Answering the Neolib K

Before getting into this- the ev challenge is being adjudicated and results will be posted soon.


You all voted and Neolib was the winner so here is the first in a series of articles of how to answer the neolib k



First lets talk about debating the imapct – not about reading impact turns, but about debating the other teams offense for why neolib is bad.


The first thing you want to do is advance a set of arguments that basically boil down to “specifics good”. What I mean is this: most likely you have some sort of specific scenario as an impact to your case. On the flip side the neg has a more abstract impact to their K. So you want to explain why the impact to your case should be privileged because of its specific nature. There are various ways you can do this


1. Proximate vs root cause- a proximate cause is one that is closer to the impact along the chaing of events. It may be true that XYZ broad ideological concept (racism, anthro, neolib) is in some way the “root” of a certain problem, but that insight is not often helpful because we may have travelled down the chain of events to a point where that cause is no longer reversible. IE consumption may be the root cause of environmental decline, but we may have already emitted so much co2 that warming will occur now regardless of decreases in consumption.


2. Mismatch- sometimes the problems explained in the crazy impact ev people read for neoliberalism doesnt fit with the way they explain their alternative. This is especially true with the way people now usually explain thier argument as an issue of scholarship. An impact card that says resource wars will occur as nations compete for status is probably not resolved by some giroux evidence about how students should speak out about neolib. Evidence that says technology will run away out of control is probably not solved by a “market socialism” alternative.  Evidence about opop punishing the enviro is not solved by “withdrawal from capitalism” etc. This is basically a uniqueness argument but one that is important- if the neg has a really good impact but explains that it is the result of a process/structure they have no hope of challenging why would you somehow weight hat versus the case? This happens more often than not.

3. Link discrepancies- a lot of neolib impacts are about global phenomenon- biotechnology, environmental degredation, commodification etc. These processes are independent of US EE with LA. Conversely this is a place where the more specific the negatives link is the more it hurts them imo. For example, the aff lifts the Cuba embargo. The neg reads a link that US agrobussiness will flood into Cuba and wreck indigenous ag methods. This is a great link, and a good internal link to a specific impact argument about food or corporatism. This is not a great link arg for a generic “root cause of war” impact- the parts of neoliberalism that relate to global ag expansion are arguably distinct from the parts that promote state conflicts. You can see this clearly in the behvaior of ag companies like Monsanto- they “contribute” to conflict resolution proicesses in 3rd world countries actively because its good for their business.

These are arguments you can make WITHOUT evidnece- ie. you can just explain them using your words. However, if you actually have cards on it that can be devestating. Take for example the santos impact card many people read- collective suicide etc. This card would be a good bases for starting to establish the sort of comparisons outlined above

Pieterse, Associate Professor of Sociology at the  Institute of Social Studies at The Hague, 2001 [Jan Nederveen, “Emancipation and Regulation: Twin Pillars of Modernity?” European Journal of Social Theory 4(3): 281–290, p.]

