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August 16, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Using Realism and Neo-realism “Good” as a Response to Critiques: The Key Lies in the Context and Alternative

I’m sorry, any answer here that just answers your question as it is it incomplete. You have to contextualize that in the context of the alternative.

Most K alternatives will say they solve the problem underlying realism. In fact, they can access this in two ways:
1) the alternative itself
2) the cultural/social shift it encourages

This is where the rubber meets the road–this is where your knowledge of realism will go into effect:
The main contextualization however is this:
What happens in a world of the alternative? Is the neg. just advocating that the judge engage in a thought experiment in terms of the ballot? Or is the alternative actually endorsing a larger call–a call to have everyone in international relations endorse the alternative? (In one sense this later–is actually a spill-over effect of the former.)
Plus, it seems ideologically to advocate one and not the other.

This sets up three types of questions:
1) Truth/Assumptions: does power politics make more sense or more credible than the alternative? (ie realism versus idealism/utopianism–although its important to note these comparisons aren’t always useful ones)
2) Utilitarianism: does power politics operate on a
3) Ethics and/or Value to life: What is the more ethical system?

You can use various types of impact comparison and impact filter to figure out which of the 3 is most important. The negative often goes all in on 3 during the block.

One of the next core issues is the issue of representations. What do the reps the aff uses interact with the debate and the world? Are representations an important (or paramount) claim in terms of how to compare aft harms versus the neg arguments? Do reps superceed those comparisons?

* Note sometimes the ethical claims of the K aren’t in the way we think of ethics. Also, the K can take the opposite view and claim the aff is a form of ethics the K is in opposition to.

This lecture by John Turner at Emory Debate Institute on Critique (which focuses on the K of Realism/K of IR) may help clarify what realism is and how it operates in debates. It can also help you clarify how to run the critique of realism/security more strategically.

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  1. compassioninpolitics / Aug 16 2013 6:08 pm

    This is a slightly better version of the article above, but it does not contain the link to the John Turner lecture at Emory, which I highly recommend:

    This is an critically important issue. If you can crack it, I think you will have a much better idea of:
    1) how to answer critiques (& deal with alternatives on Ks)
    2) how to run the critique
    Learning and thinking through these issues reflectively…..will be a great investment in your debate education.

    First, the core assumptions of realism:
    1) states in the international system are the key actors
    2) states operate in a “self-help” system of justice (aka vigilante justice). Hobbes says that this existence in this state of nature (anarchy) is “solitary, brutish, and short.”
    3) states are obligated to serve the national interest
    4) the national interest = power politics (increasing forms of power: economic, military, etc….)
    5) power politics means states balance each other (aka challenge or build up power to check other members of the system).

    In debate I think these assumptions end up really being 3 fold:
    1) states are in a state of nature/anarchy versus each other
    2) humans are driven by power politics (this is usually based on work in evolutionary psychology)
    3) if power politics is the best solution (aka utilitarianism) versus the options and alternatives available

    Optional: the ethics (I get to this below)

    I’m sorry, any answer here that just answers your question as it is it incomplete. You have to contextualize that in the context of the alternative.

    Most K alternatives will say they solve the problem underlying realism. In fact, they can access this in two ways:
    1) the alternative itself
    2) the cultural/social shift it encourages

    This is where the rubber meets the road–this is where your knowledge of realism will go into effect:
    The main contextualization however is this:
    What happens in a world of the alternative? Is the neg. just advocating that the judge engage in a thought experiment in terms of the ballot? Or is the alternative actually endorsing a larger call–a call to have everyone in international relations endorse the alternative? (In one sense this later–is actually a spill-over effect of the former.)
    Plus, it seems ideologically to advocate one and not the other.

    This sets up three types of questions:
    1) Truth/Assumptions: does power politics make more sense or more credible than the alternative? (ie realism versus idealism/utopianism–although its important to note these comparisons aren’t always useful ones)
    2) Utilitarianism: does power politics operate on a
    3) Ethics and/or Value to life: What is the more ethical system?

    You can use various types of impact comparison and impact filter to figure out which of the 3 is most important. The negative often goes all in on 3 during the block.

    One of the next core issues is the issue of representations. What do the reps the aff uses interact with the debate and the world? Are representations an important (or paramount) claim in terms of how to compare aft harms versus the neg arguments? Do reps superceed those comparisons?

    * Note sometimes the ethical claims of the K aren’t in the way we think of ethics. Also, the K can take the opposite view and claim the aff is a form of ethics the K is in opposition to.

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