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After Liberalism

Mass Democracy in the Managerial State

Paul Edward Gottfried

In this trenchant challenge to social engineering, Paul Gottfried analyzes a patricide: the slaying of nineteenth-century liberalism by the managerial state. Many people, of course, realize that liberalism no longer connotes distributed powers and bourgeois moral standards, the need to protect civil society from an encroaching state, or the virtues of vigorous self-government. Many also know that today's "liberals" have far different goals from those of their predecessors, aiming as they do largely to combat prejudice, to provide social services and welfare benefits, and to defend expressive and "lifestyle" freedoms. Paul Gottfried does more than analyze these historical facts, however. He builds on them to show why it matters that the managerial state has replaced traditional liberalism: the new regimes of social engineers, he maintains, are elitists, and their rule is consensual only in the sense that it is unopposed by any widespread organized opposition.

Throughout the western world, increasingly uprooted populations unthinkingly accept centralized controls in exchange for a variety of entitlements. In their frightening passivity, Gottfried locates the quandary for traditionalist and populist adversaries of the welfare state. How can opponents of administrative elites show the public that those who provide, however ineptly, for their material needs are the enemies of democratic self-rule and of independent decision making in family life? If we do not wake up, Gottfried warns, the political debate may soon be over, despite sporadic and ideologically confused populist rumblings in both Europe and the United States.

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The Ambiguous Embrace

Government and Faith-Based Schools and Social Agencies

Charles L. Glenn

This is a time of far-reaching change and debate in American education and social policy, spurred in part by a rediscovery that civil-society institutions are often better than government at meeting human needs. As Charles Glenn shows in this book, faith-based schools and social agencies have been particularly effective, especially in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. However, many oppose providing public funds for religious institutions, either on the grounds that it would threaten the constitutional separation of church and state or from concern it might dilute or secularize the distinctive character of the institutions themselves. Glenn tackles these arguments head on. He builds a uniquely comprehensive and persuasive case for faith-based organizations playing a far more active role in American schools and social agencies. And, most importantly, he shows that they could do so both while receiving public funds and while striking a workable balance between accountability and autonomy.

Glenn is ideally placed to make this argument. A leading expert on international education policies, he was for many years the director of urban education and civil rights for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and also serves as an Associate Minister of inner-city churches in Boston. Glenn draws on all his varied experience here as he reviews the policies and practices of governments in the United States and Europe as they have worked with faith-based schools and also with such social agencies as the Salvation Army and Teen Challenge. He seeks to answer key theoretical and practical questions: Why should government make greater use of faith-based providers? How could they do so without violating First Amendment limits? What working relationships protect the goals and standards both of government and of the organizations that the government funds? Glenn shows that, with appropriate forms of accountability and a strong commitment to a distinctive vision of service, faith-based organizations can collaborate safely with government, to their mutual benefit and that of those they serve. This is a major contribution to one of the most important topics in political and social debate today.

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By Nature Equal

The Anatomy of a Western Insight

John E. Coons

What do we mean when we refer to people as being equal by nature? In the first book devoted to human equality as a fact rather than as a social goal or a legal claim, John Coons and Patrick Brennan argue that even if people possess unequal talents or are born into unequal circumstances, all may still be equal if it is true that human nature provides them the same access to moral self-perfection. Plausibly, in the authors' view, such access stems from the power of individuals to achieve goodness simply by doing the best they can to discover and perform correct actions. If people enjoy the same degree of natural capacity to try, all of us are offered the same opportunities for moral self-fulfillment. To believe this is to believe in equality.

This truly interdisciplinary work not only proposes the authors' own rationale but also provides an effective deconstruction of several other contemporary theories of equality, while it engages historical, philosophical, and Christian accounts as well. Furthermore, by divorcing the "best" from the "brightest," it shows how descriptive equality acquires practical significance. Among other accomplishments, By Nature Equal offers communitarians a core principle that has until now eluded them, rescues human dignity from the hierarchy of intellect, identifies racism in a new way, and shows how justice can be freshly grounded in the conviction that every rational person has the same capacity for moral excellence.

