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Will Malson LD Theory File Page 1 of 15

LD Theory File Index

LD Theory File Index ....................................................................................................................................................1


Utopian Thinking Good..................................................................................................................................................1
Utopian Thinking Bad.....................................................................................................................................................3
Fairness is a Voter...........................................................................................................................................................4
Fairness Not a Voter ......................................................................................................................................................5
Education is a Voter .......................................................................................................................................................6
Education Not a Voter ....................................................................................................................................................7
Vagueness Bad; is a Voter .............................................................................................................................................8
Vagueness Not a Voter...................................................................................................................................................9
Education Outweighs Fairness......................................................................................................................................10
Fairness Outweighs Education......................................................................................................................................11
Err Neg on Theory........................................................................................................................................................12
Err Aff on Theory ........................................................................................................................................................13
Reject the Team ...........................................................................................................................................................14
Reject the Argument, Not the Team ............................................................................................................................15

Utopian Thinking Good

First, it’s better for education.


Utopian solutions to life’s problems can help us visualize actual value solutions because they can
stimulate eventual physical change.

Second, it’s reasonable.


As long as we can prove that our solution will be or at some time was considered a very realistic, viable
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 2 of 15

option, you shouldn’t vote on this.

Third, turn: Utopian thinking is good: Imagining Utopia makes progression possible. Paul
Streeton 99
Streeten 1999 (Paul, Econ prof @ Boston, Development, v. 42, n. 2, p 118)

First, Utopian thinking can be useful as a framework for analysis. Just as physicists assume an atmospheric vacuum for some
purposes, so policy analysts can assume a political vacuum from which they can start afresh. The physicists’ assumption plainly would not be useful for the
for long-
design of parachutes, but can serve other purposes well. Similarly, when thinking of tomorrow’s problems, Utopianism is not helpful. But
term strategic purposes it is essential. Second, the Utopian vision gives a sense of direction, which can get
lost in approaches that are preoccupied with the feasible. In a world that is regarded as the second-best
of all feasible worlds, everything becomes a necessary constraint. All vision is lost. Third, excessive
concern with the feasible tends to reinforce the status quo. In negotiations, it strengthens the hand of those opposed to any
reform. Unless the case for change can be represented in the same detail as the case for no change, it tends to be lost. Fourth, it is sometimes the case that the
conjuncture of circumstances changes quite suddenly and that the constellation of forces, unexpectedly, turns out to be favourable to even radical innovation.
Unless we are prepared with a carefully worked out, detailed plan, that yesterday could have appeared
utterly Utopian, the reformers will lose out by default. Only a few years ago nobody would have
expected the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the disappearance of the Soviet Union,
the unification of Germany, the break-up of Yugoslavia, the marketization of China, the end of apartheid
in South Africa. And the handshake on the White House lawn between Mr Peres and Mr Arafat. Fifth, the
Utopian reformers themselves can constitute a pressure group, countervailing the self interested pressures of the obstructionist groups. Ideas thought
to be Utopian have become realistic at moments in history when large numbers of people support them,
and those in power have to yield to their demands. The demand for ending slavery is a historical
example. It is for these five reasons that Utopians should not be discouraged from formulating their
proposals and from thinking the unthinkable, unencumbered by the inhibitions and obstacles of political
constraints. They should elaborate them in the same detail that the defenders of the status quo devote to
its elaboration and celebration. Utopianism and idealism will then turn out to be the most realistic vision.
It is well known that there are three types of economists: those who can count and those who can’t. But being able to count up to two, I want to distinguish between two types of
people. Let us call them, for want of a better name, the Pedants and the Utopians. The names are due to Peter Berger, who uses them in a different context. The Pedants or
technicians are those who know all the details about the way things are and work, and they have acquired an emotional vested interest in keeping them this way. I have come
across them in the British civil service, in the bureaucracy of the World Bank, and elsewhere. They are admirable people but they are conservative, and no good companions for
reform. On the other hand, there are the Utopians, the idealists, the visionaries who dare think the unthinkable. They are also admirable, many of them young people. But they lack
the attention to detail that the Pedants have. When the day of the revolution comes, they will have entered it on the wrong date in their diaries and fail to turn up, or, if they do turn
up, they will be on the wrong side of the barricades. What we need is a marriage between the Pedants and the Utopians, between the technicians who pay attention to the details
and the idealists who have the vision of a better future. There will be tensions in combining the two, but they will be creative tensions. We need Pedantic Utopian Pedants who will
work out in considerable detail the ideal world and ways of getting to it, and promote the good cause with informed fantasy. Otherwise, when the opportunity arises, we shall miss
it for lack of preparedness and lose out to the opponents of reform, to those who want to preserve the status quo.

