The Instigator
Debatepro12
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Chang29
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,471 times Debate No: 70878
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

Debatepro12

Pro

In 2008, Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Egypt, and the city of Milwaukee all saw food riots. In 2011, Algeria, Tunisia, and Yemen joined them. The issue of food security is perhaps the most critical topic to be addressed, and because I support equality and justice for all, I will arguing Pro today.

I will start by defining a few terms.

A just government: A government that is honorable, fair, and consistent with what is morally right in its dealings and actions.
Ought: Used to indicate duty or correctness
Ensure: Make certain that something shall occur or be the case
Food security: In its broadest sense, it is the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
Citizen: a legally recognized subject of a state

I value morality as the resolution asks what a just government ought to do, and it is a moral responsibility for it to ensure the survival and well-being of all its population.

Contention #1: By law, the government is entitled to ensuring the well-being for all its citizens.
The right to access and consume food is a human right. It is stated in Article 25 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food." This is a binding international legal instrument that must be upheld with the utmost respect and rigidity. Because the government's responsibility is to serve its citizens and ensure their protection and pursuit of happiness, according to the US Constitution, then they have the responsibility to ensure that their citizens have access to food, as access to food is an integral, basic component of protection/pursuit of happiness.

Contention #2: If more people have access to food, it ensures a better economy and country.
With more people able to access food, they will live healthier lives and increase their abilities to work, get jobs, earn a living, and in general help shape the economy and perform labor that aids their society. Not only are individuals aided with the ensuring of food security, but society as a whole benefits.

Contention #3: Access to food supply is most important to the survival of the human species.
According to Richard Watson, Professor of Philosophy at Washington University, he published in a paper, "That food sufficient for well-nourished survival is the equal right of every human individual or nation is a specification of the higher principle that everyone has equal right to the necessities of life...Consequently, the moral action is to distribute all food equally, whatever the consequences...it has always been understood that the claims of morality"if taken seriously"supersede those of conflicting reason. One may even have to sacrifice one"s life or one"s nation to be moral in situations where practical behavior would preserve it. For example, if a prisoner of war undergoing torture is to be a (perhaps dead) patriot even when reason tells him that collaboration will hurt no one, he remains silent."

I will end my arguments now by emphasizing one last time that although I am addressing every government, I specifically am addressing the governments of food-deficit countries where lack of food is common. I also speak with regards to all aspects of food security: here in America, there are many cities with high obesity rates because fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive, and people only have access to cheap processed foods. I consider that, the responsibility to ensure healthy food for all, also part of the responsibility.

I stand open for Con, but I urge you all to vote Pro. If you believe in a just society, a moralistic government, a world governed by rights and ethics, vote Pro.
Chang29

Con

This is an important subject that has wide reaching consequence, thank you pro for initiating this debate.

Positive Case:

C1) A just government that is honorable, fair, and consistent with what is morally right in its dealings and actions.
In the words of Fredric Bastiat from "The Law" about a just and enduring government, "If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable "" whatever its political form might be." A just government can not be oppressive.

Every person has a natural right to individuality, liberty, and property. Governments that limit these natural rights therefore are unjust. If government imposes a duty upon citizens that government is by definition unjust.
Every person should pursue activities based on their own desires to self their fellow man, being compensated through voluntary exchange.

A just government cannot morally impose a duty upon a citizen to provide food to another citizen. A government that imposes duties upon citizens is not honorable, fair, or moral. Citizens that produce food should be able to voluntarily exchange the food products of their labor under mutually beneficial agreements without government interference.

http://www.econlib.org... 5

C2) Food availability based on free market prices
Since, everyone requires food and that food is plentiful throughout the world. The issue is with distribution. The laws of supply and demand will force food prices to be very low. Governments increase prices of food due to protectionist policies. These policies drive up cost of food commodities to ensure local farmer"s jobs are protected. In addition, governments that requires food to be converted to fuels, cause demand for food commodities to be artificially high. Governments are the cause of artificially high food prices and distribution problems. Distribution problems are caused by protectionist policies.

Rebuttals

Contention #1: By law, the government is entitled to ensuring the well-being for all its citizens.

Only unjust governments would have laws entitling government to ensure well-being of citizens.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no legal power over any nation.
The purpose of the US Constitution was to protect citizen"s negative rights, not to grant positive rights. In the words of President Barack Hussein Obama about the US Constitution, "a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf."

http://www.usnews.com...

