Friday, March 29, 2013

Debater's Manifesto 2012-2013 section 3

Section 3 - on criterias and evidence

* The quality of arguments is superior to the quantity.
* Saying “observation” in the 1AC is a waste of time.
* Defining the resolution terms is a waste of time (exception: if you’re purposely running a non-topical case, you should tuck a really wishy-washy, all-inclusive definition into the 1AC).
* The word is criterion, not criteria. A case with criteria is probably more confusing than necessary.
* The criteria for assigning speaker points on evidence has more to do with the debater’s delivery than with the actual quality of the evidence.
* ^ I did that on purpose.
* Heck, the criterion for all 6 categories is based mostly on delivery. In truth, one could make the stupidest arguments possible and still net a perfect 30.
* Truly fulfilling debates are shaped by arguments, not by arguments about the arguments, i.e. bickering about criteria.
* The real "real-world" criterion is Middleclass, not Net Benefits.
* Just as 2000-page bills that no one reads are detrimental to liberty, so too are 100-page "studies" that no one bothers to cite equally detrimental to debate.
* If a debater admits that his 100-page "study" has a lot of advanced, incomprehensible math which is way over his head, then it's a safe assumption that he hasn't checked the math himself.
* Source indictments are underused.
* Whether affirmative or negative, debaters must prove their own sources to be credible.  The morons of humanity far outnumber the experts, so the judge must assume all sources to be unqualified until their credentials are shown.  For all we know, could just be an unofficial Modern Warfare messageboard.
* For all we know, every one of the New Yokel Times writers could be a brainwashed, liberal intern because literally none of them have even the slightest credentials listed on the paper’s website.
* For all we know, reporters could be a bunch of illegal immigrants because none of them can write competently in proper English.
* Having a Ph.D. does not make one an expert. For instance, a Ph.D. in nuclear physics hardly qualifies one to lecture intelligently about strategic missile defense or drone technology.
* Strong tags represent complete, logical ideas. E.g., “Solvency – Inadequate penetration of bomb” or “Significance – aid doesn’t cause terrorism” are much more satisfactory than “Solvency – don’t solve”or “Significance – not significant”. But you can consult the common man about the last point…
* Requesting exact statistics for the results of future, aggressive action, which hinges on several variables, is an unrealistic demand of high-schoolers who have no access to classified military information, the Oracle, or magical crystal balls from divination class in Harry Potter.
* Double-turns aren't properly appreciated.  From a purely logical standpoint, double-turns are superior to single-turns because more rebuttals to an argument are more persuasive than fewer.  Even if the judge does buy that the plan improves U.S.-Iran relations, contrary to the link turn, he might still vote on the impact turn which argues that endearing ourselves to bloodthirsty, genocidal, anti-American barbarians who stone rape victims, shoot our soldiers, fund terrorists, and aim eliminationist rhetoric at our ally Israel isn't such a good thing.  The belief that double-turns act against the team arguing them is unfounded: not doing a good thing isn't the same as doing a bad thing.
* “Hi, how are you?”  “Wonderful debate we’re having.”  “OK, seeya round – I mean no further questions.”* "Judge, they completely dropped our harms, the DA, and everything else."  Lying about your opponents' speeches is not high form.
* Rebuttals are obviously for rebutting things, which means bringing up new responses to arguments instead of rehashing old ones.
* Along that line, telling your opponents which of your ludicrous, BS arguments they can answer sounds bossy and desperate.  "The man-perpetrated global warming debate is already over, so we can't consider what the temperature data and scientistically acquired findings to the contrary say."  The 1NR does this a lot.
* Analogies aren’t arguments. They’re like punching the opposition’s case, but cutting off the argument’s arms so it’s just empty rhetoric, and then they punch you back, or something like that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Debater's Manifesto 2012-2013 section 2

