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hello friends, 

 

what is a kritik? similarly, what is a "K" debater vs a "policy debater"

 

thanks in advance

 

yours truly, austin post

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A kritik is an argument that usually calls into question some underlying assumption, language, or idea made by the other team. For example, a common kritik (commonly called a "K") is the capitalism kritik. This kritik might say that the aff's plan somehow supports capitalism or relies on capitalist logic. This part of the kritik is called the link, because it is a link between the affirmative and the rest of the kritik. The next part of a kritik is the impact, which talks about something bad caused by the link. The impact of a kritik is often something that is systemic, or already happening, that the kritik wants to stop from continuing. In our example with the capitalism kritik, the impact may be "capitalism destroys the environment". The next part of the kritik is the alternative, some action endorsed by the team running the kritik, which should not link back to the kritik, and should offer some way to resolve the impacts. In our example with the capitalism kritik, the alternative might be something like "workers unite to fight against capitalism". Some kritiks also include additional arguments, such as framing, which defines how the judge weighs the debate. In our capitalism kritik, a framing card may say something like "there is an ethical responsibility to resist capitalism." So the whole story of a kritik is this: the plan relies on flawed logic, that flawed logic causes bad stuff, we can do this to not have that flawed logic and stop that bad stuff, and stopping that bad stuff is the most important thing.

 

A "K" debater is simply a debater who often runs kritiks. 

A "Policy" debater is simply a debater who runs Disadvantages, Counterplans, and Topicality arguments more than they run kritiks.

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so basically a policy argument is one that has to do with the topic and a kritik is one that is random and doesn't have to do with the aff?

 

maybe im misunderstanding something but at least from what i understand now kritiks seem very dumb and un-educational given that they aren't about the topic

 

also how does an alt work, do you just fiat no capitalism?

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so basically a policy argument is one that has to do with the topic and a kritik is one that is random and doesn't have to do with the aff?

 

maybe im misunderstanding something but at least from what i understand now kritiks seem very dumb and un-educational given that they aren't about the topic

 

also how does an alt work, do you just fiat no capitalism?

A policy approach argues about what we should do and a K approach argues about how we should think.

 

The best K arguments are made hyper-specific to the topic.

 

An alternative isn't really about fiat. It's less "we fiat Communism" and more "from the perspective of the alternative, Communism is good and the Affirmative is bad."

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so basically a policy argument is one that has to do with the topic and a kritik is one that is random and doesn't have to do with the aff?

no not at all kritiks are off topic such as anti-blackness on a deseg aff, disability k on a disability aff, or a setcol k on a natives aff and policy arguments are pretty off topical too for example a midterms DA has nothing to do with a deseg aff. the main difference is that k's dont necessarly use the federal goverment while policy arguments almost always have the federal goverment involved 

 

maybe im misunderstanding something but at least from what i understand now kritiks seem very dumb and un-educational given that they aren't about the topic

oof as a k/t debater myself i will like to politley disagree with you Ks can be really educational even they are somewhat off topic for example if the 1ac plan say the usfg should integrate special ed students in general ed classes i would run a disability k that argues that inclusive design will never truly be inclusive, people with disability will always be marked as deviant and disruptive, and this plan of integration of the disabled body and will allow ableism to grow bigger and this ableist logic of inclusion will prompt children with disabilities into the school to prison pipeline and this turns case the alternative would be to recognize and chalenge ableism as actual problem in schools

 

also how does an alt work, do you just fiat no capitalism?

for cap k their are different alts one i run some times is this: so basically the aff is capitalist -> capitalism is bad -> The alternative is revolutionary citizenship- vote negative to orient yourself towards an anticapitalist movement as a rejection of capitalist structures of power. 

i guess for an alt you can also say reject the aff as a form of rejecting capitalism 

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Disagree that the alternative isn't about fiat. "Should" statements and moral endorsements are the underlying rationale for fiat. You can't make should statements without imagining possible future worlds. It's also hard to square the notion that alternatives don't use fiat with the notion that judges shouldn't intervene in rounds - if voting for the alternative means that the alternative actually happens, then the stakes are really high and judges with self-consistent beliefs should be intervening left and right. 