AT: Not fair


a) Even if it’s not fair, it’s still a potential reality. Extend Paul Streeton 99 – imagining utopia
makes progress possible.
b) Fairness isn’t a voting issue <insert fairness not a voter>
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 3 of 15

Utopian Thinking Bad

First, it’s bad for education. 2 reasons:


a) Not real world – by definition, we can never learn about practical value solutions. While nice
to think about, an imaginary world is ultimately useless.
b) Impossible to have rational discussion – how can you evaluate which value is better if every
thing's perfect? Would excellence even exist in a utopian world? Not really, since nothing would
be non-excellent. In order to have a debate, we have to assume that some things are inferior to
others. In order to even have a debate, we have to affirm a resolution: the resolution specifically
states that competition is superior. Meaning, cooperation would be inferior. Which it couldn’t be,
if we were debating in a perfect world.

Second, Education outweighs.


Learning about real world, real values, and real application of that value is a better internal link into
education because it’s the only bona fide product of debate. Education outweighs fairness because the
rules were created to maximize education.

Third, it annihilates our ability to counter the opposing team, which destroys fairness. 2 reasons:
a) Destroys ground – we can literally never win a debate when the other team can just imagine
away all of life’s problems.
b) No literature – aff/neg can’t research answers to utopian positions because they simply
DON’T EXIST.
c) Fairness is a voter – <insert fairness is a voter>
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Fairness is a Voter

1. Levels the playing field.


A fair playing field is necessary to adjudicate the round in terms of which side did the better debating,
and voting on theory is necessary because forcing me into a theoretical discussion hinders my ability to
engage any other arguments.

2. Check abuse.
Fairness is a necessary check against abuse, otherwise debaters would always have an incentive to
utilize unfair arguments as no-risk issues.

3. Key to education.
Fairness is more important than substance or any theoretical standards because if debaters can’t fairly
engage is substantive discussion they won’t have any incentive to debate, meaning that we can’t access
the benefits of education or any other standards.

4. Reject opposition.
Rejecting the opposing team sends a message that argument that destroy fairness are inherently
detrimental; voting against them is the most effective way to do this.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 5 of 15

Fairness Not a Voter

1. Fairness is relative. Doug Sigel 85


Doug Sigel, Northwestern University. Punishment: Does It Fit the Crime? 1985;
http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/MiscSites/DRGArticles/Sigel985Water.htm, brackets not in original
(HEG)
First, fairness is almost entirely situational. The fairness argument in debate is always made when a
[debater] team can't think of anything better to say. A new case is going to place an unfair burden on
[the other debater.] any negative team. If the affirmative can talk faster than the negative an unfair
situation exists. If the negative has four really good counterplans against a case an unfair situation exists.
In debate there is no objective way to tell what is and isn't fair because the activity by nature favors
those participants who stay one step ahead of anyone else. ... There is no reason to punish the [debater]
team for trying to maximize their own advantages.

2. No brightline.
There's no brightline for how much fairness is enough, so judge intervention is necessary to determine
when to pull the trigger.

3. Fairness is impossible.
Complete fairness would be giving both teams the same number of speeches and the same time in each.
That’s not true, and already fairness is thrown out as impossible to achieve.

4. Even if possible, we never know when we have it.


Fairness is uncontrollable as it's influenced by external factors like coaching staff or money for books,
so there’s no point in discussing fairness because we don’t know when we have a fair playing field.

5. Fairness is inherently unfair


Fairness is unfair because fairness debates go to the debater with the last word, so the result reflects who
has better theory blocks rather than who actually is more fair.

6. Not a voter
As a last resort, we can sustain a fair playing field by kicking the unfair argument; there's no need to
vote us down because of an unfair argument; we’ll just drop it.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 6 of 15

Education is a Voter

1. Why we’re here


We’re here to debate in order to become better communicators and to learn about the topic. If there’s no
educational value, then we’re all spending a ton of money for nothing except the opportunity to debate,
which can easily be done for free at any public school.

2. Permeates.
Education is a voter because it contains actual out-of-round implications; substantive discussion of the
topic is valuable only insofar as it garners a link to education.

3. Most important
Education is more important than text or any other standards because if debate isn’t educational then
schools won’t have an incentive to fund debate and debaters would quit if they weren’t doing anything
productive.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 7 of 15

Education Not a Voter

1. No brightline
There's no brightline for how much education is enough to vote on.

2. If so, then everything hurts education


Running any position against the other team is uneducational because I could’ve run different positions
against them that were different. Thus everything hurts education, which is ridiculous.

3. TURN: education voters destroy education.


His argumentation attempts to make debate trivial, as it asks you to vote independent of any substantive
discussion, and only vote on theory. This devalues the development of real arguments, giving debaters
an incentive to focus on easy theory arguments instead.

