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LD Jan-Feb Topic (Handguns)

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Hey all, the topic for January-February was released today:

Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned. 

 

I have no idea what kind of positions are even possible on this topic and what kind of ground might be available. Hopefully it doesnt mirror Congressional gun debates, because that would be not fun at all to debate for two months. Any insight/ideas/thoughts would be appreciated. 

 

My first thought for the neg would be PTX when I saw this topic. 

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lol good luck. My advice would be to never debate this topic with lay judges.

 

I'm sure politics would be p great. Also, maybeeee you could spin something critical off of "private ownership." Also, pic's/cp's involving maybe not a total ban (i.e. more in depth background checks/what japan does/etc) might work

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the weird thing is that the further left you go of the center left, the more accepting people get on guns. 

 

"Wait, you want the state to bar it's citizens from having the means to rise up against it?" 

 

Though honestly this topic is pretty shit so good luck trying to find arguments that don't devolve into (in lay rounds) mainstream talking points or reading generics. I keep thinking that identity politics would be interesting, except the neg has a whole lot o' CP ground against a lefty Identity Politics aff (Wait, you want to ban guns because their being used by white people to commit terrorism? CP: Ban handguns from white people, net benefit = Wilderson alt is easier when only black bodies have weapons)... 

 

 

Other CP ideas (based off of the ideas of private ownership): 

 

- Allow collectors to have them (find stats that say that little to no collector/collector weapons are used for violent crime) - NB econ, history preservation, museums

- Put it up to a vote (it will pass, means net benefit is politics since winners win) but that's kinda shit too

- Hunters only (handguns necessary for this type of hunting, this type of hunting important as fuck for some native tribe or econ, mpx) 

  just look for edge cases to laws. Find out the exceptions that countries with near total bans have to their rules and use that for a CP. Best part is that your CP competition is mutual exclusivity since ur plan minus and resolution indicates that any topical aff has to ban ALL private ownership (you should have blocks with cards on this already).

 

 

Other thoughts

- Find stats that indicate how many shooting deaths are the result of non-handguns vs the result of handguns. Use this as impact D to solvency claims about preventing domestic terrorism or brutality. 

- Blanket ban unilaterally is unpopular enough with republicans to have some of them secede from the union (if Rick Parry is to be believed) and I think that makes tix a lot more interesting. 

- Enforcement mechanisms could be wildly different: aggressive enforcement = reactionary revolutions from really angry racist survivalists in rural localities. Turn = more domestic terrorism, with specific targeting of racial groups. I think that this scenario is a bit weaker given that it's not a fully blanket ban on possession of weapons, but it's still a strong one 

- Find stats on the actual effectiveness of weaponry in preventing or diffusing potential crime. The classic "good guy with a gun" argument might actually have some truth to it 

- A plethora of fringe lefty anarcho-[insert flavor of anarchism here] have written about how important it is to be allowed to have guns and I bet some of those cards could make dank and unconventional kritiks. 

Edited by BernieSanders
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Hey all, the topic for January-February was released today:

Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned. 

 

I have no idea what kind of positions are even possible on this topic and what kind of ground might be available. Hopefully it doesnt mirror Congressional gun debates, because that would be not fun at all to debate for two months. Any insight/ideas/thoughts would be appreciated. 

 

My first thought for the neg would be PTX when I saw this topic.

 

Having run an abolish gun control Aff most of my senior year in Policy 15 years ago, I can offer some case advice...

 

Neg side:

 

For lay judges: The topic assumes the status quo as the starting point, which means there's a huge civil war disadvantage to the Aff. You could not forcibly disarm all Americans today without starting a civil war that would kill hundreds of thousands. Most deep red states would probably secede.

 

There's also a constitutional law disad; United States v. Miller explicitly held that a complete handgun ban would be unconstitutional.

 

There's no solvency. Handguns are easy to conceal and hard to confiscate; they're also easy to smuggle and make. Criminals already carry handguns illegally.

 

Heading into more critical arguments, gun control, and especially handgun control, is a common tool used to oppress blacks in the United States. Look at the history of gun control in the U.S.

 

There's also a straightforward feminism argument on the Neg; handguns equalize the natural strength differences between men and women. There's lots of evidence out there for that.

 

Finally, private gun ownership prevents genocide. There's lots of evidence for this too; every totalitarian dictatorship starts out by disarming the populace. Of course, the tough part here is finding evidence that there's a risk of genocide in the present day US. For all of these reasons, Neg should easily be able to turn and win any identity politics debate raised by the Aff.

 

Now, on the Aff side...I don't know what there is to argue other than the weak mainstream positions, thanks to the extreme wording of the topic. I'd much rather debate Neg than Aff on this one.

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You can't have a "hand gun"? Megaman/Samus DA.

 

EDIT:

 

In seriousness, as the Aff it's better to go for philosophy and as Neg it's better to go for pragmatics.

 

On the Affirmative, you could probably garner a lot of offense on de-militarism and security and the like.

 

You could even weigh circumvention (people not giving up guns) as a good thing. For example, you could say that the state should legally prohibit private ownership of guns, and go for impacts about the government. Then, anyone who doesn't comply is just a reason Neg offense doesn't apply. That's not entirely thought through, but it's an idea.