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Disagree that the alternative isn't about fiat. "Should" statements and moral endorsements are the underlying rationale for fiat. You can't make should statements without imagining possible future worlds. It's also hard to square the notion that alternatives don't use fiat with the notion that judges shouldn't intervene in rounds - if voting for the alternative means that the alternative actually happens, then the stakes are really high and judges with self-consistent beliefs should be intervening left and right.

 

Im really sorry to go down this rabbit hole but I’m doing it anyway

 

If the alt is about fiat (which I kinda agree it is), why should the neg be allowed to fiat utopian structural changes and/or broad mindset shifts? That doesn’t seem fair at all, or frankly very educational

Edited by Nonegfiat

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Sorry if this is off track, but excellent Post Malone reference

lol thanks

 

 

so final question (for now at least), if i don't have a case neg/a strat against a certain team or aff, should the k be the 2nr because it will always link given links are to the status quo?

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it will always link given links are to the status quo?

I freakin love this

 

I have half a mind to think you’re a fellow policy hack just pretending to be a novice just to make a point lol

 

Yes, the 2NR can always be the K, because yes, you can always have a link to the squo. Just be ready to make the link debate sound really good in the 2NC. A couple metaphors here and there, a fancy link of omission, all that good stuff. It will sound really good if you can find quotes from their evidence. So like if you’re running the cap k, find stuff that refers to the economy or markets or money or production. It doesn’t matter what the card is actually saying, it’s all about spin

 

But uh on a more serious note, that’s bad debating so don’t do it if you have other options

 

Edit: no disrespect to you K people. you’re allowed to think policy debate is stupid, and other people are allowed to criticize K debate

 

And yes, not every K link is bullshit. But let’s be real here, many of them are

Edited by Nonegfiat
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Im really sorry to go down this rabbit hole but I’m doing it anyway

If the alt is about fiat (which I kinda agree it is), why should the neg be allowed to fiat utopian structural changes and/or broad mindset shifts? That doesn’t seem fair at all, or frankly very educational

The way i see it most ks if not all try to focus on a metaphysical style of debate while policy stuff is more materially orientated. That being said You can fiat ks but what i like to do is make my ks more of a radical begining more than an actual solving plan for example my alternative for my disability aesthetics k is the embracement of the disabilities and the acceptance of the otherwise unacceptable and if the judge votes on the the alt then he is already the starting point of the change. In other words the aff sound good but it isnt the k helps rethink things and make us more aware of the problem of ableism perm do both dont solve cus policy and squo will always reject the disabled. (Also im specifically more of an idenity k debater ie (disabilities, mestiza/o, and anti-blackness etc.)dont ask me how high theory k debates work cus im always lost

Oh yeah its also very unfair but still educational policy cant solve for everything (all this is my opinion not facts)

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"Should" statements and moral endorsements are the underlying rationale for fiat.

I get "should" as a rationale for the use of fiat by the Affirmative. I think the lack of a "should" (or a "should not") for the Negative is one reason fiat doesn't make sense for a counterplan or an alternative. Most of the time, alternatives are not phrased as "X should Y" but as "our alternative is to Z." I also don't think the framing of opportunity cost/future worlds allows the Negative to test the assumptions of the 1AC because in any future world in which the government exists, the Affirmative is probably possible. Maybe this just devolves into framework debating, but I think the Negative should get to explain why the Affirmative is incompatible with the alternative not because of its suggested future world but because of its assumptions.

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If there's no reason we "should" do the alternative, aff wins. That the negative's moral claims are couched in implicit terms doesn't mean they aren't there.
 

 I also don't think the framing of opportunity cost/future worlds allows the Negative to test the assumptions of the 1AC because in any future world in which the government exists, the Affirmative is probably possible. Maybe this just devolves into framework debating, but I think the Negative should get to explain why the Affirmative is incompatible with the alternative not because of its suggested future world but because of its assumptions.

