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Resolved: Just governments ought to ensure food security for its citizens

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,205 times Debate No: 71989
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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Round One: Acceptance
Round Two: Briefs
Round Three: Rebuttal
Round Four: Conclusion

Definitions are arguable.
BoP is not assigned.
Failure to post a round is an automatic loss.

Good luck, I look forward to some hearty competition!


I accept this debate. :) Best of luck!

Debate Round No. 1


ColeTrain, it's my pleasure.

Allow me to take you back in time for a moment. We are in Germany. The day is March 12th, 1938. You have just heard the announcement that Hitler has officially joined Austria with Germany. There is much celebrating, for it is the dawn of a new era! There are promises of riches, superiority, and power- a utopia to be created by the Nazi party. But little do you, or anyone know what horrors will be committed in order to attain this end.

Now we travel back to the present day. We can look back on the atrocious holocaust and World War Two and see that none of those actions and evils were justified because of their “ultimate goal.” As we turn our eyes from the pains of the past and begin to look towards the future, we find ourselves confronted with a resolution, a decision of much less import than the holocaust, but a decision all the same. Resolved: a just government ought to ensure food security for all of it’s citizens. Before proceeding, allow me to present several definitions.

Food Security, as defined by the Beehive Forensics Institute at the University of Utah, “is one’s access and/or ability to meet their daily caloric needs”

Now that we have defined certain terms, we can see that the resolution leaves us with one primary point of debate, which I will shortly contest. That is, what makes a government “just?” In order to properly address this however, I will provide a definition of justice.

Justice, as defined by Immanuel Kant is based on Deontological Ethics. This approach states that the rightness or wrongness (and thereby the justice) of an action is based on the character of the action itself, and has nothing to do with the consequences.

Given that the justice of an action is based on the character of the action itself, it is now left us to find some way to judge said action, free of societal biases. This merely requires two steps.
First, we must determine if there are smaller actions which are needed to achieve the end result in question. And secondly, we must project those actions into a state of nature. With these two steps in mind, allow me to dissect the resolution.

The resolution simply states that a government which is just should, in some undetermined way, guarantee that it’s citizens have access to enough food to meet their needs. Notice that the way a to achieve this state is not mentioned, so we can determine that the only action here provided is the giving of this access to food to those who do not have that access. As this is the only action provided in the resolution, it is the only action we need to project into a state of nature to find if the resolution is just.

A state of nature is a state in which individuals act with nothing other than their certain inalienable rights. Let us imagine three individuals in this state, one who will represent the government; another, the citizens who need additional food; and the last will represent those who have an excess of food. Since governments derive their power from the consent of the governed, and the governed cannot give a government power which they themselves do not have, we will treat our government character as an average citizen.

One day, the government (we will call him person A) notices that person B (The man in need of food) is, in fact, in need of food! Person A immediately looks about for help for person B. He sees Person C (the man with plenty) enjoying an abundant feast. Now I pose the question at debate. Does person A have any way to provide B with food while complying with all inalienable rights? Were A to remove some food from C by force, he would be violating his right to property. A could have C work a little harder, and then convince C to give some of what he had to B, but that decision rests with C, because A cannot violate his right to liberty. Indeed, after A has tried every possible idea, he can only hope that C will be generous to B.

After we have looked at every alternative, we can determine that person B has no inalienable right to food security. That being said, we can assume that person A has no right to provide or ensure food security in any way. In a state of nature, any action to provide food security to another person, without donating your own property, is immoral and thereby unjust.

Bringing that conclusion and applying it to the resolution directly.(1) Given that justice comes from the character of an action,(2) that said character can only be attained by viewing the action in a state of nature,(3) and it being seen that the action required in the resolution is not moral in that state,(4) it can be reasonably assumed that a Just government ought not to ensure food security for its citizens. This being the case, I respectfully solicit the vote of the judge.


  1. William L. Shirer (1984). Twentieth Century Journey, Volume 2, The Nightmare Years: 1930–1940. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. ISBN0-316-78703-5.
  2. Stewart, D. (n.d.). BFI Food Security LD Brief. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from The Beehive Forensics Institute at the University of Utah
  3. Mastin, L. (n.d.). Deontology. Retrieved March 12, 2015, from

  4. Deontological ethics. (2014, November 9). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from

  5. Jefferson, T. (n.d.). The Declaration of Independence. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from



I would first like to thank my opponent for allowing me to debate this topic. Let’s begin :)

Famous chef Paul Prudhomme was once quoted in saying, “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” This quote directly correlates to food security. One shouldn’t be required to be rich in order to eat good food, or food that is healthy and sustainable for human life. This food security is widely inaccessible. Ensuring food security would allow those individuals currently affected by harmful food to obtain that food security. It is because of this that I affirm the resolution.

In this debate, the primary value will be that of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the ethical philosophy where happiness of most people is thought to be the greater good. Happiness, in this sense, is directly applicable to sustainability and survival, thus upholding the resolution the affirmative side. We should value utilitarianism because, under the resolution, it enables the majority of people to have food security where they no longer live in doubt of whether or not their food is suitable to eat.

The value criterion I will use by which to judge the value will be that of the minimization of human sufferings. Specifically, this value criterion defines these human sufferings to be hunger, lack of sufficient food, and other problems in direct correlation to food security and the lack thereof.

Food security: physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Prefer this definition as it accounts for both physical and economic access.

Governments: a governing body (local, state, federal)

With this in mind, please move with me to the crux of the debate.

C1: Food insecurity is a real problem

Food insecurity is one of the most problematic dilemmas the world faces. So many people across the globe, and even in the United States.

