[eDebate] ans Saindon

Jean-Paul Lacy lacyjp
Mon Jul 16 22:18:07 CDT 2007

         [I'm setting aside the whole "offsets" & "perm 
topicality/anti-topicality" discussion for another time.]

What if the permutation HAS been "fully tested"* and is the best available 

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.

*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.

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.)

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.

--JP Lacy
lacyjp at wfu.edu

At 09:05 PM 7/16/2007, Michael Korcok wrote:
>the mistaken assumption of the "there's something to anti-topicality if 
>the resolution's truth matters" is that counterplans (and, inter alia, 
>permutations) do more than evaluate the desirability of the affirmative plan.
>just because a counterplan competes and is better than the plan doesn't 
>imply that the counterplan should be done.  the counterplan is JUST a 
>reason not to do the plan:  if the counterplan doesn't compete or the plan 
>is preferable, then the counterplan doesn't offer a (sufficient) reason to 
>reject plan and if the counterplan competes and is better than the plan, 
>then the plan should NOT be done.  the logic of counterplans doesn't 
>justify "adopt the counterplan" and so never gets to "accept or reject the 
>think of it this way:  the counterplan, if IT was to be evaluated, might 
>well succumb to one or more counterplans which compete with and are 
>preferred to it.  in policy debate, however, a counterplan is not 
>evaluated by considering the opportunity cost of ITS adoption - 
>counterplans only logically function as the opportunity costs of 
>affirmative plans.
>therefore...  a topical counterplan doesn't get to function as a warrant 
>for the resolution ... the logic only entails that the counterplan is a 
>reason NOT to do the plan.  there is nothing wrong with a negative 
>answering the cross-ex question: "So we should adopt the 
>counterplan?"  with "Oh hell no!!!  But if you did adopt the plan, you 
>would forego the superior option of the counterplan which means you ought 
>not do the plan.  But don't be an illogical spastic monkey...  We're sure 
>if this counterplan were to be evaluated, it would also be crushed under 
>the weight of its own opportunity cost.  But that's a debate for another 
>time and another judge..."
>the same logic shuffles on over to the consideration of permutations.  a 
>permutation functions to test the competitiveness of the counterplan.  and 
>that's it.  just because a permutation is the most desireable policy of 
>those in a given debate does not mean that it should be adopted.  IT isn't 
>being evaluated, that is, it isn't been compared to its opportunity cost 
>to determine whether it should be done.  if that evaluation were to be 
>undertaken, there might well be any number of counterplans that compete 
>with and are preferable to that action which make it clear that the perm 
>shouldn't be adopted.
>a great perm ONLY shows two things: 1) the parts of the counterplan in the 
>permutation don't compete with the plan and 2) the plan is better than the 
>competitive parts of the counterplan (those not in the perm).  whether the 
>permutation is mostly topical or conceivably anti-topical or even 
>inimical-to-any-conception-or-interpretation-of-the-resolution is 
>irrelevant simply because the reasons to prefer the perm to the 
>counterplan don't ever imply that a perm should be done, adopted, or 
>endorsed.  they only imply that the perm is better than the 
>counterplan.  well whoopdeedoo...  the perm, if it were the focus of the 
>debate, that is if we evaluated whether to adopt the perm or not, would 
>face a VERY different set of arguments than it faces.  for example... the 
>perm would be evaluated against ITS opportunity cost and chances are very 
>very very good that ain't the counterplan it is the perm to.
>Michael Korcok
>Bakersfield College
>Don't get caught with egg on your face.    Play Chicktionary!
>eDebate mailing list
>eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
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