[eDebate] fiat fairness and fun

Michael Korcok mmk_savant
Thu Nov 15 00:17:21 CST 2007


let_the_american_empire_burn blabs on with: "... we insist on our free reign to rearticulate the political imaginary; we inhabit impossible worlds."
me: one problem is the rent in impossible worlds is really high.  inhabit them too long and the man kicks your ass out to the real world curb.  then the only articulating you do is "buddy, can you spare a quarter?" besides, the other inhabitants of impossible worlds are stinky disconnected jackasses.***************************************let_the_american_empire_burn tries debate theory: "(1) there are ... be enacted."
 
me: yah, that's some silly crap alright.  to be fair, necessity and contingency are the starting point for 80% of all crackpot theories, explanations and idealets.  and not much has come of the other 20% either.  it should be no surprise that the first concept that let_the_american_empire_burn validates using that distinction is "inherency", that greatest of concepts to emerge from that towering edifice of pig slop called the "stock issues paradigm".  
 
the only thing I want to point out here is that let_the_american_empire_burn seems to believe that a counterplan creates/posits the possible world in which the plan is evaluated...  that is a catastrophic misunderstanding of what counterplans are and do.  The question in policy debates is: should the topical affirmative plan be enacted?  you know, enacted in this, the actual world.   the counterplan is posited as the highest value lost opportunity if plan action is taken.  that's all it is.  counterplans don't function as actions which create a possible world into which the plan is thrown to see if plan should be enacted in counterplan-world ...
 
wiping the dung off my shoes, I would like to step directly into the applications contained in (3).  
***************************************
let_the_american_empire_burn applies his idealet by stating: "the only reason for debating whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions to disarm iran absolutely depends on iran not disarming."  
 
huh.  really?  the other advantages don't matter at all?  even if, for example, toughening sanctions gets Syria to defund Hezbollah or it stops the French from invading?
and if the plan doesn't specify the advantage it wishes to achieve (and no plans do) then how is one to determine which preconditions are necessary and which contingent?
 
and since the vast majority of counterplans do, in fact, attempt to achieve some or all of the aff advantages, why wouldn't your idealet invalidate the vast majority of counterplans because those counterplans obviate "the only reason for debating whether the u.s. should ..."  For example, if the counterplan is "The US reassures Iran that it won't attack them" and the neg reads cards that say that Iran will disarm if the counterplan is done, then the counterplan eliminates "the only reason for debating whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions to disarm iran".
 
and it just goes downhill for let_the_american_empire_burn's idealet in his (5): "however, if iran disarms, that would be a possible world where the u.s. *couldn't* toughen sanctions to disarm iran."
 
hopelessly hopeless.  of course the US could still toughen sanctions against Iran.  and it could even do so for the purpose of disarming Iran.  and it might even be a good idea to do so in either case... you know, because toughening sanctions might get advantages besides disarming Iran...  but "couldn't toughen sanctions" is just silly.
 
and the US could still tighten sanctions in exactly the same way that it could tighten sanctions if the UN tightened sanctions and that got Iran to disarm.
***************************************
let_the_american_empire_burn thinks for some unknown reason that he has a counterexample to the decision-maker view of negative fiat: "
 
plan: the u.s. buys a mazda miata with a retractable hardtop.counterplan 1: the u.s. buys a b.m.w. z3.counterplan 2: the u.n. buys that particular miata that the u.s. is looking at.the same reason you offer to forbid the iran counterplan also functions as a reason to forbid the u.n. counterplan."
 
me: hey, you got one right.  yes, alternative-agent counterplans are a typically illegitimate counterplan.  not always, but that is for another time.  and for the reasons you just worked through:  the US has no authority to decide that the UN take a given action (except that it can prevent the UN from doing something as a permanent member of the Security Council but that doesn't apply here).
 
why do you think it is legitimate for the US to decide NOT to sanction Iran just because it would be better for the UN to sanction Iran?  that's just lousy decision-making.
 