Brian Knowlings, journalist, New York Times, “Hunger in U.S. at a 14-year High,” 2009

“14.6% of people [in the U.S.] ‘had difficulty putting enough food on the table...’ The number of households in which both adults and children experience ‘very low food security’ rose by more than half… With unemployment and other economic indicators continuing to worsen, there are likely to be many more people struggling with hunger than this report states… the escalating unemployment rate and the number of the working poor, lead us to believe that the number of people facing hunger will continue to rise significantly…”

Angela Mwaniki, senior scientist, General Mills, United Nations, “Achieving Food Security in Africa: Challenges and Issues”

“While the rest of the world has made significant progress towards poverty alleviation, Africa, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa, continues to lag behind… Food security on the continent [of Africa] has worsened since 1970 and the proportion of the malnourished population has remained within the 33 to 35 percent range in Sub-Saharan Africa . The prevalence of malnutrition within the continent varies by region. It is lowest in Northern Africa (4 percent) and highest in Central Africa (40 percent).”

These statistics prove the huge problem of food insecurity, and how prevalent and harmful it is to individuals across the globe.

C2: Food insecurity has multiple harms, most of which are solved by the converse.

A host of harms exist when families and individuals are suffering from food insecurity, the foremost of which is poverty.

  • A: Without food security, cyclical poverty is increasingly evident.

Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations, “Poverty, Purchasing Power and Food Security,” July 6, 2014

“Adequate food to all individuals must be quickly assured. Without [adequate food], people cannot break the vicious cycle of poverty. Thus… poverty has greatly influenced food insecurity… Families found to be having consumption expenditure less than the required are considered to be living below the poverty line.”

Moreover, unsolved poverty leads to genocide.

James Gilligan, former Director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School, “Reflections of our Deadliest Epidemic,” 2000

“Every fifteen years, as many people die because of relative poverty as would be killed in a nuclear war that caused 232 million deaths; and every single year, two or three times as many people die from poverty throughout the world as were killed by the Nazi genocide of the Jews over a six-year period. This is the equivalent of an ongoing, unending, in fact accelerating, thermonuclear war, or genocide, perpetrated on the weak and poor every year of every decade, throughout the world.”

  • B: Food insecurity can literally cause war.

War can actually stem from rampant food insecurity throughout the world.

William Calvin, theoretical neurophysiologist at the University of Washington, “Atlantic Monthly: The Great Climate Flip-Flop,” January 1998

“Plummeting crop yields would cause more powerful countries to try to take over their neighbors or distant lands… this would be a worldwide problem -- and could lead to a Third World War.”

C3: Food security legislations have been effective in mitigating human sufferings, which indubitably results in utilitarianism.

The negative will try to argue that the proposed resolution will fail, and that effective legislation doesn’t exist. However, that theory is incorrect. Food security legislation has been effective and beneficial in the past, and will continue to do so.

Dr. Luca Alinovi, Food and Agricultural Representative in Kenya, “Kenya: Regional Integration Key to Kenya’s Food Security,” March 9, 2015

“63 countries, mostly from the developing world, have reached the hunger target in the first Millennium Development Goal. Sustained political commitment at the highest level, with food security and nutrition as top priorities, is a prerequisite for hunger eradication... hunger is a top priority of the African Union [and] African Heads of State [is] committing to end hunger on the continent by 2025.”

Moreover, food security programs can have positive impacts on state budgets.

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, “Food Stamps/SNAP A Fork-Ready Stimulus,” March 2009

“Increased food stamp participation [or other programs] has an added beneficial impact on the state budget. By providing federal nutrition benefits, a significant portion of income that would otherwise be spent on food would be spent on taxable items, thereby adding to sales revenue.”

Let’s move on to my opponent’s case, where he begins by talking about the Nazis. He says the problems (murder of Jews) resulted from an effort to reach the “ultimate goal.” What he fails to point out, though, is that the ultimate goal of Adolf Hitler was vastly different than what the resolution is working towards. Hitler’s goal was world domination. The resolution’s goal is to ensure food security, ultimately to do away with hunger. The two are polar opposites.

Other than that, his primary and only argument is that the resolution doesn’t specify a particular plan to carry out the resolution and achieve food security. He then jumps to conclusions and make the assumption that the food will be taken from those with more than enough. Instead, however, the plan would actually be designed to assist individuals in a morally permissible manner. Organizations could easily be devoted (and already are) to researching technology to ensure that crops yielded are safe during the growing and harvesting seasons, and post-harvest as well. Further, these plans among others have been tested before and have been successful (C3). With this, all of my opponent’s points have fallen. Thus ends round 2. :)

It is for these reasons and many more I would politely urge a vote in affirmation in today’s debate. Please vote Pro.

I would like to thank my opponent for graciously allowing me to debate with him/her. I look forward to the next rounds of this debate. Best of luck! :)

Debate Round No. 2


Jhous forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited, but has told me the reasons, which I respect. Voters, don't count the forfeiture against him/her, and please allow the debate to continue in the next round. Thanks :) Hopefully you will be ready to post an argument for the next round, Jhous. :) I look forward to continuing this debate. :)
Debate Round No. 3


Jhous forfeited this round.


Jhous, I was hoping for a response. Maybe we can redo this debate with the same openings after this one is finished. :)

To voters, my opponent has forfeited, extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Jhous 3 years ago
I'm truly sorry. I had no clue how fast the turn around between my debate tournaments would be. I should be able to repeat the debate after April 11th. You will be pleased to hear that I did place first in my Lincoln Douglas debate however! Thank you for tolerating my absence. I look forward to a future debate.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago

Fair enough. Good luck at your tourney, and I hope you get to construct a rebuttal in time :)

Posted by Jhous 3 years ago

Thank you for the wonderful response. As it stands, it looks as though I'll be needing some time to construct me rebuttal. I am actually debating this topic on Saturday, and won't have time to reply till after the fact. I hope to be able to continue the debate.

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