You are quite right about UIL. TFA is one of the most progressive LD circuits, along with the Northeast. UIL, however, is quite bad. I would really urge trying to participate more in the TFA in the long run. It also tends to be far more competitive.
That said, for UIL, stay very traditional. Judges will vote on the value. This makes no sense. Deal with it. Say the affirmative values democracy, and the negative values liberty. The negative can win that the media is good for both democracy and liberty, but if the 2AR persuasively wins that democracy is more important than liberty, a very large number of judges will vote aff. Parents will vote aff because the 2AR sounds right to them, and they're not flowing or thinking enough about the round as a whole to realize how dumb their decision is. Traditional coaches will vote aff because grumble grumble LD is about values grrr.
How do you avoid this? It's easier on the negative. You can short-circuit the persuasive all-in-on-the-value 2AR by agreeing to the value in the 1NC. Three notes:
1. The 2NR is too late. If you read your own value and then choose to concede your opponent's value, you can explain until you're blue in the face, "Look, judge, I'm agreeing with their value. I am going to prove that their value is better upheld by the negative." You're still going to lose at a minimum 30% of your ballots just on a 2AR of "Judge they have made no arguments against my value. Vote aff because my value pulls through (translation: "extends" for lay debaters) across the flow."
2. Don't say you're conceding the value in the 1NC. That looks bad. Just read a case which just so happens to have the same value. Then you can respond to the AC with "Lookee here judge, what a coincidence! We have the same value and criterion, so the round will come down to the contentions." Learn to improvise a framework. "My value for today will be [Aff value] because [some bullshit reason], and my criterion will be [aff criterion] because [make some more shit up]." You'll look better if you and your opponent just ended up with the same framework by a stroke of luck than if you chose to give ground to your opponent.
3. Optimally, you can agree to both the value and the criterion in this way and just have a contention debate. Some aff criteria will be so broad (e.g. societal welfare) that basically all neg contentions will still apply. However, sometimes the aff will propose some asinine criterion like "not having media influence." Yes, this criterion is stupid and tautological. They're UIL debaters; they don't know any better. In these cases, you should just agree with the value and provide a different criterion in the same manner as described above. 99% of values are so nebulous and meaningless (morality, justice, equality, John Locke's theory of social contract) that you can make any criterion work under them, so you'll almost never need to provide a different value. This is why you will never see two decent debaters ever have a values debate. Ever. (Although criterion debates happen very frequently).
What if you need to debate the value? Maybe you're aff. Maybe your opponent has valued the text of the resolution itself (it happens; I cannot stress enough how dumb and/or misguided most local LDers are), and you can't agree to it. Pretend you're a politician. Make up some flowery sounding bullshit that doesn't mean anything. Here's a super easy double-bind which will always give you an argument. Either,
A. [if your value is broader than your opponent's,] Judge, my value subsumes my opponent's value. If we achieve my value of democracy, that will also promote my opponent's value of liberty, so with the affirmative you get both.
B. [if your value is narrower than your opponent's] Judge, my value is a prerequisite to my opponent's value. We can't achieve democracy if we don't have liberty, so we have to focus on having liberty first.
If you're creative, you can say more or less the same thing 3 different ways and make it sound like 3 different arguments. Seriously, UIL judges are stupid. Do not underestimate their stupidity.
There's also the classic "Would you rather?" Choose an exaggeratedly lofty as opposed to a pragmatic value. Life as opposed to prosperity, stability rather than progress, etc. Now you have your second values comparison argument. "Judge, society could survive without prosperity. It would be bad, but it wouldn't be worse than death." "Would you really rather a live in a world with no stability or no progress? In the aff world, things don't get better, but at least they don't get worse." And so on. Just make your value sound really big. Then you can assert that it's more important than your opponent's.
And of course, there's equality. You're in Texas. Never value equality in Texas.
1. "Judge, my opponent is a comm-u-nist. They're saying we all deserve the same thing. That's not the principle America was founded upon."
2. "Judge, life is more important than equality. Would you really rather be equally dead?"
This concludes today's installment of How to Pretend You're Dumb Enough to Deserve UIL Ballots.
Seriously, do TFA. People occasionally make rational arguments. A majority of judges will vote on those rational arguments. If you can make it to elimination rounds of a tournament like UT, Greenhill, or St. Marks, the judges and opponents will be aeons ahead of anything you'll see in UIL.