The findings Santos arrives at concerning the shortcomings of neoclassical economics are not as noteworthy as the way he arrives at them. His treatment suffers from problems of scale and perspective and at times comes across as too coarse-grained. For instance, what is ‘mainstream economics’? Neoclassical economics, rational choice, new institutional economics, institutional analysis? As to ‘modern science’, what about new science such as quantum physics and chaos theory? That is, this critique of small-scale modelling in science itself uses smallscale models of economics and science to the extent that several insights are too general to be penetrating.This critique of representation comes with two other arguments – a discussion of regulation and emancipation, and a plea for a new common sense, although there is no necessary connection between them.  Regulation and emancipation are presented as the ‘twin pillars of modernity’, as capabilities and forms of knowledge. This is a sequel to Santos’s Toward a New Common Sense (1995). This too opened with the idea that modernity is ‘based on two pillars, the pillar of regulation and the pillar of emancipation’. So here we enter modernity by passing between two pillars. Let us pause right away. What kind of space do we enter by passing between two pillars? A temple – and variations such as a courthouse, church, library – a demarcated, sanctified space. The nearest reference to two pillars in the literature is the Temple of Solomon with its twin pillars Jachin and Boaz. This metaphor has been used over and over again, from the Qabala to Freemasonry and alchemy to Goethe (‘zwei Seelen’). In other words, this is a classical, premodern metaphor for modernity. Accordingly, modernity is marked off as an imaginary space, a building, and set apart from detail and intricacy, from the rumour of agents, voices, dreams and projects, in a word, a small-scale model abstracted from history. This means taking a normative view of modernity, as against, for instance, an institutional view (the nation state, capitalism, etc.) or a historical view. Other normative angles are also absent (Parsons’s universalism, Habermas’s Enlightenment, etc.). Which episodes, movements, transformations would exemplify this? History is only cursorily present in this argument (e.g. capitalism, colonialism). Without ‘examples’ the argument remains ungrounded, untestable, hovering outside time and space. This is a plea not for empiricism but for effective communication (the reader thinks this is about A but the author thinks of B). The representation in terms of duality is fundamentally static. From Heraclitus to Hegel, along with other folks, the common epistemological device has been dialectics, so where is dialectics in this argument – i.e. regulation prompting emancipation, emancipation turning into regulation, and so forth? Then, what is now presented as a problem (‘the regulation that does not emancipate does not even regulate’, etc.) is not a problem at all, but rather a solution.  A depiction in which not merely two principles are privileged, but only two remain is not a felicitous representation of modernity. This is small-scale sociology at its most extreme. It gives us very little to work with. The treatment is schematic, not occasionally so but as a matter of style and method. All the problems discussed in the critique of small-scale representation recur in this argument on regulation and emancipation – vagueness (‘neglecting details and contrast’), false contemporaneity, exclusion of other knowledges. Thus, a probing critique of small-scale economics (i.e. modelling devoid of detail) comes with an exercise in small-scale sociology and the very epistemological blinders that are so patiently laid bare in relation to economics are, in the same breath, applied with abandon in sociology.


Part 2- you need to address “k turns the case”. There are a few traditional affirmative arguments to make here


1. uniqueness- most teams just say “try or die” and move on. Loser. Lets say you lift the embargo with a multilat conflict resolution advantage. The neg says “root cause of war”. What you want to do in the 2AC is make a few quick uniqueness arguments that deny this, so say something like “ME conflict likely now- settlements, Syria, etc”- and then argue why these things will escalate. The second part of this argument is explaining why this short term conflict will occur before problems with neoliberaism are resolved- it may be true that the I/P conflict is rooted in “private property”/land ownership and that abolishing global neolib would contribute to resolving it- but when is that going to happen? This is what judges mean when they encourage you to make “even if” arguments. The thign most aff teams do is go “lol alt doesnt spread” and thats it. You still can say that, but you want to combine it with impact calculus that explains why you can still win even if the neg wins the alt solvency through concession/shenanigan etc.


2. Strength of internal link- this applies to any “turns case” argument disad or k. You always want to argue your itnernal link to solving the advantage is stronger than the part the disad is turning- i.e. it may be true that the k impact complicates the advantage solvency but you want to argue that the net direction is still in your favor. Let’s say you have a warming advantage and the neg says “consumption fuels warming”- if your solvency mechanism is an international climate agreement kyoto style you could say something like “disad can’t turn the case- we result in a legal limit on emissions” or if you fuel tech “consumptive habits don’t have to change because the plan makes consumption cleaner” etc. Essentially its another even if- even if there is truth in their argument here is a way to resolve that in our favor.


3. Timeframe timeframe timeframe- I know this was addressed above but its important so I’m repeating it. Having a short term advantage, or at least one that can be explained as such,is a huge advantage in these situations. International systems don’t change rapidly nor do K links cause conflict quickly since they are rooted in structures.



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