 

On the Neg, yeah, pragmatics and feasibility, governmentality, everything else people have mentioned are good.

Edited by Rnivium

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There's like one or two affirmative arguments possible, while there's a dozen or so negative arguments possible. This pattern seems common in LD resolutions, and I think it ought to be the opposite. The affirmative should be given the side of the argument with greater preround strategic flexibility, in order to compensate for the negative's time bias.

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Literally the only aff that isn't pants-on-head stupid is a straight-up communism aff in traditional LD format.  How you want to argue the communism end is quite flexible, but the key part is you want to make the debate about all private property, not just hand guns.

 

(I think that aff is fundamentally immoral, but it's certainly arguable and winnable in a debate round, and I ran worse things when I did LD.) 

 

This is where traditional LD structure can really shine, because it makes extra-topicality irrelevant.  Your position on private property justifies finding for the aff because if the judge votes for the aff philosophy than the resolution is necessarily true.  (Ie, if no property can be privately owned, then specific property like handguns can't be privately owned).

 

As to flavor of communism, I recommend something like anarcho-syndicalism, which actually has real world solvency evidence that it could work in practice (see: Spanish Civil War), and doesn't carry historical baggage like China or the USSR's disastrous flirtations with Marxism derivatives.  That also avoids the 'state with all the guns is bad' arguments, because there is no state, and the guns are communally owned by local syndicate-communes.  Something modeled on the Zapatista movement might also work, although I'd look for commonalities with anarcho-syndicalism there.

 

But yeah, I can't think of any other position that doesn't immediately collapse under its own stupidity.  The national debate on gun control is beyond dumb, and regurgitating those arguments will only make everyone in the room stupider for participating in that.

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My position is different than yours. I do think there are reasonable arguments for increased gun control, but I believe they'll lose to more moderate counterplans quite easily, so going affirmative is viable only when traditionalist interpretations of theory are common. I don't like the communism idea and think it's even worse than reading an extreme affirmative case. First, extra topicality can in fact successfully be read in LD. This doesn't happen as often as it should, but in cases where the affirmative goes so far outside the bounds of the resoution I think even terrible judges will manage to find some brains. Second, communism sucks.

I am thinking the overall best affirmative strategy might be to endorse some kind of nonconsequentialist and vaguely Aristotelian perspective that says guns are bad because their intrinsic purpose is to kill or harm. I personally think that nonconsequentialism is a distasteful moral framework, but it is a time tested traditionally viable argument that many other judges are sympathetic to, and it can be made robust against a wide variety of negative positions. For example, if your opponents mention hunting, you can quickly and parsimoniously respond by arguing that hunting animals is also immoral. If they argue that enforcement will be expensive, you can sidestep the logistical difficulties by talking about morality in abstract terms. There are also many different variations of nonconsequentialism, which means you can maintain a little bit of unpredictability and creative flair despite the narrow confines of the round. It's also helpful that many people's blocks for utilitarianism are generic and do not get frequently updated. Overall, this would still be a difficult round to win, but I think it's one where the debater would have a fair amount of control over the round's outcome, and wouldn't have to rely on lucking into a judge with some specific set of biases in order to have a good chance.

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First, extra topicality can in fact successfully be read in LD.

 

Extra T is only a thing when you read a plan.  The whole point of traditional LD was to establish a general philosophical position which dictated the decision on the resolution - General to Specific reasoning that proved the whole of the resolution, not an instantiation of the resolution.  Extra T only makes sense in the 'aff advocacy as an instantiation of the resolution' paradigm, which has no place in traditional LD argumentation, and makes no sense on this resolution. A plan which restricts only some handguns is not topical.

 

Second, communism sucks.

No disagreement there. Also, there's a reason I stress the anarchist tradition - it's less bad.

 

Also, when forced to defend a complete ban on handguns, extreme positions are pretty much required.

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I think reading extra T makes sense if the AC gets advantages which derive from policies that extend beyond the resolution. It's not true that XT relies on the use of some plan that is a subset of the resolution, none of the reasons why extra topicality are bad rely on plan oriented debate's preexistence. I know that some LD judges don't see their role as evaluating the resolution, and instead they focus on the V/C combination in itself rather than due to its connections to the resolution, but honestly that perspective has never made much sense to me.

Edited by Chaos

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I think reading extra T makes sense if the AC gets advantages which derive from policies that extend beyond the resolution. It's not true that XT relies on the use of some plan that is a subset of the resolution, none of the reasons why extra topicality are bad rely on plan oriented debate's preexistence. I know that some LD judges don't see their role as evaluating the resolution, and instead they focus on the V/C combination in itself rather than due to its connections to the resolution, but honestly that perspective has never made much sense to me.

Except that doesn't make any sense when evaluating a V-C debate framework.  V-C cases don't have "advantages" and their advocacy is the V-C itself.  That's *always* more general than the resolution.  The whole point of V-C cases is general -> specific reasoning.

 

Also, arguably xT fails because there's no separable planks.  The philosophy is a unified whole, not something you can pick and choose between instantiations of its implementations.  

