Jonathan Horowitz ParadigmLast changed 11/18 3:56P CDT
Hi. I debated at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook for 4 years, 1.5 in policy and 2.5 in LD. I was the LD coach at Loyola Blakefield HS in Baltimore for 3 years followed by being the debate coach for Chicagoland Jewish HS in Deerfield, IL, New Trier HS in Winnetka/Northfield, IL, Bronx Science, Beacon HS in Manhattan, and the director of debate at Mamaroneck HS in Mamaroneck, NY. I've also worked at multiple debate camps and have been a private coach for multiple debaters. Trust me, I've seen it all.
Last updated 11/18/18. (Updated because debate has changed).
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. I do not discriminate, I'm find with speed (though sometimes my flowing can be bad), fine with theory, fine with kritiks, whatever you want to do. It's your round, have fun with it.
That being said I do have one very important caveat:
Extensions are key! Every extension needs to have the word extend/pull through the flow/or similar wording attached to it. Then it needs to have a warrant for what is being extended, finally the extension needs an impact back to the weighing calculus. If that is the value/value criterion mechanism then it needs to impact back to the VC that is being used for the round. If that is some other mechanism, it needs to be impacted to that weighing mechanism (theory means voters I guess). That weighing mechanism and the warrants for the mechanism should be extended (In a v/vc model the vc should be extended along with the argument). If these things are not done then the arguments will not be evaluated in the same depth and I might not give you credit, or as much credit, for an argument that you may have clearly won on the flow. I guess in simpler terms I have a high threshold for extensions. Also, when extending please extend along with the warrant please compare your arguments to other arguments. The best extensions are not just argument extensions but have comparative weighing along with the arguments.
Other things I've noticed about my preferences for debate: (This is just a list of things I like, none of these are necessary to win a round)
- I tend to prefer debaters who debated similarly to how I debated. What does this mean? I debated in an old school national circuit LD style. On the aff that meant a very broad criterion with mutually exclusive contentions that I tried to kick out of as much as possible (usually at the end of the 2AR, I had one contention and maybe framework). On the neg, it meant a short NC, no more than 2 minutes, with extensive analytical responses to the aff. While it might not help you win the round, debate has changed a lot, it will help your speaker points.
- I like a 2AR that isn't on the flow. What does this mean? The 2AR should be more of a story speech that merely references the flow. A lot of weighing/crystallizing or time on voting issues.
-I like even/if stories. They tend to make the round clearer and make my life easier.
-LD debaters need to stop saying "we" when referring to themselves. You are a singular human being and not one half of a partnership. If you say "we" while referring to yourself you will lose 0.1 speaker points. I will also interrupt your speeches to ask "who is we?" Be prepared.
-I'm a leftist politically. Property rights arguments and other capitalist arguments are not particularly persuasive to me and I don't like hearing them. That doesn't mean I won't vote on them, it just means if you have something else it's probably a good idea to run it.
-I presume coinflip. That means if I can't find any offense or way to vote I will flip a coin to decide the round. I have done this quite a few times and never want to do it again but I'm not afraid to do it and if I think your round warrants it, a coinflip will happen. (That said the only times I've done it has been in rounds where there have been on offense by either side so as long as offense exists I will not flip a coin).
-I like philosophy, I am a philosophy major. That said I'm not good at flowing it, especially when spread at the beginning of the speech. So if you do read philosophy slow down a little bit so that I can catch your arguments.
-Going off that last point, my major is in continental philosophy; which means I take classes on all those critical authors you've wanted to use in rounds. Kritiks are wonderful! If you know what are you talking about, please run them in front of me. Ks do not need an alt, though it is preferable. Make sure to understand the interactions between your position and the position of what your opponent is running. Also just because your opponent is running a K does not mean you lose the round.
- Please start the AC/NC with I affirm/I negate. It doesn't take away from your word economy and it gives me a second to "catch up" and get used to your spreading/debating voice so that I don't miss your first argument. You don't need to re-state the resolution though, that's unnecessary.
-Something most debaters forget is that as a judge I do not look to see what you are reading while you are reading it. Therefore, be more specific in signposting then off the Martin card 1..2..3 etc. Don't just say Martin, say what Martin said as well, because I might not have gotten the author name Martin but I got the argument s/he made. Also, be clear about where Martin is on the flow. If Martin is a contention 1 card, say that she is in contention 1.
- WEIGH! One of the things I'm almost always unsure of after a round is which argument to evaluate first. Do I look to the Disad, the spike, the contention 1? Most debate rounds involve multiple arguments that could "come first" and people telling me the order in which to evaluate arguments and which arguments are more important makes my life easier. It also means you'll be more likely to win because the argument that you're saying is most important/comes first is probably also the one that you're winning the most. WEIGH! Seriously WEIGH!
