[eDebate] Reparations = Bad Neg ground?

matt stannard stannardmatt
Thu Apr 17 06:36:49 CDT 2008

The idea that a problem area with a strong normative direction is bad for negative ground is a fallacy I've heard from time to time for at least twelve years.  Ultimately it's a reductio ad adbsurdum that makes all powerful impacts "unfair" because apparently the only consistent and fair ground for Scott and others is impact turns.  The objection is selectively applied in the case of "emotionally compelling" impacts (perhaps the real, unstated objection is that a disproportionate number of judges will vote for the first team in each debate to talk about racism) but could really apply to anything.  This fallacy is the first cousin to another fallacy, the assumption that if stuff is really important and timely, we shouldn't debate about it.
I am not taking a position yet on which area I like best, but this type of objection to a topic area has long irritated my obviously keen sensibilities.  

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 03:40:33 -0400From: andy.edebate at gmail.comTo: jonathanrkarlin at gmail.comCC: edebate at ndtceda.com; nicholas.brady89 at gmail.comSubject: Re: [eDebate] Reparations = Bad Neg ground?hello jonathan,some answers, i dont have cards for these things right now because i am in travel mode (damn speech team), but i will try to include them all in the paper
On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 2:44 AM, Jonathan Karlin <jonathanrkarlin at gmail.com> wrote:
I will preface this by saying I am not well versed in the reparationsliterature but here are a few concerns of mine in the context ofground for the negative.
I  think alot of people are not well versed, and i shared many of your concerns as it related to debate before i really got into the depth of the literature...even that being said, there is still alot more for me to cover...i think learning about it is one of the benefits of the topic
1. All the negative arguments you have brought up are either  a.)defensive in nature (yes I understand this will link into your K ofusing apocalyptic imagery),
I don't think so, i think most of the strategies are cp net benefit strategies that accept the yes/no question and focus on the how question. For example an aff that uses money as the means of providing reparations links to an econ da(with impacts that turn the solvency of the case), a criticism of money transfer versus wealth transfer that comes specifically from the reparations literature(this provides offense & solvency takeouts), and a counterplan to build institutions. The competition debate focuses on the econ da(if we hand over a bunch of money there is less to build the institutions with, plus given the current political climate the money is likely to trade off with existing policies that provide day to day services) This is just one strategy, ill talk about more below. 
b.) only critical-esque arguments
No. And the place where i disagree is "only". This topic fuses ethical, political, moral (critical) questions with policy questions. For example it may be an ethical question to ask, what is the right way to remedy the ongoing ills of slavery, is it right to impose collective responsibility on people who may not have contributed to the problem? But when put into practice the answers to these ethical questions must be filtered through the policy, for example one may say yes to both of those questions, but then one must deal with the policy implications of those questions...imposing collective responsibility may regardless of the ethical concerns spur the growth of backlash movements that make solvency almost impossible. Should we push through that backlash anyway despite its pragmatic consequences of potentially undermine its own goals? Thats a good debate. In fact thats what i think makes it such a good debate because it forces you to compare those situations aside from the absolute priority questions that current debates about racial justice are often channeled into. 
2. I can't think of many policy arguments that legitimate link-Spending DA?  The politics DA?
ABSOLUTLY these two positions work. So does federalism, a variety of modeling arguments, some WOT positions, some hege positions....there are solid links to these positions...imagine for a second that 3 trillion dollers (a low estimate) was spent compensating mexican americans for the annexation/war against  mexico. Even i could cut a econ or politics da that linked to that, if you couldnt find the card, you could assert the link and almost no one would win a no link arg against you, the question would be is it worth it...which gets you back in to the question above.
I think you might be correct that AFF bias is overstated but in theworld of a left leaning community, I think the aff has a pretty bigstep up.
I think a neg bias exists now largely because the aff doesnt have a good way to leverage against things out of the literature base they get limited down to...The reparations topic solves this...is racial justice worth it if a) it cant solve it legitimately risks crashing the us economy? some say yes some say no, but most people who write in the literature base recognize that it might be a logical conclusion to draw from their work so they answer it, are those answers good enough? Perhaps, perhaps not? but its a good debate.
Also there is little to no AFF flexibility in terms ofpicking advantage areas or affirmatives- why not draft a bigger topicthat gives teams the choice to read more left affs or more right affs.The reparations topic is fundamentally one affirmative with oneadvantage. (I hope this is not offensive, I am not trying to minimizeracism etc)
I think this topic has good aff flex ground, first  there are multiple  injustices to  attempt to  remedy, and there are multiple ways to remedy those situations, the debate about asian american exclusion laws is vastly different than the debate about trans-african slavery is vastly different than the debate about indiginous dispossession. If the aff says racism bad and nothing more complex than that, i would imagine they would lose far more than an aff who says racism bad on the russia topic.Second the complexity and the flexibility lies in how the differential legacies of racist American nation construction are undone...
Freedom for the AFF= good. It spurs creativity, innovation andresearch. The reparations topic does not provide avenues for either ofthese things.Russia or Intell Reform.

Reparations, russia or intell reform would be better topics in the future if we spent a year discussing america 

On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 2:37 AM, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote:> I really do think this is a bad representation of a complex debate, and> perhaps the reason elliot is right about greene.>> I will answer this argument more in the paper, but the simple version is> this. Trying to solve hundreds of years of history with a single policy is> fraught with danger, there are significant intra-literature disagreements on> how to do this, and the impact to getting it wrong, probably turns the case,> and shuts down the global movement pretty effectively. While i wouldn't say> the topic actually has a negative bias, i would say the affirmative bias is> VASTLY overstated..>>> On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 2:28 AM, Jonathan Karlin <jonathanrkarlin at gmail.com>> wrote:>>> > There is a difference between arguing national service bad and arguing> > reparations bad. Same goes for defending the WOT. (There are> > legitimate scholars and political theorists who defend the war on> > terror, and argue torture is good)  I think there is a legitimate AFF> > bias with a reparations topic, especially in light of a left leaning> > community.> >> >> >> >> > On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 2:14 AM, nicholas brady> > <nicholas.brady89 at gmail.com> wrote:> > > The complaint stated before i think is the complaint that can be said of> ANY> > > topic. For instance in high school for the last two years we debated> civil> > > liberties good and national service good.... even though there is> horrible> > > generic ground for why national service is bad, mostly you go against> > > affirmatives like "lets help the poor" and for the civil liberties topic> we> > > went against affirmatives like "we should stop torture". So is the neg> > > ground "povery good" or "torture good"? Well for some douchebags yes,> but> > > for the vast amount of the community the answer is no. I am no expert on> > > this topic so i will allow more qualified people like Andy and others to> > > answer this question more specifically, but I think its wrong to reject> this> > > topic simply because the ground ur defining for the negative has to be> > > "racism good". I don't know what affirmatives u listen to, but mostly> > > affirmatives try to solve for some harm that is wrong... something like> > > "death bad", "war bad", "nuclear war bad", "extinction bad", "racism> bad",> > > "sexism bad", etc, etc, etc. This is not unique to a reparations topic,> so> > > lets not dillute this topic down to "racism bad" v. "racism good". To> me,> > > your argument seems very much like a cop out and a refusal to think> deeply> > > about the topic.> > >> > > _______________________________________________> > >  eDebate mailing list> > >  eDebate at www.ndtceda.com> > >  http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate> > >> > _______________________________________________> > eDebate mailing list> > eDebate at www.ndtceda.com> > http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate> >>>
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