The Instigator
theb0mbers4ever
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
Nails
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Public Health Concerns Justify Compulsory Immunization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,346 times Debate No: 10387
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (6)

 

theb0mbers4ever

Pro

Resolved: Public health concerns justify compulsory immunization

I affirm, public health concerns justify compulsory immunization.

The following definitions will be used for this case:

Public health, defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals." By the Encyclopedia of Public Health, 2002
Concern is defined as a matter or subject that relates or appertains to some person or thing, an affair by the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition 1989
Justify is defined as to make right, proper, or reasonable by the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition 1989
Compulsory is defined as obligated, enforced, or compelled.
Immunization is defined as administering antigenic material (a weakened form of the disease) into an individual for prevention and protection against a type of pathogen.

The value premise in this case will be public health, as the resolution is focusing on the welfare of the public population in general and whether the government should protect it.
The value criterion will be protecting public health, as the welfare of society is the basis for everything else.
Contention I:
Vaccinations extend the life expectancy of individuals.

Vaccinations have been proved to be effective in protecting people from targeted diseases such as smallpox, polio, typhoid, and others. Since the introduction of vaccines against major diseases, a sharp decrease in reported cases of these contagious diseases was seen. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smallpox has been estimated to be the cause of 300-500 million deaths in the 20th century; however the proliferation of the smallpox vaccine has successfully eradicated the disease as declared by the WHO in 1980; as for polio, 60,000 cases were reported alone in the United States in 1952, with more than 3,000 deaths. Since the widespread usage of the polio vaccine, polio was eradicated in the United States by 1979.
These statistics show that vaccines have successfully reduced the number of cases of widespread diseases, and as a result life expectancy has increased. Evidence provided above show immunization has benefited humanity to a great extent, extending the life expectancy rate of the world population by approximately 20 years since 1900. The health of society as a whole would also increase, if more people vaccinated. When the life expectancy is prolonged, citizens live longer; this is obviously is a good thing, as l

Contention II:
Government is established so to protect the general welfare of society.

The Constitution of the United States defines the responsibilities of the government as follows: "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The government of any given society is obligated to fulfill its duty to protect the general welfare of its citizens. Government is fundamentally established to protect social order, welfare as a whole. Citizens of an organized society are obligated to give up some personal freedom in exchange for the freedom of all. This concept, known as the Social Contract is an explicit agreement between the people and the government of a sovereignty. Citizens are entitled to certain individual rights, but not at the risk of the welfare of the population at whole. John Stuart Mill in his On Liberty states:
The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.
This concept of Social Contract is closely associated with the resolution; citizens give up part of their absolute individual freedom in exchange for the welfare and beneficiary of all participating citizens. Those who do not vaccinate against a dangerous disease are considered to be a threat to society; the individuals would be a potential host for the disease, and thus a threat to the general welfare of society. This has been justified by the following:
In the Supreme Court case Jacobson v. commonwealth of Massachusetts The court has more than once recognized it is a fundamental principal that "persons and property are subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State; of the perfect right of the legislature to do which no question ever was, or upon acknowledged general principles ever can be made, so far as natural persons are concerned."' (at 26)With this language, the Court stated the basic bargain of civilization: an individual must give up some personal freedom in exchange for the benefits of being in a civilized society. Jacobson sought to enjoy the benefit of his neighbors being vaccinated for smallpox without personally accepting the risks inherent in vaccination. The Court rejected Jacobson's claim which it viewed as an attempt to be a free-rider on society.
Impact:
The goal of any government is to protect its citizens from dangers, in this case from nature, in the form of disease. Thus a government is obligated to mandate vaccination, as it has been proven to be for the good of a society as a whole; to enforce vaccination laws, even by means of punishment if not followed. The resolution is questioning whether a government is allowed to force immunization upon its citizens under the circumstance of public health; in my case, compulsory immunization is justified.
Nails

Con

Good luck to PRO.

I'm done debating this topic, but I guess I'll give it one more go.

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Negative Constructive
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I negate the resolution because affirming devalues human life.

The Value is morality, or the judgment of right and wrong, because the term 'justify' asks us the question of right and wrong.

The Criterion is respecting human agency. Agency is the capacity of humans to make rational decisions. This is the standard for 3 reasons.

(1) One, agency is what separates humans from inanimate objects. The ability to discern and rationalize our choices is what makes us uniquely human, so that aspect of our lives must be respected. Otherwise, morality would become self-defeating in that it would no longer respect those it is intended to protect.

(2) Two, respect for agency is a prerequisite to any conception of morality. That is, if humans did not have agency, then morality would not exist because we would not be able to formulate our own ideas about ethics. More simply, to evaluate morality, we must respect a human's ability to choose between right and wrong in acting, i.e. exerting agency.

(3) Three, if morality were to allow society to strip the autonomy of even a small group of people, then ethics would be undesirable as we would be able to justify the worst atrocities imaginable. Society could treat those people as if they were dispensable objects, whose concerns can legitimately be excluded, justifying horrors such as slavery, eugenics, or holocaust.