 

Actually, we have a more fundamental problem.  The legitimate interpretation of xT is 'all separable planks of plan must be topical'.  That literally only applies to a plan - ie, a set of specific courses of action, and it only applies when there are separable actions.  It's wholly incoherent against a V-C case.  What's the xT interpretation that would even apply to a V-C case, and can any V-C argumentation possibly meet it.

 

Repeat after me: LD is not policy debate.  It's normal includes different argument forms than policy's normal.

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My take on the Aff is somewhere between Squirreloid and Chaos; I prefer Squirreloid's take on what LD should look like, but the "extreme philosophy that incidentally includes banning gun ownership" is kind of gimmicky and the sort of thing traditional LD judges would hate anyway. Rather, if I'm trying to find a way to argue this Aff without getting killed by pragmatic concerns and moderate CPs, I'm going to try to defend an Aff preferred interpretation of the resolution:

 

"Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned."

 

As Aff, I want to argue that transitional problems aren't something I have to defend; I just want to defend the end state, that a United States with no legal private gun ownership is morally preferable to one with legal private gun ownership. To do that, I'm going to make the common LD semantic argument that "ought to" is different than "should;" ought means we focus on which option is morally superior rather than whether the policy "The USFG should outlaw private handgun ownership" is superior to the status quo.

 

Second, I'm going to focus on the one limit the resolution does add to help out Aff--it's limited to handguns.

 

Having done that, I can make mainstream arguments with some added detail that address the major Neg points.

 

1. Handguns ought to be banned because they are concealable. For home defense, a shotgun is preferable; it's more lethal to intruders and less likely to cause collateral damage because shotgun pellets don't penetrate walls as effectively. But a person ought to be able to move in public areas without fear of unknown private lethal force. Within the public sphere, the state should have a monopoly on violence.

 

2. Handguns are too easy to use compared to other firearms. Lethal force should not be easy to use. I'm not entirely sure what moral theory that works with--probably something Aristotlean like Chaos suggests--but in terms of risk of accidents, suicides, and murders, handguns are all more dangerous than rifles and shotguns that are require more deliberation to use.

 

3. Because of the previous two reasons, handguns are the weapon of choice for the gangs that terrorize minority communities and keep them from progressing. A total firearms ban might be used to oppress minorities, but if we allow private ownership of rifles and shotguns, that problem is answered. Gang violence is one of the greatest causes of race and class inequality in the United States, and gang violence is primarily handgun violence.

 

The goal is to make the Aff the moderate side--we agree with Neg that self-defense and resistance to tyranny are important, but handguns are the preferred firearm for illegal violence, while shotguns and rifles are the proper firearms for legitimate private uses.

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My take on the Aff is somewhere between Squirreloid and Chaos; I prefer Squirreloid's take on what LD should look like, but the "extreme philosophy that incidentally includes banning gun ownership" is kind of gimmicky and the sort of thing traditional LD judges would hate anyway. Rather, if I'm trying to find a way to argue this Aff without getting killed by pragmatic concerns and moderate CPs, I'm going to try to defend an Aff preferred interpretation of the resolution:

Eh, I could make it fly with traditional LD judges.  You just have to disguise your totally radical philosophy with mealy-mouthed feel-good quotations.  (I wrote a communism case around "it takes a village to raise a child", and it *never lost a round* despite my high school circuit being highly traditional - spring topic, so no national tournaments).

 

"Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned."

 

As Aff, I want to argue that transitional problems aren't something I have to defend; I just want to defend the end state, that a United States with no legal private gun ownership is morally preferable to one with legal private gun ownership. To do that, I'm going to make the common LD semantic argument that "ought to" is different than "should;" ought means we focus on which option is morally superior rather than whether the policy "The USFG should outlaw private handgun ownership" is superior to the status quo.

 

Second, I'm going to focus on the one limit the resolution does add to help out Aff--it's limited to handguns.

 

Having done that, I can make mainstream arguments with some added detail that address the major Neg points.

 

1. Handguns ought to be banned because they are concealable. For home defense, a shotgun is preferable; it's more lethal to intruders and less likely to cause collateral damage because shotgun pellets don't penetrate walls as effectively. But a person ought to be able to move in public areas without fear of unknown private lethal force. Within the public sphere, the state should have a monopoly on violence.

 

2. Handguns are too easy to use compared to other firearms. Lethal force should not be easy to use. I'm not entirely sure what moral theory that works with--probably something Aristotlean like Chaos suggests--but in terms of risk of accidents, suicides, and murders, handguns are all more dangerous than rifles and shotguns that are require more deliberation to use.

 

3. Because of the previous two reasons, handguns are the weapon of choice for the gangs that terrorize minority communities and keep them from progressing. A total firearms ban might be used to oppress minorities, but if we allow private ownership of rifles and shotguns, that problem is answered. Gang violence is one of the greatest causes of race and class inequality in the United States, and gang violence is primarily handgun violence.

 

The goal is to make the Aff the moderate side--we agree with Neg that self-defense and resistance to tyranny are important, but handguns are the preferred firearm for illegal violence, while shotguns and rifles are the proper firearms for legitimate private uses.

