Constitutional Failure (Constitutional Thinking)

Barber, Sotirios

Published by University Press of Kansas, 2014
ISBN 10: 0700620079 / ISBN 13: 9780700620074
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Synopsis: Americans err in thinking that while their politics may be ailing, their Constitution is fine. Sick politics is a sure sign of constitutional failure. This is Sotirios Barber’s message in Constitutional Failure. Public attitudes fostered by a consumer culture, constitution worship, the lack of a trusted leadership community, and academic historicism and value skepticism—these, this book tells us in clear and bracing terms, are at the root of our political dysfunction.

Barber characterizes the Constitution as a plan of government—a set of means to public purposes like national security and prosperity. He argues that if the government is failing, it’s fair to conclude that the plan is failing and that laws that are supposed to serve as means can’t in reason continue to bind when they no longer work. He argues further that constitutional success depends ultimately on a stratum of diverse and self-critical citizens, who see each other as moral equals and parts of one national community. These citizens, with the politicians among them, would be good-faith contestants regarding the meaning of the common good and the most effective means to secure it. In this way—showing how the success of a constitutional democracy is more a matter of political attitudes than of institutional performance—Barber’s book upends the conventional understanding of constitutional failure. In Barber’s analysis, the apparent stability of formal constitutional institutions—usually interpreted as evidence of constitutional health—may actually indicate the defining element of constitutional failure: a mentally inert citizenry no longer capable of constitutional reflection and reform.

At once concise and thorough in its analysis of the concept of constitutional failure and its accounts of a “healthy politics,” the corrosive impact of Madisonian checks and balances (as a substitute for trust-worthy leadership), and the outlook for meaningful reform, this book offers a carefully reasoned and provocative assessment of the viability of constitutional governance in the United States.

About the Author: Sotirios A. Barber is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books including Welfare and Constitution, On What the Constitution Means, and The Fallacies of States’ Rights.

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Title: Constitutional Failure (Constitutional ...
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Barber, Sotirios
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Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001133337

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Book Description University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 184 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. POLITICAL SCIENCE. Americans err in thinking that while their politics may be ailing, their Constitution is fine. Sick politics is a sure sign of constitutional failure. This is Sotirios Barbers message in Constitutional Failure. Public attitudes fostered by a consumer culture, constitution worship, the lack of a trusted leadership community, and academic historicism and value skepticismÑthese, this book tells us in clear and bracing terms, are at the root of our political dysfunction. Barber characterizes the Constitution as a plan of governmentÑa set of means to public purposes like national security and prosperity. He argues that if the government is failing, its fair to conclude that the plan is failing and that laws that are supposed to serve as means cant in reason continue to bind when they no longer work. He argues further that constitutional success depends ultimately on a stratum of diverse and self-critical citizens, who see each other as moral equals and parts of one national community. These citizens, with the politicians among them, would be good-faith contestants regarding the meaning of the common good and the most effective means to secure it. In this wayÑshowing how the success of a constitutional democracy is more a matter of political attitudes than of institutional performanceÑBarbers book upends the conventional understanding of constitutional failure. In Barbers analysis, the apparent stability of formal constitutional institutionsÑusually interpreted as evidence of constitutional healthÑmay actually indicate the defining element of constitutional failure: a mentally inert citizenry no longer capable of constitutional reflection and reform. At once concise and thorough in its analysis of the concept of constitutional failure and its accounts of a healthy politics, the corrosive impact of Madisonian checks and balances (as a substitute for trust-worthy leadership), and the outlook for meaningful reform, this book offers a carefully reasoned and provocative assessment of the viability of constitutional governance in the United States. Sotirios A. Barber is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books including Welfare and Constitution, On What the Constitution Means, and The Fallacies of States Rights. "[Barber] contends the constitutional system is not coping with fiscal problems and global warming, and is not serving a permanent underclass. Constitutional malady goes deeper than fixing partisan gerrymandering and campaign finance. In particular, he addresses the ARticle V provision No State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. This provision enables a small percentage of the population to veto vital policies." ---Choice "Barbers provocative Constitutional Failure makes us confront the fact that the American Constitution might be failing. Yet in taking this prospect seriously Barber helps us think more clearly about what it means for the Constitution to succeed. In doing so, he also reveals that the best defenders of the Constitution are those who are willing to take its shortcomings seriously." ---George Thomas, author of The Madisonian Constitution (Key Words: Political Science, United States Constitutional Law, United States History, United States Government, Checks and Balances, American Democracy, United States Democracy). book. Bookseller Inventory # 83663X1

