[eDebate] Ross's Judging Question About the Unconditional PIC

Dallas Perkins dperkins
Thu Nov 1 14:33:00 CDT 2007

I lost your message, but I'll respond.  I vote neg.  Saying the CP is 
unconditional does not mean that the neg can never be consigned to 
advocacy of the SQ.  If something about the CP is totally 
illigitimate--say, it's topical, it's a PIC, it's international fiat, it's 
object fiat, etc--then that seems to me to prove only that the neg cannot 
advocate the CP.  This does not mean the neg can't still advocate the 
world without the CP.

I've given this some thought over the years.  I confess that my rationale 
is more metaphysics than debate theory.  The neg always defends the status 
quo, the counterplan only functions as an amendment of the SQ.  Every CP 
is built on top of a very elaborate SQ.  The CP can't change everything 
about the SQ, it only changes a very little bit of it.  Everything else 
remains the same, and most of what the neg defends is the SQ.  (This is 
equally true of the aff, of course.)  If some or all of the amendments to 
the status quo proposed by the neg (or the aff) are illigitimate for some 
theoretical reason, the remedy is to disallow those illigitimate 

This disallowing of illigitimate counterplan or plan provisions need not 
be a voting issue.  If the team with the disallowed plan still wins the 
debate based on what they have left, so be it.  A plan with an 
extratopical provision is not traditionally thought inevitably fatal. 
Similar treatment should be accorded counterplan advocacy decided by the 
judge to be illigitimate.

Finally, this is very different from conditionality.  The neg does not 
claim the right to jetison the CP with all its attendant net benefits 
merely because it is getting beaten like a rented mule on the merits.  The 
neg may only take advantage of the opportunity to make a strategic 
concession of an argument still being extended in the debate by the aff. 
If at any  time in the debate the aff grants the theoretical legitimacy of 
the CP, the neg is stuck defending it.  This seems to me a reasonable 
strategic choice for the aff to be forced to make; conditionality's 
requirement that the aff answer a complex multi-argument negative attack 
without a clear point of comparison seems unreasonable.


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