Chapter 8

The Final Rebuttals


What are the goals of the Second Negative Rebuttal speech?

This is the Negative’s last chance to take a stand, and to sway those issues which still might be undecided in the mind of the judge. However, this speech is also the first time that the Second Negative has been required to present case arguments. The Second Negative speaker must flow the two earlier rebuttals in order to present this speech properly. He should be willing to consult quietly with his partner to make sure the case issues are understood.


What is the format of 2NR?


Can I drop losing arguments?

The First Negative speaker probably trimmed down his case attacks in 1NR by dropping any arguments that either (1) were going to go Affirmative anyway or (2) wouldn’t have helped the Negative position even if the arguments fell Negative. In general, you have the right to drop hopeless arguments too. Considering that you have to cover case and plan both in just five minutes, it’s likely that you will have to drop something.

You may even wish to drop plan attacks. Perhaps you have presented a D-A that has no real impact, and the 1AR speaker pointed this out. Rather than defending this argument, you’d like to extend on a D-A with a strong impact that the Affirmative glossed over. Or perhaps two of the four PMAs you presented really weren’t very strong, and you would like to use more time rebuilding the two stronger attacks. This is perfectly acceptable.

There is one danger you must beware. If the Affirmative used a turnaround argument against one of your disadvantages, you dare not drop it. By turning the link or impact of the D-A, the Affirmative has changed the disadvantage into a new advantage which flows from their plan. If you drop the issue at this point, you are conceding that the plan has a surprising beneficial side-effect. The judge will add the impact of this argument to the Affirmative side when deciding if advantages outweigh disadvantages.

If, at this point, you don’t understand what turnarounds are, please re-read the section on them in the previous chapter.

The best way to defeat a turnaround is to challenge the proof at the point the D-A was turned, either at the link or the impact. This may mean reading new evidence to rebuild the chain of cause and effect (link turnaround) or reading new evidence to show that the result is really bad, not beneficial (impact turnaround). At the same time, challenge the Affirmative’s evidence and reasoning, just as with any proof challenge. Do not re-read evidence from 2NC! That evidence is already recorded on the judge’s flowchart, and presenting it again will not advance your case.

It may happen that the turnaround is other words, it sounds more reasonable than the original Negative position, and you don’t have any evidence capable of defeating it. In that case, at the very least, you should argue that the turnaround should not be counted in the Affirmative’s favor, since it is an extratopical advantage. This argument can be presented against any turnaround. For an explanation of extratopicality, see Chapter 13.

Here’s what a defense against a turnaround may sound like:

"Let us consider my third disadvantage: INCREASED INCOME TAXES LEAD TO NUCLEAR WAR. The Affirmative ignored all the substructure and argued that nuclear war would be desirable, since it would introduce more variation into the human gene pool and thus promote evolutionary development of the human race. I have three responses. ONE: THE EVIDENCE CITED IS UNTENABLE. The quotation is from 1958; the source, Dr. Goldschmidt, was a pediatrician accused of Nazi war crimes before his execution. TWO: THE DISADVANTAGE OUTWEIGHS ANY BENEFITS. Dr. Goldschmidt was referring to a limited nuclear exchange that would leave the mass of humanity untouched, but Professor of Environmental Policy Melissa Waxford writes in the April issue of Eugenics magazine that ‘any exchange of nuclear weapons between the superpowers would doom all of humanity, and is 99% likely to end all life on earth.’ POINT THREE: THE CLAIMED ADVANTAGE IS NOT UNIQUE. If this new genetic variation were desirable, the U.S. could bring it about by starting nuclear war on its own. We don’t need the Affirmative plan, so the advantage cannot be counted in the Affirmative’s favor. The benefits are clearly extratopical, since they do not flow from the resolution."


What is the goal of the Second Affirmative Rebuttal speech?

This is the Affirmative’s last chance to score points for their side. Plus, of course, this is the very last speech in the debate. Leave it on a firm Affirmative footing and give the judge a strong impression that you ought to win.


What is the format of 2AR?


Introduction to Policy Debate
Copyright © 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002 John R. Prager
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