Private Rights and Public Illusions

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, 1995 - Political Science - 379 pages

When members of the media address politicians or report on social problems they assume that whatever issues are important in society "must "be a matter of public or state concern. Yet, the state or government is but a small part of any human society. Machan asserts that while the exact nature of government is a complicated question, only a totalitarian government aims to assume responsibility for every possible concern of its citizenry. Machan believes that the concept "public" is too broadly used to mean any problem that vocal citizens want government to address. "Private Rights, Public Illusions "focuses on the proper scope of government authority, especially in regard to people's economic or commercial affairs.

The public realm is one wherein we must act collectively and subordinate individual will to a common purpose. But, according to Machan, in the rest of our spheres of concern no such subjugation is necessary or even desirable. Because he sees the public realm as smaller than is generally believed, he argues that if government continues to intervene in affairs outside this public realm, then restrictions on individual liberties will become an obstacle to society's important progress. "Private Rights, Public Illusions "combines empirical with philosophical analysis and argument. Its radical critique of government intervention will be of interest to policymakers, philosophers, and political scientists, and theorists.

"From the foreword by Nicholas Rescher, ""[Machan] clearly sees that the state that protects is a state that controls, and that an all-controlling state is to all intents and purposes a prison. Deeply rooted in a widely informed background in political philosophy and American constitutional thought, Machan's book issues a clarion call against such an assault on citizen sovereignty and individual rights . . . [He] proceeds to examine a great host of issues in the domain of contemporary public policy disputes: governmental regulation, prior restraint, occupational health and safety, the right to know, pollution control, product liability, freedom of expressions, and various others. His discussion does not simply ride some ideological hobby horse--as so many in this area do--but is deeply concerned to ground its deliberations in a combined care for philosophical principles, empirical realities, and contemporary texts."

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A good philosophical critique of government policy and regulation from a libertarian, rights-based perspective. One of the author's central arguments is that instead of regulating potential misdeeds ... Read full review

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Contents

1 The US Polity and the Welfare State
1
2 Rational Choice and Public Affairs
23
3 Human Dignity and the Welfare State
61
4 Should Business Be Regulated?
103
5 Further Normative Aspects of Deregulation
145
6 Ethics and the Regulation of Professional Ethics
161
7 Occupational Health and Safety by the State
175
8 Pollution and Political Theory
225
The Whole or Only Some of the Truth?
251
10 Some Philosophical Aspects of National Labor Policy
277
11 Philosophies of Public Policy in Conflict
337
Index
365
Copyright

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Page 297 - SECTION 1. The denial by some employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by some employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest, which have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce...
Page 297 - The inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract, and employers who are organized in the corporate or other forms of ownership 12 ibid., XLIX, 449-457.
Page 297 - ... tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners in industry and by preventing the stabilization of competitive wage rates and working conditions within and between industries.
Page 69 - The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one; and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions...
Page 107 - Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence and affect the community at large. When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has thus created. He may withdraw his grant by discontinuing the use; but, so long as he maintains the use, he...
Page 297 - It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining...
Page 296 - State, sometimes termed its police power, to prescribe regulations to promote the health, peace, morals, education and good order of the people, and to legislate so as to increase the industries of the State, develop its resources, and add to its wealth and prosperity.
Page 294 - Labor shall be to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.
Page 215 - Secretary, in promulgating standards dealing with toxic materials or harmful physical agents under this subsection. shall set the standard which most adequately assures, to the extent feasible, on the basis of the best available evidence, that no employee will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity even if such employee has regular exposure to the hazard dealt with by such standard for the period of his working life.
Page 88 - The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.

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