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Initially, I will posit a definition, take issue with it if you feel like it.
Fiat: The power that advocates of change have to assume that their proposal
will be implemented.
I add several caveats:
1) An implemented (fiated) policy is/should be the LIMITED example
of the plan/counterplan.
i.e. the NEAREST possible world in a counterfactual analysis.
2) The bounds of fiat power for the affirmative are drawn by the wording of
the resolution the affirmative case purports to prove.
3) The bounds of fiat power are limited to implementations that disprove the
wisdom of adopting the affirmative.
So, now that I have set out some definitional stuff, what does all this crap
Fiat is the most limited example:
The affirmative plan is by nature far vaguer than any real world policy
analysis would allow for. We don't debate the logistics of the plan for good
reason - none of us (except for the most hard core) have enough knowledge
about the proposal at hand to set out which military division do the invasion
of Bosnia, etc. So we debate in generalities, skirting the "irrelevant"
logisitical issues. Strangely, we choose to debate some of the logistics -
funding seems to be the example that spings to mind. The key is drawing the
line - does the affirmative have the right to avoid being time-bound? Do they
have the right to avoid funding their plan? My initial response is no...but I
have some reservations. To me, the most limited definition serves a useful
purpose, to a point. If the affirmative doesn;t specify a time for
implementation of their proposal does that mean that disads can;t be talked
about that have a link in the present? Could the affirmative not simply say
"Well, we could do 5 years from now?" This is an example of a bad
"intrinsicness test" (Pardon the slander, intrinsicness advocates).
To avoid this quandary, we must have some sort of default (explicit
limitation) on the bounds of unspecified fiat. For funding, we generally
agree that the default is general federal revenue, for agent we usually
assume the legislative branch of the federal government, for time, we usually
assume immediacy. It is my view that these are legitimate defaults, if the
time, agent or funding source remain unspecified.
However, on the flip side - if the afffirmative CHOOSES to make EXPLICIT
different time, money etc... that wuld also be legitimate in my view.
As to the caveats:
Remember, the affirmative doesn;t get right to fiat agents outside the ones
specified in the resolution - that's a simple toplicality issue. To that
extent agent may be limited, action is certainly limited. Some of the
opponents of delay counterplans use the assumption that the resolution
requires immediacy - however, I think that any good linguist would be able to
tell you that almost all resolutions are less time bound than an initial
examination might lead you to believe. It isn;t so much that the resolution
forces immediacy in action - it seems more of a default to the time honored
default convention that I discussed above.
Counterplans force an entirely new set of fiat burdens that are far beyond me
to discuss at this hour. Maybe I'll post something more detailed later.
Oversimplified, fiat for the the counterplan is limited by competition in the
same way that affs are limited by topicality - these issues are roughly
This is circuitous at best. My take on delay counterplans is that they aren't
competitive. Unfortunately for those who would like to abuse me, I don't feel
like justifying that statement right now :).
Well, I must sleep.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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