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A Short Argument Against the States CP

Suppose you are a security guard working the night-shift at an art museum. You
realize a disgruntled co-worker is wandering around, and to your dismay, punching
painting after painting. You could run up to your co-worker and tackle them, but that
would virtually guarantee damage to the next painting. In an ideal world, your coworker would stop their rampage on their own. But based on their aggressive
demeanor, you figure this is unlikely. So the choice is yours: tackle your co-worker
(and definitely cause more harm) or do nothing at all and roll the dice with the hope
that your co-worker will abort their rampage on their own volition.
It seems pretty compelling that you should take matters into your own hands. While
itd be ideal for your co-worker to stop their rampage on their own, you have little to
no confidence that they will, and so you have a moral obligation to stop the
Now consider the states CP. The USFG sees serious harm in the status quo. It would
be ideal for the 50 states to implement a handgun ban instead of the federal
government, but keep in mind, many of these 50 states openly oppose any gun
control whatsoever, let alone a handgun ban. Moreover, the idea that all 50 states
would act in unison is sheer fantasy. In sum, the ideal outcome, whereby the 50
states implement a handgun ban, is virtually zero.
Just as the security guard would be foolish to play the odds of not acting, the same
would be true for the federal government. In both cases, theres little to no chance
that the ideal actor would actually act. And so the obligation falls back to you, the
non-ideal actor. As the language here suggests, this logic applies to all alternate
actor CPs, not just the 50 states CP.
So far Ive assumed that the aff advantages outweigh the federalism disadvantage.
If, in the original example, the only way to tackle your co-worker would involve both
of you crashing through a glass wall on the twentieth story of the museum, then
maybe its not worth saving the paintings after all. But federalism disadvantages
range from bad to awful, so this isnt a tenuous assumption. Moreover, the offense
from the aff is likely conceded after all, being able to concede aff offense is what
makes a 50 states CP strategic. Fully conceded offense should win every time
against a federalism disadvantage.
Sometimes traditional debate guidelines (that we compare the aff and neg world,
and that a CP is the negs world) produce outcomes that defy common sense. When
we feel bizarre arguments like the states CP are winning too much, we should bring
those bizarre arguments back to familiar territory, where stronger intuitions can
impart some much-needed clarity.
To be clear, Im not trying to argue that we should whole-sale reject comparing
worlds. That fact that perms exist suggests that even folks in the comparing worlds
camp agree that not all counter-plans are legitimate reasons to negate that
counter-plans only matter if they are opportunity costs weighty enough to make the
aff policy undesirable.

In this case, the fact that the states are so unlikely to act means theres virtually no
opportunity cost to affirming.