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RE: Southworth and Tuna
Problems with Josh's criteria:
1. Topics should meet the following conditions
-action or verbin the resolution should be both limiting and field
contextual (word used in the literature to sedcribe action taken in
relation to civil rights).
This is a tautology. To claim that a term is field contextual presupposes the meaning of the term as well as the meaning of the resolution. No term can effectively limit because all terms are indeterminate and exist with fuzzy borders at best,
-Direction and ground division on the topic should be precisely predictable.
Remember the term "development" turning into "conservation" on oceans? Remember "military intervention" turning into changing the policy on homosexuals in the military? Ground division is done by cases, NOT by topics. Giving the topic direction always implodes and at least a number of teams can effectively reverse or ignore what the majority interpretation of the topic direction. I think this is a fruitless task.
2. I challenge supporters of the other topics (aside from treaties) to meet
Every wording of the treaties topic I have seen suffers from these same problems. Reservations are not the only ways that ratification modifies the meaning of a treaty. Congress may also attach interpretive declarations (uniquely different from reservations) which can radically reshape what the treaty is thought to mean (note the interpretive declarations initiated on the international recognition of a right to self determination).
Likewise, the very process of ratification inevitably produces a legislative history (congressional ratification hearings and executive statements of meaning) that the courts often give great weight to in determining what a treaty means and does. Finally, the executive is given great deference by the courts in its freedom to radically alter the meaning of a treaty after ratification. (For specific cases see the Reagan administration's ridiculous interpretation of the ABM treaty, the O'Connor case on the Panama Canal treaty, and the Alvarez-Machain case on the US-Mexico extradition treaty.)
These are considered INEVITABLE and ESSENTIAL parts of the treaty ratification process. This is normal means.
The net result is that I have already located about 50 pieces of evidence which allow for a explosion of the treaties topic even given the strictest wording provided.
All the other topics and topic areas are likewise indeterminate.
3. I challenge the community to look further than self-interest to recognize
that the topic area SHOULD BE A SECONDARY CONCERN.....Your first concern
should be predictable and limited ground division represented in the
topic you vote for......PLEASE DO NOT JUST VOTE FOR A TOPIC AREA B/C
YOU LIKE THE HARM AREA!!!!! If you really want to help novices, small
programs etc......make the debate research predictable!!!!!
I disagree. You have no warrant here. Please establish a value hierarchy and justify it before making this assertion. What the students find INTERESTING is a lot more important to motivation and involvement than determinations of ground... Which, once again I will state, has *_*_NEVER_*_* been set by a topic wording, but only by individual cases.
4. I support treaties precisely because treaties limits the action taken
precisely.........I would support other topic ideas if they were proven
to be limiting and predictable....Josh
I believe you to be mistaken. The treaty topic may require a couple of extra cards to blow it wide open, but just cut all the articles on treaty interpretation and I think you'll find lots and lots of room (perhaps a unique large amount of room) to maneuver that topic.
Of course, all of the 1-4 Josh posted assume that topicality is a workable and meaningful position. Two things have lead me to the conclusion that this is not true.
First, my personal experience as a debater. After 3 years of running Postmodernism on the affirmative (damn the topic) I came to the conclusion that no matter how far afield from the aparrent meaning of the topic, you can always beat the topicality argument. 3 years and I can count the losses to topicality on one hand (now space and ice age are, embarrassingly, a whole different story).
Second, the rather impressive discussion on the failings of topicality here have pretty well convinced me that if teams want to rely on topicality at all, they will need to do some really heavy work on reformulating the argument to overcome its theoretical inconsistencies (see my post on topicality, texts, and contexts a couple of days ago).
All in all, even if everything I said specifically about treaties was incorrect (which it is not, I have been reading treaty literature nonstop for 3 weeks), the point is moot. Any claims to limit which a topic area or topic wording might have are only worth the topicality argument which can enforce them. Currently that topicality argument is barely a time suck.
That said, I think the criteria and justifications for the treaties topic area are poor (no offense to the paper authors, they did a very fine job). Likewise, constructing topics and choosing topic areas based on criteria which have no representation, power, or meaning in practice seems like a poor idea.
Don't vote for ground, 'cuz it's a sham. Ground is what you make it.
I ain't ever seen a T argument that shouldn't be beat,
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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