 

This might be a good defense of 'handguns ought not exist', but the resolution asks us to "ban" handguns.  A ban means criminalizing ownership.  The problem is that passing a law is not equivalent to the law working.  Even if we ignore the transition, we don't get to magically believe that handguns will disappear.  Criminals are of course criminals because they break the law.

 

Gang-owned weapons are already illegally possessed.  Your point 3 isn't an advantage of banning handguns - we've already banned criminals from owning handguns and they still have them.  Indeed, much of Europe, with much tighter gun control laws, still suffers from mass gun violence despite the weapons used being illegal.  (Paris is only the most recent example).

 

I think 1 is rather weak too, because criminals should fear unknown private force.  (You may have noticed most mass shootings in the US happen in gun-free zones - there's a reason for that).  And you can toss in whatever 'state bad' kinds of arguments you'd want to here too.  Also, Sawed-off shotguns are pretty concealable.

 

2 is the strongest point, but does have weaknesses.  Murderers are of course criminals, so a ban on handguns won't deter them.  Accidents and suicides may be the strong points, and I'm not sure that's enough - especially when you can argue suicide is a right of bodily autonomy.

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Except that doesn't make any sense when evaluating a V-C debate framework.  V-C cases don't have "advantages" and their advocacy is the V-C itself.  That's *always* more general than the resolution.  The whole point of V-C cases is general -> specific reasoning.

 

Also, arguably xT fails because there's no separable planks.  The philosophy is a unified whole, not something you can pick and choose between instantiations of its implementations.  

 

Actually, we have a more fundamental problem.  The legitimate interpretation of xT is 'all separable planks of plan must be topical'.  That literally only applies to a plan - ie, a set of specific courses of action, and it only applies when there are separable actions.  It's wholly incoherent against a V-C case.  What's the xT interpretation that would even apply to a V-C case, and can any V-C argumentation possibly meet it.

 

Repeat after me: LD is not policy debate.  It's normal includes different argument forms than policy's normal.

 

Saying that a gun ban is good because communist governments wouldn't have private property is like saying that a gun ban is good because a world without violence would be filled with people who find guns distasteful. It defeats the point of having a debate by allowing the affirmative to assume away all sorts of thorny difficulties with their ideas. Your perspective basically seems to be that judges should examine the consistency of the resolution with some imagined moral state of affairs, and vote for whichever side of the resolution is consistent with that universe. I think that's a bad way to evaluate the resolution. It's true I can imagine a utopia where communism exists and private guns do not, but I can also imagine a utopia where capitalism exists and private guns do not, and a utopia where capitalism exists and guns are common. I can also imagine a dystopia for all of these scenarios. Imagining utopias and dystopias is very easy; in fact, it's too easy. That makes it a bad way to evaluate the resolution.

 

Reading T doesn't require a plan with multiple planks. It only requires that the affirmative relies on changes far beyond the scope of the resolution in order to advocate their ideas. The resolution is the focus of the debate in LD, just as the plan is the focus of the debate in policy. We can appeal to broad justifications or ideas when talking about specific moral propositions or policy proposals, but the idea of the resolution should be evaluated by itself, and not just piggypacked onto various positive changes. By itself, banning gun ownership in the United States would not cause communism. For communism to exist, many other changes would also need to occur, and lots of these changes might not be morally desirable or even possible. Therefore, the morality of communism is essentially irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the resolution. When we talk about changes to the laws of the United States, we should talk about the US as it actually exists. Doing otherwise prevents any possibility of stable ground for debate.

 

Under your interpretation, someone could argue that banning guns is good because a Christian theocracy would ban guns and also happen to send more souls to heaven, because a technological future society would save many lives and also happen to have way better weapons to use on people, or because Hilary Clinton would choose ban guns and she also happens to have a strong foreign policy. It changes the debate so that we're no longer talking about guns, but instead we're talking about all sorts of random ideas with highly tangential connections to the core topic. It almost entirely delimits the topic and does so in very unpredictable and hard to evaluate ways.

 

It should be considered just as an invalid to argue that the the US should ban guns and undergo massive structural economic reforms because economic reform is good as it is to argue that the US should ban guns and take in Syrian refugees because the refugees need our help. One arguably has a stronger tangential connection to the resolution, that's true enough, but still both are essentially irrelevant. Extra topicality arguments are the means by which debaters help keep the round focused on the topic rather than the topic plus other subjects, and so extra topicality arguments are a valid class of argument in LD. I'm astonished you would think otherwise.

Edited by Chaos

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"The Republicans are so irrational that our only hope is to be MUCH LESS RATIONAL!!!"

I hate guns, but that article makes me want to go out and buy half a dozen.

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Saying that a gun ban is good because communist governments wouldn't have private property is like saying that a gun ban is good because a world without violence would be filled with people who find guns distasteful.

You're mistaking ends for principles.  Claims would be:

Communism is good

Under communism all private property should be banned

Therefore, guns should be banned, because guns are a subset of property.

 

It's general to specific reasoning.  Unlike your comparison, it doesn't fiat into effect a world, it argues instead that a world is desirable, and that world has certain features (such as the affirmation of the resolution).  If that world is desirable, then the judge should vote aff.

