?Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override.? It is because I so strongly concur with this quote by Joseph Thurof, that I compelled to affirm today?s resolution; be it resolved that the individual ought to value the sanctity of life above the quality of life. Before moving on, I would like to define a few key terms that clearly pertain to the realms of this resolution. An individual is defined by Oxford English Dictionary, as a self-conscious or rational being and ought is a moral obligation. The sanctity of life is defined by the encyclopedia of Bioethics as the intrinsic value of life and that all life is equally important and the quality of life is defined as the relative and unequal value to human lives on the basis of the possible consequences of variable qualities.
My value in today?s round is that of morality. Morality is defined as the principles of right and wrong in relation to human action and character and is prominent in today?s round because the individual has a moral obligation not to kill him or herself. Individuals have the right to life, endowing that life should be preserved at all costs.
My value/criterion in today?s round is that of dignity. Dignity is defined as the inherent worth of individuals and is imperative in today?s round because dignity is a large part of the conflict. Dignity is the foundation of the value of life and is the best value/criterion to weigh the value of morality. Everyone is inherently equal in value and by protecting or preserving the dignity or inherent worth of individuals, then the individual is fulfilling that moral obligation not to end their life.
Observation one. The debate lies within the choice of the sanctity of life over the quality of life when in conflict. Therefore, the affirmative stance will not try to defend extreme examples such as an individual being on life support for 10 years, and then determining that individual?s quality of life.
Contention one. Individuals are moral agents, possessing inherent dignity as humans. Humans ought not to sacrifice themselves for merely instrumentally valuable ends. For example, if the individual is feeling extremely depressed and is at the point of a nervous breakdown, the individual ought not to end his/her life to alleviate the depression. An individual taking his/her life, does not provide for an end, rather his/her life accounts for another dead. By prioritizing the quality of life above the sanctity of life, one devalues one?s own humanity because the individual can easily take his/her life when they feel that they no longer retain an acceptable quality of life. If this is the case, then there will be mass genocide because individuals will be ending their life continuously on the basis of their own reasoning that they no longer retain a tolerable quality of life. However, where does the individual draw the line? Clearly, there is no distinct line, indicating that the quality of life ethic is very subjective. The individual then treats his/her humanity as less than an end in itself, making use of his/her life only as a means to provide certain conditions until the life is ended. For the same reason that it is morally wrong to rob someone else of his or her life, it is morally wrong to rob ourselves of our most precious possession?life. Therefore, if we value and respect the inherent value of ourselves, then we ought to preserve and protect life by all means.
Contention two. The quality of life ethic of an individual is very subjective. The quality of life is characterized in numerous amounts of ways and can differ from person to person. Anything from cancer to mental depression can reduce the quality of one?s life. Clearly, there is no absolute method of determining where the line of distinction comes into play, because one cannot establish a clear-cut difference between a good and bad quality of life. By valuing the quality of life there is no objective determination where a certain quality is within this good and bad quality of life. The quality of life relies on a determination of a subjective condition of life, therefore casting doubt upon the subjective standards of life itself. How can we uphold a side where its boundaries are limitless, with no clear-cut distinctions? Simply we cannot. However with the quality of life stance being clearly subjective, we can only uphold individual dignity by the individual having a moral obligation to preserve his/her life.
Contention three. Each individual?s life is considered to have equal moral worth. It is a fact supported by the Encyclopedia of Bioethics that each individual is endowed with a moral worth equal to that of each other. Therefore, each life can be seen to be equal to every other life. Rich or poor, happy or not, each life is worthy of equal consideration. However, if we value the negative side, we treat each individual?s inherent worth based on conditions that are present externally. The affirmative protects the moral obligation to treat each individual equal and protect life, while the negative judges the life of each individual separately, creating individual inequality.
We can clearly see that the sanctity of life is better upheld through the value of morality supported with that of dignity. Each individual has a moral obligation to preserve and protect their life by all means. Society cannot afford the lives of many to be taken, only as an end of improving the quality of life, and in turn providing an unequal balance of equal worth. For these reasons that I present before you, I strongly urge an affirmative ballot on today?s resolution.