remember we are talking about a COUNTERPLAN where UN action is FIATTED,  which makes irrelevant any uniqueness evidence about the likelihood that the UN would sanction Iran if the plan isn't passed.  almost always this misstep is caused by an inability to distinguish between disads and counterplans, a failure to appreciate the role of negative FIAT.  suppose the aff had great cards that said the UN would NOT sanction Iran (because Iran had too many allies in the UN, say) -  that is, the DISAD which said "UN will sanction Iran, the aff plan prevents UN sanctions, UN sanctions preferable to US sanctions" has no chance because the aff will win uniqueness - the UN will NOT sanction Iran.
How would a counterplan which said "the UN sanctions Iran.  don't want to do both.  UN is better." make any sense at all?  You would decide to reject US sanctions because it would be better for the UN to do them even though you know the UN won't do them...  that's pretty much down-the-middle irrational.
 
and it is irrational for exactly the same reason that Josh wouldn't ever decide not to buy the Miata because it would be better if Benazir Bhutto bought it instead...  there is no uniqueness evidence that Benazir WILL buy the Miata if Josh doesn't.  and him thinking "but I can just FIAT that she buy the Miata" is no different than you thinking "but I can just fiat that the UN sanction Iran."
***************************************
let_the_american_empire_burn asserts: "your analysis *disallows non-topical counter-plans*"
 
me: that's just false.  all kinds of non-topical counterplans are within the authority of the appropriate decision-maker.  many alternative-agent counterplans don't make sense, but some are fine:  as long as the decision-maker choosing whether to adopt the plan has the authority to make the alternative agent take the alternative action.
***************************************
let_the_american_empire_burn says: "first, my analysis is simpler, and i'm a simple-minded soul."
 
me: yes.  but the decision-maker idea is not complex:  all and only those counterplans within the scope of authority of the appropriate decision-maker are legitimately fiatted.  not so hard...
 
Michael Korcok


From: let_the_american_empire_burn at hotmail.comTo: edebate at ndtceda.comDate: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 21:25:18 -0600Subject: [eDebate] fiat fairness and fun


