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DISADVANTAGES. What is a Disadvantage?. Disadvantages are offcase positions that the negative advances to prove that the costs of the plan outweigh its benefits Disads typically make a CAUSAL claim: Plan -> X -> Y -> Bad
DISADVANTAGESWhat is a Disadvantage?
  • Disadvantages are offcase positions that the negative advances to prove that the costs of the plan outweigh its benefits
  • Disads typically make a CAUSAL claim: Plan -> X -> Y -> Bad
  • Disads must outweigh the “residual case” to be a reason to vote negative—you can “win” a disad and still lose the debate
  • Disads are often named after either the “link” or “impact” (Troop Shift, Heg, etc.)
  • Structure of a Disadvantage
  • Disads have three main components
  • External link: argument (card) that connects the affirmative plan (or its effects) to the disadvantage
  • Internal link(s): arguments (cards) that connect the external link claim to the impact—can have multiple internal links
  • Impact: negative effect produced by the plan… in contemporary debate, only 3 impacts ‘count’
  • Global nuclear war
  • Extinction
  • “No Value to Life”
  • Structure [cont’d]
  • Each of these three components also includes AT LEAST an implicit uniqueness claim—an argument that either the causal connection (link) or consequence (impact) is not occurring in the status quo
  • Some folks also talk about “threshold” and “brink”—the amount of ‘push’ we need to trigger a causal chain/how close we are to triggering that chain
  • Why Use Disadvantages?
  • Disads reward hard work—they are an argument on which “being prepared” (having new uniqueness stories and updated blocks) can earn you wins
  • Disads provide a lot of argument diversity—even if the range of disads on a particular topic is narrow (see: last year), they can be tweaked in a nearly infinite number of ways
  • Disads are generally pretty intuitive, EXCEPT for the terminal impact. Just sayin’.
  • Disads can interact with the case impact, and TURN IT
  • One Important Thing to Remember
  • All disadvantages are LIES—if they were true, we would all be dead. Be HAPPY about this—life is beautiful!
  • This should not bother you—debate is about testing ideas in a competitive format, and if the aff cannot defeat a bad argument, that’s on them—just think, you’re helping them learn 
  • “Truthyness” on a disad is most important at the level of the external link—if you’re good on the link everything else can fall into place
  • How to Answer a Disadvantage
  • Have a STRATEGY for defeating the disad—you have three basic options
  • Link turn
  • Impact turn
  • Straight mitigation
  • Both link and impact turn strategies should include mitigation arguments EXCEPT under very specific circumstances
  • Link Turns
  • A “link turn” denies one or more of the causal connections in the disadvantage, arguing that the causal connection works in the OPPOSITE direction
  • Example: link says plan decreases hegemony, link turn says plan increases hegemony
  • A “link turn” is no better than a takeout UNLESS it is combined with a “link uniqueness” claim
  • Impact Turns
  • Impact turns claim that the “bad” of the disadvantage impact is actually “good”
  • Example: disad says plan causes nuclear war, and nuclear war is bad—impact turn says nuclear war is good!
  • Many people call lower-level internal link turns “impact turns”—this is not entirely accurate, but is a widely accepted naming practice
  • Example: Disad says plan decreases hegemony, hegemony is good—impact turns says hegemony is bad (which is true, btw)
  • Disads can be “straight turned”—either reading ONLY unique link turns or impact turns (NOT BOTH!!!!), forcing the other team to go for the argument
  • Mitigation Arguments
  • Link (both External and Internal)
  • Link is not true
  • Link is exaggerated
  • Link is non-unique
  • Impact
  • Impact is not true
  • Impact is exaggerated
  • Impact is non-unique
  • All causal claims can have their thresholds/brinks attacked
  • Strategic Considerations for Disads
  • Number: you want to put pressure on the aff, but you do not want to either spread yourself out or contradict yourself—generally, 2-4 disads are plenty, and if you’re relatively inexperienced, fewer is better than more
  • Case: disads MUST be accompanied by case takeouts and/or “turns the case” claims—it is almost impossible for you to win otherwise
  • Impacts: should be diverse, able to turn the case, and able to OUTWEIGH the case—a disad that does not outweigh the aff is pretty much worthless
  • Types: disads should only minimally interact with one another—otherwise, you can run into dangerous cross-applications… avoid duplication in link and impact claims
  • Disads + Counterplans = Peanut Butter + Jelly: good alone, excellent in combination
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