness plank that 
the aff attempts to add against DAs. I?m sure Roger would have some pretty 
interesting thoughts about this whole discussion?.I do think Korcok is right 
that people have kind of blown off  intrinsicness-style args recently for no 
real good reason. In fact, I really wish I had made more of them against 
Bush DAs over the years?.

I also know JP Lacy made a similar argument once to me against the states 
CP, and I thought it was interesting.

I do think that this is a pretty reasonable charge against international 
fiat, because of the terminal impact question (it?s difficult to imagine any 
of us being able to influence Chinese/French policy later on, whereas it?s 
not so far-fetched in terms of Courts/Congress)

Anyway, pretty fascinating discussion...


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