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Has anyone ever seen a legitimate negative win going for A-Spec in the 2NR? I went for it once in my high school career and rightfully lost. Has anyone ever won with or lost to A-Spec legitimately? Not just the aff forgot to answer it.

 

Just curious to hear some stories about this.

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ASPEC + XO (The Hammer) is what my A-team went with practically every NEG round. Then they got first in state. I think more than a couple of times they were able to win solely on ASPEC, and now I have a nice file because of it too :D

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I have won a few rounds on A-spec in college. Typically it's a smart choice against critical affs with a plan - most of the time those teams are going to be incredibly smart on their K stuff and the intersection between theory and the state (making both Ks and CPs a nightmare for the neg to go for), but will not be technically proficient on a wide range of theory arguments. Against teams like that, A-spec has saved me a number of times. The trick, I think, is to have a few cards that say how individuals engage with the state is shaped by which branch we try to interact with, as well as a card or two about the topic. Those powers combined with a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of the A-spec debate give a quick, efficient, theory-heavy, negative team a huge advantage in the debate and makes A-spec a winnable option when everything else fails.

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ASPEC K2 Solve Facism

 

Deleuze and Guattari 1980 (A Thousand Plateaus 214-215)

 

It is not sufficient to define bureaucracy by a rigid segmentarity with compartmentalization of contiguous offices, an office manager in each segment, and the corresponding centralization at the end of the hall or on top of the tower. For at the same time there is a whole bureaucratic segmentation, a suppleness of and communication between offices, a bureaucratic perversion, a permanent inventiveness or creativity practiced even against administrative regulations. If Kafka is the greatest theorist of bureaucracy, it is because he shows how, at a certain level (but which one? it is not localizable), the barriers between offices cease to be "a definite dividing line" and are immersed in a molecular medium (milieu) that dissolves them and simultaneously makes the office manager proliferate into microfigures impossible to recognize or identify, discernible only when they are centralizable: another regime, coexistent with the separation and totalization of the rigid segments. I0 We would even say that fascism implies a molecular regime that is distinct both from molar segments and their centralization. Doubtless, fascism invented the concept of the totalitarian State, but there is no reason to define fascism by a concept of its own devising: there are totalitarian States, of the Stalinist or military dictatorship type, that are not fascist. The concept of the totalitarian State applies only at the macropolitical level, to a rigid segmentarity and a particular mode of totalization and centralization. But fascism is inseparable from a proliferation of molecular focuses in interaction, which skip from point to point, before beginning to resonate together in the National Socialist State. Rural fascism and city or neighborhood fascism, youth fascism and war veteran's fascism, fascism of the Left and fascism of the Right, fascism of the couple, family, school, and office: every fascism is defined by a micro-black hole that stands on its own and communicates with the others, before resonating in a great, generalized central black hole.1' There is fascism when a war machine is installed in each hole, in every niche. Even after the National Socialist State had been established, microfascisms persisted that gave it unequaled ability to act upon the "masses." Daniel Guerin is correct to say that if Hitler took power, rather then taking over the German State administration, it was because from the beginning he had at his disposal microorganizations giving him "an unequaled, irreplaceable ability to penetrate every cell of society," in other words, a molecular and supple segmentarity, flows capable of suffusing every kind of cell. Conversely, if capitalism came to consider the fascist experience as catastrophic, if it preferred to ally itself with Stalinist totalitarianism, which from its point of view was much more sensible and manageable, it was because the segmentarity and centralization of the latter was more classical and less fluid. What makes fascism dangerous is its molecular or micropolitical power, for it is a mass movement: a cancerous body rather than a totalitarian organism. American film has often depicted these molecular focal points; band, gang, sect, family, town, neighborhood, vehicle fascisms spare no one. Only microfascism provides an answer to the global question: Why does desire desire its own repression, how can it desire its own repression? The masses certainly do not passively submit to power; nor do they "want" to be repressed, in a kind of masochistic hysteria; nor are they tricked by an ideological lure. Desire is never separable from complex assemblages that necessarily tie into molecular levels, from microformations already shaping postures, attitudes, perceptions, expectations, semiotic systems, etc. Desire is never an undifferentiated instinctual energy, but itself results from a highly developed, engineered setup rich in interactions: a whole supple segmentarity that processes molecular energies and potentially gives desire a fascist determination. Leftist organizations will not be the last to secrete microfascisms. It's too easy to be antifascist on the molar level, and not even see the fascist inside you, the fascist you yourself sustain and nourish and cherish with molecules both personal and collective.

