Hi, I'm a second year debater in NCFCA. I am new to this forum, so don't take it the wrong way if I inadvertently break one of this forum's rules.
Welcome! It's great to see current debaters joining the forum!
I'm looking for some advice on arguing the "significance" part of topicality. What's the best way to argue that the affirmative team is not upholding their obligation to propose a "substantial" or a "significant" reform?
Dictionary definitions say "large or important," but large or important in relation to what?
Please help, and thank you.
Generally, I've seen two approaches to arguing the AFF isn't topical because their reform isn't substantial:
1. Significance by change: that is, the change the AFF is proposing isn't a significant one in the context of what laws/etc would have to change to implement it. For example, if the AFF is only modifying a tariff on a particular type of steel, this is just a tiny change in the context of all US-China policy.
2. Significance by effect: even though the AFF may be proposing a total overhaul of US-China policies, the impact of this change isn't substantial. Example: We completely rearrange the way we do foreign relations and change all the laws, titles, etc., relating to US/China relations, but everything will happen exactly as it is right now.
It is my opinion that arguing sig topicality is hard, but good arguments will attack both the amount of change and the amount of impact of the AFF plan. You could argue that, in the context of everything the resolution is asking us to consider, the AFF is only touching on a very small part of it and
the impact of that change is small.
EDIT: I should say, I subscribe to the parametric theory of topicality. As such, I consider significance-based to be somewhat weak (I'd say most sig-based T presses could be argued as straight SIG attacks). However, if I were to run one, the above is what I'd do.
"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits"
- G.K. Chesterton