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Stock Issues

Below are the things you must prove to win.

Significance: Brings statistics and numbers into the debate. Whichever team (aff. or neg.) brings more, higher, and better statistics into the debate wins the issue. As the affirmative team you must prove your case is important enough if enacted for the judge to waste his time listening too.

Harms: This stock issue presents who/whatever is being hurt because of (a) the status quo, or (b) the aff. plan. The aff. argues that the present system isnít solving the harms of something in the line of dumb teachers, and that this problem causes serious harms such as even dumber students. The neg. argues that the status quo is addressing these harms and that the aff. plan will cause more harms or problems. One example is that the neg. would say the following against abolishing school sports:

  1. Sports bring pride to their communities.
  2. Kids without sports will have less to do after school and will more likely do illegal activities.

Inherency: This is the most difficult stock issue to understand. What it basically stands for is an Aff. burden saying that the Aff. has to prove that their specific case and plan is not being done in the status quo, and that there is/are barriers preventing it from ever becoming a part of it. There are three different types an Aff. can prove the inherent barrier. (what stands in the planís way to prevent its adoption in the status quo) Iíll state it as Aff, and then Neg, but first Iíll show the three different types.

Neg. argues that it exists currently, so there is no barrier that stands in its way. Aff: The Aff. argues inherency by doing the following three things:
  1. Prove something stands in the status quo that keeps their plan from working (inherent barrier)
  2. Show that with the plan, this barrier can be overcome.
  3. Show that other barriers presented by the negative can be overcome.
Neg: The Neg. argues inherency by doing the following:
  1. Prove existential: if it already exists, there is no inherent barrier*
  2. Prove attitudinal or structural things that stop it from working that canít be overcome
*- Never, EVER use existential and either of the other two at the same time on the neg. If the neg tries to argue that a law or attitude stands in the way of if working, but then says itís already working, they counter each other, and every argument falls. BE CAREFUL! Also, remember that the Aff. only has to prove 1 barrier. But it does have to be overcome.

Topicality: Topicality is designed to check abuses by the affirmative team. Topicality is simply asking, "Is the Affirmative debating the resolution?" It can be run from any word in the resolution. For example, regarding the 99-00 Education resolution, if a plan is not significantly increasing academic achievement, you could run topicality on the word significantly. Topicality is over used, but it is a vital stock issue because it cuts down tricks in Affirmative cases.

When arguing Topicality on the Negative, it is customary to define one or more of the words in the resolution. Then you should explain how the Affirmative's case does not meet the definition you provide. This is called a violation of the resolution. Next you should provide some standards to evaluate your definition. These are basically reasons why your interpretation should be accepted. Some of the most popular standards include:

  1. 1. Preserves the precise meaning of the word and protests grammatical preciseness.

  2. 2. It is a more even division of ground, so as to provide for a fairer debate.

  3. 3. Bright line-The negative team clearly and fairly defines ground and makes an obvious line for what is topical and what is not.

Lastly, when arguing Topicality, tell the judge why they should vote on Topicality. For example, Topicality is a voting issue because it is a stock issue, it sets jurisdiction, provides fair ground, it is a rule of the game, and it should be decided first in the round.

Two branches of Topicality are Effects Topicality and Extra Topicality. Extra topicality is arguing that the Affirmative has gone outside the bounds of the resolution. A topicality argument should first have a definition, second-a violation, third-standards, and fourth-voters. For example, regarding this yearís resolution, they might provide a plan to increase cash to Department of Education, Defense, and Medicare. You can see how this would unfairly delimit the resolution and provide the Affirmative with advantages not related to a policy with Education. Effects topicality is arguing that the Affirmative team is only topical by the effects of their plan. For example, again regarding the 99-00 Education resolution, Effects Topicality is when a plan occurs outside the area of topicality but that only the results are with in the resolution.

Solvency: This is the final stock issue which states that the aff. has to solve two things:

  1. The problem area: They have to solve whichever problem they claim which may be safety, poverty, grades, etc. This is proven through a card read under solvency saying that the plan will stop these problems from continuing or coming to pass.
  2. The resolution: They have to establish an education plan to improve academic acheivement. The neg argues this by saying that they donít do either and reading a card of evidence to go with it.

Advantages & Disadvantages: This is not a stock issue, but a lot of people will debate in this way. They follow what is called the policy maker paradigm, which is a style of debate in which advantages and disadvantages are more or less an added sixth stock issue. The aff. reads advantages to go with the case and the neg. argues disadvantages (DAís) to go against the case. Advantages are good things that will happen if the plan takes effect:

EXAMPLE: Smarter students will have a better chance of curing cancer that will save thousands of lives.

EXAMPLE: Improving academic achievement will cause contentment and stop school shootings out of anger.

Disadvantages are bad things that will happen from the planís effect:

EXAMPLE: The Plan Will Increase the Deficit.

EXAMPLE: Smarter students will make cyborgs that will lead to the downfall of mankind.

They may sound far fetched, but the truth is that judges will buy them. They must be answered. The aff. may argue that their advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In this way, even if you donít beat the disadvantage, your advantage should be able to beat or outweigh the DA (an abbreviation for disadvantage).