Introduction to CX Debate

Introduction to Policy Debate
Welcome to the
Dark Side of the Force
Breaking Down the Resolution
 Resolved: the United States federal
government (USFG) should substantially
decrease its military and/or police presence
in one or more of the following: South Korea,
Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey.
 Agent/actor—USFG
 Direction—decrease
 Policy directive or means—military and/or police presence
 Limiters—South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey
What is the USFG?
--Congress is the legislative branch of government. Its primary job is to
pass laws.
--This is the normal means of creating policy
The Courts
--Primarily, the courts (especially the Supreme Court) determine if laws are
--Debaters may change policy by altering Court actions
Executive Branch
--Consists of the President AND the Cabinet AND the many
government agencies run by the various Departments
--Policy may be enacted by the Executive Branch through an Executive
Order or by action of any of the Departments or agencies
What are the key issues?
South Korea
--sex trafficking
--Counterinsurgency = instability
--rape/women’s rights
--North Korea provocation
--Structural Violence
--US/Japan relations
--Chinese modernization
--Iran relations
Other Issues
--Tactical nuclear weapons
--Kurd genocide
--Iraq stability
--US/Turkey relations
--Iran proliferation
--US relations w/…
 The idea of presumption in debate is based on the US legal
system. The accused is presumed innocent unless the
prosecution can provide evidence to prove guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt.
 Likewise, the status quo (present system) is presumed to be
adequate unless the affirmative can prove there is a
compelling reason for change. Hence, the affirmative has the
burden of proof in the debate round.
Overcoming Presumption
 To overcome presumption and fulfill the burden of proof, the
affirmative must present a prima facie case.
 A prima facie case is one which proves each of the stock
 Policy debate is, essentially, a problem-solving process in the
context of the resolution. Affirmatives analyze a problem
suggested by the resolution and provide a solution (plan) for
the problem.
Stock Issues
 Significance/Harms—Is there a need for a change?
The affirmative must prove that present policies are harmful.
 Inherency—Can the status quo solve the problem?
The affirmative must prove that the cannot or will not be solved in the present
system. Generally, you must prove that there is some barrier that prevents the status
quo from solving the problem.
 Solvency
The affirmative must provide a solution to the problem (the plan). Solvency
provides evidence that the plan will actually solve the problem.
 Topicality
Although not stated explicitly in the affirmative case, the affirmative must fall
completely within the scope of the resolution (must meet all terms in the
CX Debate Structure
8 minutes—1st Affirmative Constructive (1AC)
3 minutes—CX of 1AC by 2NC
8 minutes—1st Negative Constructive (1NC)
3 minutes—CX of 1NC by 1AC
8 minutes—2nd Affirmative Constructive(2AC)
3 minutes—CX of 2AC by 1NC
8 minutes—2nd Negative Constructive (2NC)
3 minutes—CX of 2NC by 2AC
5 minutes—1st Negative Rebuttal (1NR)
5 minutes—1st Affirmative Rebuttal (1AR)
5 minutes—2nd Negative Rebuttal (2NR)
5 minutes—2nd Affirmative Rebuttal (2AR)
Negative Block
Maximizing Prep Time
 Each team is allotted 8 minutes of cumulative prep time. (I.E,
using 6 minutes to prepare for the 1NC would leave the team only
2 minutes for the rest of the round.)
 Using time effectively can add several minutes to each team’s
actual prep time.
--The partner of the next speaker should conduct crossexamination. This provides 3 extra minutes of prep—off the clock.
--The 1NR should never need to use precious prep time minutes.
Since issues should be divided between the two negative speakers for
the block, the 1NR can use the entirety of the 2NC time as well as the
3 minutes of CX following to prep (a total of 11 minutes to prep the
Affirmative Case
Multiple structures used in contemporary CX
--Traditional Needs
--Comparative Advantage
 Most cases today are hybrids that combine these structures
 No matter what format, ALL stock issues must still be proven
to meet the prima facie burden.
