The Why's of Social Policy: Perspective on Policy Preferences

The Why's of Social Policy: Perspective on Policy Preferences

The Why's of Social Policy: Perspective on Policy Preferences

The Why's of Social Policy: Perspective on Policy Preferences

Synopsis

Burch offers a comprehensive look at applying general philosophical principles to real-world issues, examining the thought, reasons, and philosophy behind social policy and the policy choices that must be made. He provides frameworks for relating our traditional notions of equality, fairness, and liberty to such practical problems as poverty, civil rights and entitlements, taxes and redistribution policies, and the welfare state. Each chapter identifies a different set of issues and alternative values and principles, and the book concludes with a step-by-step model for analyzing these issues and reaching a decision.

Excerpt

"Liberté! and Égalité! Fraternité!"

--slogan of the French Revolution

"This is a free country. I can do as I please!" Is it? Can you? Should you be able to? How does doing what you please affect other people? How does their exercise of freedom affect you?

When God asked Cain about his younger brother Abel, whom Cain had killed, Cain replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Was he? Are you? To what extent?

Negative freedom

Liberty is "freedom to choose." in the tradition of John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and the Bill of Rights, classical liberals define liberty as the absence of outside interference with that choice. in addition to government, this may refer to intrusion by employers, "moral majority" movements, and others who want to proscribe what you can and cannot do in your private life. This is called negative freedom. Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek explains:

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