 

This specifically actually doesn't work great because this is really advocating a more of a focus on individuals and their desires than a focus on smaller organizations that still obscure the level of desire like most ASPEC shells will allow for, but maybe it'll give you an idea as to what sort of thing would work to do those sort of arguments against project teams.

 

I think there might be a way in the abstract to make this work, via a sort of nuanced position that contended both that we need to look at individual desires and that we need to generalize agents so we can understand the overall whole (I'm thinking of something like Hofstadter's mu here, applied to political agency and desire) but it would be too difficult to make the judge understand.

 

Too bad, because I feel like that sort of argument would otherwise work as a good link to micropolitics good arguments and macropolitics bad arguments, while dodging all the reasons that micropolitics are normally ineffective. Similarly, it would also work as a link to arguments about totalization in the vein of Gibson-Graham, while also avoiding the turns that are most effective against that argument as well.

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Kuntal Cholera was one of the best a-spec debater, if not the best. Several TOC bids won with a-spec, went on to be top speaker at the NDT his senior year at UNT.

 

Here's what people don't understand about A-spec and people who run A-spec well. We do lots and lots of topic specific research into agent authority specific to the topic. It's not just the same recycled A-spec evidence but highly specific, often plan specific, evidence about plan mechanisms and authority.

 

Instead of reading the old, shitty A-Spec with XO, a quality A-Spec debater will have evidence specific to plan, plan mechanisms, even funding specifics of the plan. This evidence often doubles as case attacks and plan flaw arguments. They will then have a CP text that is specific to their A-Spec evidence which solves all of plan, as well as several examples of ways the plan could have been read topically ready for cross-x.

 

That being said, you will almost never win A-Spec without a legit caselist and ways to word the affirmative's plan text topically.

 

Few teams ever put this amount of work into their A-Spec file. Kuntal, for example, had 2 expandos worth of A-Spec.

 

 

ASPEC + XO (The Hammer) is what my A-team went with practically every NEG round. Then they got first in state. I think more than a couple of times they were able to win solely on ASPEC, and now I have a nice file because of it too :D

 

Having been forced to judge this file and team many a time, I can say that their winning A-Spec rounds was less their prowess with A-Spec, or their A-Spec file being good and more to do with teams thinking it's illegit so not answering it well, answering it lazily.

 

The problem is, debaters tend to hear lab leaders and coaches go "A-Spec is stupid", so they think no one will ever vote for it, or that you can be beyond lazy in answering it and get away with it. This is virtually never true in front of good judges.

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If you want to watch a very interesting debate that alludes not necessarily to the type of A-Spec Maury was talking about but an instance where A-Spec has been ran against critical arguments, watch the practice debate on the xdi tumblr. It's Jack Ewing and Michael Leap doing one of Loyola's affs (the genology of debate) against Edmund Zagorin and Flynn Makuch who ran an agent spec argument. It was very interesting to watch. (Lot's o crazy shit happens in that round)

 

 

I will also say... I have lost to A-spec (this was one of my first rounds).

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Having been forced to judge this file and team many a time, I can say that their winning A-Spec rounds was less their prowess with A-Spec, or their A-Spec file being good and more to do with teams thinking it's illegit so not answering it well, answering it lazily.

 

The problem is, debaters tend to hear lab leaders and coaches go "A-Spec is stupid", so they think no one will ever vote for it, or that you can be beyond lazy in answering it and get away with it. This is virtually never true in front of good judges.

 

I agree 100%.

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Kuntal Cholera was one of the best a-spec debater, if not the best. Several TOC bids won with a-spec, went on to be top speaker at the NDT his senior year at UNT.

 

Here's what people don't understand about A-spec and people who run A-spec well. We do lots and lots of topic specific research into agent authority specific to the topic. It's not just the same recycled A-spec evidence but highly specific, often plan specific, evidence about plan mechanisms and authority.

 

Instead of reading the old, shitty A-Spec with XO, a quality A-Spec debater will have evidence specific to plan, plan mechanisms, even funding specifics of the plan. This evidence often doubles as case attacks and plan flaw arguments. They will then have a CP text that is specific to their A-Spec evidence which solves all of plan, as well as several examples of ways the plan could have been read topically ready for cross-x.

