Moral Controversies in American Politics: Cases in Social Regulatory Policy

Synopsis

No area of public policymaking is more hotly debated than the use of governmental authority to institute certain enforceable standards of behavior in areas that have been the subject of moral controversy. Such issues as abortion, for example, are debated not on grounds of economic calculus but rather the moral and normative concerns of citizens, and typically evoke a reversal of the liberal-conservative division of views on the appropriateness of government interventionism. In Theodore Lowi's words, the politics of such issues is "more ideological, more moral, more directly derived from fundamental values, more intense, less utilitarian, more polarized, and less prone to compromise."

This volume examines eight social regulatory policy issues: abortion, pornography, death penalty, gun control, affirmative action, church-state separation, official English, and gay rights. Each case study examines:
-- the relevant issues and arguments;
-- policy shifts over time;
-- the roles of key political an institutional actors, including lobbies and interest groups; public opinion: the bureaucracy; the president, Congress, the judiciary; and state and local authorities.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Theodore J. Lowi
  • Raymond Tatalovich
  • Ron W. Daynes
  • Ruth Ann Strickland
  • Gary C. Bryner
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Armonk, NY
Publication year:
  • 1998