Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Value Piracy

When I first heard about this thing called “value piracy,” I knew that it must be really great and that I should try it sometime. And then I found out what it was, and I was even more convinced. (because "pirate" was in my blood and I knew I'd have to square with that one day.) See, here’s how it works for you TPers/Parli People/Interpers/Timers/relatives of mine/people who came here trying to find out stuff about pirates/other non-LDers out there:

Aff gets up and they say, “yay the resolution! The resolution is great because it leads to my value yay please vote aff yay!!”
And the Negative guy says, “Lolyeahno, actually I’m stealing your value ‘cause the resolution is bad because when we disagree with it/support the other side, then we get to that very same value whatnow. Yoho!”

Then he slaps on an eyepatch and bring his hand up from behind the podium to reveal a sharp, shiny hook and a parrot flies in the open window and lands on his shoulder, and the parrot says, “Awwwk! Wind in the sails!” and the Neg gives a couple of “ARRGGS!” before the Aff comes up for Cross-Ex.

It’s pretty great. 

I got to try it the other day. It was pretty great.

Well, what actually happened is that the girl I was up against who was going aff had a value that happened to be the same as mine on the negative, so I reworded my case a bit and got to go all piratical on her. And then in Cross-Ex she said, “Wow! We have the same value! That’s so funny!” (clearly she had made it a point to avoid familiarity with pirates. It was a shame to put a black mark on her record.) and I tried to look at the judge like, oh yea, I totally did that on purpose. Maybe she bought it. Probably not.

In organizations like Stoa and the NCFCA, stealing is generally discouraged. You're not supposed to plagiarize or anything, and when you're asking for a copy of the 1AC, you're actually supposed to give it back at the end of the round, and the same thing for evidence, and if you use the other team's timer, you should return it, and you shouldn't steal pens to use for limited preps either but should ask permission to borrow them, and you shouldn't steal someone else's shoes even if you're about to wear less-than-professional attire into the round especially if they're clearly several sizes off, and you shouldn't steal ballots belonging to another team and write "Slow down!" all over knowing that their coach will make them do push-ups as a result (on second thought, I'm okay with that one) and you shouldn't steal from the snack table unless you say "Thank you!" and you shouldn't steal someone's flowpad or debate bag either, and you shouldn't throw your mashed potatoes up against the wall. All of this of which you are likely aware. HOWEVER, it's totally okay to, from time to time, commandeer (nautical term) your opponent's value when you are debating on the Negative side in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Really. Also, it's fun. 

You're probably wondering if this tactic is madness or brilliance (it's remarkable how often those two traits coincide) and I would strongly urge a ballot in favor of a double-win or something. That's an option, right? It should be. I realize it's not on the ballot, but really, the ballot rules are more like guidelines, anyway. There's simply something splendid about both debaters championing the same standard or weighing mechanism for this round, and avoiding non-fun debates about the imaginary minute differences between Human Dignity and Human Rights. And about how Justice subsumes Liberty so Justice is better but Liberty is the most important of the rights that Justice protects and it's the gold inside the safe so Liberty is what we're ultimately valuing but Justice is the safe on the outside and it's necessary to keep the gold protected so it's more important and... yea, avoid all that and talk about the resolution already, ya bloomin' cockroaches. Arggh.

That just might be, in the words of the great philosopher Jack Sparrow, "much more better."
Or at least it's preferable to simply staying home and lying around. 

You're homeschooled. Drink up, me hearties, yoho!


  1. So I am new to LD and I was wondering how exacticly you can have the same vaule as the Aff. team?

  2. Sure, well, as you probably know, each debater will (usually) present a value with their case, such as Human Dignity, Natural Rights, National Security, ect. This year in Stoa, people tend to be running the same sorts of values on both aff and neg, so it's pretty common for your opponent to have the same value as you. (If one of you is running a more obscure value, then this will probably not be the case.)

    A couple of things could happen when you're neg:
    1. As the affirmative is giving his first speech, you notice that his value is Human Dignity, and your negative value is HD as well. Instead of showing why his value is bad like you usually would, you show why your side of resolution achieves Human Dignity and his does not. You both agree the HD is the highest value; now it's a matter of determining how we can get it.

    2. Maybe the affirmative has a value that's really similar to yours, such as Natural Rights when you're running Inalienable Rights. You can either a) change the wording on your case so your values are the same or b) present your value and then go on to explain that they are the same thing, but again, your side of the resolution gets to the value while the aff does not.

    3. Really advanced debaters may create a case from scratch with the other person's value, but I haven't seen that happen yet.

    Does all that make sense?