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Welfare and the Constitution : New Forum Books - Sotirios A. Barber

Welfare and the Constitution

New Forum Books

Paperback Published: 14th August 2005
ISBN: 9780691123752
Number Of Pages: 192

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"Welfare and the Constitution" defends a largely forgotten understanding of the U.S. Constitution: the positive or "welfarist" view of Abraham Lincoln and the Federalist Papers. Sotirios Barber challenges conventional scholarship by arguing that the government has a constitutional duty to pursue the well-being of all the people. He shows that James Madison was right in saying that the "real welfare" of the people must be the "supreme object" of constitutional government. With conceptual rigor set in fluid prose, Barber opposes the shared view of America's Right and Left: that the federal constitutional duties of public officials are limited to respecting negative liberties and maintaining processes of democratic choice.

Barber contends that no historical, scientific, moral, or metaethical argument can favor today's negative constitutionalism over Madison's positive understanding. He urges scholars to develop a substantive account of constitutional ends for use in critiquing Supreme Court decisions, the policies of elected officials, and the attitudes of the larger public. He defends the philosophical possibility of such theories while also offering a theory of his own as a starting point for the discussion the book will provoke. This theory holds, for example, that voucher schemes which drain resources from secular public schools to schools that would train citizens to submit to religious authority are unconstitutional; First Amendment issues aside, such schemes defeat what is undeniably an element of the "real welfare" of the people, individually and collectively: the capacity to think critically for oneself.

Industry Reviews

"In this bold book, the case for a 'welfarist' constitution is made carefully and rigorously. Going back to Madison and The Federalist Papers, as well as reinterpreting canonical cases, Barber describes a way of interpreting the US Constitution that departs significantly from the prevailing view. He provides a plethora of sources and rich documentation... [T]his book will provoke much debate among legal scholars."--Choice "[A] model of the way one might expect constitutional theory to be done."--Ken I. Kersch, Political Science Quarterly

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: Every State a Welfare Statep. 1
The Negative-Liberties Model of the Constitutionp. 5
Every State a Welfare State?p. 8
"Welfare": How Capacious the Term?p. 12
Charter of Negative Liberties: Arguments from Text and Historyp. 23
Is Positive Constitutionalism Ahistorical?p. 23
Welfare and the Framersp. 36
Negative Constitutionalism and Unwanted Consequencesp. 42
The Slippery Slope in Generalp. 42
Does Welfare Constitutionalism Undermine Negative Liberties?p. 44
A Benefits Model and Liberalism's Private Spherep. 53
Does a Welfare Constitution Reach Too High?p. 55
Moral Philosophy and the Negative-Liberties Modelp. 65
Is the Benefits Model Unjust or Unfair?
65 Is the Benefits Model Undemocratic?p. 68
Is the Benefits Model Antiliberal?p. 71
The Moral Philosophy of Positive Constitutionalismp. 77
Welfare and Moral Skepticismp. 79
Moral Philosophy and Intolerancep. 86
The Instrumental Constitutionp. 92
Some Formal Elements of the Instrumental Constitutionp. 92
Welfare as an End of Governmentp. 96
Well-Being in America: A Hypothesisp. 100
What Constitutes Well-Being?p. 106
Is the Constitution Adequate to Its Ends?p. 118
Welfare and Power: Structure and Context of the Questionp. 119
The Constitution's Formal Adequacyp. 122
Welfare and the Courtsp. 142
Indexp. 157
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691123752
ISBN-10: 0691123756
Series: New Forum Books
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 14th August 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.3