 

The problem with your world without violence is (1) there's no principle defended as good, just the existence of an end state (a world without violence), (2) it relies on fiating that world without violence, (3) it draws conclusions about that world which aren't evident from the underlying principle. (A world without violence may still have guns - sport shooting, historical collections, etc..)  You need to back away from post-fiat logic and think about LD as about ethical imperatives.  (We can talk about the negative effects of communism under consequentialist ethical frameworks, and the negative certainly should in that case, but arguments like 'transition wars' don't really apply in LD, there is no plan and no enactment).

 

It defeats the point of having a debate by allowing the affirmative to assume away all sorts of thorny difficulties with their ideas. Your perspective basically seems to be that judges should examine the consistency of the resolution with some imagined moral state of affairs, and vote for whichever side of the resolution is consistent with that universe. I think that's a bad way to evaluate the resolution. It's true I can imagine a utopia where communism exists and private guns do not, but I can also imagine a utopia where capitalism exists and private guns do not, and a utopia where capitalism exists and guns are common. I can also imagine a dystopia for all of these scenarios. Imagining utopias and dystopias is very easy; in fact, it's too easy. That makes it a bad way to evaluate the resolution.

 

Its not about imagining a lack of guns, it's about a ban on private ownership.  (Happily concede any communist system may still have guns and there may still be privately held guns, but anyone privately holding them is doing so illegally). You can't imagine away the guns.

 

Which seems to be the primary failure in your conceptualization here.  We're talking about the desirability of a regulatory framework, not the desirability of a metaphysical state.  At which point, arguing for communism as desirable and then arguing for affirmation of the resolution because it contains the resolutions regulatory framework is perfectly legit.  And any problems with communism or the requisite ban of guns (or private property generally) under a communist framework are disads to that desirability.  (But they have to be non-transition problems - we're talking about systems, not policy implementation).

 

LD has no fiat.  You don't get to change anything.  You do get to say 'it would be better if we lived in x system'.

 

Reading T doesn't require a plan with multiple planks. It only requires that the affirmative relies on changes far beyond the scope of the resolution in order to advocate their ideas. The resolution is the focus of the debate in LD, just as the plan is the focus of the debate in policy. We can appeal to broad justifications or ideas when talking about specific moral propositions or policy proposals, but the idea of the resolution should be evaluated by itself, and not just piggypacked onto various positive changes. By itself, banning gun ownership in the United States would not cause communism. For communism to exist, many other changes would also need to occur, and lots of these changes might not be morally desirable or even possible. Therefore, the morality of communism is essentially irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the resolution. When we talk about changes to the laws of the United States, we should talk about the US as it actually exists. Doing otherwise prevents any possibility of stable ground for debate.

 

I don't understand what your model of LD is.  If I have a Kantian affirmative that uses the categorical imperative to justify banning guns, the categorical imperative itself creates broader claims beyond the specific mandate of the resolution, and I have to defend them too, because I'm defending the categorical imperative, not just the instantiation of its use to affirm the resolution.

 

All (traditional) LD proceeds from general to specific reasoning.  The value is a broad statement of morality which has to be defended in its entirety, because if it is false generally, it cannot be true in the specific context of the resolution.

 

Your model of xT is also terrible.  It ignores the need for extra-topical 'planks' to be separable.  Even if we wanted to generalize xT to apply to more than plans, the demand for separability is key.  Having non-topical effects does not make a position untopical - otherwise virtually every policy case ever is extratopical, because few cases are composed solely of advantages intrinsic to topical action.  You're basically arguing that extra-topicality be evaluated by the topicality of the advantages, and that's obviously false.

 

The ban on private property (and thus guns) is not separable from Communism.  It is fundamental to communism, and it directly creates a topical 'mandate' with regards to this resolution.  That's so topical it would pass even policy standards (imaging it roughly as Plan: The USFG will become Communist).

 

The resolution is not evaluated 'by itself' in traditional LD.  Its affirmation or negation is a consequence of the Value-Criterion systems proposed by the debaters.  LD reasons down from the general (the Value) to increasing levels of specificity (first the criterion, then the resolution). 

 

Under your interpretation, someone could argue that banning guns is good because a Christian theocracy would ban guns and also happen to send more souls to heaven, because a technological future society would save many lives and also happen to have way better weapons to use on people, or because Hilary Clinton would choose ban guns and she also happens to have a strong foreign policy. It changes the debate so that we're no longer talking about guns, but instead we're talking about all sorts of random ideas with highly tangential connections to the core topic. It almost entirely delimits the topic and does so in very unpredictable and hard to evaluate ways.

 

Hi, welcome to LD debate.

 

LD positions deal with predictability in several ways:

1. LD is about ethical argumentation.  The V-C framework is specifically an ethics framework

2. Traditional LD relies on philosophy classics, which is a relatively limited corpus.  Using any of those philosophers is on-face predictable.  (And all LDers are expected to have at least a general understanding of them).

