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VP: Quality of Life - VC: Health... posted by merlin

“…the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued.”  Because I agree with the preceding statement by James Madison, I stand resolved: That the restriction of economic liberty for the sake of the general welfare is justified in the field of agriculture.

 

To begin this debate I’ll start off by defining a few keys words in the resolution.  All definitions were derived from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (Third Edition Copyright © 1996)

 

Definitions:

  1. First, restriction: a regulation or limitation.
  2. Second, welfare: Well-doing or well-being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life.
  3. Third, agriculture: The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock; farming.

 

Value: Because “general welfare” is an intrinsically ambiguous concept, the value I will be explicitly defending today will be that of the quality of life.

Criteria: My criterion for weighing this value will be health.  Health is a vital part of the quality of one’s life, as without minimal health, enjoying one’s life would be near to if not completely impossible.  In the application of this criterion, we can see that when any governmental policy is designed to promote the health of individuals, they are furthering the value of the quality of life.

 

Thesis: In proving that my value should be upheld, I will divide this speech into two parts: the overview and the application of the value. The overview contentions will demonstrate why quality of life should be furthered above economic liberty.  The application contentions will demonstrate how when the value of the quality of life and economic liberty come in conflict, quality of life is selected as the higher value.

 

Overview A: Only by first securing the quality of life can any other values be enjoyed.  When as a society we value the ability of all individuals to further their positions and increase the quality of their lives, we also insure that individuals can enjoy all other values – such as economic liberty, rights to private property, the right to start a business or have a hamburger for dinner.  John Stuart Mills extends this point by stating that, “The ultimate end with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain and as rich as possible in enjoyment, both in points of quality and quantity.”  He notes that eliminating pain or sickness allows all other things which are good to be enjoyed.

 

Overview B: Ultimately, the only goal of government is to promote the quality of life.  The goals of a government, those laid out in the Preamble for instance, insuring “domestic tranquility,” providing for “the common defense”, securing the blessing of “liberty” and “posterity”, all these goals would be worthless except that they seek to further the quality of our lives. John Adams agreed, stating that “the happiness of the people is the sole end of government.”

 

Now moving on to the application of my value.  Over and over again in the field of agriculture we see that Americans in general value the quality of life over economic liberty.  I reserved defining economic liberty for this point in the case so that it will remain fresh in your mind while I go through these contentions.  Economic liberty, as defined by the National Center for Policy Analysis (GERALD W. SCULLY, NCPA POLICY REPORT NO. 196, AUGUST 1995, MULTICULTURALISM AND ECONOMIC GROWTH) is: “the right to private property, freedom of contract and a free market allocation of all goods and services, including external trade, and of all productive inputs.” Following are 3 examples where the current system restricts economic liberty for the sake of preserving people’s health.

 

Application #1: First, through pesticides. The current system places various regulations on the usage of pesticides.  This is accomplished in three ways: through eliminating the most harmful of pesticides, by restricting the amount of pesticides that can be legally used on different plants, and by forcing farmers to keep meticulous records on the pesticides they apply to their products.

 

Application #2: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures.  HACCP is a system of process control that can be used to prevent hazards to food by control, reduction, and prevention of pathogens.  Effective January 1998, about 75 percent of the nation’s raw meat and poultry products are in a HACCP system.  HACCP emphasizes prevention by building in safety controls.

 

Application #3: Protection of water.  The Safe Drinking Water Act was past in 1974 to regulate chemicals and sewage that farmers accidentally infused in groundwater sources.  This insures that the water you and I consume, even if directly out of the tap, is clean, clear, and safe.

 

The above contentions demonstrate that when the value of economic liberty and the quality of life come in conflict, quality of life is selected as the higher value.  As John Stuart Mills once stated in regards to liberty, "The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it."  So, following this maxim, when the freedom of a farmer to say, apply toxic chemicals to his crops deprives the consumer of his crops their right to pursue their own good, we should restrict the economic liberty of the farmer for the sake of the general welfare.  With that, I now stand open for questioning.