4. TURN: too much “education” is uneducational


Maximizing education would result in debaters quitting, as no one would be interested in reading
dictionaries for an hour. This is the most important theoretical implication since it means we can no
longer receive the benefits of other standards.

5. TURN: infinitely regressive


All theory arguments are equally valid so the debate always goes to the debater with the last word which
destroys any conception of fairness or education.

6. TURN: theory is uneducational


Theory is uneducational, as it moves our attention away from real-world issues and shifts it onto a
hypothetical space with no real significance. They brought up a theoretical education-voter which means
they’re being hypocritical; on this alone you should reject the argument.

7. Wrong forum
LD is centered on debating the resolution, and the judge is asked to evaluate the resolution, not which
side was more educational.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 8 of 15

Vagueness Bad; is a Voter

1. Destroys clash
Vagueness is unfair because I can’t effectively engage his position if I don’t know what it is until his
later speeches.

2. Moving target
Vagueness is unfair because he can just kick out of all my responses by narrowing his advocacy down to
something that they don’t apply to.

3. Education disrupted
Instead of focusing on the issue, we're forced to focus on the technicalities in order to understand the
issue. This means less education overall in the round. <insert education a voter>
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 9 of 15

Vagueness Not a Voter

1. CX checks.
They can pin down my position by just asking a few questions.

2. TURN: vagueness allows the activity to exist.


The call to remove vagueness from debate would render all argumentation vacuous. Words and concepts
are inherently vague, that’s why there are multiple definitions of terms in dictionaries.

Herbert Wells writes: [First and Last Things, 1908]


Every species is vague, every term goes cloudy at its edges, and so in my way of thinking, relentless
logic is only another name for stupidity - for a sort of intellectual pigheadedness. If you push a
philosophical or metaphysical enquiry through a series of valid syllogisms - never committing any generally
recognized fallacy - you nevertheless leave behind you at each step a certain rubbing and marginal loss of
objective truth and you get deflections that are difficult to trace, at each phase in the process.

3. TURN: over-specificity bad.


The argument forces an impossible burden on me. Not only does debate has time limits for the
presentation of information, but there are a potentially infinite number of premises I would have to
specify to meet the vagueness standard.

John Searle writes:


The thesis of the Background is simply this: Intentional phenomena such as meanings, understandings, interpretations, beliefs, desires, and
experiences only function within a set of Background capacities that are not themselves intentional. Another way to state this thesis is to say that
all representation, whether in language, thought, or experience, only succeeds in representing given a set of nonrepresentational capacities. …
Suppose I go into the restaurant and order a meal. Suppose I say, speaking literally, ‘Bring me a
steak with fried potatoes.’ Even though the utterance is meant and understood literally, the
number of possible misinterpretations is strictly limitless. I take it for granted that they will not
deliver the meal to my house, or to my place of work. I take it for granted that the steak will not
be encased in concrete, or petrified. It will not be stuffed into my pockets or spread over my
head. But none of these assumptions was made explicit in the literal utterance. The temptation is
to think that I could make them fully explicit by simply adding them as further restrictions,
making my original order more precise. But that is also a mistake. First, it is a mistake because there is
no limit to the number of additions I would have to make to the original order to block possible
misinterpretations, and second, each of the additions is itself subject to different interpretations.

4. Context checks
Debate is self-disambiguating as it contextualizes argumentation. If specific clauses within the case are
vague, it is only because of their isolation from the rest of the debate.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 10 of 15

Education Outweighs Fairness

1. Education permeates
Education is more important because it has outside value; the educational value attained through debate
helps us in the real world, whereas fairness is only valuable in a hypothetical debate setting.

2. Is why we’re here


Education is evaluated first because if debates aren’t educational then there’s no point in debating.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 11 of 15

Fairness Outweighs Education

1. Fairness is a prerequisite
Fairness always comes first as it indicts our ability to evaluate education; we can’t assess other
theoretical standards without first securing a fair playing field.

2. Fairness leads to education


Fairness comes first because without fairness debaters won’t have any incentive to debate, as decisions
would be arbitrary; thus we wouldn’t be able to access the benefits of education as there would be no
one debating.

3. No fairness = education undermined


Fairness comes first because an unfair debater that tries to take advantage of the rules and exploit
loopholes without being checked has no incentive to try to educate the judge or other competitors.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 12 of 15

Err Neg on Theory

1. Speech order
Aff gets to speak first and last; I’m caught in the middle.

2. Number of speeches
Aff gets three speeches; I only get two – they can refute everything I say, always, I’m caught cramming
everything into two time periods

3. Preparation
They have infinite prep time before the round, meaning I have to prep for all possible cases.

4. No CX after 1AR
Prefer negative theory because the negative lacks cross-ex after the 1AR as a check against confusing
theory that they might run, so the negative always outweighs on risk.