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Covenantal Rights

A Study in Jewish Political Theory

David Novak

Covenantal Rights is a groundbreaking work of political theory: a comprehensive, philosophically sophisticated attempt to bring insights from the Jewish political tradition into current political and legal debates about rights and to bring rights discourse more fully into Jewish thought. David Novak pursues these aims by presenting a theory of rights founded on the covenant between God and the Jewish people as that covenant is constituted by Scripture and the rabbinic tradition. In doing so, he presents a powerful challenge to prevailing liberal and conservative positions on rights and duties and opens a new chapter in contemporary Jewish political thinking.

For Novak, "covenantal rights" are rooted in God's primary rights as creator of the universe and as the elector of a particular community whose members relate to this God as their sovereign. The subsequent rights of individuals and communities flow from God's covenantal promises, which function as irrevocable entitlements. This presents a sharp contrast to the liberal tradition, in which rights flow above all from individuals. It also challenges the conservative idea that duties can take precedence over rights, since Novak argues that there are no covenantal duties that are not backed by correlative rights. Novak explains carefully and clearly how this theory of covenantal rights fits into Jewish tradition and applies to the relationships among God, the covenanted community, and individuals. This work is a profound and provocative contribution to contemporary religious and political theory.

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Democratic Faith

Patrick Deneen

The American political reformer Herbert Croly wrote, "For better or worse, democracy cannot be disentangled from an aspiration toward human perfectibility." Democratic Faith is at once a trenchant analysis and a powerful critique of this underlying assumption that informs democratic theory. Patrick Deneen argues that among democracy's most ardent supporters there is an oft-expressed belief in the need to "transform" human beings in order to reconcile the sometimes disappointing reality of human self-interest with the democratic ideal of selfless commitment. This "transformative impulse" is frequently couched in religious language, such as the need for political "redemption." This is all the more striking given the frequent accompanying condemnation of traditional religious belief that informs the "democratic faith."

At the same time, because so often this democratic ideal fails to materialize, democratic faith is often subject to a particularly intense form of disappointment. A mutually reinforcing cycle of faith and disillusionment is frequently exhibited by those who profess a democratic faith--in effect imperiling democratic commitments due to the cynicism of its most fervent erstwhile supporters.

Deneen argues that democracy is ill-served by such faith. Instead, he proposes a form of "democratic realism" that recognizes democracy not as a regime with aspirations to perfection, but that justifies democracy as the regime most appropriate for imperfect humans. If democratic faith aspires to transformation, democratic realism insists on the central importance of humility, hope, and charity.

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Freedom's Orphans

Contemporary Liberalism and the Fate of American Children

David L. Tubbs

Has contemporary liberalism's devotion to individual liberty come at the expense of our society's obligations to children? Divorce is now easy to obtain, and access to everything from violent movies to sexually explicit material is zealously protected as freedom of speech. But what of the effects on the young, with their special needs and vulnerabilities? Freedom's Orphans seeks a way out of this predicament. Poised to ignite fierce debate within and beyond academia, it documents the increasing indifference of liberal theorists and jurists to what were long deemed core elements of children's welfare.

Evaluating large changes in liberal political theory and jurisprudence, particularly American liberalism after the Second World War, David Tubbs argues that the expansion of rights for adults has come at a high and generally unnoticed cost. In championing new "lifestyle" freedoms, liberal theorists and jurists have ignored, forgotten, or discounted the competing interests of children.

To substantiate his arguments, Tubbs reviews important currents of liberal thought, including the ideas of Isaiah Berlin, Ronald Dworkin, and Susan Moller Okin. He also analyzes three key developments in American civil liberties: the emergence of the "right to privacy" in sexual and reproductive matters; the abandonment of the traditional standard for obscenity prosecutions; and the gradual acceptance of the doctrine of "strict separation" between religion and public life.

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From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays

Lord Peter Tamas Bauer

Peter Bauer, a pioneer of development economics, is an incisive thinker whose work continues to influence fields from political science to history to anthropology. As Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen writes in the introduction to this book, "the originality, force, and extensive bearing of his writings have been quite astonishing." This collection of Bauer's essays reveals the full power and range of his thought as well as the central concern that underlies so much of his diverse work: the impact of people's conduct, their cultural institutions, and the policies of their governments on economic progress.