 

That being said, you will almost never win A-Spec without a legit caselist and ways to word the affirmative's plan text topically.

 

Few teams ever put this amount of work into their A-Spec file. Kuntal, for example, had 2 expandos worth of A-Spec.

 

 

 

 

Having been forced to judge this file and team many a time, I can say that their winning A-Spec rounds was less their prowess with A-Spec, or their A-Spec file being good and more to do with teams thinking it's illegit so not answering it well, answering it lazily.

 

The problem is, debaters tend to hear lab leaders and coaches go "A-Spec is stupid", so they think no one will ever vote for it, or that you can be beyond lazy in answering it and get away with it. This is virtually never true in front of good judges.

 

A good judge will vote for ASPEC if ASPEC is won. And lazy teams answering it lazily deserve the loss.

But winning on ASPEC doesn't make ASPEC a good argument nor sound strategy. The premise of ASPEC is based in a theoretical double bind designed specifically to make the affirmative lose 100% of the time regardless of what answers the affirmative reads. If the sole act of being aff means you lose, as a judge, I might as well sign the ballot neg after the coin flip. Tournaments would definitely run faster this way, but it makes for terrible debate.

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But winning on ASPEC doesn't make ASPEC a good argument nor sound strategy.

 

Well.

 

It's a good strategy, especially when trying for upsets against teams who know their nontheoretical stuff against you. If it wins, it's good.

 

The premise of ASPEC is based in a theoretical double bind designed specifically to make the affirmative lose 100% of the time regardless of what answers the affirmative reads.

 

I don't see how this is the premise of ASPEC.

 

I'm not a big fan of ASPEC and think that lots of the arguments used for it are poor quality, but I just don't understand your argument.

 

If you want to watch a very interesting debate that alludes not necessarily to the type of A-Spec Maury was talking about but an instance where A-Spec has been ran against critical arguments, watch the practice debate on the xdi tumblr. It's Jack Ewing and Michael Leap doing one of Loyola's affs (the genology of debate) against Edmund Zagorin and Flynn Makuch who ran an agent spec argument. It was very interesting to watch. (Lot's o crazy shit happens in that round)

 

I enjoyed that 1AC a lot, I'm watching the rest right now.

 

Update: 1As cross-x of the excellent 1NC made him look like an asshole.

 

2ACs response to ASPEC is good. But that was possibly the best 2NC I've ever seen.

Edited by Qhaos
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I don't see how this is the premise of ASPEC.

 

First, you would agree that the primary reason to run ASPEC as a voting issue is to create argument ground and legitimacy for an agent counterplan, yes?

 

There are then two aspects of ASPEC which matter - 1) that the affirmative not specifying is uniquely independently bad 2) that the affirmative not specifying hinders the negative's ability to run agent counterplans out of a fear that the affirmative could shift and perm or simply say "okay, we just do that."

 

The world of debate came to a common consensus many years ago that an affirmative plan which specifies an agent of action beyond the term USFG is indeed non-topical and an abusive form of overspecification as it would grant the affirmative right to define infinitely specific aspects of plan which render negative strategy impotent. So there is embedded within ASPEC a fundamental double-bind with topicality.

 

As far as the legitimacy of ASPEC (or any spec) is concerned, forcing the affirmative to specify an agent and slapping a voter on it is merely a ploy to usurp affirmative argument ground and convert it to negative ground. The reality of argument ground is that prior to the 1ac, it is undefined because there is no rule in debate whereby the affirmative must affirm the resolution - the affirmative could negate... just that they would be speaking first. So ultimately, argument ground is most decidedly divided by the content of the first speech, the 1AC. If the affirmative chooses to affirm and subsequently chooses to accept the resolutionally valid and topical term USFG, then the negative loss of domestic federal agent counterplans such as XO, veto-override, con-con etc does not merit an abuse of position argument - the affirmative merely exercised their authority to divide ground by the virtue of the opportunity to speak first. Thus the abuse argument on the issue of argument is rather silly. One can make the argument that discussing alternative agents is educational and could make for entertaining spirited debates, but to say that it is abusive to either not specify or to delegitimize negative strategy through permutation. That is simply the risk one runs by choosing to tread on affirmative ground.