3. Traditional LD has different standards of argumentation than policy debate.  It does not require carded evidence.  It expects debaters to have a grasp of the philosophical principles being discussed and argue them directly.  Ideas can be referenced from philosophers, but it is the job of the debater to explain those ideas, not the cards.  That means LDers should be able to use their philosophical knowledge and reasoning skills to answer arguments their opponent makes - they aren't tied to cards.  (I never once read a card in 3 years of LD debate in high school - the closest i came was opening quotations on my cases, which were quoted in the way of quote books - just the name of the person who wrote or said it after the quote.  And that was a single quote per case, generally 20 words or less.)

4. Both LDers are expected to have a constructed case

5. Because LD resolutions are supposed to focus conflict over an ethical issue, your case should be deployable against your opponents case.  There is no status quo to defend.  The negative needs to have a case which negates, and its truth should trade off with the affirmative.

6. The criterion connects the value to the resolution.

 

I don't think you appreciate how limited the range of ethical positions actually is.  LD is fundamentally limited in a way that Policy debate, because of its focus on implementation of a plan, is not.

 

It should be considered just as an invalid to argue that the the US should ban guns and undergo massive structural economic reforms because economic reform is good as it is to argue that the US should ban guns and take in Syrian refugees because the refugees need our help. One arguably has a stronger tangential connection to the resolution, that's true enough, but still both are essentially irrelevant. Extra topicality arguments are the means by which debaters help keep the round focused on the topic rather than the topic plus other subjects, and so extra topicality arguments are a valid class of argument in LD. I'm astonished you would think otherwise.

 

You're once again ignoring separability.  If banning guns is inseparable from those economic reforms, then the whole case addresses the topic.  Taking in Syrian refugees, otoh, is easily separable.

 

And frankly, I'm astonished you think V-C argumentation is even possible under your interpretation of xT.  How does V-C argumentation even work according to you, if we can't talk about anything broader than the resolution?  How does one defend a value?

 

The logic of traditional LD is clear.  Propose a value.  Defend that value.  Propose a criterion which allows us to assess whether acting on the resolution or not is in keeping with the value. Defend that criterion as fulfilling that function.  Defend that acting affirmatively (or negatively) on the resolution fulfills the criterion (and the opposite position does not).  Therefore only the (Aff/Neg) position is in keeping with the value, and since the value is our measure of 'good', only the (aff/neg) position is good.  

 

The whole point in traditional LD is arguing about how we should measure goodness, and what that means for the resolution.

 

(Technically, in the communism case proposed, communism is the criterion).

Edited by Squirrelloid
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You're mistaking ends for principles.  Claims would be:

Communism is good

Under communism all private property should be banned

Therefore, guns should be banned, because guns are a subset of property.

 

It's general to specific reasoning.  Unlike your comparison, it doesn't fiat into effect a world, it argues instead that a world is desirable, and that world has certain features (such as the affirmation of the resolution).  If that world is desirable, then the judge should vote aff.

 

I think it is extremely easy to imagine a desirable world where guns are banned, but it's also extremely easy to imagine a desirable world where guns are not banned. Imagining desirable worlds is not a good way to debate the morality of a gun ban or any other sort of policy because a wide variety of utopias can easily be conceived of, even if they have diametrically opposite policies.

 

The argument you're appealing to isn't a very strong one, also.

 

Hitler was bad

Hitler wore sweaters

Therefore sweaters should be banned

 

I don't see much room for a principled distinction between these sloppy arguments. Admittedly, the flaws of the VC paradigm encourage this sort of nonsense evaluation. Cf Baldwin's Logic in LD parts 3 and 4. It might be helpful if, for the purposes of this argument, you give a hypothetical reason that communism is good.

 

The problem with your world without violence is (1) there's no principle defended as good, just the existence of an end state (a world without violence), (2) it relies on fiating that world without violence, (3) it draws conclusions about that world which aren't evident from the underlying principle. (A world without violence may still have guns - sport shooting, historical collections, etc..)  You need to back away from post-fiat logic and think about LD as about ethical imperatives.  (We can talk about the negative effects of communism under consequentialist ethical frameworks, and the negative certainly should in that case, but arguments like 'transition wars' don't really apply in LD, there is no plan and no enactment).

 

I think all of these objections apply about as well to the violence case as to your communism case and don't understand how you fail to see the parallel. (1) There's no principle defended as good, just the existence of an end state (a world without property), (2) it relies on fiating that world without property, and goes far beyond banning guns to do so, (3) it draws conclusions about that world which aren't evident from the underlying principle. (A world without private property might still allow for private ownership of guns to be legal - for example if government did not exist then private ownership could not be illegal.)

 

I think you don't entirely understand what fiat is. Fiat means "let it be so". Fiat is used any time imagination is used. Fiat doesn't only refer to specific policies or laws that would change the status quo, it is in use at any time that we choose to talk about whether something would be a good or bad idea. The idea that we can talk about proposed changes to the laws of the United States of America without using fiat is essentially a contradiction.

