Learn More About Parli Debate and Why It’s Awesome by: Luke Litz

If you have never done Parli before or in a league where Parli is not currently offered, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why would I want to Debate in Lasting Impact’s Online Trailblazers Tournament?” OR “Why would I want to get involved with Parli?” OR “Why would I take the Lasting Impact Introduction to Parli summer course?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Parli has a plethora of benefits to you, as a growing debater…

Debating has long been a part of the American Education System. Training in Debate improves analytical and speaking skills. Parliamentary Debate is one of the forms of debate that can stimulate and enhance communicators to quickly determine their point of view. One of the ways to improve your debating skills is PRACTICE! Of course during a pandemic, how are you supposed to continue growing in these skills when everything has been shut down?

Participating in Parli can be an excellent jump start into other types of debate. It’s one of the reasons why we decided to run our next online tournament with it. Many clubs have been enjoying learning more about Parliamentary Debate because of the fact it is easily applicable. Parli is a type of team debate, two partners vs two. For Parli, the resolution is announced before each round… meaning each round has a new resolution!!

There are typically 5 types of Resolutions…

  1. Policy
    Policy resolutions mandate that action be taken by a certain actor. In form, they are very similar to TP resolutions that you would debate all year. However, because of the limited prep nature of this debate, policy resolutions in Parli tend to be much more narrow than a typical TP resolution. This makes them much easier to prep in a short time. An example of a policy res that one could see in a Parli round could be Resolved: The United States should raise the minimum wage.
  2. Value
    Value resolutions assign worth to objects or ideas. Most value resolutions involve comparisons between two objects, typically saying that one thing should be valued over another. For example, Resolved: Public needs ought to be valued over private property rights.
  3. Fact
    Fact resolutions make a subjective statement about a thing or idea. They don’t mandate a specific action like a policy resolution, nor do they compare multiple concepts like a value resolution. They are, however, the most common type of Parli resolution that competitors see because they are often the most straightforward to debate. An example of a fact resolution could be Resolved: Television is on the path to extinction.
  4. Scenario
    Scenario resolutions are usually almost identical to policy resolutions. The only difference is that scenario resolutions offer the competitors a scenario and then, given the scenario, the resolution asks for an action to be taken. The scenarios can come from history, pop culture, or they could be completely made up. For example, a scenario resolution could be: The year is 2058. You are the president of the United States. Relations with North Korea have soured, and you fear that your country in on the brink of war. One day, your intelligence agencies contact you, saying that there is credible evidence that North Korea is actively preparing to send a nuclear missile at Los Angeles within 24 hours. You have the opportunity to preemptively strike North Korea to prevent this attack, or you can wait it out and try using diplomacy and your military defense systems to deter the possible attack. If you strike, your countries will start a war that could lose countless lives but Los Angeles will be safe. However, if you choose diplomacy and defense, there is no guarantee that you will succeed, and millions of your own citizens could die. Resolved: Strike North Korea.
  5. Metaphor
    Metaphor resolutions can be policy, fact, or value. The only thing that makes them different from those types of resolutions is that they are worded with metaphors that make them up for interpretation. Examples of metaphor resolutions could be Resolved: This house is blind as a bat or Resolved: The United States should take the bull by the horns.

Once the Resolution has been announced, each team will have twenty minutes to prep. Competitors may prepare using whatever resources they have available during preparation time, including electronic devices.

The structure of the round is as follows:

The Government team’s job is to defend the resolution. They play the same role that the affirmative team plays in TP or LD. The Government team is made up of the Prime Minister (PM) and the Member of Government (MG).
The Opposition team’s job is to refute the Government team’s position and provide a case against the resolution. They play the same role as the negative team in TP or LD. The Opposition team is made up of the Leader of Opposition (LO) and the Member of Opposition (MO).

The round has 6 speeches – PM Constructive, LO Constructive, MG Constructive, MO Constructive, LO Rebuttal, PM Rebuttal. The Constructive speeches (the ones where new arguments can be made) are all 7 minutes long, and the Rebuttals (the speeches where no new arguments can be made) are 5 minutes long.

During normal Parli rounds, teams can ask speakers questions during their constructive speeches, in what is known as a Point of Information. However, for our online tournament, we are replacing that with 2 minutes of Cross-Examination at the end of all constructive speeches.

If you have never done Parli before or in a league where Parli is not currently offered, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why would I want to Debate in Lasting Impact’s Online Trailblazers Tournament?” OR “Why would I want to get involved with Parli?” OR “Why would I take the Lasting Impact Introduction to Parli summer course?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Parli has a plethora of benefits to you, as a growing debater…

  1. Parli expands your base of knowledge. If you do LD or TP, you are used to having one topic of debate for an entire year. While this is really helpful for studying the merits of preventive war or EU Immigration policy in depth, it doesn’t provide you with the wide base of knowledge that you accumulate through Parli. Since Parli resolutions change every round, you can quickly develop a base knowledge on a plurality of subjects in only one tournament. This expanded base of knowledge makes you a more well-informed citizen.
  2. Parli helps you think on your feet. Along with the broadened base of knowledge that Parli will give you, you also become better at thinking on your feet by competing in Parli. While LD and TP offer a budget of prep time that you can use before speeches during the round, no such thing exists for Parli. The moment that your opponent stops speaking, it is your turn to speak. In addition, Parli forces you to come up with a case to defend a position in 20 minutes. This quick case construction and the limited prep that Parli provides allows for debaters to think quicker, improve critical thinking, and improve delivery as they get to digest information and relay it to the judge much quicker than it would be if they had all year to work out the exact wording of their TP case.
  3. Parli makes you better at other debate formats. Parli is all about being flexible to change: you could debate a policy resolution one round and a value resolution the next. This helps you to grow not just as a TP debater or an LD debater, but a debater as a whole. This, in turn, will make you better at TP, LD, Moot Court, or any debate format that you may do in college. Parli is a universal debate format and it teaches universal skills. TP debaters who do Parli well have an extra level of confidence in their TP rounds, and they speak better. Even if you do not plan on competing in Parli ever (and you definitely should plan on doing it!), it is still worth your while to try the online Parli tournament that we are offering and you should take the online Parli class this summer. The skills of Parli are universal skills, and learning them will help you be better at other debate events (and extemp!).
  4. Parli is fun! The rounds are relatively short (38 minutes of speaking time) and the fast-paced nature of the debate event makes it fun to participate in. At physical Parli tournaments, it is even permissible to knock on your table to show support for a point that your partner made. There isn’t a lot of prep required – you won’t spend weeks or months perfecting your 1AC – and you are always changing topics to keep the debate interesting. It can be intimidating to try a new debate event, but don’t let that discourage you! It is worth your time.

During this point in time where tournaments have been cancelled and we are all spending a lot of time at home, Parli offers a quick and fun way to continue to sharpen your debate skills with your club and your debate friends. You should give it a try!

To sign up and experience Parli Debate for the Online Tournament Click HERE. Remember, the prelim round Resolutions we will be based on the 2020 Stoa and NCFCA Resolutions (think PRACTICE). Sign up this week and also receive a FREE Parli Workshop. To learn more about the Parli Workshop, click HERE.

To sign up for Intro to Parli Summer Class Click HERE.