Contention #2: If more people have access to food, it ensures a better economy and country.

Government should not deny access to food. Food, same as all goods and services should move freely at market prices. Government distribution of food will only lead to shortages. Most every communist government suffered from food shortages, even Pol Pot"s Khmer Rouge that depopulated cities to force agricultural production. Communist governments will state that government has responsibility to provide for citizens.

http://worldwithoutgenocide.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Debatepro12

Pro

Thank you, Con, for responding.

Rebuttals:

Contention 1: Con has stated that a just government is honorable and fair. Does that not suggest that a government ought to ensure equitable distribution of food, one of the key elements of food security? Con is taking things too far when he says that a just government cannot be oppressive and that every person has a right to individuality, liberty, and property. I agree that individuals do require autonomies and cannot be restricted of their individual rights. However, when Con states that every person should pursue activities based on their own desires, food security is ensuring food rights for everyone, including the people who cannot afford food. The whole point of this issue even having been brought up is because there are too many people facing food insecurities in the world, and the government's job is to give them what they desire. So in fact, that completely drops Con's first contention.

Con says, "A just government cannot morally impose a duty upon a citizen to provide food to another citizen. A government that imposes duties upon citizens is not honorable, fair, or moral. Citizens that produce food should be able to voluntarily exchange the food products of their labor under mutually beneficial agreements without government interference." Citizens should defiantly produce food and exchange food products of their labor without government interference, but this topic is focusing specifically on the fact that the government should only interfere to ensure that everyone can produce and exchange food products.

Con's second contention talks about how food distribution is an issue, and that the government increases food prices due to the laws of supply and demand. I am not sure I understand this contention, but is Con stating that the government would create high prices and distribution problems if they ensured food security? If that is what Con is saying, ensuring food security is meant to fix the issues of distribution and prices.

Con attacked my first contention, stating that only unjust governments would have laws entitling the well-being of citizens. That completely goes against a government in general - of course a government has laws to ensure the well-being of its citizens.

Con states, "The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no legal power over any nation.
The purpose of the US Constitution was to protect citizen"s negative rights, not to grant positive rights. In the words of President Barack Hussein Obama about the US Constitution, "a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf."

Food insecurity is a negative right. This is a right everyone needs, yet is denied from too many people. The US Consitution is intended to protect citizens' negative rights, in this case protecting the negative right to lack of food. The UN Declaration of Human Rights is meant to be upheld by every single nation that signed it, so yes it does have legal power over every nation who signed it.

Con writes that government distribution will only lead to shortages. I am not suggesting that the government distribute food. Rather, the government must find a way to fix the supply of food to ensure that everyone receives food at an equitable amount. Furthermore, where is your evidence that it will lead to shortages? Didn't you say in your previous argument that the world has plenty of food? There is a surplus, correct? So from my understanding, Con is saying we shouldn't give food to everyone because then there will be shortages. So let's deny some people food so that we can always have a surplus of food.

I stand open for further rebuttals. I thank Con for their impressive arguments, and urge anyone to read this and vote Pro. If you support a just government, support equality and a strong economy, vote Pro.
Chang29

Con

Since we have a few more rounds on "Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens" lets regroup our main points of contention.

1) Food security positive or negative right
2) Responsibilities of a just government, including US Constitution
3) United Nations role
4) Role of government in distribution
Both parties agree that free markets and the best method to set food prices.

1) Food security positive or negative right

Pro states "Food insecurity is a negative right" the word insecurity is clearly a typo. For government to provide food security it must be a positive right. For a right to be negative nothing must be done to satisfy the right. Rights like freedom of speech and life, both of these rights require no action by others. These negative rights everyone has at birth and government can only take away these right. For a government to ensure food security, someone will have a duty imposed on them to feed others.
Pro also states "[t]his is a right everyone needs, yet is denied from too many people" only government can deny a person access to trade for food. Government is the cause of food insecurity and should not have any role in correcting the problem.

A video about positive and negative rights:
https://www.youtube.com...

2) Responsibilities of government and US Constitution

A reminder of pro definition of a just government "A government that is honorable, fair, and consistent with what is morally right in its dealings and actions."

Pro using a definition of government that includes "fair and morally right" can have no other meaning than citizen"s negative rights are protect while not imposing duties to fulfill positive rights. A morally right government cannot force one citizen to provide for another citizen. Using government's monopoly of force to extract food or funds from one person only to transfer to another person can never is considered morally right.