...or 7 steps to heaven -- in reply to, http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2007-November/073115.html (or whatsizcok)_(1) there are necessary preconditions that make possible the debate about whether the affirmative plan should pass. to distinguish between a necessary and a contingent precondition, we ask a simple question: what has to happen in all possible worlds where plan might be enacted to have a valuable debate about whether plan should be enacted? ...more on this below.(2) 'if plan doesn't get enacted now,...' is one of those preconditions. it's necessary for '...then the u.s. should enact plan' to make sense. therefore, when someone claims, 'but that won't pass', they've missed the point of the debate about whether the affirmative plan should be enacted. whether plan won't be enacted is irrelevant to whether the u.s. should enact it, because even if it won't be, it might still should be. ...it's worth spending a little more time here: in other words, 'in all possible worlds where the u.s. federal government should enact plan, the u.s. federal government should consider enacting a plan that isn't enacted and won't be enacted' makes sense. in debate terminology, demonstrating this is called 'inherency'. inherency makes sense because if a plan will (already) be enacted, then it shouldn't (i.e. doesn't have to) be enacted.(3) a necessary precondition that meets (1)'s test and is similar to (2)'s example is 'if iran doesn't disarm...', where the only reason for debating whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions to disarm iran absolutely depends on iran not disarming. when someone fiats this away, they've missed the point as well, because whether iran will disarm is irrelevant to whether the u.s. should try to disarm iran. ...this'll be better explained by (5).(4) making the debate pointless is pointless, not abusive. ...on that much, everyone so far seems to agree.so why do i prefer using (1)(2)(3) to get to (4) rather than the justification you offered? first, my analysis is simpler, and i'm a simple-minded soul. second, your analysis *disallows non-topical counter-plans*. here's how: you say no policymaker has the authority to choose between u.s. sanctions and iran disarm. that's true. but that's also true of united nation sanctions, as a hypothetical; but would you similarly claim the u.n. counterplan should be a priori disallowed? let's use your example (which lacks the scintillating reference to dirty water in a metaphorical bathtub, but still), and let's substitute some terms in...plan: the u.s. buys a mazda miata with a retractable hardtop.counterplan 1: the u.s. buys a b.m.w. z3.counterplan 2: the u.n. buys that particular miata that the u.s. is looking at.the same reason you offer to forbid the iran counterplan also functions as a reason to forbid the u.n. counterplan, because "the decision-maker faced with the choice of enacting plan does not have the authority to choose to have iran disarm" or to have the u.n. toughen sanctions or to have any number of interesting counterplans that don't use the u.s. as their agent. yet, even by the spirit of decision-making theory (if not its letter), there's value in debating whether the u.s. or the u.n. should work to impose tougher sanctions on iran, regardless of whether any one national decision-maker has the authority to choose. (if you try and fudge this by saying 'they do have the authority to choose whether to act or to let the u.n. act', then they also have the authority to choose whether to act or to let iran act, and you've just let in the iran disarm counterplan in again.) ... so how does (1) exclude what's useless and include what's useful?(5), or how the theory of necessary versus contingent preconditions distinguishes between the iran counterplan and the u.n. counterplan. if the u.n. should call for tougher sanctions and not the u.s., then that may well be a possible world in which the u.s. *shouldn't* toughen sanctions to disarm iran. however, if iran disarms, that would be a possible world where the u.s. *couldn't* toughen sanctions to disarm iran. (see? ...why rely on a complicated decision theory where you have an analytic truth?) we couldn't debate whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions in order to disarm iran if we let 'fiat: iran disarm' go as a valid refutation, because that world makes no sense; the u.s. can only toughen sanctions in order to disarm iran if iran doesn't disarm - hence it's a necessary precondition (and invalidating it moots the debate). likewise, we couldn't debate whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions in order to disarm iran if we let 'but it won't pass now' go as a valid refutation, because that world similarly makes no sense; the u.s. can only toughen sanctions in order to disarm iran if the u.s. won't already toughen sanctions - hence it's a necessary precondition (and a moot reply for the negative to make). but we could debate whether the u.s. should toughen sanctions in order to disarm iran if the u.n. toughens sanctions in order to disarm iran, because that world makes a lot of sense, and tests the value of the plan; in a world where the u.s. shouldn't toughen sanctions because the u.n. should, i'd expect to find a number of valid and valuable reasons for the u.s. not toughening sanctions to disarm iran, agreed? (caveat: there's some time specification required for this analysis, but we can safely skip over that nuance for now.)in case you didn't want to read any of that, (6) that "the decision-maker faced with the choice of enacting plan does not have the authority to choose to have iran disarm" (korcok's criteria) also means there's no use in talking about it from a policy perspective, i.e. it's not worth considering (my criteria). (7) there's probably lots of value in thinking about iran's decision-making calculus from its own strategic perspective, i.e. in pretending to be iran instead of the default position of pretending to be the u.s. federal government. how can debaters do so without waiting around for the framers to give them a foreign agent? ...answer: kritik. this is the appropriate purview for a specific kritik alternative: it needn't be 'we call on iran to disarm' either, but simply 'iran will disarm'. your 'net benefit' is neo-imperialism. when they argue 'that's unfair', pull across josh's analysis. when they argue 'that's illogical in terms of decision-making theory', pull across mine. and when they get smart and finally argue 'that's a necessary precondition for debating whether the u.s. should enact plan', then you reply, 'we're a kritik, and therefore not subject to the narrow limitations of the plan-centric framework'. we insist on our free reign to rearticulate the political imaginary; we inhabit impossible worlds. and today, we are all iranians!'

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