[eDebate] questions about the topics

michael hester uwgdebate
Thu Apr 30 09:59:16 CDT 2009


first, just a comment...

Jim's concern about Russia would likely apply to the Nuclear Weapons topic
as well (Obama has already announced intentions to reduce reliance on
nuclear weapons).

now, as for answering the question concerning Russia (and Nuc Policy) i'm
not sure either is a big concern for the following reasons:

1) what Obama wants to do is different that what will actually get done.
whether any major foreign policy initiatives will actually be addressed in a
climate where domestic economic woes dominate the agenda is a reasonable
question to ask. in fact, this concern may end up being a good thing: if the
current administration is talking about changing policy, analysts will
speculate what may/should happen, which creates more solvency (and neg case)
literature.

2) the concern about the small aff + an underview of N/Us being the silver
bullet strategy is soooooo 1991. this is where the introduction of Ks on the
NEG are *most* useful. the BEST links for any K are always the "small change
only masks the larger problem/addressing the symptom instead of the cause
only makes it worse" args. a squad doesn't have to become a "K team" to have
the same success. by simply carrying 1-2 Ks in the NEG toolbox, a team can
be totally prepared to deal with small policy affs.

of course, one response to this is, "ugh, Ks. really? please don't make us
read crappy ivory tower euro-trash." ironically, that's even a better reason
to want an expansive topic. if i were running a program for which Ks were an
anathema, i'd be MUCH more concerned about topic wordings which *limited **AFF
solvency ground*. the big aff with real solvency is always much harder for a
K team to debate; the easiest AFFs to defeat for a K team are the ones that
try to run and hide. if the topic wording hamstrings the AFF into distorted
solvency claims or plans that can never quite address root causes, it is
MUCH more problematic for the "policy squad."

these two issues are interrelated b/c attempts to prevent AFFs from picking
small actions almost inevitably lead to resolutions written in such a way as
to have "harrison bergeron" effects - artificial constraints intended to
create balanced ground which end up skewing debates down alleyways where AFF
solvency has built-in inadequacies, with the overall effect of mediocre
debates. write the topic so the AFF is forced to go in the opposite
direction of 98% of the solvency literature (Indian Country); hint at a
decent subject area (school desegregation) only to limit the AFF to an
inferior Court decision within which to address it (Milliken); these are
just two examples of what happens when the community obsesses over the trees
of good NEG ground only to ignore the forest of good debates.

on this matter, the guiding principle the topic committee should follow when
doing their work is Solvency matters more than Uniqueness. "in what ways are
the majority of the solvency literature written?" should carry more weight
in how the topic is written than "where is SQuo headed?". this doesn't mean
Status Quo trends mean nothing. but it does mean Solvency concerns must come
first and always outweigh Uniqueness worries. for example, a topic that
requires to the AFF to increase cooperation with Russia is superior to one
that limits the AFF to reducing cooperation with Russia, regardless of what
the Obama administration has planned.

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 11:46 PM, Jim Hanson <hansonjb at whitman.edu> wrote:

>  I have questions about the 1, 2 and 4 topics.
>
> if someone is willing and has thoughts on the questions I have below--I'd
> appreciate it.
>
> 1. Should the United States increase cooperation with Russia?
> ---------how will the resolution be worded to avoid affs picking a small
> action with russia that gets to non-unique disads with the multiple ways
> that the obama administration is cooperating/taking small actions with
> russia now?
>
> 2. Should the IMF and World Bank be reformed?
> ---------what imf/world bank add-on ground is there versus other
> country/organization counterplans?
>
> 4. Should the United States legalize and protect 'taboo' social practices?
> ----------what resolutions would give the negative decent ground?
>
> jim :)
> hansonjb at whitman.edu
>
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