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 Post subject: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:41 am
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Hey guys,

Wanted to try and start an educated discussion on the use of kritiks in Lincoln Douglas debate. A disclaimer here: I realize there are people who hate the very mention of a kritik and don't think they should ever be used. I am not trying to rile those people's opinions and I of course realize there are both sides of this issue.
But mainly what I want to say is this. I am in my third year of LD and my fourth year doing speech and debate overall. As I have debated and watched over these few years, I have noticed a pattern. Each resolution is different and unique in its own way, and there are a lot of different case ideas floating around, especially at the beginning of the year. But over the course of each season, the debates become more and more confined. Everyone, or seemingly everyone, debates within certain parameters, and certain assumptions become more and more commonplace until each debate boils down to basically the same few issues. And applications are paramount. Basically, let's face it, 90% of the debaters in stoa right now are running human rights or some version of human rights that they are calling something else. I am not criticizing those people: what I am saying is that the value debate is become rarer and rarer (ironically this is called Lincoln Douglas VALUE debate).
If we want to avoid the generic box LD is turning into, perhaps we should consider running different kinds of arguments. What a kritik is, is the idea that we challenge the assumptions made by the other debater and impact that to the real world. For example in this year's resolution if the negative had a value of say, American principles and basically said America is better than other countries, a kritik would be to say that the statement "American ideals are better than those of other nations" is ethnocentric, arrogant, and racist. Of course it would be structured (Framework, Link, and Impact), but the point is I feel like a kritik can be applied to any resolution and would force debaters to think outside of their normal comfort zone. After all-isn't that the point of debate? Quick thinking and a vast knowledge of different kinds of arguments? A kritik therefore could benefit everyone involved in debate. Please comment if you have any thoughts or concerns about what I have just said. Once again-I apologize if I have offended anyone who hates kritiks or anyone who is running human rights :)


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:22 am 
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Hint hint peoples.
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Hello TheProtoss98! :)

Running kritiks in LD is an educational, interesting, and valuable discussion to have! :) I agree that in the past couple of years Stoa LD has drifted towards application clashes instead of value debates. Consider last year's resolution: "Privacy is undervalued." That year was a fun year, but basically value clash died a gory death as EVERYONE ran Human Rights. I am not exaggerating. I can remember three or maybe four cases who didn't use a Human Rights related value for the entire year. I remember those distinctly because they didn't use a HR value - every other round all tied back to human rights.

With that being said, I'm not so sure kritiks are necessarily the best way to emphasize the theoretical aspects of LD debate. I believe excellent debate rounds are not simply excellent because they focus on values/logic or applications. In fact, there can be excellent pure logic rounds or excellent pure applications rounds. What makes a good round is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to the depth of logical argumentation, the eloquence of the speakers, and solid four-point refutation.

So, why do I believe kritiks are not necessarily the best to use in LD?

(1) As you touched upon, quite a few judges and debaters will gasp in horror when anyone even breaths the word "kritik." It's an unfortunate reality that some people will automatically discount your argument right from the get-go simply because it's ran as a kritik.

(2) If you think about it, technically every argument in a Lincoln-Douglas debate round is like a mini-kritik of your opponent's ideology. After all, we are considering two different values or, in cases where the value is agreed upon, two different mindsets on achieving a given value and upholding the resolution or not. So each round you're running a set of "mini-kritiks" that may not be framed as a formal kritik but can still be viewed as such.

(3) Many debaters do not know how to run a kritik properly and can come across as arrogant or whiny. Kritiks can be butchered easily and are harder to manage/impact to the judge's mind and heart. A lot of times kritiks do not appear very winsome or convincing either because (a) the debater didn't communicate it clearly enough or (b) the debater was too forceful and came across poorly.

(4) A lot of the lack of educational clash in LD rounds could more suitably be solved by developing better arguments and sharper techniques, not bringing in a plethora of complex debate theory ideas like kritiks. In your example of an America-first mentality, I can simply present those same points under a different heading. I don't need to say "here's my racism K." Debaters need to be forced to think outside the box in their normal argumentation and reserve K's for more important matters. Speaking of which...

(5) Personally, I feel that kritiks should be reserved for egregious missteps or violations of accepted moral code...which pretty much means I would never run one unless my opponent point blank admits his case is racist or it is quite obvious to the judge my opponent holds fast to a certain wrong ideology. I don't think that running an imperialism K on an AFF saying "America is the world's hegemon, so we should use our influence for good" is the most effective way of defeating a case like that. I prefer to keep the round simple, clear, and concise. Kritiks tend to muddy waters unless run well - and it's very difficult to run a K in a way most Stoa judges will readily accept and understand.

So, overall, while I feel kritiks can be valid arguments, I'm not convinced moving to kritiks would substantially improve the quality of debate rounds.

_________________
Evan Buck, LD Coach

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. -Psalm 42:1


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Good to hear from you Evan! I agree there are great risks in running a K, and I realize they are more suitable for Team Policy...Nevertheless personally I am tired of LDers making all these assumptions and dangerous claims without getting called out on it...like as we have already discussed people assume Human Rights is a good value because...human rights is good...there is a kritik that could be run against human rights actually that I won't go into right now. Or another example is assuming Western ideas and institutions are superior to those of other nations, e.g. capitalism and democracy-there are arguments against those ideologies as well. Point is-from my perspective, kritiks could be kind of an igniter so to speak to shake up LD and change the way people argue. Because currently I don't see a way out of these pointless application debates...I could be wrong, of course. Any other thoughts from anyone on this topic?


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:57 am 
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TheProtoss98 wrote:
A disclaimer here: I realize there are people who hate the very mention of a kritik and don't think they should ever be used. I am not trying to rile those people's opinions and I of course realize there are both sides of this issue.



Take it from a guy who did 4 years of HS LD and was utterly anti-kritik when I entered college parli and LD, kritiks are fun and are just another tool in the tool bag of victory. Debate's a game. Openly saying you refuse to engage in roughly 1/2th of debate means you will set yourself up to be beaten by a team who can use the K.

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"It is not possible to choose between injustice and disorder. They are synonyms." -- Nicolás Gómez Dávila

~IM_R


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:21 pm 
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Every argument in LD is a kritik by TP standards. I don't see why you can't kritik a kritik.

_________________
-Joshua
The dumb Boatswain's Mate who once did debate
Proud Coastie, Puddle Pirate, and Shallow Water Sailor


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Kritiks in LD
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:32 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
Every argument in LD is a kritik by TP standards. I don't see why you can't kritik a kritik.

Basically this

Except an LD K would be...geez that framework would be tough to hammer out in a way that's explainable to a lay judge

I've K'd in LD but half the material was sortof on-case so, maybe a K isn't even the right word.

Whatever the result, if you pursue it, make it awesome.

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