Giorgio Agamben contends:
"In both contexts the particular status of the Versuchspersonen (human guinea pigs) was decisive; they were persons sentenced to death or detained in a camp, the entry into which meant the definitive exclusion from the political community. Precisely because these human guinea pigs are lacking almost all the rights and expectations that we customarily attribute to human existence, and yet are still biologically alive, they came to be situated in a limit zone between life and death, inside and outside, in which they are no longer anything but bare life. Those who are sentenced to death and those who dwelt in the camps are thus in some way unconsciously [They are] assimilated to homines sacres, to a life that may be killed without the commission of homicide. Like the fence of the camp, the interval between death sentence and execution delimits a extratemporal and extraterritorial threshold in which the human body is separated from its normal political status and abandoned, in a state of exception, to the most extreme misfortunes."

It will therefore be my burden to prove that affirming shows disrespect for human agency.

My sole contention is that: Comparing people as units of life and health disrespects human agency.

Human unpredictability makes our value incomparable.

Agamben continues
"If human beings were or had to be considered as this or that substance, this or that destiny, no ethical experience would be possible... This means, however, that humans are not, and do not have to be, [a certain unit], but therefore can freely decide whether to be or not to be, to adopt or not to adopt this or that destiny."

It is this ability of humans to be rational agents that Agamben contends prevents them from being quantifiable.

If I were to kick a desk, it would probably slide back some and come to a stop. It would stay there until someone else moved it. If, instead of kicking the desk, I simply let it rest, I know for certain that it isn't going to move or change on its own. The desk is predictable; it can be evaluated.

Humans, however, are not predictable. If I kick PRO, I have no idea how he will act. If I had time, I'd give you a demonstration of that. If I leave my opponent where he is, he might stay there like the desk would; he might not. He might do anything. I have no idea what his future actions will be, because he has the ability to exert agency, or make his own decisions.

It is this particular property of human life that makes us incomparable in terms of numbers. We can put prices on inanimate objects because we can be certain of how they will function in the future, that they will not make their own decisions. We can compare one desk to another or one piece of paper to another, because we know for certain that they will function exactly the same. We cannot calculate any sort of future value of living because it is impossible to determine the future actions of a rational agent. A rational agent has the free choice to act any which way, and as such, his future value in life cannot be determined or quantified. Trying to do so ignores and disrespects human agency.

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Rebuttal to Affirmative
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"the resolution is focusing on the welfare of the public population in general and whether the government should protect it."

The resolution asks: Is public health sufficient warrant for compulsion?

If this debate were just 'vaccines are good for your health' it wouldn't even be debatable. Rather, the resolution is of whether those health benefits actually justify immunization. It makes no sense, then, for PRO's only justification for his entire framework to be the resolution, because the resolution in no way presupposes that public health is the value. Just the opposite: it questions whether public health can legitimately valued at all!

This is sufficient to win me the round because PRO's entire case is based upon a completely unsubstantiated value and criterion of public health through protecting public health (circular much?) so without a legit V/VC his contentions have no real impact.
Debate Round No. 1
theb0mbers4ever

Pro

Thank you NEG.
Extending my case...

My value "Public Health" is the basis of this resolution; the resolution is questioning whether public health should be considered in mandating immunizations. Thus without the value "Public Health", there would be nothing to justify compulsory immunization.
My VC also is essential; as my contentions have proven, the ultimate goal of compulsory immunization is to protect the welfare of society as a whole, aka public health. Without public health, there would be no fully functioning society, and thus nothing else can exist without it.

My second contention first establishes the fact that government is created in order to protect the welfare of society as a whole and ensure its well-being. Thus, rights of the individual citizen must be given up when it is against the interests of other citizens in the same community. A government is obligated to choose and implement policies that are considered the best for society as a whole; if it does not accomplish this (in which negative is suggesting) then what would be the point in establishing a government in the first place?

Alas, my second contention leads and proves my first contention which is critical to this debate; that vaccinations are effective in protecting the human population. Vaccines have been proven to protect the welfare of humans, and if required for all citizens, would protect the whole society. An individual might resist against the vaccine, but then he would be seen as a potential threat to society; that particular individual would have the risk of carrying the disease and infecting those around him. Under these circumstances, the individual must be required to be immunized so to protect other people; his individual rights cannot be considered.

Now responding to my opponents case and rebuttal:

My opponent's value is morality. What is morality based on? an individual's perspective, or society's perspective? my opponent's value is too vague, and thus cannot be considered.

My opponent's criterion is human agency, defined as "the capacity of humans to make rational decisions." Obviously "rational" would be influenced by an individual's moral conscience, but what if this indivudal had corrupt or aboslutely no sense of moral righteousness. Then he is free to do whatever he may please, because he considers it to be rational. If this rationality was to be judged by other people in the same given society, then thus he would be restricted by others for his particular actions. In a sense my opponent's criterion is agreeing with the affirmative; if society considers this individual's rationality to be not justified, then it have the right to restrict it. In the same way as my case, an indivudal can not freely roam in this society; they give up some of their individual rights in exchange for protection and security as a whole.
My opponent advocates that humans are always unpredictable and we would have to respect that. He criticizes that compulsory immunization would dennounce individualism; Yet compulsory immunziation does not take away all rights and identity of people; it only does so under the circumstance of public health. Also, there is no proof or direct link that a government would abuse its power and create "horrors such as slavery, eugenics, or holocaust." This arguement is extremely flawed, and I would like to point out my opponent does not give any sort of warrant or proof of this.

