Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Aff Prep

Again, possible typos. Sorry!
            Abraham Lincoln, former President of the United States, said, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." If we evade the social responsibility of assisting one another then the results will come up in unexpected and unforeseen ways.  The assistance of the needy is beneficial to the society and to the individual while not assisting the needy is harmful to both society and the individual. Because I recognize the impact of individual actions upon a society and government, I establish this topic as Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
            Before I proceed, I would like to define a few terms that are relevant to the topic. The following are as defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary.
            Obligation- A social, legal, or moral requirement, such as a duty, contract, or promise that compels one to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
            Moral obligation- is an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong.
            Assist- To assist someone is to give aid or support.
            Need- Need is the necessity arising from the circumstances of a situation or case.
            My value is societal welfare. Societal welfare, also known as social welfare and social responsibility is defined as "an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large." Throughout history, various institutions have been given the responsibility of withholding this value such as the government, church, and the individual. Society, of course, includes each and every individual of a particular group and therefore includes the welfare of the individual themselves as well as needy individuals themselves.
            My criterion is altruism. Altruism is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "unselfish regard or devotion for the welfare of others". The term was created by French philosopher Auguste Conte who contributed much to altruism and his own similar theory, positivism. Usually "altruism" can refer to biological and ethical altruism, the latter being a philosophy and the former science. Altruism states that the end result of every moral action is the action's benefit to others. It states that every individual has the responsibility to add to the pleasure and lessen the pain of others. The theory of altruism states that one must love others at one's self and to do behavior that promotes the survival of others even at the cost to one's self. Also it's stated that altruism is even one's following of benevolent impulses. This would follow biological altruism which states that living beings often behave altruistically as to benefit other organisms.
            My first contention is that the assistance of the needy is beneficial as a whole to society while a lack of this in a society is harmful. For example, according to the BBC, in Finland citizens are required to pay 50% of their taxes to the government and in many government services for the needy. Their school systems rank some of the best in the world. In other words, the contribution of their citizens directly benefits themselves. Finland has one of the best health care services in the world and according to the UK's newspaper the Guardian, ranked number one on the OED (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)'s test for numeracy, literacy and science tests. Another example of this would be volunteering. Each year thousands of dollars is saved because of volunteer's efforts, money that the United States government would have to spend on employees for charities. This money is given directly back to the people in services that benefit people as a whole. On the other side of this, an example of the needy not being helped would be pre-revolutionary France and other societies where the proletariat, or working class, were oppressed. For France, these people's time of need came after a series of crop failures that  lead to the price of bread rising. Being as this was the staple of food for many of them, this lead to starvation yet they were forced to pay heavy taxes and received no help from the upper class.  The proletariat later revolted against the upper class in the French Revolution.
            Secondly, my next contention is that not helping the needy is harmful to one's self, as helping others builds a sense of morality necessary to the building of one's foundation. I mentioned volunteering above. As well as the benefits it has to society, it teaches responsibility, resourcefulness, and duty. Volunteering also makes one more aware of one's self and of the issues in the world around them. According to certain studies, volunteering can increase your well-being, decrease chronic pain and lower depression (Kellicker). However, helping someone in need is not limited to volunteering but can be helping someone one sees in need and other actions. Giving blood and donating money are other ways to help people. Giving blood is especially important because there is no telling what situations might make one need blood. According to the Red Cross, a single car accident victim may require one hundred pints of blood. Helping others makes one a more contributive and useful person and as a person one has the responsibility to give back.  
            Finally, my last contention is that it is in one's best interest to help the needy. According to the theory of reciprocal altruism developed by Trivers, organisms who behave altruistically will have others behave the same to them and hence they themselves will later be benefited. Also, helping the needy contributes to the well-being of society as stated above. This, in turn, contributes to the well-being of the individual as they are a member of society and dependant on its health. only do they have an obligation to society to fulfill it but in a way, they have it to themselves. What they dole out will come directly back to them. Also, it is important to note the definition I provided for need. Anyone can be involved in situations and cases in which they need the help of others. For example, one could easily be involved in a disaster where they would need blood or financial assistance. Yet if one does not feel that it is their obligation to help others in need, how they can they be expected to be helped in their own time of need?
            I now stand ready for cross-examination.  

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