 

Transition wars need to be debatable because if you don't allow people to debate transition wars or related issues then you're also implicitly forbidding them from assessing whether or not communism would even be possible. You can't just pretend that the United States of America magically jumps to the end state of your choosing, if you could do that then you could dodge any negative argument by saying that in the United States of America that the affirmative intends to talk about, property has been banned, or good handguns were never invented, or the United States' racist law enforcement doesn't exist, because such changes are necessary for communism to happen. At that point, you've delved so far into weird abstraction that discussion of most issues germane to the topic is impossible.

 

I don't understand what your model of LD is.  If I have a Kantian affirmative that uses the categorical imperative to justify banning guns, the categorical imperative itself creates broader claims beyond the specific mandate of the resolution, and I have to defend them too, because I'm defending the categorical imperative, not just the instantiation of its use to affirm the resolution.

 

All (traditional) LD proceeds from general to specific reasoning.  The value is a broad statement of morality which has to be defended in its entirety, because if it is false generally, it cannot be true in the specific context of the resolution.

 

A team that defends the categorical imperative doesn't get to say that everyone on Earth magically becomes a deontologist, they are only allowed to garner offense from deontology as it is applied to the topic. A team that defends utilitarianism doesn't get to say that everyone everywhere becomes infinitely happy, they only get to garner offense from the gains or losses to happiness that would occur as a result of the gun ban. Similarly, a team that defends communism doesn't get to say that all private property is banned, they only get to garner offense that comes from the application of communism to the one specific area of the resolution. Since banning guns is wildly insufficient for the benefits of communism, those benefits aren't relevant to the morality of a gun ban.

 

Your model of xT is also terrible.  It ignores the need for extra-topical 'planks' to be separable.  Even if we wanted to generalize xT to apply to more than plans, the demand for separability is key.  Having non-topical effects does not make a position untopical - otherwise virtually every policy case ever is extratopical, because few cases are composed solely of advantages intrinsic to topical action.  You're basically arguing that extra-topicality be evaluated by the topicality of the advantages, and that's obviously false.

 

It's topical to read a hegemony advantage with your plan. But it's not topical to fiat both the plan and all of hegemony. Similarly, it's topical to ban private gun ownership. But it's not topical to ban all private property everywhere. Allowing teams to go beyond the resolution makes the resolution meaningless, in both policy and LD. They are not the same event, but the reasons that extratopicality is bad apply just as well to both events.

 

Discussions about the merits of the Categorical Imperative generally are relevant to deciding whether or not the categorical imperative should be used to evaluate the resolution. But this VC discussion does not get to replace the resolution. Focusing on the VC as applied to the resolution specifically rather than looking at the VC in general is why it is possible for a person to lose the VC debate, yet win turns on their opponent's contentions, and so ultimately win the round.

 

Would you vote for someone who argued that guns ought to be banned and the US should give charity to Africa, if this person successfully proved charity is important but failed to prove guns ought to be banned? If you would not vote for this person, then you must implicitly believe that XT can be validly applied in LD.

 

The ban on private property (and thus guns) is not separable from Communism.  It is fundamental to communism, and it directly creates a topical 'mandate' with regards to this resolution.  That's so topical it would pass even policy standards (imaging it roughly as Plan: The USFG will become Communist).

 

I can imagine a desirable capitalist government that bans guns. I can also imagine a desirable 99% Communist government that has some minor exceptions to its property laws, that still captures of all the warrants for why Communism is good. Therefore, these are separable arguments. I think you're appealing to a very intuition notion of separability that doesn't actually provide judges with guidance on which arguments are or aren't allowed. To me, it looks like these arguments are inseparable only as a consequence of the fact that you're refusing to consider separating them.

 

You are neglecting the possibility that a ban on the private ownership of guns is necessary but insufficient for Communism, or that it's unnecessary and insufficient for Communism, and I don't know how you can justify ignoring those possibilities. If you allow debaters to gain offense from that which is necessary but insufficient for a Communist world, then it seems to me you also must allow them to gain offense from that which is necessary but insufficient for a world where no one ever murders anyone else, or necessary but insufficient for a world where Hilary Clinton is president.

 

You mentioned transition wars earlier. I think that if you let debaters disregard all context, or what's necessary for a transition to happen, and rely solely on imagining a world that's consistent with X, then you can make essentially anything seem like a good idea. If we're forced to talk about a United States in which communism is possible and desirable, that world's United States probably has very little in common with our own, except the name. Maybe "the United States" can be interpreted to refer to a group of five immortal robots, if your perspective is right and facts about the status quo aren't important to discussions of morality. But I think this would be ridiculous, and so debates should focus on the change of the resolution alone, rather than on changes to the resolution plus whatever other parts of the world they feel it would be strategic to not talk about.

 

Hi, welcome to LD debate.

 

LD positions deal with predictability in several ways:

1. LD is about ethical argumentation.  The V-C framework is specifically an ethics framework

2. Traditional LD relies on philosophy classics, which is a relatively limited corpus.  Using any of those philosophers is on-face predictable.  (And all LDers are expected to have at least a general understanding of them).