 

Nah, you can still test the assumptions or wording of the 1AC with a Kritik. The fact that we're comparing future worlds doesn't mean we're comparing only the world of the plan vs the world of the alternative. It means we're comparing the world of the 1AC's assumptions or method or discourse with the world of the negative's assumptions or methods or discourse.

NoNegFiat, I don't think negatives should be allowed to fiat broad mindset changes, and haven't ever heard anyone arguing they have that right. If they did, they'd win every round by fiating universal pacifism and beneficence.

Edited by Chaos

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How could the Negative fiat a future world without fiating the public? Does the Negative get to durably fiat Ks and CPs?

 

For me, the Affirmative is an explicit demand for action with an implied set of assumptions. An alternative is an explicit set of assumptions with an implied demand for action.

 

The judge perhaps reaches some conclusion about the best set of assumptions and then, from those, decides the best course of action. I think that's a different process than the "select the best competitive option to fiat into existence" model.

 

I don't think you need the full scope of fiat to make an argument about opportunity cost. I think everything is a DA. It's less about "vote Negative to bring my CP/alternative/interpretation into being" and more about proving the Affirmative is comparatively bad.

Edited by TheSnowball
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I don't understand the difference between selecting the best competitive option to fiat into existence and selecting the best set of assumptions to utilize. A best assumption is just an option that happens to be highly competitive. (Is our underlying point of disagreement that you think fiat must be understood in terms of policy advocacy? I don't agree with that.)

Or are you saying that you think alternatives are performative, and exist in the round regardless of whether or not the judge chooses to endorse them? Doesn't that imply that reading Kritiks conditionally is illegitimate?

I'm just not understanding the distinction you're making.

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Hang on, I think I see what's going on here.

Traditionally, debaters are taught that plans and counterplans use fiat while Kritiks don't. This is an oversimplification. Kritiks do use fiat, in the sense that they don't represent an actual action or belief genuinely adopted by the judge, but rather are a hypothetical that the judge pretends to endorse for the sake of the round. However, although they use fiat, generally Kritiks make less use of fiat than the affirmative plan does or a negative counterplan would, in the sense that they only ask one hypothetical of the judge. They ask that the judge pretend to endorse the best arguments made in the round, but do not ask that the judge pretend their decision influences real world policymakers. In contrast, teams reading traditional policy arguments ask for a double suspension of disbelief. This is often pointed out by K teams and used as a reason to ignore the advantages of the plan. Sometimes, K teams even argue that the affirmative's utilization of policy-making fiat is itself morally wrong and a reason to vote for the alternative.

While this is true of some Kritiks, it needn't be true of all of them. If, for framework reasons, teams are allowed to imagine that the judge voting affirmative or negative would change government policy, then it seems reasonable to suppose that teams should also be allowed to imagine that the judge voting affirmative or negative could result in some kind of equivalent in scope mass activism. The key, though, is that teams who want to read Kritiks utilizing such alternatives must lose access to framework arguments suggesting that they promote a more realistic form of education than the affirmative. Probably, then, it's legitimate to read Ks with mass movement alternatives, but only if you let the affirmative weigh case.

"Broad mindset changes" are still not legitimate even within this understanding, though, because it's not a level playing field if negative fiat can be so much more powerful than affirmative fiat. The negative gets access to hypotheticals that are roughly as demanding as the hypotheticals demanded by the affirmative. They don't get access to any hypotheticals demanded whatsoever.

Edited by Chaos

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I don't think fiat is intrinsically tied to the concept of a policy, but I don't think you can fiat an idea ("we should neoliberalism?") and you and I seem to agree fiating the public is illegitimate.

 

I don't think it has anything more to do with performance than anything else. I just think an alternative is a perspective. Imagine it like a person. John Anticapitalist thinks that the Affirmative is capitalist, that capitalism is bad, and that we need a Communism in theory and practice. Agreeing with John doesn't fiat the revolution but it does mean agreeing the Affirmative isn't a good idea.

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I don't think fiating entities that are not the USFG is ever legitimate because opportunity cost assumes actor coherence. Your standard for the extent of justifiable mass movements also seems really arbitrary.

