The sale of human organs should be legalized
Debate Rounds (3)
Since my opponent did not put any definitions in his constructive, my definitions will take precedence. Furthermore, I am using what is called a "flexible constructive" where my text will involve a combination of an advocacy and a rebuttal of my opponent's advocacy. This is fair in that the advantage given to me by an early rebuttal is balanced by my increased character count, which limits the length of my own arguments.
Sale: The exchange of a commodity for money -- Oxford Online Dictionary
Should: Obligated to act
Since the state is the acting body in the legalization of human organs, the resolution must be evaluated in terms of whether the government should legalize the sale of human organs.
According to Professor Michael Zimmerman, an action is obligatory only if there is no more suitable action in achieving an end. For example, I, with my limited medical knowledge, am not obligated to perform open heart surgery on a person to save his life. Rather, I would be obligated to take him to the nearby hospital. In the same way, if an alternative to legalizing the sale of human organs is more beneficial, then the resolution is negated.
Contention One: Commoditizing Life
First, by definition, a sale involves the exchange of a commodity for money. Thus, sale of organs would stamp a monetary price-tag on the life these organs support.
Subpoint A: The Social Contract
According to Jacques Rosseau, the government's power of derived from the consent of its people. This axiom forms the social contract -- the relationship between any state and its people where the people uphold the laws of the government in return for the government's securing of the people's natural rights, one of which is the right to life. It goes to follow that any governmental policy must not forsake people's natural rights to life as a means to achieving any end.
Legalizing organ donations financially incentivizes one to give up their organs for money, yielding potential harms to the seller. Even if one might "own their body," it is the governments duty to prevent that person from inflicting harm on himself, in the same way that one committing suicide is illegal.
Now some might argue that it should be a person's own choice as to what happens with their body. Well, the same applies to prostitution. A person can still choose to sell their body for money in return for sexual favors, but it is the government's duty to not condone such behavior. In other words, a person can choose to break the law and act however they please, but it is the government's duty to protect that person before such a choice is made. Second, a dichotomy must be formed between personal permissibility and governmental permissibility. In this situation, it is the government's fundamental responsibility to not use people's lives as a mean to any end.
Subpoint B: Devaluation
Putting a price on life devalues it to the same level as other monetarily valued items. Consequentially, committing murder will be reduced to the same magnitude of crime as robbing a bank. Reports from the World Health Organization conclude that kidneys fetch $20K in India, $40K in China, and up to $160K in Israel. Common sense dictates that anyone both lacking morals and money would find killing a person for their organs quite the prospect.
My opponent cites Matas (2004), who claims that people still sell organs despite it being illegal. Turn this against him, for legalizing the sale would further incentivize the commission of coercive selling where businesses take advantage of people desperate to earn money in the same way that pimps abuse prostitutes. My opponent mentions that a "regulated system" will prevent such offenses, but consider the fact that we are in a dog-eat-dog capitalist economy. We have plenty of "regulated-systems" but we still have large business corporations using coercive methods on the public.
Contention Two: A Superior Alternative
First, I would like to point out that my opponent provides absolutely no evidence of how legalizing organ sale will solve these problems. There are many questions to be considered in this regard: Who is actually willing to sell their organs? How many people will sell their organs? What will the price of these organs be? And the most important one, will the benefit produced by sale of organs be significant enough as to justify such a drastic policy change?
Now to consider the superior alternative: Organs should be given away for free after a person dies. Europe has a system of implied consent where people consent to give their organs upon death unless stated otherwise. Consequentially, organ donor rates in these areas are significantly higher.
There are multiple warrants as to why this is superior:
1) People don't deserve financial rewards for giving their organs, just respect. Physicist Isaac Newton remarked that we only see far by standing on the shoulders of giants. The only reason we enjoy such a high living standard as we do today is because of gifts from the past. Professor Edward Page of Warwick University argues that agents who utilize good from previous generations bear the solemn responsibility passing on these gifts, one of which is the gift to life. Organs given for free after death fulfills this concept of moral reciprocity.
2) This alternative does not forsake a person's right to life. Since organs will be given after death, a person has already lost their life by the time the organ exchange will occur.
3) If no price is laid on organs, life will not be commoditized, and so many of its harms will be avoided. For example, corrupt businesses will have no financial incentive to take advantage of people's bleak financial situations by coercively buying and selling their organs.
4) Doing so would provide the same if not greater solvency than allowing for the sale of organs would provide, as my opponent advocates. Dead people, by nature, possess the utmost willingness to giving away their organs, compared with living people.
In closing, legalizing the sale of organs should not happen. In fact, we should prevent it from happening. Such legalization would violate the fundamental principles of the social contract and lead to the devaluation and commoditization of human life. Second, with the goal of saving lives in mind, alternatives allow for greater lives saved without violating the social contract or devaluing or commoditizing life in the process.
Thus I strongly urge you to negate this resolution and vote Con.
PS: by definition, sale of organs is not synonymous for giving organs away for free, for a sale involves a direct exchange of money for the commodity.
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