- Policy style arguments have started to come more and more into LD and people like running them in front of me. That's fine, I really like them. However, if you are running them you also take on policy-style burdens. For example, if you read a plan then you have to fulfill the 4 criteria of the HITS (if you don't know what that is, you shouldn't be running a plan. Also, considering the last person to lose on significance was Tom Durkin in the 1978 NDT, significance doesn't matter anymore). Most importantly, is that policy has a status quo whereas LD does not. That means that you need to orally give me the dates of evidence! If you're running a DA I need to know that the uniqueness is actually unique, if it's a plan that the inherency is actually inherent etc. Evidence without dates on it means that I won't give you credit for uniqueness or inherency claims that you need in the debate round. If your opponent points out that you didn't read those dates then I will give zero credit for any uniqueness/inherency claim and assume that your evidence is from 1784 and take away any offense that is based off of that plan/DA (I will also give said opponent at least a 29). So make sure to tell me those dates!
- I've recently read A LOT of social movement theory and have also been actively been involved in crafting strategy for a social movement. This has made me significantly more wary of most kritik alternatives. Kritik alts either make no sense, are not realistic, would never be adopted by wide ranging social movements, or are actively harmful to spreading social movements. It won't change how I vote, if the alt is won, but it does mean that common sense arguments against K alts will be considered more important.
- A priori/pre-standards arguments/other tricky-esque nibs. If you are losing everything else on the flow I need a reason to uniquely prefer your 3 sentences over the rest of the flow. If that does not happen I will find it very hard to vote for you over somebody else who is winning the rest of the round. Not that I won't evaluate the argument at all it will just be weighed against the rest of the round and if someone else is winning the rest of the round I will vote for the person winning the majority of the round. In simpler words if you go for an a priori, go for it hard. I'm not going to buy it simply because it is dropped.
- Metaethics. I used to have a long screed about metaethics here. It's been deleted (you can read it on the back edits if you're really interested) as I've decided that, while I agree still with what I said before, meta-ethics are being used a lot better by debaters so that it doesn't apply as much. I do think meta-ethics have a place in debate but they need to be used properly. Basically, meta-ethics cannot be used as a "magic wand" to get out of framework debate. You still need to provide an ethic to meet your meta-ethic. Just saying my meta-ethical util comes before your ethical deont haha! is not enough. Language might be indeterminate but that doesn't mean we default to util (or deont) unless it's justified.
Since everybody asks me about how I evaluate theory here it is:
I don't mind theory, I will vote on it and I will vote on it in cases where I think no actual abuse has occurred or even times where the argument itself is patently non-abusive. But before you rush to pull out your three theory shells, I really don't like voting on it. Moreover, of all the decisions where people have argued with me after the round, 2/3 of them are because of theory. My paradigm seems to be different than other judges so I would say run theory at your risk. Now of course you're asking why is my paradigm different? Simple because I don't default to a monolithic competing interpretations framework, you don't need a counter-interp/RVI/etc. to win theory (though it is helpful and in a case of offense vs. no offense I'm going to default to offense). I'm not as technical on theory as other judges, simply saying my argument is not abusive, drop the argument not the debater, or even talking about reasonability will probably be enough to convince me to not vote on theory. In other words, I default to reasonability, though will be persuaded otherwise. Also, in a round between two equal theory debaters or even a round where both debaters have competent theory blocks, theory turns into a crapshoot (which, by the way, is most theory rounds) so while I will do my best to sort through it that doesn't mean my decision won't be somewhat random.
Also, I guess most LD judges don't evaluate theory this way so I should point this out. If you only go for theory in the NR/2NR or 2AR then the affirmative/negative does not need a RVI to win the theory debate because the only offense at the end of the round is on theory which means that I am merely evaluating who did the better theory debating and not worrying about substance at all. The RVI only comes into play if there is a contestation of substance AND theory at the end of the debate.
Feel free to come up to me at any tournament and ask me questions about anything, I can't guarantee you a great answer but I can guarantee that I will try to respond.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. My main philosophy is it's your round not mine so do what you want. I think a lot of how I judge policy is probably transferred from LD so look there for good stuff. One caveat to that, if there is something that seems very specific to LD (like saying "we" for example) do not bring that into a policy context.
Obviously I have some caveats for that:
First and foremost is that LD is most of what I've debated and coached. Though policy kids have this outdated version of what LD is, there is now every argument in policy in LD also with extra stuff too! I am fine with speed etc. Don't worry about that. However, I did not go to camp, I did not do research on the resolution (whichever one it is) and don't know what is stock or what isn't. I know, more or less, what aff my team is running and generic stuff to be used on any topic. Your explanation barrier for me understanding topic specific arguments then is a little bit higher.
The other important take away is that social conventions of what you can and cannot do in LD and policy are slightly different. For example, RVIs in LD are not joke arguments but made in almost any theory round (though I don't like RVIs in policy). LD does not have the concept of overviews in the same way as policy and what is considered "line by line" is very different. I've been able to figure out most of these biases but occasionally I'll mess up. Just be aware.
Despite my philosophy/LD background I actually like "policy" rounds better. Give me a CP/D/A debate over a K round. I find them easier to decide. That said I do love a good K and have picked up mostly Ks in my time as a policy judge.
I default to reasonability on T and theory issues.
I don't know why this has become a thing but apparently people don't say AND or NEXT after finishing cards in the 1AC or 1NC. You still need to do that so that I know when to flow.
Utilitarianism is moral philosophy that evaluates the morality of actions based on the consequences. This means that small scale/structural violence impacts are utilitarian because we care about the consequence of structural violence. Stop saying these arguments are not utilitarian or answering them as if they are not utilitarian. They are.