To put it all together, let's look at an example of what a complete Kritik argument might look like in a debate round:
Plan Text: "The United States federal government should place economic sanctions on China to pressure the Chinese government to end practices of Internet censorship."
Advantage 1: "Individual liberties are good."
Advantage 2: "Internet freedom increases international trade, which creates economic growth."
1. Link: "The Aff justifies their plan with the assumption that international trade and economic growth are universally beneficial, but globalizing trade harms workers in developing nations who wind up working for low wages to produce cheap goods to export to wealthier nations."
2. Impact:"The Aff's failure to recognize that global trade is not universally beneficial reenforces the same systems of thought that are responsible for sweatshops, child labor, global poverty, etc."
3. Alternative: "Question the logic of unrestrained globalization and vote Negative."
If you were buying a house, you wouldn't want to pick one built on top of a crumbling foundation, even if the house itself was perfect for you.
The same logic also applies to the Aff's Plan.
Kritik arguments are made up of 3 main points:
Just like in a Disadvantage, the "Link" shows how the Kritik applies to the Affirmative's case.
"Impacts" are the bad things caused because of the Link. Kritik Impacts are sometimes also referred to as "Implications."
The "Alternative" is what the Neg suggests should be done instead of voting Aff. It is similar to a Counterplan, with one important difference: whereas CPs are POLICIES the Neg introduces and suggests that the government should enact instead of the policy presented by the Aff's Plan, Kritik Alternatives are more like DIFFERENT WAYS OF THINKING.
Think about it like this:
Just like Counterplans, Kritiks must be "Competitive" in order for the Neg to win the debate.
(If you aren't sure what that means, please review the section on Competition in the Introduction to Counterplans chapter.)
If the Neg is able to prove that there are major flaws in the way the Affirmative thinks about the issues in the debate, then they can win that the entire Plan is built on top of a shoddy intellectual "foundation."
Kritiks are Negative arguments that suggest that the judge should reject the Affirmative team because their case is premised on ideas or assumptions that are problematic.
You are now ready to use Ks in your Negative debate rounds!
“Kritiks” are off-case Negative arguments. They criticize the Affirmative from a philosophical or theoretical perspective.
Debaters often abbreviate “Kritik” to "K." They are also sometimes called "Criticisms."
Rather than focusing on the harmful consequences of the Aff's Plan (like a Disad), Kritiks negate the Aff'sunderlying ideas, assumptions, or word choices.
**Still need additional help understanding Kritiks? Write to us for personalized debate advice!**
For example, if the Aff's Plan is to increase the number of women in government because "women are more cooperative than men and will start fewer wars," the Neg might read a Kritik arguing that "the idea that women are ALWAYS less warlike than men assumes that all women are the same, which is both sexist and false."
In this hypothetical debate round, the Neg isn't objecting to the ACTION of the Plan itself, but rather to the ASSUMPTIONS the Aff made in their JUSTIFICATION for the Plan.
That's how Kritiks work to establish a reason to vote Negative.