Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.

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Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.

Let’s just get right into it. I don’t even want to go on a rant about how terrible this topic is.

Definitions

The United States – This refers to the U.S. government. Whether this is the state or federal government is irrelevant to the topic.

Guarantee – There is an important question about what this guarantee would look like. Does this meant the U.S. provides housing? Does it mean it passes laws to prevent housing discrimination? It’s unclear, but also not central to the question. The idea is that the government should or not guarantee the right, and that’s what needs to be debated.

Right to Housing – The right to housing is the right to adequate shelter for a human being. The definition of adequate is irrelevant. The point is that the housing meets the basic needs of shelter for the person.

Affirmative

1. Categorical Imperative – This makes sense as a universalizable moral question. Do we want to live in a world where everyone is guaranteed a basic standard of housing? Makes sense.

2. Veil of Ignorance – If you could wake up tomorrow and be anybody in society, what kind of social justice policy would you create? You’d likely create one that includes a guarantee for the right to housing.

3. Protection of Human Rights – The right to housing is necessary for adequate protection and guarantee of the right to life.

Negative

1. There is no “right to housing” – Rights function as claims against others not to interfere in what you’re doing. A guarantee of housing cannot function in such a way, and as such, can’t actually be a right. A government is only obligated to guarantee actual rights to its people.

2. Capitalism – Housing guarantees severely damage economic incentive in capitalist societies. Not only that, it diminishes competition and inevitably reduces overall quality of housing.

3. Moral Conflict/Moral Progress – Socioeconomic conflict is necessary for the moral progress of society. If social needs of the lower classes are met, then those classes are placated, and the status quo is maintained. You can see this in countries like Saudi Arabia.

I know this was a short one, but hopefully it’s a good start for you. Good luck!

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