[eDebate] South America?

Michael Antonucci antonucci23
Sat Apr 5 09:31:28 CDT 2008


The Latin America high school topic was before my
time.     

I have heard stories, though.  Red Spread was a
crucial advantage/DA.  I think that matters.

During the Cold War, Latin America constituted a
crucial front in a major geopolitical struggle with a
plausible claim to world-shattering consequences.  It
was a *fast* route to *big* impacts.  The "domino"
internal links surely rocked.  

That isn't true anymore (discounting Red China
conspiracy theorists.)

Executive summary: topics with big impacts work
better.  They're remembered fondly.  Topics without
big impacts end up with contrived and stale arguments.

Long version: The ability to access extinction impacts
with relatively short internal link chains drastically
affects the quality of debates.  Most debaters seem to
believe that the constructive engagement topic was
superior to the "grab bag of Supreme Court cases"
topic.  The topics' differing scope and some design
bugs may have affected that - but the ability to
logically access impacts mattered as well.

Teams will claim extinction-level impacts.  That's
inevitable, because it's a winning formula in the game
as currently constituted.  (If you don't like this
aspect of debate, don't shoot the messenger.  Your
topic won't change the culture - the culture will
change your topic.)

If ELIs are a logical outgrowth of the literature,
arguments will remain logical.  If  not, debaters will
contrive increasingly counterintuitive and absurd link
chains in order to access the fast big magnitude
impacts they need to succeed.  

I've seen this played out this year, as I've coached
on both constructive engagement and sub-Saharan
Africa.  I prefer listening to a debater defend a
fleshed-out Iran strikes or Syrian-Israeli war impact
than hearing...right.  The Rabid Tiger.  Again.  This
difference didn't occur because high school debaters
are dumb and you're all really smart.  It happened
because you can construct a brilliant proposal for
improving the delivery of pharmaceuticals in Botswana,
and no one will care because it only really impacts
some Botswanans.  No offense, Botswanans and
Ecuadorans - you're important, but it's tough to weigh
the Galapagos against politics.

Latin American countries affect issues of trade and
narcoterrorism and some neat biomes - but none of them
have nukes (I know there's a prolif risk, but it's a
pretty low-probability one.)  "Brazilian growth" and
"Chilean trade" won't get it done against big DAs
absent some real contortions.

I'm sure a Latin America topic could be really
interesting, but intelligence reform would sustain a
better year of debates with fewer silly contrivances.


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