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I received a question over the weekend: What’s a Kritical aff and how does it work? I decided to respond to the whole debate community as the issue is so commonly misunderstood.

The truth is, people mean several different things when they say “Kritical Aff”. Do you know someone who says they are trying one? My experience is 90% of the time they actually aren’t (in the sense that it doesn’t take any extra understanding to defeat it — disads and solvency work just fine).

The typical varieties that I see are:
– Moral case. I’m running a “Kritical Aff” because my harms are moral in nature. This is nothing unusual and not a K.
– Mindset mandates. My mandates aren’t specific, they are “to change our worldview” or something along those lines. This is approaching a K, but it’s a post-FIAT debate (meaning disads and solvency still work) and therefore not a K.
– Pre-fiat advantages. Whether or not you pass (if I even have one) my plan, good was achieved for some non-FIAT reason (the position I took, what we all heard, our rhetoric was better, etc etc). This is a K — a K really is just a pre-fiat argument. As you can imagine, this is especially difficult to win on aff and I’ve only seen one or two ever and easily beat them.
But a clever team will have one pre-fiat advantage and the rest post-fiat. So here’s my plan and oh by the way, I also served as a voice for the children. Because this real world plight is more significant than any action that only in theory happens when you pass my plan, vote AFF. Still, I say you would be silly to present it like that in the 1AC because by running anything K you are already saying the advantages don’t matter (pre-fiat is more important). Instead, you want to set it up so you can make this argument in the 2AC or later.
For example, in college Kawika and I would run a repeal the preemption doctrine case. There are some fantastic reasons to do this, including
1. It justifies immediate nuclear war between North and South Korea, between Israel and its neighbors, and between Pakistan and India if you use a similar basis to what we said in Iraq.
2. It is immoral and violates the Just Cause principle of the Just War Theory as stipulated by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Consider these negative arguments:
– Clearly the Preemption doctrine is just for America (exceptionalism)
– You can’t base policy off of one person’s interpretation of “morality” (secular policymaking)
These link into big fat Kritical advantages in that we get to next denounce American exceptionalism or argue that policymaking without a supernatural framework for words like “good” and “bad” is pointless, destructive, and even eliminates the purpose of policy debate. At this point, we drop the rest of our case and spend 100% of our time on one of these two Kritiks.
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