Section 2 - advantages and disadvantages

* Disadvantages are caused by the affirmative team’s plan.  Disadvantages caused by the status quo are often called harms and are a reason to vote against the negative team, not for them.
* Disadvantages are irrelevant without a link to the case.  If a team cannot prove through logic or evidence that the plan effects the disadvantage, then the argument is void.
* War with evil governments is not inherently bad, just as peace with them is not inherently good. Impacts of war are incomplete without further analysis.
* Spending money is not intrinsically bad or wasteful; likewise, cutting spending is not inherently advantageous.  Thus, disadvantages of spending money and advantages of saving it are illegitimate without external context.
* Undermining democracy is not a disadvantage.  In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “173 despots would surely be as oppressive as one.”  Teams defending democracy must prove that a “majority rules” system of government is ideal for securing natural rights, as all the historical evidence suggests the contrary.
* Putting soldiers in danger is a truism, not a disadvantage.  The soldier’s duty is to hazard his own life for the sake of saving others’.  If a soldier flees from that duty, he loses his honor, which is a blow even worse than death; in other words, sheltering soldiers as the negative team advocates and hiding them away from a perceived threat is more disadvantageous than sending them into battle.  As the ancients said, come back with your shield, or on it.  If a soldier is never prescribed that duty of protecting his country in the first place, then he cannot truly be called a soldier, as guarding one’s homeland from foreign invaders and other threats is the very essence of being a soldier. Hence, endangering soldiers is not a disadvantage but simply an indispensable element of warfare.
* On the flip side, “protecting” troops by running away from an unstable combat zone is hardly an advantage for an affirmative case and only illuminates cowardice in the United States.
* For the negative team, lacking internal links or “uniqueness” points disqualifies the advantage.
* For the affirmative team, dropping the internal links or uniqueness of a disadvantage is akin to dropping the whole thing, unless…
* … the affirmative team argues that the negative impacts of starvation, war, losing soft power, shooting people, STDs, etc. are actually good things, in which case the plan’s disadvantage becomes another advantage and reason to vote affirmative.
* Subpoint B) of above point: this doesn’t happen nearly enough.
* “Plan hasn’t been approved” is an inherency point, not a disadvantage.  Saying there’s some reason why politicians haven’t passed the plan yet isn’t declaring the reason itself.
* Neither advantages nor disadvantages need to be quantified as long as they logically express an improvement over or decline from the status quo.  For example, strengthening the free market by promoting self-reliance and removing crony capitalism is still an advantage even though the affirmative team can’t precisely answer “how much free market” or “how much competition” they create.
* Immaterial impacts are real.
* Quelling terrorism, saving lives, and upholding natural rights are still advantages even if the plan doesn’t exterminate all terrorists, mortals still die, and rights are still suppressed.  Only a Sith deals in absolutes.
* Future harms are real.  To the best of our knowledge, Iran has not yet acquired nuclear weapons and North Korea has not taken the final step in launching them, but the lack of present chaos and widespread destruction doesn’t preclude the United States taking preemptive measures to stop a not-so-nice game of global thermonuclear war.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Debater's Manifesto 2012-2013 section 1

Rather than writing out a boring 5 paragraph essay with signposting and transition sentences, I decided to express my manifesto on speech and debate in pithy, bite-size sentences instead.  I’ll first be covering the stock issues, then moving onto disadvantages and more general points on debate, and finally addressing – whoops, forgive my signposting.

Section 1 - The Stock Issues
* Topicality consists of 4 elements: interpretation, violation, standards, and voting issues.
* A topicality that lacks any of the above components is illegitimate.
* Topicality in the 2NC should be ignored.
* The resolution calls for a reform to the present status quo, not the future status quo.
* Substantially is an adverb, not an adjective.
* One man’s trash is another man’s substantial.
* “Resolved: that the U.S.F.G. should significantly great put an end to an evil its war presence of other nations and/or commitments.” Grammatically nonsensical interpretations are impossible to fulfill.
* The common man is lacking in intellectual sophistication, as evidenced by those who vote for Obama Phones and Obama Money.
* Foreign aid is not a military commitment.
* Banning firearms, ammunition, and other equipment reforms neither the presence nor commitments of our military.
* Extending current presence/commitments doesn’t reform anything.
* 90% of cases this season have been off topic.
* Significance applies only to the harms of the status quo and to the reform of the affirmative plan.
* Significance on numbers or percentages is illegitimate without an expressed “bright line”.  Significance with such a line is also illegitimate because the number is completely subjective.
* Significance is not a proportion.
* “Non-unique” is a prime example of the comparative numerals fallacy.  "Because the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were only 3000 of the 100-some million lives lost in 2001, 9/11 wasn’t very significant."
* Inherency is underrated.
* The affirmative plan only has to solve for its impacts.
* The affirmative plan need not solve for any harms presented in the 1AC or external to it.  Real-world legislation is never presented with the aim of eliminating harms but with the goal of improving on the status quo.  The War on Terror wasn't initiated to purge international terrorism, an impossible labor, but to make America safer from threats like Al Qaeda.
* The affirmative team can only mandate action, not results.
* The affirmative plan need not solve for harms 10 years in the future.  E.g., thoroughly dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons program solves for the annihilation of Israel even if Iran chooses to build a bomb again somehow, somewhere, sometime way in the future.  Killing the death tax solves for economic woes in the present even though some commie will probably reinstate it at some future time.
* After the 1AC, it’s the negative’s burden to show the plan doesn’t solve, unless...
* ... the 1AC has zero solvency evidence, in which case they've already lost.
* The criterion for solvency is Preponderance of Evidence, not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
* 100% solvency isn’t requisite for an affirmative ballot, as a plan may achieve its purpose even if it doesn’t completely purge the status quo’s harms.  A plan may solve if it substantially mitigates the abuses presented.  Complete solvency of any evil is an unrealistic and fantastical expectation.

