[eDebate] ans Lacy

Michael Korcok mmk_savant
Tue Jul 17 03:11:03 CDT 2007

JP asks: "What if the permutation HAS been "fully tested"* and is the best available option?"
yah, has this ever happened?  i just don't see how or why this would occur in this universe, man...
what, the negative block's going to run a counterplan to the perm?  why would they do that?  presumably to show that the perm should not be adopted but that just seems a 3 ? blunder by the negative... the 1ar argues perms just test counterplan competition and the counterplan to the perm doesn't compare the perm to the original counterplan to the plan, so extend the perm, counterplan doesn't compete, adopt plan, vote aff.  you are thinking the 2nr is going to argue that the "anti-topical" perm proves the best option isn't topical so vote against the resolution?  man... that strategy is hopeless... and not cool deep blue funk hopeless either:  just plain old mule trying to hump a horse hopeless...
the theoretical answer is that whether the permutation should be adopted has nothing to do with whether the plan should be adopted.  if the permutation shouldn't be adopted because there is a counterplan to the permutation which competes with the permutation and is preferable to it doesn't show that the original counterplan DOES compete with and is preferable to the plan:  the aff still extends that the perm is better than the original counterplan which shows the plan is better than the parts of the original counterplan that compete with the plan.  and no... just because the counterplan to the perm is better than the perm doesn't show that the new counterplan is better than or competes with the plan:  it does no logical work at all in evaluating either the original counterplan or the plan.  
so this case clearly isn't what JP has in mind...  but he isn't really interested in the anti-topicality discussion either...  but let me contextualize this part of the discussion to that for a bit.  how about the negative block runs a counterplan to the perm in the hope that the 1ar beats their new counterplan, giving the 2nr the argument that the (anti-topical) perm should be adopted, which shows that the resolution is false and that's the focus instead of the plan.  we aren't talking art here... this ain't no Jossi Bjorling wartime recording of Nessun Dorma:  more like my neighbor's incessantly yapping little puntdogs.  but it could happen, i guess.  in some bizzarroworld...
But this little freakshow doesn't go anywhere either.  the affirmative just points out that OF COURSE there are gazillions of nontopical courses of action that should be undertaken like your heart should keep beating and your momma should keep eating:  and, yes, OF COURSE there are all sorts of anti-topical policies that should be undertaken, and the negative has found one of them... so what?  Do we really want policy debate to be "negative wins if they show an "anti-topical" course of action should be adopted"?  Why is that a better scheme than what we do now: "affirmative should win if they show a topical course of action should be adopted."
and if JP has some other scenario in mind in which the perm would be fully tested, i.e. would be evaluated against its opportunity cost, please share...
JP writes: "If so, the judge has to evaluate rejecting the perm as an opportunity cost of forgoing the plan, especially if the superior benefits of the permutation can only be achieved by adopting the plan."
i *think* this misconceives what perms are and do.
just because the perm is better than its opportunity cost doesn't establish it as the BEST available option.  it only shows that the perm should be done.  but there are lots of things which should be done, some of them a lot better than the perm.  one of them might be the plan. another might be the original counterplan.  just because a perm is "fully tested" and passes with flying colors means squadoosh.
just because the perm is better than its opportunity cost doesn't make it a reason to reject the original counterplan.  just because the perm should be done doesn't entail that the counterplan doesn't compete with the plan or even that the perm is better than the original counterplan.  one way to see that is that perms don't (typically) compete with the counterplans they test.  many perms, after all, contain the entirety of the counterplan and so no more compete with the counterplans they are testing than plan plus counterplans compete with the plans they test.  another way is to simply observe that permutations don't function as the opportunity cost of taking counterplan action - that's just not what they are.
it looks like JP's claims flow from the idea that if you don't do the plan you can't do the perm, so there is forced choice between not doing the plan and doing the perm.  truly twisted, man.   look, every action that is plan PLUS some other action (feed the starving in Darfur, don't nuke France, etc) has to be foregone if we don't do the plan.  but none of the PLUS actions should get to count for the plan unless they ALSO have to be foregone by taking counterplan action.  another way of saying it is that the only part of the perm that is clearly foregone if you don't do the plan is the plan.
so... naw... the above just isn't so.  perms are just not the opportunity cost of either taking counterplan action or of more generally foregoing plan action.  and that doesn't change if the perm is "fully tested" by showing that it is better than its opportunity cost ala the first few paragraphs.
JP writes: "*As for "fully testing" a perm, it seems like only convention prevents doing so: The negative does have a good deal of opportunity to test the opportunity cost of the perm, and other than the structure of speeches, (and other artificial constraints, like "dispositionality," in all its forms) prevent debaters from doing so."
okay, fair enough.  this looks like an affirmative argument for legitimating an advocacy of the perm.  sure, nothing prevents the negative block from presenting a new counterplan to the permutation.  except self-respect, that is.  a humongous beer can will surely drop on any negative team that even thinks about doing that.
I think the negative should just point out that the only reason the counterplan was presented in the 1nc was to test whether the plan ought to be done, under the assumption that the game both teams were playing was "affirmative wins if their 1ac topical plan should be done."  if the affirmative shifts their advocacy to the permutation then they have clearly bailed out of that core parametric agreement.  and if the affirmative no longer wants to play the game "affirmative wins if they show their 1ac topical plan should be done" then the negative wants to play the game "negative wins if their 2nc nontopical idea is good" and the game "affirmative wins if they show their 2ac plan should be done" is just lukewarm crap with maggots crawling all over it.
JP writes: "Plus, even if the permutation isn't the focus of the debate, there is the potential that it just might be the best option (even after testing,) that the judge can't completely ignore because there may be unexplored costs and opportunities forgone. (After all, we know the negative can't possibly bring up every cost of the plan during the course of a debate, but we often vote aff when we know there are persuasive disadvantages that the negative didn't run...Hidden costs, benefits and opportunities are by nature unknowable. What is known after some debates is that the permutation is the best option.)"
ok the above stuff answers most of this, i think.
JP writes:  "And, even if a "captured" counterplan isn't fully tested, other conventions lead to the conclusion that the "opportunity cost" of running a counterplan that the negative ought to think through before the round is the risk that the permutation might be the best logical option available to the judge at the end of the round.The only way to "straight turn" a counterplan is with a "true" permutation that proves the counterplan is a reason to adopt the plan."
ok it is 1am, the cabernet sauvignon is taking over, Jessica is giving me a hard stare, and even though it sorta seems like JP is writing something cool, I don't know what it is...  good night all.
Michael Korcok
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