5. They present first


They speak first and thus get to present any case and value they want; I’m forced to debate them on turf.
That’s a home-field advantage that needs to be checked back; you should err neg on theory to make up
for this.

AT: Time Skew


They get to speak last, meaning they can bring up new things against my position if they want to,
without another speech to check them back – any time skew is offset by the order and number of
speeches they have.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 13 of 15

Err Aff on Theory

1. Time Skew
Err aff on theory because time skew is against me; I have four minutes to answer a seven-minute NC
and preempt six minutes of NR responses. Always err aff otherwise the negative can take advantage of
the time skew by forcing me to cover bad theory.

AT: Speech order


Neg gets a 6- and 7-minute speech, that more than makes up for the speech order.

AT: Number of speeches


I get a 6 minute, 4 minute, and 3 minute speech – that adds up to 13 minutes. They get a 6- and 7-minute
speech – also 13 minutes. Number of speeches doesn’t matter; if anything you should err aff here,
because I only have 4 minutes to respond to 7 minutes, and 3 minutes to respond to 6 minutes.

AT: Preparation
They have infinite prep time before the round too, and, most negatives present negative cases to counter
aff cases. That means that I have to prep for all possible negative cases too. There’s nothing unique here.

AT: No CX after 1AR


There’s no CX after the NR, either – that means I don’t get any clarification if they didn’t clarify
enough, or if they brought up something new.

AT: They present first


Once the NC is presented, I have to debate them on their turf – we both attack the others case and
attempt to outweigh with our value. I may present first, but they present an equally prepared case. The
only real difference is that I go first.
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 14 of 15

Reject the Team

1. Sends a message
Rejecting the opposing team send a swift and effective message that this kind of argumentation/theory
will not be tolerated. Rather than beating around the bush, it lays down the law: that the
argumentation/theory is a bad procedure and should not be used.

2. Prevents future abuse


Sending a message that this kind of argumentation/theory is bad can prevent future abuse. Once debaters
realize they’ll lose rounds if they engage in this sort of argumentation/theory, they’ll stop using it.

3. Promotes fairness
Voting on theory makes the debate more fair to both sides. <insert fairness is a voter>
Will Malson LD Theory File Page 15 of 15

Reject the Argument, Not the Team

1. Best for education. Doug Sigel 85


Doug Sigel, Northwestern University. Punishment: Does It Fit the Crime? 1985;
http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/MiscSites/DRGArticles/Sigel985Water.htm (HEG)
First, the practical impact of punishment arguments is to destroy education. The punish tactic is so
subjective and open to abuse, as we have seen earlier, that it hurts the activity. The advocate of
punishment isn't really concerned about education anyway. S/he is just whining about arguments s/he
can't answer.

2. Mixes judge burdens. Doug Sigel 85


Doug Sigel, Northwestern University. Punishment: Does It Fit the Crime? 1985;
http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/MiscSites/DRGArticles/Sigel985Water.htm (HEG)
Second, punishment arguments confuse the role of a debate judge. The debate judge is evaluating public
policy argument. S/he is not an umpire who hands out penalties for rule violators. The arguments in a
debate about theory are important because they tell the judge how to evaluate the policy arguments. The
theoretical concerns have no independent value. If hypothesis testing is bad then a judge shouldn't
decide based on that paradigm, To punish a team for advocating hypothesis testing is to turn a debate
judge into an umpire. The notion that the debate process is a forum for punishment has crept into the
activity with little critical scrutiny. It is ridiculous that a team is able to win a debate by whining about
the practices of their opponents. Debate is educational because it trains students in oral argument and it
is the job of the judge to evaluate who better argues the policy issues in a debate.

3. More real-world. Doug Sigel 85


Doug Sigel, Northwestern University. Punishment: Does It Fit the Crime? 1985;
http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/MiscSites/DRGArticles/Sigel985Water.htm (HEG)
Third, punishment arguments create an esoteric activity with little real world applicability. Debate is
already charged with being too remote and elitist. The kinds of theory debates that will probably evolve
if punishment arguments continue to be accepted are mind boggling. Why not turn the impacts of
punishment arguments? Why is destroying debate bad? Why is education good? Why is fairness
ethically justified? We may see the day when a team argues that the destruction bf debate is good
because it hurts democracy. And democracy is bad because it hurts the transition to a new form of
ecological organization. Or maybe we will see debaters arguing studies that deterrence is
counterproductive. This means that the way to stop bad debate is to vote for the team that runs the worst
arguments.