[eDebate] Counterplan Competition

Morris, Eric R EricMorris
Thu Jan 17 09:32:15 CST 2008

Several thoughts (I think I'm mostly agreeing with everyone so far, except Dylan, though I agree with a lot of what he said as well). 
1. Textual additions can be substantive deletions. 
Thus, I think Hester is right that offering less or giving more are generally competitive. Both measure up to the (potentially overstrong) double offer test, since the opportunity cost of offering the plan (in addition to the CP) would be that they take the plan instead of the CP. It may NOT follow, however, to say that more generous offers are uncompetitive - and, there may be disads to having multiple offers at once (beyond letting the other side pick which one to accept). 
2. Unless you are Michigan, if can mean "only if"
I absolutely agree that Michigan's plan wording gets around this problem (perhaps creating a bigger one), but there is some literature support for the idea that offers are generally understood this way in diplomacy.
3. One major question is whether plan fiats the negotiating posture, the offer communicated, or both.
If it's the new "bottom line" negotiating posture, then nearly every other bottom line is mutually exclusive. I suppose that one could maintain the plan as bottom line, but communicate the CP, which runs into similar issues as "lie" perms on consult CP's. 
If plan is only the thing we communicate, then the aff has some wiggle room but needs to defend the consequences of communicating the affirmative offer. In the case of "but necessarily if", communicating it would give the target good reason to doubt that the quid (or quo, from the other side's perspective) was something we insist upon. In other words, communicating that would lead a rational negotiator to "say no" to push for getting the concession without giving up one, since we've signaled their concessions are NOT "necessary". 
4. Literature tests cut both - or all - ways
I have certainly seen some CP's which add conditions and have literature support; not sure that a literature test should exclude those just because people might attempt the same without support. Further, there are PLANS which create an artificial QPQ because they fear topicality above all else. Should not those plans lose on "illegit - no author advocate" if the same would be true running it as a CP? Perhaps the solution is to at LEAST be willing to enforce a rebuttable presumption of a solvency deficit when there's no literature support? People who defend plans with clear lit support do everyone a favor because it's easier to get a handle on the issues involved in the offer - perhaps they be spotted at least a rebuttal presumption for doing so?
5. JP is right - we should be hesitant about calcification
Not long ago, people had success with saying "conditions bad" as a general theory arg (mostly against CP's). Now that people have won a lot of rounds of suggesting they are necessary (at least for the aff), we should imagine the ensuing shake up will be significant, and that perhaps what evolves may even complicate traditional smoothnoodlemaps (e.g. "plan plus = not competitive"). Given that we still lack consensus on consultation CP's, it's not clear that a workable consensus on this question will evolve in just over a semester. Particularly since:
6. Claims about the lit base are hubris (even if also helpful)
Debaters often claim the lit base says X/Y when they have a single card supporting something, even if the balance of the lit may go the other way (or may not consider the matter relevant enough to speak directly to the question, meaning we may be doing something new with it). It's rhetorically effective to make these claims, but it is difficult to substantiate assertions about the entire lit base (beyond perhaps noting that the other team failed to identify ANY lit support for something). In our activity, a single card can make ridiculous disad strategically viable or a fairly true disad strategically difficult. A single ambiguous report about Iran's nukes can "change everything." Thus, while the lit base is extremely relevant to everything, we are at constant risk of overlooking (and underlooking) important things. Branson's posts on the limits of a debate education should give us pause about the degree of confidence we claim in asserting full knowledge of the lit base.  
7. Perms are NOT the sole measure of competition
In fact, the concept of competition pre-dates the perm. If we're inclined to let affirmatives use perms creatively to slay all measure of questionable CP's, perhaps we should instead treat those CP's as questionable. Instead of erring negative on theory, perhaps we should seek to err less. 
Here's why: theory objections to CP's can be laid out in detail, judges can vote for the most compelling position "as if" they were endorsing the line for future precedent without actually being bound by it, and the arguments can explore what debate looks like if the theory is universalized. Perms, however, are often hidden, vague, lack texts, and evolve so much over time that negatives feel it useful to read minutes of canned material to pre-empt whatever the perm might come to mean over time. They are thus not as effective of a tool, as currently used, to substitute for good judgments about CP legitimacy. On topicality, we don't give affirmatives ridiculous perm flexibility to disprove the violation (that the plan is somehow not competitive with the violation). 
Dr. Eric Morris
Asst Prof of Communication & Director of Forensics
Craig Hall 366A, Dept of Communication
Missouri State University
Springfield, MO 65897
(O) 417-836-7636
(H) 417-865-6866
(C) 417-496-7141
AIM: ermocito, ericandtaleyna


From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of Dylan Keenan
Sent: Thu 1/17/08 12:21 AM
To: Jean-Paul Lacy
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Counterplan Competition

I've argued this with several people this year, but I firmly believe CP #2 is not competitive and is in fact plan plus (assuming one is looking at functional competition; the CP is clearly textually competitive which is another issue): 
The essential action of the plan is to give Iran X if they do Y. Any CP that includes giving Iran X if they do Y can not logically be competitive.
A CP to give Iran X would give Iran X if they do Y. On top of that it would also give Iran X if they do not do Y.
Let me restate that a different way. The CP "give Iran X" is identical in action to teh CP "Give Iran X if they do Y AND give Iran X if they don't do Y". Anyone who ran the second counterplan would lose on perm do the CP, but somehow we think the former, which is identical in its action, is competitive. 
I think the misperception flows from a basic misunderstanding of logic. An if then statement, If X then Y, is NOT equivalent to the statement If Y then X, nor is it necessarily equivalent to the statement X only if Y. 
Most people who think the CP is competitive see the plan as an only if statement. In other words they interpret an If then statement as offering the security guarantee ONLY under the circumstances where Iran complies with some demand. We started putting "if, but not necessarily only if" in our plan to try and clarify that, but somehow people still read the if statement as only if. 
As for CP #1 I think it is compeitive but totally illegitimate ---- there is no comparative literature for 99 out of 100 of these counterplans.
CP #3 is competitive and may have literature but the plan isn't topical.
What happened to just debating the case without shady counterplans?
Dylan Keenan

On 1/17/08, Jean-Paul Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu> wrote: 

	In his "Wake Series of Poker" results, Will Repko mentioned (tangentially)
	that the quid pro quo thing introduces a whole new set of counterplan 
	competition questions.
	In that vein, here are some questions to help explore that:
	1. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
	       Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
	       Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y and Z
	2. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
	       Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
	       Counterplan: Offer Iran X
	3. What about this counterplan? 
	       Plan: Offer Iran X
	       Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
	I'm interested to hear what people think.
	Yes, there are more nuanced questions than whether the CP excludes
	something from the plan that also determine if a counterplan is 
	competitive, but I think a broader discussion of "what actually excludes
	stuff from the plan" is useful.
	So far this year, I've tried to remain as agnostic about these questions as
	possible. I've tried to let the debaters arguments rule my decision-making 
	as much as possible. This is getting harder as my own thoughts calcify. My
	hope is that y'all can help us judges approach things with a fresh mind.
	lacyjp at wfu.edu 
	eDebate mailing list
	eDebate at www.ndtceda.com

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