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justy775

Critical vs. Policy

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What are the advantages and disadvantages to being a critical team that runs mostly k's in comparison to a policy team with straight up disads and counterplans and whatnot?

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I agree with mcgiggles' post (which he appears to have deleted), a mix of the two is ideal. For example, my partner and I often go mainly critical on neg, while we're straight-up policy on aff.

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The teams that go to my school all run critical positions on the affirmative and negative for a few main reasons.

 

1) It is my belief that, while you can beat "big schools" with policy positions, you're facing an uphill battle from the very start; larger schools who have 3+ coaches and a team of card cutters will be able to prep out almost any counterplan, disad or case argument that you're going to be able to make, so going critical is always preferable. While I realize that these teams will attempt to block out your kritik, you also have to realize that in order for you to be a successful "K" debater, you need to be deeply immersed in the literature of whatever critical position you are running - this way you can almost guarantee a win over a "big school policy team".

 

2) I think that the educational value of debate increases two fold from learning about specific policies (CNN Solves your policy education), and moves on into another realm of advocacy, and ideas that is rarely touched upon. Learning about these new philosophies allows you to understand the foundations upon which we align ourselves and is extremely useful not only in debate rounds but outside of debate i.e. writing papers, assessing the desirability of different situations, etc.

 

3) Running K's are just fun.

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The teams that go to my school all run critical positions on the affirmative and negative for a few main reasons.

 

1) It is my belief that, while you can beat "big schools" with policy positions, you're facing an uphill battle from the very start; larger schools who have 3+ coaches and a team of card cutters will be able to prep out almost any counterplan, disad or case argument that you're going to be able to make, so going critical is always preferable. While I realize that these teams will attempt to block out your kritik, you also have to realize that in order for you to be a successful "K" debater, you need to be deeply immersed in the literature of whatever critical position you are running - this way you can almost guarantee a win over a "big school policy team".

 

2) I think that the educational value of debate increases two fold from learning about specific policies (CNN Solves your policy education), and moves on into another realm of advocacy, and ideas that is rarely touched upon. Learning about these new philosophies allows you to understand the foundations upon which we align ourselves and is extremely useful not only in debate rounds but outside of debate i.e. writing papers, assessing the desirability of different situations, etc.

 

3) Running K's are just fun.

 

Even if it is true that it is easier to beat a team that is block-reliant on a K rather than a DA and CP/case, the two are not mutually exclusive; read both and then go for the K if you felt that the 2AC was bad on it. I don't know why you would foreclose the educational and strategic benefits of the DA and CP/case.

 

And I can promise you that a good team will have their security K block just as polished as their politics DA block because the K has become increasingly common.

 

Last, Mary Washington is a good example of how small schools can have just as much success reading policy arguments: https://georgetowndebateseminar.wikispaces.com/Debating+for+a+Small+School+-+Kevin+Kallmyer

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1) It is my belief that, while you can beat "big schools" with policy positions, you're facing an uphill battle from the very start; larger schools who have 3+ coaches and a team of card cutters will be able to prep out almost any counterplan, disad or case argument that you're going to be able to make, so going critical is always preferable. While I realize that these teams will attempt to block out your kritik, you also have to realize that in order for you to be a successful "K" debater, you need to be deeply immersed in the literature of whatever critical position you are running - this way you can almost guarantee a win over a "big school policy team".

 

This is largely a myth - a few arguments:

 

A - The 'Big Schools Have a Ton of Coaches' Arg - even the biggest squads have only a few people that are the consistent card cutters. Sure - typically speaking, larger schools will be deeper on the update level of things like politics and the depth of backfiles, but for all intents and purposes, three dedicated people on a small squad can match a large squad.

 

B - Flexibility > Depth - if you do buy the arg that the large schools have hired 80 people to cut a hit against you, what option seems best? Read a K all year? Read a single CP/Politics strat all year? Or run multiple arguments and be flexible? Flexibility means the research advantage gets cut fractionally but the number of 2NR's you have given that year. It also takes out the advantage those teams have in breaking new against you. For example, if a team has cut a new aff under the assumption that they'll break it against you because you've been winning lately on a specific politics DA that the 1AC internal link turns, the ability to go for a K or T competently offsets that benefit.

 

C - Big Schools Haven't Thought About the K Arg - It isn't the early 90's anymore. Big Schools haven't just ignored the K. For most judges, traditional framework arguments on the aff are a non-started, and T on the neg is seen as a dependency as opposed to a strategic vision. People have thought about your K.

 

The benefit to a K based strat, however, is that 2AC answers are pretty predictable, and if the team is particularly policy oriented, you have a bit of a ground and knowledge advantage. This, however, is not unique to big schools. It's pretty much unique to about 65% of teams that debate.

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Not to mention, it's important to keep in mind the composition of your circuit; do you debate in front of former HS debaters, current college debaters, and coaches that are willing to listen to critical arguments? If not, running critical stuff exclusively will probably put you at a disadvantage. This isn't an issue in the majority of the country, but it's still something to consider.