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The idea is that if we're saying debate is valuable because it educates debaters about how to be effective policy advocates, it makes just as much sense to say debate is valuable because it educates debaters about how to be effective activists or advocates for social change. There is a coherent agent whose opportunity costs are being considered: the people in round. They have the choice to go work on government policy or vote, which is why fiating government policy changes can be valuable for their education. They also have the choice to attend certain rallies or advocate for certain ideas, which is why fiating certain social changes can be valuable for their education. But they don't have the choice to suddenly convince everyone in the world to change their mind on an issue, nor can they achieve anything remotely resembling that, so the scope of fiat remains bounded.

If the alternative is a perspective and not an advocacy, it makes no sense to say that alternatives can be conditional, or even to talk of alternatives solving for the link and status quo. "We're kicking the alternative - communism is not a real idea" would be an incredibly garbage argument. "Alt solves case" claims would be wrong on face - the existence of an idea doesn't do anything to the real world. Alternatives should be thought of as advocacies capable of generating uniqueness for the impacts of the Kritik. Without such uniqueness, Kritiks don't matter (sans ethics claims that say consequentialism is wrong). It doesn't make sense to say that the affirmative should lose because their assumptions destroy all value to life if such assumptions are inevitably going to be highly prevalent (except as a reason to vote neg on presumption).

Edited by Chaos

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So basically a k aff advocacy saying : Thus, we affirm Red pedagogy as a lens to regulate elementary and secondary education in the United States.

 

Is more reasonable/ legit than a k alt saying : the alt is to decolonize the mind

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No, decolonizing the mind is still a legitimate alternative. It's a proposed action or way of thinking that is being endorsed. I actually can't think of any common K alternatives that wouldn't meet my interpretation.

Edited by Chaos

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The idea is that if we're saying debate is valuable because it educates debaters about how to be effective policy advocates, it makes just as much sense to say debate is valuable because it educates debaters about how to be effective activists or advocates for social change. There is a coherent agent whose opportunity costs are being considered: the people in round. They have the choice to go work on government policy or vote, which is why fiating government policy changes can be valuable for their education. They also have the choice to attend certain rallies or advocate for certain ideas, which is why fiating certain social changes can be valuable for their education. But they don't have the choice to suddenly convince everyone in the world to change their mind on an issue, nor can they achieve anything remotely resembling that, so the scope of fiat remains bounded.

The debaters and the judge should be the basis for the resolution's opportunity cost? That doesn't seem like a very sustainable model of debate. Using the USFG as the coherent actor for opportunity cost is far more predictable, accessible/inclusive, and can still access education about policy without using the debaters as the reference point for competition. I might be one of the relatively few to work directly for the federal government, but I certainly would never have authority over whether a particular policy does or does not pass. I also still don't see your briteline for social movements. Fiating some of the public seems bad for the same reasons you disagree with fiating all of the public. 

If the alternative is a perspective and not an advocacy, it makes no sense to say that alternatives can be conditional, or even to talk of alternatives solving for the link and status quo. "We're kicking the alternative - communism is not a real idea" would be an incredibly garbage argument. "Alt solves case" claims would be wrong on face - the existence of an idea doesn't do anything to the real world. Alternatives should be thought of as advocacies capable of generating uniqueness for the impacts of the Kritik. Without such uniqueness, Kritiks don't matter (sans ethics claims that say consequentialism is wrong). It doesn't make sense to say that the affirmative should lose because their assumptions destroy all value to life if such assumptions are inevitably going to be highly prevalent (except as a reason to vote neg on presumption).

The part of the alternative that does something or solves something is still there, it's just that fiat isn't the right frame in which to compare it to the alternative. If the judge finds the ethics of the K to be superior to those of the Affirmative, the judge would choose to align with those ethics. It wouldn't make sense to vote for a 1AC because its assumptions were good if the plan was proven to be an on-balance bad policy. Similarly, it wouldn't make sense to accept a set of ethical assumptions and still advocate an action that is inconsistent with those assumptions. I think the purpose of debate is not to manufacture activists or train policy-makers but to provide an intellectual sandbox in which ideas can be tested and endorsed or rejected. 

