[eDebate] framework and the decisionmaker

Brett Wallace brettawallace
Wed Apr 18 15:40:10 CDT 2007

Andy writes...

>In a world without the framework debate. Violence.Nah! Seemed like a totaly

>viable way to solve your aff

Totally agree - voting against violence would be a sweet idea. So would
voting for world peace. So would give everybody millions of dollars.

Decisionmaking would be quite simple if we could just assume the position of
an ideal decisionmaker, and just chose any option we want. The problem is,
that isn't how decisions are made in the real world. Nobody would reject the
idea of the GOVERNMENT giving civil liberties and first amendment rights to
help the war on terror based on the idea that INDIVIDUALS should just stop
being violent, because decisions are only made based on the PROBABILITY that
you can influence another person to act. Do you think the "overrule quirin
on the grounds that violence is bad" CP actually solves? Because that is the
only way phrasing that type of alternative in the context of something that
is an actual opportunity cost of doing the aff could work. Individuals
acting isnt an opportunity cost for the supreme court, because they dont
have the authority to fiat the way people think. Analyzing ANY policy
option/K alternative/resolutional education is completely irrelevent if we
haven't first specified a decisionmaker.

Paul Strait and I will be writing an article explaining the decision-making
argument in the context of framework in the debaters research guide this
summer if anybody cares to read it/get more of an explination.  And Branson,
if you post/cross apply your previous arguments from may...they will be
answered in the article as well, don't worry.

Just in case i lack authority for some reason, here is some relevent reading
material from people more qualified than me...

Ross says you link to the utopian arg

*Smith 98* Ross, The International Counterplan, a Survey of the Issues,

In the real world, all policy decisions must ultimately be made by a
situated policy agent, an agent with limited power. Perhaps God could
reshape any facet of the world, but from the perspective of a single policy
making agent policies are justifiable based only on the resources at that
agent's disposal So, in the ideal world, Southern states should have
desegregated without being forced to by the federal government But in
Congress, the argument was that civil rights legislation was necessary
precisely because the states would not desegregate on their own. Urging the
states to take action was an option for Congress to consider, but the "fiat
of state action was not an option. Who would say that it was wrong for
Congress to pass civil rights legislation because of the states counterplan?

Korcok agrees - this causes the wax museum d/a

Korcok's edebate post May 06'

this argument gets complex fast, but I would resist this formulation of
debate as intractable. in the simplest case, the argument that reform should
be undertaken through the freely-made choice to do the right, moral, and
universally welfare-maximizing thing by each of the 6 billion of us would
win almost every time. and if that much negative fiat scares you, you KNOW
that the miscreant is almost ALWAYS the best agent of reform: how sweet is
it if the terrorists choose to stop terrorizing, the criminals decide to
stop criminating, and the communists cease their communing? what comes to
mind is that haunting phrase of Roger Solt's: "the potential (and actual)
abuses of negative fiat could fill a forensic wax museum."

And...you link to the hybrid example....

Korcok's edebate post May 06

Travis just doesn't get the Toyota Hybrid example. I'll do the long version.
You and your significant other are sitting at the table talking about
whether you should buy that Prius at the dealership down the road. The other
lists several reasons like "environmentally responsible", "snazzy look",
"hippy friends will approve" and they list some negatives like "expensive,"
and "cramped." You both agree that the positives outweigh the negatives and
you are ready to go buy it. Then you, Travis Neal, lurch up out of your
chair like a zombie and yell inchoately "NO!!! COUNTERPLAN! we shouldn't! It
would be better if that guy down the street who we see at the Starbucks
every now and then buys it instead! He drives more than we do and if he
replaced his Hummer with that Prius, it would be EVEN MORE environmentally
responsible! And the environmentally is most important." Your significant
other, never impressed with your debate geekiness, stares at you, the love
dripping slowly out of their eyes, as they point out "But we don't even know
if that guy has any interest in anything except Hummers, much less
environmental responsibility, much less hybrid vehicles, much less a Prius,
much less THAT Prius, dear..." You, that's you Travis, squak "FIAT! I FIAT
that the guy buys the Prius. I explained FIAT to you the other night while
you were... you remember!" Your significant other, edging toward the door,
recounts... "So, we are NOT buying the Prius because it would be better if
that other guy bought it instead... and we have no reason to believe that
they actually would buy it if we didn't? That is what the man I once thought
I loved is telling me?" Does it all make sense now, Travis?

And, this decision making is important for real world education...

*Mitchell, *JD Baylor, Former Briefing Attorney for the Texas Supreme Court,
* 81 **(*Frank, The Bounderies of Government Fiat Debaters Research Journal

*The key to understanding current fiat theory is the notion that debate
should reflect real world decision-making*. Certainly, *much of debate
argumentation reflects real world concern*s. For example, debaters consider
actual socioeconomic issues in a discussion of their pertinent risks and
benefits. Presumably*, if one of debate's tasks is to train debaters in
decision making, the debate process should reflect aspects of real-world
decision-making*. The acceptance of this assumption also suggests *that
debate should reflect real world limits on governmental action. Because
current governmental structures are limited by legal authority, any social
problem will have a different set of solutions depending upon the agent that
addresses the problem*. For instance, *when responding to a Constitutional
question, the Supreme Court can interpret the constitutionality of a law,
but cannot enact a law as Congress does*. An individual citizen, reacting to
high gas prices, can form a car pool, but cannot enact national legislation.
Thus *no one agent, because of limits imposed by law and the political
environment, can be all-powerful*. *Application of this analogy to debate
provides a theoretical basis for limiting fiat power and authority*. First,
*this notion contests the current assumption allowing negative teams the
power to fiat through different governmental levels*. However*, such a power
has no real world counterpart. For a judge to be a state legislator, a
federal, and a local one all at the same time goes far beyond the power of a
real world  **legislator*. Second, the *notion of an all-powerful agent
often assumes institutional organizations and relationships that do not
exist in the real world.* For instance, a characteristic of policy action at
the state level is that it is non-uniform. *Fiat at this level becomes very
"non-real*." In the real world *the relative desirability of policy options
is*, in part, *a function of ease of implementation and* perhaps *this
consideration should be reflected in debate. Thus the judge as an agent
should act within real world limits upon policy enactment.* *The basis for
this limitation on fiat can be found in an examination of the resolution*. In
determining the role of the judge, *the resolution sets down the legal
jurisdictional limits for considering change*. For example, a resolution
asking for federal action limits the role of the judge to that of a federal
policymaker. In this instance a negative arguing for adoption of a state
counterplan will go beyond the jurisdictional limits of the topic.  *The
assumption that debate is a game provides an additional justification for
fiat limitation*. As a game of competition with the judge's decision
determining the winners, debate *should be governed by rules that ensure a
fair game. By its very nature, the resolution limits the affirmative to the
implementation of policy through one governmental level*. However, *with
unlimited fiat the negative has the power to enact policies through several
different agents*. Hence, the negative has retained a strategic advantage of
flexibility.  In sum, this section has established several theoretical
criteria with which the power of legislative fiat can be limited. Acceptance
of the above assumptions means that *debaters must be constrained by the
jurisdictional limits of the resolution. *

Brett Wallace
The Elliot School 07'
The George Washington University
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