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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:19 pm 
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So this year my partner and I have been running or plan to run several counterplans. Many of them require a parametrics justification. However, I've found that explaining the theory in-round, during my 1NC, is rather confusing. I need a better way to explain the theory.

I'm looking for word-for-word explanations here ready for in-round use, but any general tips would be great. Thanks! :)

Note: This is NOT a thread to debate the merits of parametrics as a justification of a counterplan, but a thread to discuss how best to explain it.


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JohnMarkPorter1 wrote:
I'm inclined to think like Andrew does.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Not a fan of parametrics, but:

Honestly, you don't even need to bring up parametrics in your 1NC. Just run the counterplan and act like nothing's out of the ordinary. If they attack the CP for being topical, you can bring up parametrics in the 2NC; otherwise, you're home free. (You only need to bring up parametrics in the 1NC if you think your judge is theory-aware enough to get pedantic about topical counterplans without the debaters bringing it up, but not theory-aware enough to care about parametrics - which is pretty rare. It might be worth it for certain former debaters, though.)

If you do have to justify your CP, and you don't have a very technically-minded judge, you might consider going for straight-up plancentrism rather than parametrics. Stuff like "We should really consider the resolution more as a guide for what to talk about rather than a specific statement that we have to affirm or negate. After all, if a senator in Congress proposes an immigration law, it's perfectly reasonable for another senator to argue against it by proposing a better immigration law. That's a good, important discussion we should be having. The Affirmative's argument is basically like the first senator going: 'Noooo! I get that your plan is better than mine, but you're still reforming immigration, so I still won the debate!' That's ridiculous. In the same way, it's perfectly reasonable for us to argue against the Affirmative's plan by proposing a better alternative. We've proved that their plan is wrong, so that's all that matters."

Now, I think that's a terrible argument and would relish bashing on it in the 1AR; but it's intuitive and understandable, so it's a lot more persuasive to most judges than some abstract theoretical framework they don't really understand.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:00 am 

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Daniel will be unsurprised to see that I also think this is a promising approach. And I wouldn't mind giving the 2NR after that 1AR.

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 2:53 am 
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For judges who don't know any theory, I think it's fairly valid to stay simple and just say a couple of things.

1. Our job as the negative team is to convince you the affirmative team's plan is not a good one. That's what we're doing. Treating the resolution as some kind of technical rule book is lame.

2. In the real world no one would complain about this. Amendments to bills in Congress or "counter-bills" happen all the time.

If you want to get into parametrics a simplified version is:

"When the affirmative team presents their plan, they are narrowing the resolution we must disprove to that case. We no longer have to disprove the entire resolution, as that would be outrageous. So presenting a counter-plan is simply rebutting the now narrow resolution."

Proof? Look at judge orientation slides which are as close to "rules of NCFCA" as we get, and that supports the position of topical counterplans pretty nicely.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 5:16 am 
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Kind of a pet peeve of mine, and I'm sure I've said it elsewhere, but I strongly dislike appeals to the JO slides. It may be an acceptable idea in theory, but I feel like the JO slides have overstepped their bounds here. Theory is something to be debated, not settled by JO. But nonetheless we have to deal with what the slides say. Could you use that to your advantage on neg? Sure. But - and I would never frame this as an argument, simply as a debater talking to other debaters - I don't think it's fair or good for debate.

Plus, citing, quoting, or referring to the JO slides implies that they are rules of some sort, or at least more authoritative and credible than whatever the other team is saying. And I don't think the JO slides were ever intended to be used like that (and even if they were I would doubt the wisdom of that intention).

With that said, I don't think it would be hard to defend parametrics at a fundamental level. Simply explain that there are two competing theories (resolution is narrowed vs it isn't) and lay out reasons to prefer parametrics. Educational value, real-world (see congress) etc.

- Will

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