Welfare and the Constitution / Edition 1

Welfare and the Constitution / Edition 1

by Sotirios A. Barber, Robert P. George
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691123756

ISBN-13: 9780691123752

Pub. Date: 07/25/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691123752
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/25/2005
Series:
New Forum Books Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface xi

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction: Every State a Welfare State 1
The Negative-Liberties Model of the Constitution 5
Every State a Welfare State? 8
"Welfare": How Capacious the Term? 12

CHAPTER TWO: Charter of Negative Liberties: Arguments from Text and History 23
Is Positive Constitutionalism Ahistorical? 23
Welfare and the Framers 36

CHAPTER THREE: Negative Constitutionalism and Unwanted Consequences 42
The Slippery Slope in General 42
Does Welfare Constitutionalism Undermine Negative Liberties? 44
A Benefits Model and Liberalism's Private Sphere 53
Does a Welfare Constitution Reach Too High? 55

CHAPTER FOUR: Moral Philosophy and the Negative-Liberties Model 65
Is the Benefits Model Unjust or Unfair? 65
Is the Benefits Model Undemocratic? 68
Is the Benefits Model Antiliberal? 71
The Moral Philosophy of Positive Constitutionalism 77
Welfare and Moral Skepticism 79
Moral Philosophy and Intolerance 86

CHAPTER FIVE: The Instrumental Constitution 92
Some Formal Elements of the Instrumental Constitution 92
Welfare as an End of Government 96
Well-Being in America: A Hypothesis 100
What Constitutes Well-Being? 106

CHAPTER SIX: Is the Constitution Adequate to Its Ends? 118
Welfare and Power: Structure and Context of the Question 119
The Constitution's Formal Adequacy 122
Welfare and the Courts 142

Index 157

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