[eDebate] Rejecting the cult of fairness

David Register regedebate
Wed Nov 14 20:33:13 CST 2007

I don't have a lot to add here, but couldn't help myself since I made
so many folks listen to "fairness" claims in the 2ARs I gave.

Branson says:

"The core question regarding conditionality, in my mind, is whether or
not forcing the aff to jump through the mental hoops required to
navigate multiple if-then statements and (maybe) some contradictions
is a valuable thing to do. That is the ONLY question."

I disagree, although only in part...  I think it's the "ONLY" that got
me typing.  Conditional CPs allow the Neg to eliminate entire Aff
speeches after they've been given.  Granted, that's a question of
whether or not the Aff chooses to 'straight turn' the CP, but I think
allowing Aff's this option makes debate better (more strategic, more
fun, deeper, etc.).  I think this conception of argument liability
increases the overall quality of debates because it often forces the
debate to a crucial issue (turn or DA to a CP; I'll concede here that
these args are sometimes terrible, but often are about a key
difference between plan and CP).  Plus, it's just fun to watch an Aff
surprise someone with a sweet disad to a counterplan.  Don't conflate
this with D'Amico's argument though.  I don't think the theory
argument itself is fun, but I like the strategic results it produces
in debates.  This is probably why I'll pull the trigger on "No
straight turn option --> Neg usually wins," especially if it's coupled
with the actual disad to the counterplan and the Neg just kicks the
CP.  I also think many "theory" debates are a race to the bottom and
sometimes anti-fun, but I'm only a judge so I like to let the debaters
determine what they think is relevant.  The longer I do this, however,
the more I cringe when I hear "independent voting issue".  And no
disrespect to Josh's argument, but if I was judging a debate where one
team makes an "independent voting issue" and the other uses a Branson
card from this thread to answer it, I might cry.

Nevertheless, some of my favorite teams to watch run all their
arguments conditionally because they are smart enough to make the
right arguments to all that I've said above.  Like I said, it's their
debate(s).  But, like Kuswa said, this all assumes a particular
content and deployment.  The really important question is "are we
policymakers"?  I think Kevin hits the nail right on the head.  The
models overlap.  I think this is a great thing, and that the very
'separateness' of this community from the 'real' policymakers is
probably healthy.  How many other places can people play with radical
politics, learn about criticizing the system (or game) in which they
participate, or see how these things interact with policy decisions
without facing a lot more consequences than the L?  But? If I could
create a model, the "Aff Choice" argument would be gone from debates,
and would instead float in the toilet where it belongs.

D Reg

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