Welfare and the Constitution
By (author) Sotirios A. Barber
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Welfare and the Constitution by Sotirios A. Barber
Book DescriptionWelfare 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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691123752
(229mm x 152mm x 11mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 25-Jul-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Sotirios A. Barber
Fallacies of States' Rights, Hardback (January 2013)
Barber shows how arguments for states' rights from John C. Calhoun to the present offend common sense, logic, and bedrock constitutional principles. The Constitution is a charter of positive benefits, not a contract among separate sovereigns whose function is to protect people from the central government, when there are greater dangers to confront.
Constitutional Politics, Paperback (November 2001)» View all books by Sotirios A. Barber
Explores questions ranging from the nature of creating the US Constitution to the philosophy behind amending it. This collection brings together 14 essays that consider the meaning of having a constitution, the implications of choices in the design of constitutions, and the meaning of judicial supremacy in the interpretation of the Constitution.
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Author Biography - Sotirios A. Barber
Sotirios A. Barber is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of "On What the Constitution Means" and "The Constitution of Judicial Power", and coeditor of "Constitutional Politics" (Princeton).
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