3. Traditional LD has different standards of argumentation than policy debate.  It does not require carded evidence.  It expects debaters to have a grasp of the philosophical principles being discussed and argue them directly.  Ideas can be referenced from philosophers, but it is the job of the debater to explain those ideas, not the cards.  That means LDers should be able to use their philosophical knowledge and reasoning skills to answer arguments their opponent makes - they aren't tied to cards.  (I never once read a card in 3 years of LD debate in high school - the closest i came was opening quotations on my cases, which were quoted in the way of quote books - just the name of the person who wrote or said it after the quote.  And that was a single quote per case, generally 20 words or less.)

4. Both LDers are expected to have a constructed case

5. Because LD resolutions are supposed to focus conflict over an ethical issue, your case should be deployable against your opponents case.  There is no status quo to defend.  The negative needs to have a case which negates, and its truth should trade off with the affirmative.

6. The criterion connects the value to the resolution.

 

I don't think you appreciate how limited the range of ethical positions actually is.  LD is fundamentally limited in a way that Policy debate, because of its focus on implementation of a plan, is not.

 

Reading your "predictable debate inevitable" block isn't a persuasive way to argue that you don't delimit the topic. I feel like you're being a sophist and don't actually believe these bullet points guarantee predictable debate, so I don't care enough to bother responding to this argument. Gish-gallop deserves to be ignored.

 

You're once again ignoring separability.  If banning guns is inseparable from those economic reforms, then the whole case addresses the topic.  Taking in Syrian refugees, otoh, is easily separable.

 

Banning guns is inseparable from Communism in the same sense that accepting Syrian refugees is inseparable from utilitarianism or an ethics of hospitality. A Communist would choose to ban guns and all property, and a utilitarian would choose to ban guns and accept refugees. The only way you can say these two scenarios are different is if you say that gun bans are intrinsically Communist, but that's obviously untrue. "Communism requires banning private gun ownership" is what you've argued, but that is distinct from "banning private gun ownership requires Communism", and only if the second were true could Communism be considered inseparable from the topic.

 

You might argue that your interpretation allows for gun bans to be intrinsically Xist if an Xist system would choose to do that thing, but this makes adjudicating the debate almost impossible firstly because many different opposing paradigms might all choose to ban guns, and secondly because a paradigm might condition whether or not it supports gun bans on facts about the status quo like the possibility of transition wars, but as discussed above your interpretation requires we selectively ignore these issues. Finally, it is debatable in many cases what Xists would do or require. Interpreting whether a case is topical shouldn't require discussion of the substantive arguments of a case, as doing so would unfairly skew the debate, defeating the entire reason that topicality is a priori. While admittedly in the case of communism specifically it's undeniable that banning all private property would include banning guns, the general method of evaluation you're appealing to can't avoid this problem.

Edited by Chaos

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conversely, if you want to follow LD trends of mimicking policy, then you pick a segment of handguns to ban in the US (instead of banning all of them), call it a plan, and defend against inevitable theory. that shifts the ground away from the neg's head-and-shoulders advantage over the aff because the debates either have more balanced ground (if the neg substantively engages) or are at least relatively even (if the neg goes for theory)

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Just a side note @ Squirrelloid, you seem to be stuck on "how LD is supposed to work" and continue giving examples of traditional LD. But that seems to beg the question of why LD should be the way it was in the 90s. I would much rather debate the way people do now on the national circuit than the way people did 20 years ago.

 

Also, I noticed you said "LD has no fiat," but how are you supposed to determine the truth of the resolution under a consequentialist framework? You can't just say "oh let's test the consequences of the res but without actually testing its consequences." Even kantian frameworks assume fiat occurs to a certain extent.

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Just a side note @ Squirrelloid, you seem to be stuck on "how LD is supposed to work" and continue giving examples of traditional LD. But that seems to beg the question of why LD should be the way it was in the 90s. I would much rather debate the way people do now on the national circuit than the way people did 20 years ago.

 

Also, I noticed you said "LD has no fiat," but how are you supposed to determine the truth of the resolution under a consequentialist framework? You can't just say "oh let's test the consequences of the res but without actually testing its consequences." Even kantian frameworks assume fiat occurs to a certain extent.

 

When i propose a traditional LD case as something that works, it seems fair to analyze it as a traditional LD case.  (It's especially valid to point out that the logical structure of a traditional LD case makes certain types of policy arguments, like xT, nonsensical on-face).

 

And my impression of a lot of modern circuit debate is they might as well be debating policy debate.  If LD is going to continue existing as a separate activity, it needs to not be policy debate light.  (And LD used to train very different skills).  And honestly, I'd rather hear fewer cards and more reasoning from policy debaters too.  (If it isn't establishing a fact, I'd rather hear policy debaters explain the argument than read a card explaining it).

 

Finally, hypotheticals don't invoke what most debaters are invoking when they say fiat.  You can evaluate consequentialist frameworks by considering hypothetical situations, even without the power to take control of an actor and make decisions.  Fiat-theory is hyper-specific as to what it allows, and traditional LD doesn't use it.

Edited by Squirrelloid

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I plan on running an anthro aff. Any suggestions?

I think there's some articles floating out there that say handguns use ivory in composition. I guess you could turn that into an anthro aff by saying that banning handguns reduces ivory->means we rid ourselves of anthro thinking in this instance, as we no longer see nature to be exploited for human gain and profit and we fight specieist logic.

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