A positive right imposes a duty on another to satisfy this new right. Any government that imposes duties on citizens is no longer by just pro's definition, thus is an oppressive government.
Pro is now attempting to change the definition of government, "... the government's job is to give them what they desire", and this new definition is in conflict with the initial definition. A government cannot give people what they desire and still be fair and morally right.

That brings us to the US Constitution, which pro agrees is a charter of negative rights "The US Constitution is intended to protect citizens' negative rights"" but then attempts to define food security as a negative right "" in this case protecting the negative right to lack of food." Which food security if provided by government is clearly a positive right. The premise of the debate is that "Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens" the word ought is clearly defined as "used to indicate duty or correctness", and ensure as "make certain that something shall occur or be the case". By the provided definitions, a just government cannot ensure that positive rights are enforced on citizens, thus just governments ought to only protect a citizen right to engage in free trade with others for food to meet their personal nutritional desires.

3) United Nations role

From Article 2, paragraph 7, of the Charter of the United Nations, which establishes that nothing contained in the Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the Charter.

This clause in the UN charter renders the entire Human rights declaration as a suggestion.

4) Food distribution

Pro writes "I am not suggesting that the government distribute food. Rather, the government must find a way to fix the supply of food to ensure that everyone receives food at an equitable amount."

A just government cannot and should not ensure equitable amount of food for everyone. Just governments should only ensure that citizen is not prohibited from voluntarily exchanging food. As pro agreed with a free market is the best way to set food prices.

A great example of how government causes food insecurity was given in the last round. The example of Cambodia under Pol Pot shows how a country of farmers can be short of food. Here are a few more where government involvement to ensure equitable distribution of food:

USSR 1927
"In 1927, the USSR faced a food shortage. This had been brought about by a poor harvest that year but Stalin became convinced that the peasants themselves were responsible for the grain shortages in the cities as a result of hoarding and keeping the market short of food thus increasing its price. He ordered thousands of young Communists from the cities to go to the countryside and seize grain. This was the start of a policy, known as the "Great Turn" that left millions to starve."
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...

PRC 1959
A decade after the Communist party took power in 1949, promising to serve the people, the greatest manmade disaster in history stalks an already impoverished land. In an unremarkable city in central Henan province, more than a million people " one in eight " are wiped out by starvation and brutality over three short years. In one area, officials commandeer more grain than the farmers have actually grown. In barely nine months, more than 12,000 people " a third of the inhabitants " die in a single commune; a tenth of its households are wiped out. Thirteen children beg officials for food and are dragged deep into the mountains, where they die from exposure and starvation. A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Forty-four of a village's 45 inhabitants die; the last remaining resident, a woman in her 60s, goes insane. Others are tortured, beaten or buried alive for declaring realistic harvests, refusing to hand over what little food they have, stealing scraps or simply angering officials.
http://www.theguardian.com...

Somalia 1992
A failed socialist state that citizens did not have basic property rights.
"Somalia's last major famine was in 1992 and was not caused by drought. Nearly 300,000 innocent people starved to death because of sectarian politics. The epicentre of that famine was in Bay, one of the country's most productive agricultural regions, and starvation was induced by warlords who used food as a weapon against farmers and pastoralists."
http://www.aljazeera.com...

Mexican food riots 2008
Many experts also point out that U.S. demand for corn to manufacture ethanol is a large factor in the price hikes, especially in neighboring countries. Significant amounts of Mexican corn are now being diverted northward to take advantage of the high prices.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

Thailand 2013
This did not kill any Thai, but shows how government causes distribution problems.
"Concern is also rising over the quality of the rice piling up in the warehouses. Rice always deteriorates, but the suspicion is growing that stocks are being contaminated with substandard rice."
http://www.economist.com...

Pro please provide non-governmental causation for these examples of food insecurity that you use as background for the debate, Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Egypt, city of Milwaukee, Algeria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Governments mandate food to be converted into fuel, limit distribution of food commodities, subsidize production, pay farmers not to grow crops, and many others programs cause food insecurity. Governments cannot ensure food security; rather governments cause the worst food insecurity.
Debate Round No. 2
Debatepro12

Pro

Debatepro12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Debatepro12

Pro

Debatepro12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Debatepro12

Pro

Debatepro12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.