Katerina Ravasia ParadigmLast changed 12/4 2:40P PST
Top level: List of arguments I literally won't vote for
Timecube and other arguments based on the unwarranted rambling of a single person with no credentials
Any argument that's never explained beyond a five second shell ("Severance is a VI for fairness and education")
Death good/suffering good arguments (see below)
Debate is a social, educational, and competitive space, and I'm not going to pretend I don't have biases as a judge or as an educator. The defaults laid out in this paradigm are for the most part debatable, but I also think adaptation is an important skill for debaters to develop, and I'm not going to think highly of your persuasive ability if it's evident you haven't given any thought to your audience.
Speed is fine. At the same time, ethos, pathos, and storytelling ability are important elements of communication, so if your speed is compromising your ability to provide emphasis or to coherently explain the structure of your arguments, I would consider slowing down (especially for the 2NR/2AR).
Violent language is not ok, it will hurt your speaker points, and depending on the severity and intentionality of the offense I may award you a loss regardless of whether or not the other team challenges your speech act. Please make the debate space safe and enjoyable for all participants.
On that note, please draw my attention to any unethical behavior you observe (clipping, hate speech, disclosure issues). When there is evidence to suggest that the debate was unfair to one side for ethical reasons, I will call the debate and award a loss and zero speaker points to the offending team. In the absence of concrete proof, I will do what I can to make sure the rest of the debate proceeds as fairly as possible.
You don't need evidence to make arguments. A smart, warranted analytic will beat a weak card with two lines highlighted all day, everyday, and I'm willing to accept statements of widely recognized fact without a card. If you wouldn't need to cite an expert in a research paper, you don't need to read a card.
Moreover, carded arguments aren't held to a different standard because they're carded. Expert opinion is a (generally weak) warrant in its own right, but to be really meaningful, a card has to provide facts and analysis that support the claim the author is attempting to make. (If you're running something like an epistemology K, the kind of analysis presented will probably be very different from the empirical claims that undergird classical policy debate, but there should still be some form of analysis in the card that I can weigh against the other team's arguments).
Any part of a card that isn't highlighted isn't a part of the round. New warrants from the unhighlighted part of a card are new arguments.
Conceded arguments are true arguments, but not every argument is sufficient to win the round on its own, and a lot of utterances debaters make don't rise to the level of arguments. I won't vote on a conceded assertion without a warrant, nor will I assign zero risk to an impact because you read a conceded impact defense card that says the impact is unlikely.
Don't waste your speech time telling me everything your opponents conceded, giving in-depth explanations of arguments you're clearly winning, or telling me that new arguments are illegitimate. Give me a quick explanation of why the conceded arguments matter for the debate as a whole and move on to the more contentious parts of the line-by-line.
I really like seeing aggressive, witty cross-x exchanges and rebuttals. That said, please contain your snark to the round and be nice to your opponents between speeches and between debates.
Tag team is fine.
I'm not extremely familiar with the topic, but I've judged a few rounds at camp and helped out with prep, so take that as you will.
This topic probably leans toward critical argumentation and structural violence impacts, and as a result I'm probably more inclined toward voting for nuanced arguments about colonialism and nationalism than I otherwise would be.
I default to competing interpretations but can be convinced otherwise. Similarly, I default to thinking about T as a procedural and prior issue, but in the context of certain Ks, especially those about the debate space or the nature of language, I can be convinced otherwise.
Fairness and education aren't standards. If you want to win a T debate, you need to provide warrants and impact comparisons much as you would on any other flow.
Again, I want to see a lot more warrant explanation and clash than I usually see in theory debates. Assuming that theory is more fleshed out than a ten second shell, I probably have a significantly lower threshold than average for voting on it.
Theory is usually a reason to reject the argument. Exceptions are conditionality, performative contradiction, no neg fiat, and other arguments about the basic structure of the other team's strategy.
If you go for a CP in the 2NR and I end up rejecting it for theoretical reasons, you're going to have a hard time winning the debate unless you extend substantial case arguments.
I don't have any strong thoughts one way or the other on T vs theory. Convince me.
Advantage counterplans are awesome. Specific mechanism counterplans and specific PICs are awesome. I don't usually think you need a solvency advocate for PICs.
Counterplans cut from aff ev are amazing and will almost always get you good speaks.
Agent counterplans aren't my favorite in general, but Courts and XO are probably core neg ground on this topic in particular.
Consult CPs without specific solvency advocates are illegitimate, and even when the neg has a solvency advocate I think the aff has a good theoretical argument.
Things like PICs out of United States federal government and PICs out of written language are obviously uneducational and maybe a reason to reject the team.
I love a good DA, but in all honesty, this is a really hard topic for traditional DA/case and DA/CP debate.
On politics, I need a good explanation of the uniqueness and link story, because as I'm sure you know, the government is a bit of a mess right now. I'll probably roll my eyes if you make a Trump political capital or Trump credibility link arg, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't vote for it.
Meanwhile, if you think your topic DA might be racist, it probably is.