The Plan
 Plan (or proposed solution to the problem) has become the focus of
most contemporary debate argumentation
 Current practice in most rounds is to present just the basic mandates of
the plan with implementation through “normal means.” HOWEVER,
each team must be able to defend ALL aspects of the plan.
 Parts of the plan include:
--Mandates—the policy proposed by the affirmative
--Administration—an agency or administrative procedures that
will oversee the implementation and functioning of the mandates
--Funding—explains where any money necessary for the plan will
come from
--Enforcement—explains how violations of the plan will be dealt
What is “Normal Means”?
 Normal means assumes the standard legislative process.
--Congress approves the legislation, allocates funding
and establishes administrative and enforcement
--President signs the legislation into law
--The Courts interpret the Constitutionality of the law
 Any team that claims to use “normal means” is stuck with the
legislative process. Any later claims of going through the
Executive Branch or the Courts in order to get out of
arguments is a shift of advocacy and abusive (and should be
argued as such).
Negative Tools of the Trade
 Topicality—claims the affirmative violates one or more
terms of the resolution
Disadvantage—claims that the affirmative plan will cause bad
things to happen
Counterplan—provides a competitive alternative to the
affirmative plan
Kritik (or Critique)—attacks the philosophical assumptions
of the affirmative case
Solvency—claims that the plan cannot solve for the
advantages claimed
Straight Refutation—line-by-line attack on case
A. Definition--read a definition which you can argue that the affirmative doesn’t meet
B. Violation--explain why the affirmative doesn’t meet the definition
C. Standards--how we should evaluate competing interpretations (What is the best means of looking at the topic?)
Some standards include:
--contextual (how experts in the field interpret the meaning of the word)
--limits (because the negative has limited prep time and can’t possibly prepare for every conceivable case, the
interpretation which most limits the topic is the best interpretation)
--predictability (again, neg can’t prepare for everything, so the most predictable interpretation is the best to promote
fairness and education in the round)
--brightline (draws a clear distinction between affirmative and negative ground
--ground (fairly divides affirmative and negative ground)
D. Voters (Impact)--gives reasons why the judge should vote on topicality
Common voters:
--jurisdiction (the judge may only vote for affirmatives which fulfill the mandates of the topic; anything else is outside
the judge’s jurisdiction)
--fairness (both teams should have an equal opportunity to win the round)
--education (an unpredictable affirmative that the neg has no answers for does nothing to make debate an educational
experience; learning 1 issue in-depth is far more educational than learning 1 minor fact about 10 issues)
Answering Topicality
1. “We Meet”
--explain why the affirmative actually meets the negative definition (try to give at least one or two reasons why the
affirmative meets the negative’s definition)
2. Counter-definition
--read your own definition of the term in question (make sure you actually meet the definition)
--explain why your case meets this new interpretation
3. Counter-standard
--present a standard more appropriate for the affirmative
Reasonability—the affirmative’s only responsibility is to be reasonable in its interpretation of the resolution; I.E., Would a
reasonable person accept the affirmative’s interpretation of the topic?
--explain why the affirmative meets the counter-standard
4. Topicality is not a voting issue
--explain why the judge should not vote on topicality (example: no in-round abuse or literature checks abuse)
5. Answer the negative arguments line-by-line
--general definitions are better than contextual because they are more widely understood; general definitions make the debate
more predictable
--limits are bad because the negative over-limits the topic; over-limiting decreases education; violates the affirmative right to
interpret the resolution, etc.
Other Topicality Issues
 Effects topicality--an affirmative is effects topical if the plan does not
directly implement the resolution. In other words, the plan sets events
in motion which eventually lead to a policy which incorporates the
resolution. The negative stance on this issue is that topicality must be
the first issue decided. A case which is effects topical must prove
solvency before topicality can be proven, but solvency becomes
irrelevant if topicality is decided first.
 Extratopicality--extratopical advantages go beyond what is required
by the resolution. For instance, an advantage which claims to solve the
national deficit as a result of money left over from the plan funding
would be extratopical because the funding mechanism does not
implement the resolution.
