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VP: Individual Rights... posted by merlin

In value debate, the Negative team proposes what is known as a counter-value.  This is not in refutation to the affirmative team’s case yet, and therefore should be put on a separate place in your flow. The value I will be proposing today is that of individual rights.


To premise my position, when the value of individual rights is secured, we secure the individual’s right to make decisions regarding their own benefit, and when this is secured, we are furthering the value of economic liberty – the value espoused by the resolution.  Upholding individual rights upholds economic liberty.  Therefore, we can now look at the resolution through the paradigm of my value.  Rephrased as such:  Resolved:  The restriction of individual rights for the sake of the general welfare is justified in the field agriculture.


Throughout this speech I’m going to be proving why ideology of the resolution is inherently flawed. To do this, I will expound upon my value of individual rights and offer a criterion. 


Value: Individual Rights

Individual rights holds that the interests and rights of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.  Upholding the value of individual rights acts as a protection of the individual against the will of the majority.  This is the doctrine that America was founded on as evidenced by the Bill of Rights and the Preamble which guarantees the individual rights to life, liberty, and property. 


In addition to proposing a counter-value and criterion, I will be presenting three off case contentions.  The first two will be the overview contentions and will seek to explain why the value of individual rights is so important.  The final contention shows the application of upholding this value.


Overview Contentions

1. Guaranteeing the individual’s right to make decisions regarding their situation will further the society as a whole.

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations  notes that the typical investor “intends only his own gain, and he is . . . led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. . . By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.


The principle of free market laid out in The Wealth of Nations is simple.  When an individual possesses the right to make decisions, they are motivated to act in a way that benefits themselves — for this is a strong motivation — and this indirectly positively impacts the general welfare. 


2. Furthers the progression of society

Supporting the individual’s right to act in the manner that befits their personality and motivations encourages creativity and the formulation of new ideas, which ultimately further the progress of the entire society.


As David L. Miller, a philosopher of the mid-twentieth century agrees, “Individuals constitute the source of new ideas whose practical application is necessary for the growth of society.”


As evident in these two overview contentions, when we uphold the value of individual rights, we indirectly positively impact the general welfare.  Therefore, when the value of individual rights comes in conflict with the general welfare, we should uphold individual rights because this allows us to get both values. Individual rights encompasses the general welfare.


Application Contentions

3. Private property rights

In the field of agriculture, restrictions on land use or conservation regulatory programs simply do not exist.  As noted in the Code of Federal Regulations under the exemptions of the Farmland Protection Policy Act: “…these regulations do not authorize the Federal Government in any way to regulate the use of private or non-Federal land, or in any way affect the property rights of owners of such land.”


Despite the lack of federal regulations on land use, farmers consistently choose to work in crop rotations and tilling of the soil.  Cross-applying the principle of free market I laid out in the first contention, it would simply not be beneficial for farmers to destroy their land and as such, they choose to wisely manage it.