You read 3500 words of my earnest feelings and thoughts. We will return to those another day. You have earned some aggro takes I have been keeping in my pocket since the Clatterson.
1. The tags be no good
I think people have an appreciation of the first level ups that occur. Can you answer a card from the other side using a card you read previously? Maybe, can you give a 2AC or 1AR without dropping a piece of paper?
Next level debating is murkier. Can you be competitive in clash debates? For me, a serious next level skill is being able to manage complexity. Deterrence and assurance debates get very complex very quick. What we in the biz call “vertical debates.”
I can’t tell you everything that goes into winning a deterrence debate, I don’t work for you, I just dance like a good blog writing monkey for you. What I will say is your tags are not helping. Your tags are too often repetitive of your original point (the plan is bad for deterrence). Or they remain in their bad/original form when someone originally cut it and is not in the context of everything else you are saying or what the aff is saying. You are hemorrhaging opportunities to manage complexity with the way your tags build on one another. It makes the link turn debates AWFUL. Fix it.
In the interest of full disclosure I had this written down---1. how fast can you go/how stupid can your tags be. No idea what the fast thing is about. Ah, the creative process.
2. CP Texts
A goal that you should always hold near and dear to your heart is this: your CP texts should not be an assault on the eyeballs. A related goal is that it should not take you more than two minutes to read a CP.
Which brings us to Michigan:
Can we fucking relax? Think this is the new record holder for longest CP text (which is a Razzie award, not an Emmy).
3. Can we not?
If you went for one of these arguments earnestly…why? Please do not:
Maybe! If you read the Esper DA with a cardless Con con CP that would be good under some two negatives make a positive principle. However, assuming what I just said was stupid and the argument is as bad as it ever is, just do other shit.
Truf demanded this paragraph be inserted of his views on the subject or else this post couldn't go to print. Here it is:
A few things happened that were so egregious I could not help saying something. First, the rescission CP. Copy pasting slop I wrote at a tournament overnight for immigration card for card and putting it into a college Dropbox is bad enough. It making a 2NR and losing because Westminster didn’t happen to read their “AT: Certainty” block is a bridge too far. Glad no one voted for it. Second, the “invoke article 5 against X random thing” CP. This is just stupid CPs redux. Without an Article 5 key warrant or a card even implying the CP is good, they all lose to “perm – do the plan and proclaim that x is an armed attack on the US,” “perm – do the plan and treat x as if it were an armed attack on the US,” or “perm – do the plan and whatever policy changes the solvency card is actually talking about” (the one exception is the COVID CP someone read, which does actually have a card attached). Particularly this abomination: “The United States federal government should declare barriers to nuclear energy militarily attack NATO countries; and faithfully adhere to its defense pacts,” which, on top of everything else, is missing at least one conjunction. And yet, in multiple debates involving these arguments, the AFF seems content to accept the opportunity cost. They have generally not been punished for this because the net benefit is as bad as the competition argument, but seems like a missed opportunity. Thank you for tuning into this PSA.
4. No no word list
These words are banned, please stop saying them:
Lick their lips
That is all. Your judges will thank you
Your computer is muted, partner same room, you yell in the hopes the computer picks you up (mainly in CX). WRONG. This does not work and no one ever really hears the partner.
6. Write out your perms
Holy hell, just do it or make that worthless 1A do it. The real perm that you want to go for, write that shit out.
7. You are doing a lot of stuff that is ass
Here is the thing, judges are not going to tell you everything you did wrong during an RFD. A lot of them aren’t maximalists. Some don’t care. Some want to avoid information overload. Some just want to talk and talk and talk about their decision reasoning and every little issue live in the last two rebuttals even though no one cares. So debaters take that to mean that the unspoken parts of the debate went fine.
That is very wrong. When parts of a debate go by the wayside a judge is just SO THANKFUL they don’t have to decipher whatever both teams were mumbling about concerning one war or the other. They are relieved. The debating is still suboptimal.
Here are some things you should double check you can do
---debate the case on either side
---able to go for an add-on if aff (you may have to check your “file” if you have add-ons in the first place)
---Did you update your files to read all the best evidence available? I know the answer is no. No excuse really beyond pride. Bad debating regardless.
CP texts (see above)
Garbage arguments surviving into the block (see above).
8. Stop losing going for assurance
Should you ever go for assurance? It's a weird move because you could've probably read the same number of cards and just won deterrence while taking out the whole case while you were at it. But sometimes you want something external and assurance gives you that.
Some affs rely on using deterrence failure to turn assurance. The 2AR is designed to go like this "The alliance is going to break down no matter what; we are caught in a cycle of counteracting allies' fear of abandonment with strong signals of support which can risk entrapment. That will lead to a security crisis and a conflict down the line, better to just cut off contact now before the war."
This strategy is only good if you let it be. Commitment traps escalating to all out war is a (questionable) feature of the alliance system - it's not very likely that the trap is going to get sprung in the short term. If it was, the likelihood the aff can solve it quickly is pretty unclear since scaling back decade long commitments in a way an adversary would find credible is no Swiss picnic. Empirically speaking, the entrapment/abandonment cycle has been pretty stable over time (which you should have some cards about on the case regardless of the 2NR choice).
On the flip side, allies who have security needs are far more likely to perceive abandonment. Whereas adversaries are not going to assume the best (they will not immediately believe the alliance is over and that they can operate freely) allies are going to assume the worst (they need to fend for themselves). They'll do this for the same reason: heads of state hedge their bets in security policy, just as adversaries will assume the security crisis isn't over out of self interest, allies will assume they need to do their best for self help.
At the end of the day, this means competitors we have allied against are unlikely to feel very assuaged by the plan, but countries we abandon are very likely to feel pressure to protect themselves in the short run. The upshot is the link for the assurance DA should happen before solvency for the commitment trap.
But who cares? Good question. You need cards that prolif will be both pursued and achieved quickly so you can say the timeframe differential for link/solvency has a real impact. In your wall of X country will prolif, you should always read a card that it can start quickly. Alternatively, you can have a seperate impact stem short of prolif that can happen fast in the event allies are fearful.
In addition to that, it's always worth mentioning that if X country prolifs and it causes war, that conflict will be worse than the commitment trap war that the aff says is coming now. The simple reason is you add another nuclear power to the mix. This means (1) the chance of miscalculation and accidents in a crisis scenario is higher and (2) the size of the conflict is bound to be larger.
But also...why get into this debate? If you have all the parts listed above, you should be doing great. If you are not good on one of these parts…just go for deterrence! Link turn the case, avoid the extra curricular impact debating and get to the heart of the issue.
What the fuck do I know though, I just clank the keys for the masses.
I am Lincoln, retired debate coach . This site's purpose is to post my ramblings about policy debate.