I want to thank Rational Madman for this debate. May we find the truth.
I want to examine what is at stake with this topic. There are two ideals at war: Collectivism and Individualism. Collectivists declare that individuals should be dependent upon a central authority in order to deter unjust action, while Individualism’s defining ideal is that the Individual is best left to himself. I will champion the individual in this debate.
Law insider:“Government benefits means financial aid or services” (Citation 5)
As stated in the description, we will be debating the major government benefits listed on https://www.usa.gov/benefits
. These are the Food,Healthcare, Housing, and Financial Assistance measures as shown on the site.
In this opening round I will setup the general arguments for why Federal intervention in these areas is unjustified and a severe detriment to individual freedom.
The type of government assistance programs we know today are traceable to the creation of Bismarck’s Germany, beginning with the Prussians/Saxxons in the 1840s. (Citation 1) Othernations have adopted similar measures, such as the UK’s ”passing of the Old-AgePensions Act in 1908, the introduction of free school meals in 1909, the 1909Labour Exchanges Act.” (Citation 1)
The United States however didn’t begin its current practice until the Great Depression, where new emergency benefits and safety programs were issued. Further increases in scopewere made in the 60’s under the Great Society legislation, which pushedbenefits to include regular citizens (not just the elderly and disabled).
Currently our Federal Government is projected to spends 37% (2.966 trillion) of its budget on these Government Benefits, comprising of 1.151trillion on Social Security, 722billion on Medicare, $448 on Medicaid, and 645 billion on other benefits programs in 2021. (Citation 2)
This rounds out to$21,000 taken from each of the 140.9 million Tax Payers each year.
I believe that the individual is the fundamental building block of society, which must take precedence over the group identity. Uniquely America has allowed its people to thrive based on an emphasize that each person is their own captain, their own chauffeur,and that you as an individual, and only you, can use your talents to fulfill your purpose. It is no coincidence that suppressing individual autonomy leads to deterioration, Communism makes that case eerily clear, because it is your very human dignity that is taken. Understand that our very existence is being called into question. So be vigilant, that it is you and not an imposter that answers your call.
“To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself” -Richard Overton
And so the individual is the very thing we must value before anything else, it is the highest valueof this debate.
Government benefits are socialist in nature, since their common defining goal is a redistribution of wealth. Socialism implies camaraderie, that a group of individuals freely back a cause together. Socialism, however, fatally ignores the competing free will of the individual for which the whole society is made up of. Individuals will necessarily be coerced to follow the lead of those in charge, removing any possibility of free choice by the individual. It is this false sense of “community” or “social fabric” that must be dispelled when we talk about the federal government.Washington D.C itself is made up of a group of individuals who decide a large part of our lives through our taxes. Government benefits make up a significant portion of this socialist policy.
a. Purpose Is To Protect Individual Rights
There are many things to which I think our Government should not have its grubby hands on, but Federal Benefits stands out as a sore thumb. Jefferson, one of our principle founders of the Constitution, said this about government’s role, “The purpose of government is to maintain a society which secures to every member the inherent and inalienable rights of man, and promotes the safety and happiness of its people. Protecting these rights from violation, therefore, is its primary obligation.” (Citation 3)
The Constitution Highlights these rights as, “life, liberty, or property” Under Amendment 14.(Citation 4)
b. Welfare Violates the dignity of the Individual
It does this in two ways:
The government forces the direction of its citizens, limiting their choice. From these “benefits”Americans lose a fourth of their income. (average being $87,864) Money is work.Americans must now work 25% more to achieve their dreams, pay bills, compensate for disaster, and help their fellow Americans. (citation 7)
-The government lives the lives of those taking benefits-whose existence is now tightly bound to the decisions of those politicians. They are therefore kept from using their gifts to achieve something greater, becoming a shell of what they could be.
Unfortunately, not only are people’s lives hindered, but bad choices are also subsidized. The failure to curb poverty is testament to this.