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The judge is the fulcrum on which the round turns. All opportunity costs discussed should ultimately be considered in terms of the ballot, because that's the only decision made as a result of anyone's advocacy. Debaters can argue for different roles for the judge to inhabit - maybe the judge should act like a policymaker, maybe the judge should evaluate the theoretical legitimacy of arguments made in round, or maybe the judge should assess the legitimacy of the affirmative's assumptions. But, a priori, all roles are on the table, and all of them revolve around the question of what the judge should do with the ballot. Calling this a bad model of debate is to call all possible debate bad. Implicitly, if you are reading an argument intended to change the judge's decision, you are making an argument about the opportunity cost of the ballot, though perhaps only within some sort of limited scope.

Your interpretation of that scope means that judges should allow policy teams to fiat the sort of policy changes that could only result from major social change, but shouldn't let K teams fiat major social change itself. That feels arbitrary, to me. All the justifications that we use to say that it's good for teams to learn about policy changes would also work as justifications that it's good for teams to learn about social changes. Carving out a slice of the space of possible changes to the world and declaring it off limits for the debaters to evaluate seems unnatural. If it's germane to the round, any advocacy the negative comes up with should be considered sufficiently predictable, in my book.

I don't mind if you disagree with this, as a framework argument. But there's at least a coherent understanding of debate in which it's not true that the only things the judge is allowed to evaluate are the world of the plan, the world of the status quo, the world of the USFG oriented counterplan, theory arguments, and the ethical assumptions of the 1AC. It's at least possible that someone could think fiat should be extended to let the negative test the policymaking methods endorsed by the affirmative in comparison to some kind of endorsed social movement. So as a description of how debate and Kritik must function, your answer is inadequate. Even if your model of debate is the ideal one, people sometimes read arguments that don't fall into that ideal. It is not the case that people only ever read arguments that consider opportunity costs in terms of the USFG.

 

 The part of the alternative that does something or solves something is still there, it's just that fiat isn't the right frame in which to compare it to the alternative.

 

I don't see how it can possibly make sense to think about the alternative "doing something" and not call that thinking an instance of fiat. "Fiat" means "let it be so". If the judge votes for the alternative, saying "let it be so" that we rethink capitalism, do nothing, or embrace the inevitability of death, then they are fiating the alternative. To say that the judge doesn't utilize fiat is to say that the judge doesn't mentally simulate the implications of believing in or endorsing one team's arguments over another's. There's no way to test whether or not a set of assumptions is bad without performing such mental simulations.

Edited by Chaos

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I'm primarily discussing the Negative reading a K against a policy Affirmative. I definitely agree that other forms of opportunity cost could be set up. But, if the Affirmative says "USFG should do X" and the Negative is defending an alternative against it, opportunity cost should be considered in the context of the resolution, and the entity fiated should be the actor in question, the USFG. I'm not saying all possible debate is bad, but that opportunity cost should be anchored.

 

I don't think that Affirmative teams should be able to fiat beyond the USFG (at least, if they're claiming to be topical and attempting to justify the resolution). I think arguing the Affirmative is circumvented by any non-USFG entity is perfectly legitimate. We can learn about social change without having some pre-defined scope of mass activism accessible to us at any moment. There doesn't seem to be a limit to what the Negative can fiat under your interpretation.

 

 

...people sometimes read arguments that don't fall into that ideal. It is not the case that people only ever read arguments that consider opportunity costs in terms of the USFG.

I know, people make bad arguments. If only I could fiat the debate community to not do that anymore... but alas, the only thing I can do is accept or reject those arguments when they're presented to me.

 

Fiat isn't just "something should happen" but a set of qualifiers. There's some debate over what those qualifiers are, but the community seems to more or less agree that the Affirmative happens certainly, immediately, and durably. How many people should the Negative get to fiat into the revolution? Does the Negative get a certain, immediate, and irreversible movement?

 

You can also think of it like a justification argument. If the Affirmative cannot prove that their [assumptions + action] is better than the alternative, they have lost in the comparison of opportunity cost. The judge isn't fiating the alternative, but refusing to fiat the Affirmative.

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