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Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Americans err in thinking that while their politics may be ailing, their Constitution is fine. Sick politics is a sure sign of constitutional failure. This is Sotirios Barber s message in Constitutional Failure. Public attitudes fostered by a consumer culture, constitution worship, the lack of a trusted leadership community, and academic historicism and value skepticism--these, this book tells us in clear and bracing terms, are at the root of our political dysfunction. Barber characterizes the Constitution as a plan of government--a set of means to public purposes like national security and prosperity. He argues that if the government is failing, it s fair to conclude that the plan is failing and that laws that are supposed to serve as means can t in reason continue to bind when they no longer work. He argues further that constitutional success depends ultimately on a stratum of diverse and self-critical citizens, who see each other as moral equals and parts of one national community. These citizens, with the politicians among them, would be good-faith contestants regarding the meaning of the common good and the most effective means to secure it. In this way--showing how the success of a constitutional democracy is more a matter of political attitudes than of institutional performance--Barber s book upends the conventional understanding of constitutional failure. In Barber s analysis, the apparent stability of formal constitutional institutions--usually interpreted as evidence of constitutional health--may actually indicate the defining element of constitutional failure: a mentally inert citizenry no longer capable of constitutional reflection and reform. At once concise and thorough in its analysis of the concept of constitutional failure and its accounts of a healthy politics, the corrosive impact of Madisonian checks and balances (as a substitute for trust-worthy leadership), and the outlook for meaningful reform, this book offers a carefully reasoned and provocative assessment of the viability of constitutional governance in the United States. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780700620074

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Book Description University Press of Kansas. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Constitutional Failure, Sotirios A. Barber, Americans err in thinking that while their politics may be ailing, their Constitution is fine. Sick politics is a sure sign of constitutional failure. This is Sotirios Barber's message in Constitutional Failure. Public attitudes fostered by a consumer culture, constitution worship, the lack of a trusted leadership community, and academic historicism and value skepticism--these, this book tells us in clear and bracing terms, are at the root of our political dysfunction. Barber characterizes the Constitution as a plan of government--a set of means to public purposes like national security and prosperity. He argues that if the government is failing, it's fair to conclude that the plan is failing and that laws that are supposed to serve as means can't in reason continue to bind when they no longer work. He argues further that constitutional success depends ultimately on a stratum of diverse and self-critical citizens, who see each other as moral equals and parts of one national community. These citizens, with the politicians among them, would be good-faith contestants regarding the meaning of the common good and the most effective means to secure it. In this way--showing how the success of a constitutional democracy is more a matter of political attitudes than of institutional performance--Barber's book upends the conventional understanding of constitutional failure. In Barber's analysis, the apparent stability of formal constitutional institutions--usually interpreted as evidence of constitutional health--may actually indicate the defining element of constitutional failure: a mentally inert citizenry no longer capable of constitutional reflection and reform. At once concise and thorough in its analysis of the concept of constitutional failure and its accounts of a "healthy politics," the corrosive impact of Madisonian checks and balances (as a substitute for trust-worthy leadership), and the outlook for meaningful reform, this book offers a carefully reasoned and provocative assessment of the viability of constitutional governance in the United States. Bookseller Inventory # B9780700620074

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ISBN 10: 0700620079 ISBN 13: 9780700620074
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Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Americans err in thinking that while their politics may be ailing, their Constitution is fine. Sick politics is a sure sign of constitutional failure. This is Sotirios Barber s message in Constitutional Failure. Public attitudes fostered by a consumer culture, constitution worship, the lack of a trusted leadership community, and academic historicism and value skepticism--these, this book tells us in clear and bracing terms, are at the root of our political dysfunction. Barber characterizes the Constitution as a plan of government--a set of means to public purposes like national security and prosperity. He argues that if the government is failing, it s fair to conclude that the plan is failing and that laws that are supposed to serve as means can t in reason continue to bind when they no longer work. He argues further that constitutional success depends ultimately on a stratum of diverse and self-critical citizens, who see each other as moral equals and parts of one national community. These citizens, with the politicians among them, would be good-faith contestants regarding the meaning of the common good and the most effective means to secure it. In this way--showing how the success of a constitutional democracy is more a matter of political attitudes than of institutional performance--Barber s book upends the conventional understanding of constitutional failure. In Barber s analysis, the apparent stability of formal constitutional institutions--usually interpreted as evidence of constitutional health--may actually indicate the defining element of constitutional failure: a mentally inert citizenry no longer capable of constitutional reflection and reform. At once concise and thorough in its analysis of the concept of constitutional failure and its accounts of a healthy politics, the corrosive impact of Madisonian checks and balances (as a substitute for trust-worthy leadership), and the outlook for meaningful reform, this book offers a carefully reasoned and provocative assessment of the viability of constitutional governance in the United States. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780700620074

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