We are back after a little COVID-19 and moving the entire TOC online delay. Trying something new, posting smaller posts more often. The Weebly comment system is pretty whatever. Catch the thread related to this post by adding me on Facebook if you would like to join the conversation. If you find yourself having long answers to some of the questions I pose, we could get those thoughts up on the blog as well.
I have a very humble request at the bottom of this post. If you love fun, please oblige. If you hate fun, just please stop reading now.
I feel I may have lulled people into a false sense of security by not saying some arguments are better than others in a while. Warning: I am going to mention some arguments that I think suck.
Rest assured, any critique is not intended to be mean spirited. It is only an attempt to improve one’s process with the benefit of hindsight. These counterfactual type questions have helped me learn a lot over the years.
The person I am most critical with is myself. I thought helping coach a team to win the NDT meant I had most things figured out. WRONG. I learned a lot this year again, mainly about how inadequate a lot of my previous efforts had been.
Nothing to despair about. Just need to learn more and keep trying hard. So, if I say something critical about something and it intersects with you, don’t take it as I am targeting you or being mean to you. Just my opinion, a starting point for discussion, a fun distraction from corona life and something we can probably learn from.
What did people do on the Aff?
I looked at 51 teams who went 5-3 or better at a major, counted up how many Affs each team read, and added that up. That yielded a dataset of 117 Affs read across those teams.
Note, I did not exclude the same Aff read by different partnerships on the same squad. So, I counted Dartmouth market share liability multiple times. The reason I did this is because I was thinking about this in terms of if you were Neg what was the likelihood of debating Russia, China or both in a given debate.
Who read the most Affs?
Same dataset of teams as above. What is a new Aff? After consulting fellow Kentucky debate coaches, we came up with the following:
1. Country combo’s mean new (Russia bmd, china bmd, Russia/china bmd are different).
2. Russia debris is one Aff (doesn’t matter if salvage, lasers or cap and trade etc.)
Average team in dataset read 2.3 Affs.
Honorable mention to Cal FG, Emory GS, Gtown BP, Kansas MS, Michigan JS, NU FL. They all read 4 by my count.
2nd place is Michigan PR, they read 6. China SSA, Russia/China SSA, Russia/China exotic weapons, Russia BMD, Russia/China LOAC, Russia/China ADRO.
1st place is NU JW, they read 8. China LOAC, Russia/China BMD, China BMD, Russia BMD, China 5G, Russia Lunar Gateway, China/Russia RPO’s, Russia/China arms control.
Rona destroys everything.
Let’s assume an online NDT happens. Fun fact, there would still be 5 days before round 1. An eternity in newly accelerated coronavirus time.
How trashed would arguments be? Economy impacts? Dead. Environment impacts? Solved, because no economy. Instability in countries? High. Foreign aggression? Low because of domestic issues, but maybe high when society collapses some.
Similar phenomena after Trump got elected where people just had files of Trump hoses/does not hose X thing.
But wow, solving rona with microgravity research on the ISS in round 6. What a fucking time that would be.
Where were the goofy tech affs
Cooperation parts of topic=boring, mostly stupid. Weird tech=fun, only thing unique about a space topic. You write a big enough fake 2AC to Unilat, you would have been in the clear.
Aff Innovator of the Year Award
Goes to Cal BW. First, they read planet defense unlike you cowards reading bullshit about arms control and K’s and whatever. Second, they showed up to every tournament with updated business and were ready to break new crap. Third, here is the funny list of stuff we had to put in the old case neg because of them:
Neutrinos internal link
Bangladesh nuclear power
Caucasus terrorism (all year for some reason)
What should people have done on the Aff?
Wtf people. Russia by itself at 27%??
China Neg > Russia Neg. Link uniqueness better. China says no. Japan DA. Those three things alone make it so you have to have a very good reason to pick China over Russia.
China and Russia at the same time?? Why? Terrible. What advantage credibly needs them both ex ante to solve? What advantage could be so good it is worth linking to a whole country worth of arguments? Answer: There isn’t one. Trilateral is a hop and a skip from getting dumpstered by the multilat CP.
If people were allowed to do it over, I hope they would land on the following:
1. China SSA---the no DA Aff is always on the short list of best Aff. It would have been too hopelessly boring for me, but objectively one of the best Affs because it has an advantage that is mostly true and little to no DA to it.
2. Russia Debris---didn’t live up to its potential in real life, but this well runs deep. You could have concocted at least 10 or so different versions. Different versions being you read a new plan, you read like one old debris advantage (that you keep changing the impact to) and you read one or two advantages based off the new plan. Salvage, cap and trade, lasers etc.
3. Russia Planet Defense---Emory and Cal demonstrated this area had some sauce to it.
Anyone who said arms control…you are a sucker. You gifted the Neg arguments for no reason. Space war is a terrible fucking advantage. One of the worst “core advantages” I have seen. By August I was thoroughly convinced space wars were not a thing. I would re-buy the legalization pot cartels advantage debate 100 times before the space war debate.
Anyone who said BMD…get a life. Every fucking topic with this BMD shit. BMD is a poor poor man’s NFU. Like I get it, an area that has a bounty of cards for both sides, it can’t be and isn’t that bad. But so fucking corny on a space topic. Sorry you didn’t have the fortitude to jump into the planet defense swamp.
Quarantine, transparency and fun
When it comes to end of the year transparency there are two opposing forces at work. On one hand, people love talking about what died in the box. I like hearing these stories because it lets me think about whether we would have been prepared, whether we missed something and how people developed an idea.
If it gratifies a person all the better. The little joys of debate. Let’s face it, the odds an argument doesn’t get read are higher than that it does (let alone the odds of winning a debate on said argument compared to losing in general or losing on that argument).
The other force is secrecy. I grew up in a college debate environment that felt dominated by secrecy, even after the year ended. Open source and paperless has chipped away at this a good bit, but I can picture people balking still.
We have a unique situation on our hands. No NDT. No real closure. Quarantine. So much time. So much boredom. We can do something about that. Here is my proposal.
Best new 1AC Game
What I am calling for is for you, loyal readers of Debate Musings, to submit to me a new 1AC (policy with a plan, K games can come later after I talk about that and we see if anyone cares about having fun) you had slated for the NDT. What I will do is create a random bracket of these 1AC’s and make them publicly accessible. We will then have them duke it out and let polls decide which 1AC to advance.
Here’s the thing. No one cares about what little thing you may expose by participating in this game. One, people may have already thought of your idea. Two, it is the space topic, when is this shit coming up again? Three, you can be transparent and win. Kentucky on executive power proves this. I think we were one of the most transparent teams in history (probably recklessly so) and we did fine.
But most importantly, we need to have some fun. I have lots of ideas like this for genres of arguments. So, let’s all participate, let’s chase some clout and let’s have a bit of an online festivus concerning what could have been at the Space NDT.
Hit me with those 1AC’s and let’s play who had the best one. The Kentucky submission is going to be a treat.
I am Lincoln, head coach at UK and coach with Montgomery Bell Academy. This site's purpose is to post my ramblings about policy debate.