The papers here cover pressing and controversial issues, including the process that transforms a subsistence economy into an exchange economy, the reputed correlation between poverty and population density, the alleged responsibility of the West for Third World poverty, the often counterproductive results of foreign aid, and the effects of egalitarian policies on individual freedoms. Bauer addresses these and other matters with clarity, verve, and wit, combining his deep understanding of economic theory and methodology with keen insights into human nature. The book is a penetrating account of how to develop a prosperous economy alongside a free and fair society and a stimulating introduction to the work of a man who has done so much to shape our modern understanding of developing economies and of the relationship of economics to the other social sciences.

"This selection of essays will give readers a wonderful opportunity to learn about the rich world of cognizance and analysis erected by one of the great architects of political economy. I feel privileged to be able to offer this letter of invitation."--From the introduction by Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in economics

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The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Neil M. Gorsuch

The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia provides the most thorough overview of the ethical and legal issues raised by assisted suicide and euthanasia--as well as the most comprehensive argument against their legalization--ever published.

In clear terms accessible to the general reader, Neil Gorsuch thoroughly assesses the strengths and weaknesses of leading contemporary ethical arguments for assisted suicide and euthanasia. He explores evidence and case histories from the Netherlands and Oregon, where the practices have been legalized. He analyzes libertarian and autonomy-based arguments for legalization as well as the impact of key U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the debate. And he examines the history and evolution of laws and attitudes regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia in American society.

After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of arguments for assisted suicide and euthanasia, Gorsuch builds a nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization, one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate--the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong. At the same time, the argument Gorsuch develops leaves wide latitude for individual patient autonomy and the refusal of unwanted medical treatment and life-sustaining care, permitting intervention only in cases where an intention to kill is present.

Those on both sides of the assisted suicide question will find Gorsuch's analysis to be a thoughtful and stimulating contribution to the debate about one of the most controversial public policy issues of our day.

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The Jewish Social Contract

An Essay in Political Theology

David Novak

The Jewish Social Contract begins by asking how a traditional Jew can participate politically and socially and in good faith in a modern democratic society, and ends by proposing a broad, inclusive notion of secularity.

David Novak takes issue with the view--held by the late philosopher John Rawls and his followers--that citizens of a liberal state must, in effect, check their religion at the door when discussing politics in a public forum. Novak argues that in a "liberal democratic state, members of faith-based communities--such as tradition-minded Jews and Christians--ought to be able to adhere to the broad political framework wholly in terms of their own religious tradition and convictions, and without setting their religion aside in the public sphere.

Novak shows how social contracts emerged, rooted in biblical notions of covenant, and how they developed in the rabbinic, medieval, and "modern periods. He offers suggestions as to how Jews today can best negotiate the modern social contract while calling upon non-Jewish allies to aid them in the process. The Jewish Social Contract will prove an enlightening and innovative contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of religion in liberal democracies.

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Plato's Fable

On the Mortal Condition in Shadowy Times

Joshua Mitchell

This book is an exploration of Plato's Republic that bypasses arcane scholarly debates. Plato's Fable provides refreshing insight into what, in Plato's view, is the central problem of life: the mortal propensity to adopt defective ways of answering the question of how to live well.

How, in light of these tendencies, can humankind be saved? Joshua Mitchell discusses the question in unprecedented depth by examining one of the great books of Western civilization.

He draws us beyond the ancients/moderns debate, and beyond the notion that Plato's Republic is best understood as shedding light on the promise of discursive democracy. Instead, Mitchell argues, the question that ought to preoccupy us today is neither "reason" nor "discourse," but rather "imitation." To what extent is man first and foremost an "imitative" being? This, Mitchell asserts, is the subtext of the great political and foreign policy debates of our times.

Plato's Fable is not simply a work of textual exegesis. It is an attempt to move debates within political theory beyond their current location. Mitchell recovers insights about the depth of the problem of mortal imitation from Plato's magnificent work, and seeks to explicate the meaning of Plato's central claim--that "only philosophy can save us."

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