Our elite Mastership Sourcebooks for NCFCA and Stoa will release soon! Check them out here!

Today’s post is an example of a Kritik and some potential responses. The K itself is geared at a higher level of both debate theory and political theory understanding and the responses also debate at a higher level of debate theory.


So first off, here’s a shell of the K. It’s essentially a threat construction/threat hype K and is aimed at the NTPA Ethos case for this year.

− Representations Key

“Proliferation”: affirmative “solving” spread of nuclear weapons
“Terrorism”: focused on preventing nuclear “terrorism” and prosecuting “terrorists,” despite having a definition much too ambiguous and lacking clear determination i.e. what even constitutes a terrorist?

Internal Links
“Proliferation”: A misfocus of national and international priorities
“Terrorism”: An overhyped threat i.e. threat construction

“Proliferation”: Using rhetoric like “proliferation” and crafting policies aimed at raising awareness and combating the alleged threat actually, in turn, CREATE the very environment necessary for the thriving of proliferation

a) The very threat of terrorism is self-generating based on the notion of having terror, BECAUSE of them.

b) By attacking terrorist and the notion of terrorism we portray them as less than human and demonize the threat which is wrong

“Proliferation”: Rather than trying to combat other people having weapons we should instead try to disarm ourselves and reduce our own weapons
“Terrorism”: We should reject policies with ambiguous terminology based upon fear-mongering rhetoric

Awareness: By raising criticism we can effectively combat the construction of threats and therefore you should vote negative, because that’s what we’re doing in this debate round


And now for the responses! It’s fully scripted, locked-and-loaded, and ready to fire.



Don’t vote: My opponent gave you no reason to show that my language and the language of evidence used to discuss this issue should mean I lose the debate round. When he’s not debating my policy anymore, guess what, he’s not defeating the resolution, and that’s what you should judge on. Why not dock my speaker points? Write in the opinion section? Turn me in to the tournament director? Do nothing? My opponent just wants to win — that’s the only reason you could ever vote on this issue. Look at the resolution — if we justified it, end of story.

It’s not a Kritik: There’s nothing a-priori about this argument. My opponent doesn’t try to show why it should be evaluated apart from the case. Without doing that, it must be simply weighed as part of the case. As we will see, my impacts outweigh (wait for it under impacts).

Actions are MORE key: I agree that representations are important. There’s no getting around that. But what we actually do is always more important. Why? Two reasons:

a) People will forever interpret their own motives and ideas into what we do. Look at Truman dropping the bomb on Japan. Look at Obama running for president. The action is one thing, but what people choose to see it as representing is just uncontrollable.

b) I say threat construction is bad and so is dehumanization. Now, for the rest of the round, my motives are clear. He’s attacking my motives. But what harm is done to you, now that you know the motives of my language? None.


Links, Internal Links, and Impacts, oh my!

Plan not defeated: My opponent just whines about my language. He doesn’t provide a plan about WHAT WE SHOULD DO in the context of my case. After hearing this argument, should we pass the plan or not? Guess what, his impacts don’t even address it. He linked the impacts to my language, not my plan. So my plan isn’t bad. So it’s good. He doesn’t have one. That’s worse.

Non-unique: There is so much language and threatcon in the world exactly along these lines. My opponent should have shown how my language in this round or even if I was speaking on the floor of Congress at the very moment is somehow worse than the other language going on. Besides not warranting a vote, whether or not you vote for me, the threatcon continues and if my opponent is right (he’s not) the impacts happen. In other words, I have no unique bearing on the impact. That means this argument doesn’t function as a reason to reject my case.

No counter-plan: If my opponent really were serious, he’d run a counterplan that prevents the impacts of pro-disarm policies and policies that say the word terrorism. Since he doesn’t, he doesn’t solve for any of it. The REASON he doesn’t is because it would be painfully obvious that he’s not attacking my plan, since his counterplan would be my mandates plus some other ones that used different language. The end result wouldn’t be different.


Kritical Turn

The Link Turn: If you buy the logic of his argument that this is a K, you still have to vote against the negative team. By the exact same linguistic analysis (cross apply the framework and solvency), my opponent actually short circuits policymaking altogether.

Link: His solvency point is “exposing bad rhetoric wins”.

Internal links:

a) There is ALWAYS bad rhetoric, unless you shut off the news, the money, and the electoral system. Dictatorship is probably not an option here. If 300 million Americans can speak, the language will be bad. I guarantee it. We should be concerned about outcomes, not feelings.

b) My opponent says bad rhetoric = never act. He’s saying don’t vote for my plan because of bad rhetoric.

Impact: We never act. Now think of everything bad that has ever happened. It is a result of actions. The way we stop those bad things, from WWII to secret wiretapping, is also by acting. Since the words used to express action can always have some complaint against them, my opponent ends all good things forever. That’s the logical conclusion of his argument. Doing this is so much worse than dehumanizing terrorists. SO much worse.

So. This kind of argument is silly. But if you don’t think it is all that silly, my opponent’s actual argument is even sillier. It means we don’t act until we get our language down correct. That’ll be the day


%d bloggers like this: