Topicality - LO
Mostly from Dave W's T lectures- here's what you should put in a LO Topicality(or "Resolutionality") block.
This will be the example throughout the post:
Resolution: This house would make China happy
Plan: "this house" is a immigrant family, and it will found a restaurant named "China happy."
In the LO:
Our first independent point is that we believe the government case is non-topical.
»Interpretation: Define or explain your interpretation of the resolution- specifically the part the Gov doesn't meet.
Our interpretation is that "China" refers to the country called "China."
»Violation: Explain why the government doesn't meet your interpretation of the resolution. (If the plan is extra topical or effects topical, you can explain why they are extra or effects T here; more on these in a post here.)
The government violates the resolution because they do nothing to make the country China happy.
»Standards or "reasons to prefer:" These are reasons why your interpretation is good, and why the judge should prefer it over the interpretation that the Gov will presumably raise. Standards mainly concern limits- the idea that the field of legitimate debate is limited by the resolution, and ground- the idea that the field of debatable points is divided between the gov and the opp. A case that is not topical steps outside the limits of the resolution, and it takes ground that the Opp is supposed to get to run counter-cases, disadvantages, etc. You can explain why ground or limits are important by using other standards, like predictability (unpredictable cases make Opp prep useless), brightline (interpretation must provide a clear line between topical and non-topical, competitive equity or fairness (often that taking ground that should be the opposition's makes the resolution unfair), or any other reason you can think of why your interpretation is better.
It's especially helpful if you can give specific examples of how the Gov's lack of topicality hurt your ability to debate. Tell the judge about the countercase, DA, etc. you preped to run, but can't because the Gov case is non-topical.
You should prefer our interpretation because:
-it is far more predictible, it's what you immediately thought when you heard the resolution.
-our interpretation is more gramatically correct, as happy is uncapitalized in the resolution, and should be capitalized in the name of a restaurant.
-the government's interpretation explodes the ground of the debate- if you could name anything "China happy" and have anyone make it, you could run anything. "China happy" could be the name of a government fund to feed starving children.
»Voters: You should give the judge reasons why he or she should vote Opp on topicality. Some common reasons are:
-Education- we learn less from non-topical rounds
-Jurisdiction- the judge is empowered to vote only for topical cases, other cases are outside his or her jurisdiction and most be voted down.
-Fairness- the Gov team has made it unfairly difficult for Opp to win the round by being non-topical, and that's not a fair way to win.
-A priori- topicality is a government burden, and they must prove it to win the round. (Better: The judge is here to vote that the resolution is true or false; even if the government team proves a non-topical case is a good idea, it still does not prove the resolution and the judge should vote opp)
-other voters you can think of- keep in mind the ideas of "abuse"- that the Gov team has put an unfair burden on you, and "potential abuse"- that non-topicality can put too much burden on the Opp. A common claim is that a judge should vote on topicality to discourage Govs from running potentially abusive arguments.
Topicality is a voter for fairness because the government's choice to run a non-topical plan has prevented us from useful preperation, making the debate fundementally unfair. Topicality is also a voter for jurisdiction because you are here to vote on the resolution- and no resolutional case was presented.