Thus my opponent's criterion is invalid. His whole arguement, and case would thus not make any sense.

Responding to my opponent's rebuttals, my case is built on protecting public health, because the resolution is asking whether compulsory immunization can be justified through public health; public health thus is the determining factor, not compulsory.

For the given reasons, vote for affirmative. The main arguement is that government is established to insure the welfare of society, and when vaccines have been proven to benefit society, government has to mandate vaccinations so to ensure this beneficiary. thus, public health concerns justify immunization.
Nails

Con

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How V/C works
==========

Here is a great explanation of how values, criteria, and contentions function in a debate round, complete with an excellent analogy to basketball: http://www.nflonline.org...

The contention does not explain why your criterion is good, it explains why your criterion is benefited by your side (affirming.)

For example:

INCORRECT
V: Justice
C: Utilitarianism
C1: Utilitarianism is good
C2: Deontology is flawed
C3: My case supports Util

Your contention needs to be a unique voting issue for your side. Let's say I accepted utilitarianism, would those contentions 1 and 2 even be relevant? NO. The contention is not the place to justify your value or criterion, it is the place to explain why accepting your V/C means we would affirm.

Because of this, all of his 'My contention proves public health is the criterion' is nonsensical.

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His Case
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None of his logic for the Value or Criterion makes sense whatsoever.

First,
his value is public health; his criterion is public health. I get the message: He really likes public health, but that doesn't excuse him from providing a functioning value and criterion, and just saying the same thing twice is not any sort of framework.

Second,
"Thus without the value "Public Health", there would be nothing to justify compulsory immunization."
This is exactly my point. If you don't accept the value of Public Health you negate because "there would be nothing to justify compulsory immunization." That being true, you would think that PRO would have a very strong backing for his value; he doesn't. The extent of his argument is pretty much "I'm going to lose if the value isn't public health."

Third,
"the ultimate goal of compulsory immunization is to protect the welfare of society as a whole, aka public health."

His case should justify affirming, not the other way around. He is saying "we should have my criterion, because compulsory immunization dictates that," when he should be saying "we should have compulsory immunization, because my criterion dictates that.

This logic is completely circular:
We use is criterion because compulsory immunization says so.
We have compulsory immunization because his criterion says so.

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My Case
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"My opponent's value is morality. What is morality based on? an individual's perspective, or society's perspective? my opponent's value is too vague, and thus cannot be considered."

Morality is indeed vague... thus the reason why I provide a specific criterion for achieving morality.

---

"In a sense my opponent's criterion is agreeing with the affirmative; if society considers this individual's rationality to be not justified, then it have the right to restrict it."

Um, in case it wasn't clear... that's the exact OPPOSITE of my argument. My argument is that we CAN'T restrict their ability to be rational, even if society thinks it's for the "greater good." He's pretty much argued against the opposite of my criterion throughout his entire rebuttal.

---

"compulsory immunziation does not take away all rights and identity of people; it only does so under the circumstance of public health."

So? Negating = no violation; affirming = violation when there are public health concerns (which is fairly often)

Negating is still better

---

"there is no proof or direct link that a government would abuse its power and create "horrors such as slavery, eugenics, or holocaust." This arguement is extremely flawed, and I would like to point out my opponent does not give any sort of warrant or proof of this."

Besides repeating himself,
"There is no proof...I would like to point out that there is no proof."
He is also wrong.

The mindset that we can violate rights for this so-called notion of 'common good' is what Pro is using to justify immunization. It is that same mindset that justifies slavery, genocide, euginics, forced sterilization, holocaust, and any number of atrocities. They are all committed, just like compulsory immunization, in the name of the common good.

Pro can't draw a bright line somewhere between compulsory immunization and these other atrocities because there is none. It is the exact same mindset, applied to different situations.

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Conclusion
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This is how you vote:

First, I gave 3 specific justifications for accepting my criterion. Pro dropped all of them, twisted my criterion around 180 degrees, and attacked some claim of individualism that I never made. You clearly defer to my criterion.

He doesn't deny that our rights are violated, just claims that they are only violated 'sometimes.' Therefore, I win the debate right here, because he has conceded to disrespecting human agency.

If you don't buy that, then second, he also has no case. His contentions are based on a value/criterion structure that is circular, unjustified, and logically incoherent. He can't meet his burden of proof without a value/criterion to impact to, so even if you disagree with the NC, you vote CON here anyway.
Debate Round No. 2
theb0mbers4ever

Pro

theb0mbers4ever forfeited this round.
Nails

Con

My opponent has conceded every argument in his final speech. Oh well...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Hmm I wonder how you like it...
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