When you’ve been running your affirmative case for a while, you have a pretty good mastery of all the possible arguments that may be run against your case. (Although you may be occasionally surprised by the… creative… arguments people come up with from time to time).
There are some arguments, however, that always seem to be a “big deal” even though you know they’re completely incorrect or misguided.
It can be frustrating to deal with these issues, which is why I’m introducing this phrase to use.
“This is a common argument” or “This is a common misunderstanding”.
Deliver one of these phrases along with a comma, and an explanation for why it’s wrong.
And that’s it.
Why it works
By telling the judge that this argument is common, you’re implying that the other team didn’t really dig deep to find this argument, they’re just using a common misconception that a lot of other people use. And it’s pretty true.
This is even more powerful for arguments that are very fear and emotion based, because it paints the other team as just another paranoid person.
Lastly, it also makes you look more knowledgeable. It shows that you have experience with the topic, and you know what arguments are typical, and which ones aren’t.
In general, this is what it would look like:
Neg: [paranoid argument that’s incorrect]
Aff: “The negative argued in their last speech that [argument tag]. This is actually a very common misconception of our case so I want to clear it up once and for all. [Argument].
Let’s look at a specific example so that you can see what the rhetoric would actually look like when applied to an argument.
The setting: you are running a case to video record interrogations, except for when the suspect in the interrogation asks not to be recorded. Negative just argued that your exception basically means no interrogations will be recorded, since most suspects will say no.
“I understand what the negative team is getting at here, and in fact this is a very common claim. In fact, at one point, I agreed. But then I found that only [x percent] of suspects ever ask for the camera to be turned off, and that’s the ones that are asked directly. [Read evidence]. Even fewer would explicitly ask if the camera isn’t mentioned.
So although this argument makes sense, it is in fact false.”
Enjoy using this phrase!