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VP: Sanctity of Life - VC: Social Contract... posted by Josh Nadal

“The right to human life.  This is an absolute, irrevocable, and nonderogable right that should enjoy the most preferred position in the hierarchy of human rights values.”  These are the words of Professor Kim, a senior research scholar at Columbia University.  It is because I hold this to be true that I stand firmly…


Resolved: That the restriction of economic liberty for the sake of the general welfare is justified in the field of agriculture.


General Definitions


1.      Restriction


“to confine or keep within limits, as of space, action, choice, or quantity.” – Random House Webster’s College Dictionary


2.      Justify


“1  To prove or show to be just, or conformable to law, right, justice, propriety or duty;” – Noah Webster’s 1812 American Dictionary of the English Language


3.      Agriculture


“the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products” – Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary


Value Premise: Since “the general welfare” is a very broad value, the value that the affirmative will uphold is that of the sanctity of life.

Value Premise Definition: According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “life” is defined as “The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence.”

Value Premise Justification: Life should be the first thing we value, for without life nothing else matters.  Without life, no other values or rights can be enjoyed.  In short, if you lose your life, then the most splendid rhetoric in advocacy of some other right is absolutely meaningless.


Criteria: The criterion that we will use to uphold life is the social contract.

Criteria Definition: The social contract that Locke gave us is based on the idea that we give up certain liberties for the protection of others.  I, for example, give up my right to walk up to a random person and hit them, so that I am protected from others doing that to me.

Criteria Justification: By using the social contract, life will be upheld because the social contract does not allow for a person’s right to life to be violated.


Thesis:  The affirmative holds that a restriction of economic liberty is justified if it upholds the sanctity of life.


So with this in mind we can understand that the affirmative’s burden in this round is to show that restricting economic liberty is justified if it upholds the sanctity of life.  If I do this, I win the round.
Designative Issues




Before we get into anything else, let’s take an overview of the value of life.  There are three reasons why life should be valued first and foremost.  First, life has only two degrees: alive, and dead.  Unlike the Princess Bride would have you believe, there is no such thing as being “mostly dead, partly alive!”  Since it has only two degrees then, that means that any encroachment, any sacrifice, of the value of life is a complete sacrifice of someone’s life.

Second, if your life is lost just once, that is it, everything is over.  You don’t get many second chances at death.  So life is absolute and thus if it is lost just once, it is irretrievable.

Third, all other values presuppose that life has been upheld.  For if life has not been upheld, but lost, then no other rights can be enjoyed.  Professor Kim, a senior research scholar at Columbia University said, “The loss of life cancels [out] all other human rights.”  Or you can look at it this way: if you, the judge, lose your life, then you cannot enjoy your dinner tonight, Disneyland, or even freedom itself.  Because of this, life must be the first thing that we value.


Now lets look at a couple of ways this applies to the field of agriculture.  The first is that the United States has banned or restricted many, many pesticides.  The Environmental Protection Agency said on February 21, 2001, “Before a company can sell or distribute any pesticide in the United States of America, EPA must review studies on the pesticide to determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health . . . EPA sets limits on how much of a pesticide may be used on food . . . and how much can remain on the food you buy.”  A second application is known as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, pronounced “hassip.”  According to the FDA, a couple of HACCP’s principles are, to “Analyze hazards. . . .  The hazard could be biological, such as a microbe; chemical, such as a toxin; or physical, such as ground glass or metal fragments.” And to “Identify critical control points.  These are points in a food's production—from its raw state through processing and shipping to consumption by the consumer—at which the potential hazard can be controlled or eliminated.”  Why have these things been done?  To protect life – because the value of life has been deemed more important than that of economic liberty.  Again, this is right, for human life has much greater value than the ability to use a certain kind or amount of pesticide, or to use unsafe food preparation processes.


In conclusion (exposition), we have looked at whether or not a restriction of economic liberty is justified for the sake of life.  We saw, first, that while economic freedom has many degrees, and thus can be partially restricted without impacting the whole; life has only two degrees, and thus if restricted in any way is completely sacrificed.  Second, we have seen that while you can have second chances at economic freedom; life, once gone, is irretrievable.  In addition to all this, we also saw that all values rest on the presupposition that life has been upheld first.  As such, when it comes to choosing one over the other we must choose life.  We see that by restricting these economic liberties, the United States has rightly upheld this value of life.  Life is sacred and we should not throw it away for mere economic freedoms.