I'm fine with K debate on the aff and neg.
Framework can be a strong argument against K affs, but I'm unlikely to vote on procedural framework against teams that complicate traditional ideas of fairness and education. If you're looking to go for framework, you probably also need to present a substantive disadvantage to the aff's methodology, at which point framework can be conceptualized as a K with the alternative of resolutional debate.
The easiest way to improve the quality of your K debating is to make more specific link arguments. Generic links by nature implicate more policies and methodologies than the affirmative's, which makes it easier for the aff to defend their 1AC. More specific links, on the other hand, allow you to present palatable alternatives while indicting particular decisions that your opponents make. (For example, if your link arg is that the state is colonialist, the aff can attack your alt with CtP arguments, arguments in favor of reformism, and arguments about the necessity of strong state institutions. If your link arg is instead about the 1AC's investment in settler fantasies of belonging, suddenly none of those arguments apply because you aren't critiquing the state as such).
Settler colonialism, antiblackness, Butler, afrofuturism, and other postmodern identity Ks
I love listening to these debates, and they're almost always determined by the strength of the link argument.
On the neg, make as specific a link argument as possible, and be ready to explain your link(s) as an answer to the permutation.
On the aff, pay very close attention to what the neg is critiquing, and respond accordingly. If the neg is attacking your heg advantage, defend the importance of American hegemony. If the neg is attacking the state, defend the use of the state. If the neg is attacking specific rhetorical choices you made in the 1AC, defend those choices or present a framework argument about plan focus.
Nietzsche, D and G, Baudrillard, Derrida, and other Ks of structuralist rationality
These debates largely come down to the quality of explanation. A lot of these authors use arcane jargon and make generic, sweeping statements about ontology, epistemology, and language. This is both a strength and a weakness, because they'll apply to almost any aff but you have to do the work of unpacking your authors' arguments and applying them to your opponents' case.
I don't think these Ks are strategic on the aff, because the obsession these authors have with becoming, fluidity, and deconstruction makes it really hard to build a consistent 1AC and you'll probably lose a lot of debates on presumption, at least in front of me.
If you want to read white guy psychoanalysis and talk about the death drive or the language of the unconscious, don't pref me. I don't want to hear it. Yes, that also applies to Edelman. I will attempt to evaluate these arguments fairly if debaters present them, but I really don't want you to put me in that position.
If you want to read Ks that draw on psychoanalysis but are ultimately more about affective communities, on the other hand (Berlant, Irigaray, Anker, Sexton), I'm definitely willing to listen and familiar with the lit base. These debates generally end up resembling postmodern identity Ks or postmodern Ks of structuralist rationality, so see above for my thoughts on those Ks.
Death/Suffering Good Ks
Haha I love that these are still around. On the other hand, I don't want to listen to them, simply because I don't think the resulting debates can be evaluated with any pretense of objectivity. In order to have a debate, we have to at least agree that some things count as "terminal impacts" because otherwise there's no way for me as a judge to compare things that various people consider good or bad. As a result, I'm just going to put it right here in my paradigm that I consider it valuable to minimize suffering and death. Yes, that also means I don't want to listen to radical anthro Ks or wipeout. Sorry.
On the other hand, feel free to make arguments about how attempts to prevent suffering and death backfire. I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to imagine worlds in which suffering is reduced; I just think reducing suffering is valuable.
Also, if I'm part of a panel, I realize you might not have the ability to adapt to this part of my paradigm, so I'll do my best to evaluate these debates fairly. Just know that my decision will largely come down to my subjective evaluation of your storytelling, ethos-building, and general persuasiveness.
If you want to discuss capitalism/neoliberalism, you need to be more specific than "the aff is capitalist-capitalism is bad." In what ways does the plan action or the rhetoric of the 1AC expand class inequalities? Should capitalism be replaced with a new form of economic organization or can it be internally reformed? If you want it to be replaced, what system should be implemented in its place? If you can't answer these questions, I'm holding the aff to a very low standard in responding, because it's impossible to come up with disadvantages to "something other than capitalism" until the neg specifies what that something might be.
Similarly, the aff should be able to characterize its relationship to capitalism/globablization/neoliberalism. Not every policy that promotes economic growth necessarily prioritizes the demands and interests of the capitalist class, and if the aff is structured around wage increases, labor organization, or improvements in working conditions, the debate should be about reformism vs radicalism rather than the value of capitalism writ large.
"Legal" Rhetoric K
This is strategic as a PIC when the aff includes "legal" in their plan text, kind of boring but acceptable when the aff discusses legal immigration elsewhere in the 1AC, and a non-starter when the aff doesn't mention the word legal.
These Ks are clearly core neg ground on this topic and really fun to watch when they're debated well.
Please be as specific as possible about the type of biopolitics the aff employs and the implications of the aff's system of biopolitical control. Arguments about citizenship, national belonging, and comparative racialization are way more interesting than generic arguments about how "the government can control who lives and dies, man."