A. Uniqueness
--explains why impacts are unique to the affirmative plan; the system is okay right now
[which means that the affirmative plan is what causes the bad things or impacts to happen]
B. Link
--what action the affirmative plan takes which causes the impacts to happen
--affirmative passes environmental regulations and environmental regs are expensive for
businesses to implement them, decrease profits, increase inflation, etc., which destroy
business confidence or damage the economy
C. Impact
--the bad things which will occur as a result of implementing the plan
--plan destroys the US economy; US economy keeps world economy afloat; global
depression will result in World War
Answering Disadvantages
1. Non-unique--proves the affirmative is not responsible for the impacts
--economy is cyclical in nature, it goes up and down all the time; therefore impacts should
have already happened; aff isn’t responsible
--other factors affect the economy
--impact will happen in the status quo with or without the plan
2. No link--proves that the affirmative doesn’t connect to the impacts; aff action is not responsible
for the chain of events
3. Turn--shows how the affirmative actually solves for the impacts of the disadvantage or that the
status quo is actually responsible
4. No impact--explains why impacts won’t actually happen; why they should have already happen
if the neg is correct or that the impacts won’t be as bad as the neg claims
5. Case outweighs--explains why solving for case harms is more important or why the
advantages outweigh the impacts of the disadvantage
Counterplan Structure
1. Counterplan text.
Just as the affirmative has plan text in their case, the negative CP must also have plan text which states
precisely the action of the counterplan.
2. CP is nontopical (if applicable).
Explains how the counterplan violates one or more terms of the resolution.
3. CP is competitive.
Explains why the judge is forced to make a choice between the plan and the counterplan.
4. CP is net beneficial.
Explains why the counterplan is a better policy option than the affirmative plan. This will usually be an
explanation of how the affirmative gets disadvantages that the counterplan avoids.
5. CP solvency.
Just as the affirmative must provide evidence to prove that plan will solve the problems addressed, the
counterplan must also have solvency evidence to prove that the CP mechanisms will solve the problem.
Counterplan Theory 1
Beyond the traditional theoretical requirements of a counterplan (nontopical, competitive, net beneficial),
there are a number of debate theory implications related to counterplans:
The status of the counterplan. [This should be the first question the affirmative asks about the
counterplan during CX.] Depending on the degree of advocacy by the negative, the counterplan may
be presented as:
a. unconditional—the negative is committed to this policy position throughout
the debate. The negative cannot revert to the status quo.
b. dispositional—the negative may kick out of advocacy of the counterplan if
the affirmative presents theoretical objections (perm or competitiveness), but
cannot kick out of the counterplan if it is turned.
c. conditional—negative has the option of jettisoning the counterplan at any
point in the round. They do not have to advocate a conditional counterplan.
You will need theory briefs on why dispositional and conditional counterplans are bad and why they
are good.
Counterplan Theory 2
 Counterplan topicality. Traditionally, counterplans are nontopical alternatives
to the affirmative plan. However, current trends in debate allow for
counterplans to be topical as long as they are competitive and net beneficial.
 The reasoning behind this is that debate is inherently biased toward the
affirmative since they have an infinite amount of time to prepare their
affirmative arguments. The affirmative does not defend the entirety of the
resolution; they pick an example of the resolution. Hence, the focus of the
debate is the plan and not the resolution. Once the affirmative presents their
advocacy (plan), they must be prepared to defend all aspects of the plan.
 This theory allows counterplans which include all or part of the affirmative
plan. This is called a plan-inclusive counterplan or PIC. You will need theory
briefs on why PICs are good and why they are bad.
Counterplan Theory 3
Permutations (or perms).
The permutation is an affirmative answer to the counterplan. It is intended to be a test of
competitiveness. A perm argues that if you can do all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan at
the same time, then the counterplan is not competitive (i.e., it does not force a choice and is,
thus, not a reason to vote against plan).
