[eDebate] ans Elliott

Michael Korcok mmk_savant
Fri Jun 22 10:53:16 CDT 2007

Swampy writes "Korcock" i write "Swampy"
Scott writes "If the negative reads off five alternative resolutions that would be better for debate/education, and wins one, do they win? Sounds worse than Korcock'splan-plan idea."
Ok, plan-plan.  An idea at its 10-year anniversary.  It has had a thus-far troubled youth.  No one argues it these days.  Not that it got a lot of play a decade ago.
Several folks over at cross-ex have offered opinions about why not.  I have my own:  plan-plan withered as and largely because resolutions became much narrower.
The theory is what it is.  There is a massive archived discussion of it.
But actually running plan-plan makes sense only in the context of a negative facing hundreds of very different affirmatives for which no satisfying preparation is realistic.  In the context of the huge CEDA resolutions of the early 90s ("R: advertising decreases the quality of life", "R: democracy is more important than sovereignty") it made sense for negatives to respond to fringe affirmatives with plan-plan.  In that context, the practical justifications for plan-plan shined.
But when there are 7 total plans essentially written by the topic committee, plan-plan just looks stupid.  Everyone would look at the plan-planning negative and tell them to do some stinking thought/research and actually prepare against those affirmatives.  And over the last decade, the environment has progressively worked against plan-plan as resolutions have become more and more narrow.
Which leads me to Scott's argument.  A negative team arguing their own advocacy which has nothing to do with the affirmative advocacy when the affirmative is not topical seems to me a great strategy.  The spirit of plan-plan is that the negative offers their own (topical) example of the resolution which has nothing to do with the affirmative's (topical) example and the judge picks which they like better.  
What is the affirmative going to argue?  "We are the affirmative and they are the negative.  We affirm, they negate.  They gotta negate us judge!"  is just pissing into the wind:  it censors the neg, it is fascist, it makes the affirmative whine like little babies.  This strategy highlights the initial abuse nicely:  for those judges who don't like to enforce T, it gives the negative a simple way to win (negative advocacy better) while highlighting that BEING TOPICAL is as much a part of the community agreement of policy debate as being AFF OR NEG is.
Look, I think Josh, Jim, and Scott are so far ahead of this debate by now that it has become a pummel.  But giving negatives great arguments justifying topicality enforcement is only a partial solution.  Neil pointed out what we all know:  no matter how good the negative arguments are, a smart, talented, well-coached Anarchy team learning the details, the tricks, the tradeoffs, and the next moves round after round after round will beat an equally good negative team that runs the neg answers a couple times a year.
So yeah, a plan-plan mutation where the negative runs their own advocacy and asks the judge to pick which they like better takes the affirmative off their ground while taking away their best tricks against topicality enforcement.  It is a bunch of work for the negative to learn but it is ultimately more satisfying than relying on an unsteady community norm reinforced by edebate pummelling of Anarchists.  And it is theory that gets at what it means to do policy debate in a deeper way than just the T debate  does.
Michael Korcok
Bakersfield College
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