* The advocacy requirement “argument” is reprehensible and faulty for at least a dozen reasons.
1st – the affirmative team acts as an advocate in debate role-play theory.  Any argument that belittles said advocacy as insufficient is an insulting and offensive smear of the affirmative team’s intelligence, and the negative team should be struck down on that rhetoric alone.
2nd – shouting down ideas that lack a given advocacy is equivalent to censorship and suppression of free speech.  The advocacy argument is thus the antithesis of the 1st amendment and is severely anti-American.
3rd – the objection neglects the Harms stated in the 1AC evidence, which represent a clear advocacy for changing the status quo.
4th – the advocacy complaint also ignores the Solvency evidence in the 1AC, which is the true determinant of a plan’s workability.
5th – good ideas are good not because someone thinks they’re good, but because they’re good in essence by virtue of proof and logic.  Good ideas are good regardless of popular opinion because reality is objective.
6th – whether or not real people approve of a certain policy’s effects has no bearing on the program’s ability to solve.  The wars on drugs and poverty have garnered widespread support from liberals and conservatives respectively, but neither has worked as originally intended.  One can make a strong case that the war on poverty has actually had negative solvency, increasing government dependency and poverty rather than alleviating it.  Advocacy does not equate to solvency.
7th – advocacy, rather than supporting solvency, actually undermines it.  Real-world advocates have crippled the U.S. economy, weakened America’s foreign influence, and run up trillion dollar deficits for the last 5 years.  When analyzing foreign policy, real-world advocates have called for appeasement of barbaric, religiously driven terrorists and for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has historically led to anarchy, death, and the ascendency of the Taliban.  Real-world advocates are Chamberlains with no knowledge of history or capacity for logical reasoning.
8th – the entire justification for team policy debate is that real-world advocates/politicians aren’t doing their job, so the enlightened homeschool community should step in and do their job for them.   If real-world advocates were doing a great job, there’d be no need for the team policy event.  Hence, real-world advocates should not be considered necessary for an affirmative case, as their failures are the very catalyst for the debate.
9th – those who make the advocacy contention promote dependency on external opinion in the debate round, which encourages debaters to lazily lean on sound bytes and other politicians instead of fueling the debate with their own logic and rhetoric.  The ideal debate is the one shaped by the students’ own arguments, not by a bevy of elitist Ph.D.s, newspaper editorials, and other sources.
10th – clinging to outside sources and opinion negatively impacts the educational value of debate, which stems from developing students’ deductive reasoning and eloquence of speech.  A fine example of this effect is the Aristocracy argument levied against the death tax case from last year.  The entire basis for this disadvantage was a citation from a BYU professor on Canadian politics, who said that repealing the tax would end democracy as we know it (I’m down with that) and let the rich take over the universe.  Negative speakers never had to articulate a syllogistic and sensible argument supporting their point because they had a seemingly credentialed advocate who made their point for them, albeit without a logical procession of thought.  On the other side of the table, the affirmative team would boast about how many think tanks, businesses, and conservative politicians advocated death to the death tax, but such arguments were also lacking in logical depth.  Appeal to authority is fallacious and detrimental to education.
11th – what the Dell is an “advocate”, anyway?  Must he be a qualified expert in a field related to the case, an officer in the military, an intern majoring in military strategy/history, or just a loyal New York Times customer who tweets low-information news to low-information voters around the nation?  The definition of an advocate is completely subjective and worthless.
12th – the word “advocate” does not appear in the team policy rules, hence the affirmative team should not lose for excluding one.
13th - negative teams making this point often fail to give an advocate for the status quo.  This is hypocrisy.

* “No empirical success” isn’t a solvency argument.
* “Empirical failure” is.
* “No numbers” isn’t a solvency argument.
* “Terrorism/illegal immigration/unemployment/debt/crime/sin etc. still exists” isn’t a solvency argument.  If it was a legitimate point, then all plans to mitigate the above abuses would have to be discarded as insolvent because no government will ever totally eradicate crime.