There are several types of perms:
a. Pure permutation: advocates all of plan and all or part of the counterplan.
b. Timeframe permutation: advocates doing one or the other first.
c. Severance permutation: does not include all of plan (i.e., leaves a word or action out). This
type of perm is sometimes used to prove that the counterplan is abusive to the affirmative.
d. Intrinsic permutation: makes an addition to plan. Intrinsic perms add something that does
not exist in either the plan or the counterplan (i.e., do plan and counterplan and have US and
Japan act cooperatively in response to a Japan counterplan).
You will need briefs on why each of these types of permutations is or is not legitimate.
Kritiks (or Critiques)
 The kritik is an advanced negative strategy based on a type of philosophical
thought originated by German philosophers (thus, the German spelling).
Kritiks attack the philosophical assumptions of the affirmative case and usually
argue that we need to rethink our approach to specific ideas, language, or
 It is important to note that a kritik asks the judge to change the way he/she
views the round. It sets the stage to examine the debate from different world
views or means of evaluating the round. Normally, a team that runs a kritik will
not run a counterplan (especially a plan-inclusive counterplan) at the same
time. To do so would risk contradicting the philosophy, worldview or the
mindset established in the kritik. This is a unique kind of contradiction called a
performative contradiction.
 This type of argument is theoretical in nature and not accepted as legitimate
argumentation by many more traditional judges. You should usually ask the
judge’s philosophy about critical arguments before the round begins.
Kritik Structure
1. Link—what the opposition does that is objectionable.
This could be:
--use of objectionable language
--use of arguments based on incorrect assumptions
--use of arguments which entrench objectionable thought
2. Implication—explains why the action is objectionable (should include evidence and analysis).
This is, essentially, the impact of the kritik.
3. Alternative—how we should act or think in order to avoid the implications of the kritik.
a. Alternative may be in the form of a counterplan, different mindset, or a specific action
or inaction.
b. Not all kritiks have alternatives; some just question.
(This type of kritik is considered to be nihilistic. It sets up an endless
regression of argument deconstruction. We question our assumptions, then
question the answers until, ultimately, there is nothing left to believe in.)
Types of Kritiks
1. Thinking—challenge the way participants construct or systemize reasoning
These kritiks may challenge things like rational thought or world view. For example, the
normativity kritik argues that we are taught to see things through an instilled normative
thought process. We are unaware of how it affects our way of thinking, yet this pattern of
thinking determines how we view the world and prevents us from looking outside of the box
for solutions to critical issues.
2. Rhetoric and/or language—attacks the opponent for using words or language in a harmful way
Gender language kritiks argue that using sexist language (human, mankind, etc.) entrenches
or reinforces a dangerous patriarchical mindset.
The nuclearism kritik argues that talking about nuclear war scenarios desensitizes part of our
culture to the horrors of nuclear war and thus makes such a war more likely.
3. Values—identifies and attacks ethical or moral beliefs behind what debaters say or do.
The statism kritik argues that the framework of the “state” is by its very nature oppressive and
that any action taken by the state entrenches oppression. (The alternative to this kritik is
Answering Kritiks
1. No link--Explain why the actions or mindset of the plan do not link to the kritik.
2. Permute—Advocated doing both the plan and kritik. We can think about “x” then do plan if the Kritik is not a reason to
reject the affirmative.
3. Turn--
Plan is a step in the direction of the kritik.
Plan serves as a springboard for the kritik because it focuses attention on the kritik issues.
4. Counter-kritik.
Kritik is infinitely regressive. It only deconstructs ideas and ignores real world issues. Instead, we should adopt an
alternative mindset advocated by the affirmative.
--pragmatism vs. critical
--deontology vs. consequentialism
--capitalism vs. communism
5. Performative contradiction--Negative advocates an action, mindset, or language that violates their own kritik.
Negative runs a nuclearism kritik (arguing that discussing scenarios for nuclear war desensitizes us to the real
horrors of nuclear war, making the unthinkable doable) and then runs a disadvantage with a nuclear war impact.
Negative indicts the affirmative mindset and then runs a plan-inclusive counterplan.
6. Direct refutation of kritik philosophy.

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