 

Ultimately, the fairest and most stable interpretation of argument ground will always be that the first constructive sets argument ground and the negative retains all other ground, topical and non-topical, to use at their discretion. The negative could, for instance, choose to also affirm the resolution by running plan-plan. One does not need to negate the content of the 1ac in order to oppose the affirmative's position... but claiming that the affirmative is abusive by running the same affirmative they wanted to plan-plan with is hardly worthy of a neg ballot. And thats the same reason why claiming abuse on ASPEC is equally silly.

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First, you would agree that the primary reason to run ASPEC as a voting issue is to create argument ground and legitimacy for an agent counterplan, yes?

 

Maybe in practice, but what you're really talking about here is the strategic context of ASPEC, not the essence or premise of the argument itself.

 

The world of debate came to a common consensus many years ago that an affirmative plan which specifies an agent of action beyond the term USFG is indeed non-topical and an abusive form of overspecification as it would grant the affirmative right to define infinitely specific aspects of plan which render negative strategy impotent. So there is embedded within ASPEC a fundamental double-bind with topicality.

 

I don't think this consensus exists, firstly. Teams read affirmatives with specified agents all the time. But secondly, this doesn't mean that ASPEC itself forces the affirmative into a double bind. The affirmative can choose whether to face ASPEC or OSPEC, so they don't have to be vulnerable to both arguments simultaneously. You might as well say that it's bad to read T on "infrastructure" because there are multiple nonoverlapping interpretations as to what that word means. Just because the negative always has the option to always run either OSPEC or ASPEC depending on what the affirmative does not mean that the affirmative is in a double bind where they have to lose on T. Even if you argue that this is technically a double bind, it wouldn't be a bad sort of double bind because it's just as fair as any other approach to negation.

 

As far as the legitimacy of ASPEC (or any spec) is concerned, forcing the affirmative to specify an agent and slapping a voter on it is merely a ploy to usurp affirmative argument ground and convert it to negative ground. The reality of argument ground is that prior to the 1ac, it is undefined because there is no rule in debate whereby the affirmative must affirm the resolution - the affirmative could negate... just that they would be speaking first. So ultimately, argument ground is most decidedly divided by the content of the first speech, the 1AC. If the affirmative chooses to affirm and subsequently chooses to accept the resolutionally valid and topical term USFG, then the negative loss of domestic federal agent counterplans such as XO, veto-override, con-con etc does not merit an abuse of position argument - the affirmative merely exercised their authority to divide ground by the virtue of the opportunity to speak first. Thus the abuse argument on the issue of argument is rather silly. One can make the argument that discussing alternative agents is educational and could make for entertaining spirited debates, but to say that it is abusive to either not specify or to delegitimize negative strategy through permutation. That is simply the risk one runs by choosing to tread on affirmative ground.

 

I agree with this when the standard on ASPEC is CP competition or negative ground, but not in other cases. I worry that your approach risks allowing the affirmative too much ambiguity as to what constitutes "the USFG", which becomes problematic because it risks 2AC clarifications that alter the way that links and counterplans function. "The USFG" really is sort of a nebulous phrase, in cases where the affirmative refuses to defend action by all branches, so I think that this specific argument falls more towards the ASPEC crowd than those who oppose it.

 

Personally, I think the way to solve this is either to just ask in cross-x or to argue that the affirmative must be held to the entire government if they say USFG. That solves the vagueness while also avoiding the downsides of ASPEC (namely, infinite regression, and also triviality when compared to the substantive issues). But I don't feel super comfortable with the way you're approaching this because you seem to just accept the USFG as a vague amorphous entity, and not to recognize that perhaps there's some need for clarification there.

 

Ultimately, the fairest and most stable interpretation of argument ground will always be that the first constructive sets argument ground and the negative retains all other ground, topical and non-topical, to use at their discretion. The negative could, for instance, choose to also affirm the resolution by running plan-plan. One does not need to negate the content of the 1ac in order to oppose the affirmative's position... but claiming that the affirmative is abusive by running the same affirmative they wanted to plan-plan with is hardly worthy of a neg ballot. And thats the same reason why claiming abuse on ASPEC is equally silly.

 

Agreed with the same conditions as above. I do disagree with letting the affirmative negate, but I don't really want to go into that.

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