 

No matter what style of arguments you choose to run, the important thing is that you run them well. If you do a better job debating in any given round, you will most likely be the winner, regardless of what arguments you run.

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This is largely a myth - a few arguments:

 

A - The 'Big Schools Have a Ton of Coaches' Arg - even the biggest squads have only a few people that are the consistent card cutters. Sure - typically speaking, larger schools will be deeper on the update level of things like politics and the depth of backfiles, but for all intents and purposes, three dedicated people on a small squad can match a large squad.

 

B - Flexibility > Depth - if you do buy the arg that the large schools have hired 80 people to cut a hit against you, what option seems best? Read a K all year? Read a single CP/Politics strat all year? Or run multiple arguments and be flexible? Flexibility means the research advantage gets cut fractionally but the number of 2NR's you have given that year. It also takes out the advantage those teams have in breaking new against you. For example, if a team has cut a new aff under the assumption that they'll break it against you because you've been winning lately on a specific politics DA that the 1AC internal link turns, the ability to go for a K or T competently offsets that benefit.

 

C - Big Schools Haven't Thought About the K Arg - It isn't the early 90's anymore. Big Schools haven't just ignored the K. For most judges, traditional framework arguments on the aff are a non-started, and T on the neg is seen as a dependency as opposed to a strategic vision. People have thought about your K.

 

The benefit to a K based strat, however, is that 2AC answers are pretty predictable, and if the team is particularly policy oriented, you have a bit of a ground and knowledge advantage. This, however, is not unique to big schools. It's pretty much unique to about 65% of teams that debate.

 

QFA.

 

I think being flexible is best. My junior year we tried the whole "lets beat the big school with a tricky K" strategy, and while it may work once, it'll never work twice. Its true that you can beat them consistently if you just know your K better than them and even know their arguments better than they do, but I've found that most of the people that this is true for could be just as good with policy arguments. Good debaters are good debaters are good debaters. I think you should base it more around what you enjoy and WANT to do, because it becomes hard to keep up regardless if you hate the arguments you read.

 

As far as small school vs. big school goes. My school had one coach that was in charge of all three debate events and every IE, and we only had a few policy kids, all of which except me and my partner were JVers or novices, but we took the exact opposite strategy in big debates. We got basically all our big wins by going for disad and counterplan. While big schools can research more, your not assuming their is only a finite amount of articles to research for one subject. I've found that with almost every politics disad, unless its a huge bill thats ACTUALLY on the docket and be debating (ie healthcare in november two years ago and stimulus around berkeley), then its not out of the question to cut literally every card on that subject. If you have gone through every page on google news and lexus that's relevant, then you have nothing to worry about. The big school will AT BEST have the some cards you have, except you have the advantage of having actually read every article and cut them, so its all about executing and winning spin by displaying your knowledge. The things that I find big schools are ahead on is the deeper updates, on subjects most people don't update throughout the year, like non-uniques to random camp disads, ptix link turns, hege and econ updates, impact defense, etc.

 

That said, if you choose to read the K, the only way you can be truly successful will still require as much work as policy arguments. You may not be cutting as many cards but you should be prepared to update blocks every week and write answers to every 2AC/1AR argument under the sun, and you should know the actual works of your authors. The great K teams I know from high school are just solid at debate in general but have an interest in the K.

 

Also, I've found that in high school, the large policy squads will greatly overcover the K in the 2AC and make sure they have shut down that option because they don't want that debate and they are well aware of the whole "pop a big team with the K" idea, that's where flexibility becomes useful

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I agree that being flexible is a good thing for a debater but many times there are situations where debaters do not have the ability to be flexible. This was the case for me, not only was i one of two debaters at my school (the other my partner, who did no work because he was an LDer i convinced to do cx with me) and we had 0 coaches. The means that along with the stuff a normal high school senior has to take care of (school work, home life, and college/scholarship apps ) I also had to do debate work that would keep me competitive on a national level by myself.

 

What allowed me to best give equal focus to all of those aspects of my life was the choice to find a critical position/author (baudrillard in my case) and just do as much work, reading, and block writing as i possibly could for the one position. There was possibly no way for me to compete on a policy level with "big school policy teams" because it would not just be about cutting every card on a politics DA or CP, but being the first team from a school there were not backfiles so i would of had to cut those as well. Even if those were attained the work 1 person can do is massively overshadowed by the work a group of even 3-4 people could do. Many K teams are not K teams to be tricky, but out of necessity.

 

Also the strategy with only running 1 K is not that you catch big school off guard, but rather you get to drag them into a debate they might not be necessarily comfortable in. The benefit of the K is that it allows you to decide to ground for the debate. For example you know your K, if you've done your research you know the theoretical objections to your K, and if they are running a policy aff you gave a good idea of what arguments (framework args, util, realism, etc.) they are limited to. Who cares if they know what K you are reading, because you know what they will be reading against you - then it just becomes a battle of who is the better debaters.

 

I've been reading nearly the same argument (aff and neg) for my last two years of hs, and never had it put me in a strategic loss against other nationally competitive teams due to its predictability or it being generic.

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