A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State Hardcover – September 18, 1998


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$51.26 $7.00

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (September 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882577701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882577705
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kelley, Ph.D., is the founder of The Atlas Society in Washington, DC, which promotes open Objectivism, the philosophy originated by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand.
He is an internationally-known expert in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. A former college professor of philosophy, he has written and lectured extensively on issues in epistemology, ethics, politics, social issues, and public policy. He has also been a consultant to the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Customer Reviews

And it is hard to know me without being asked to read it.
Freemind
In this book David Kelley lays out with remarkable clarity the history and philosophical underpinnings of the welfare state.
Will Wilkinson
The serendipitous side effect of rational non-selflessness is greater social well-being overall.
Stephen A. Moses

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
Philosopher David Kelley has written a masterful--and incredibly convincing--book. Kelley examines the modern welfare state going back as far as the first English Poor Laws in the 1600s to FDR, to LBJ, and examines the impact that government wealth redistribution schemes have had. He then meticulously examines the reasoning behind the welfare state, presenting each argument that has been offered in its support in a fair, objective manner and shows, shockingly, how all of the arguments are morally bankrupt. He concludes with a very convincing case that human rights, dignity and benevolence can only prosper in a society free from a paternalistic welfare state. Dr. Kelley is a brave intellectual--one who not only is incredibly sharp, but who is also not afraid to tell the truth.
Even if you find yourself predisposed to support the ideas behind the welfare state (and Kelley may change your mind,) this book is required reading. The arguments presented in _A Life of One's Own_ must be dealt with by anyone who supports the modern welfare state. Considering the importance of this issue and the brilliance of the writing, the book is a steal at $8.00!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a former liberal, I found Kelley's arguments especially compelling. When I departed liberalism, I recognized that there was something profoundly wrong with the welfare state - that it was somehow unnatural and led to results that were contrary to the expectation of "informed" liberal policy makers. With the arguments presented in this book, I now have a rational basis for understanding why many of the liberal social experiments, especially welfare, have failed. The book is well structured, with the introduction providing a historical framework for an understanding of our modern welfare state. Kelley then proceeds to show how and why arguments for that welfare state are without any rational foundation - specifically (1) the argument from economic freedom; (2) the argument from benevolence; and (3) the argument from community. By invalidating each of these arguments in turn, Kelley demonstrates that the current welfare state is not only without a rational basis - but that it actually is contrary to the liberal individualism upon which this nation was founded. I definitely recommend the book to those who wish to shore up their opposition to the welfare state and America's creep towards socialism. I also recommend the book to those who defend liberal social policies so that they will be confronted with Kelley's powerful arguments and by necessity either defend or abandon the liberal welfare state.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
In a short, but very concise work, Dr. Kelley easily lays to rest the multiple moral and ethical claims to the welfare state. By going over the history of the idea, from the 19th century English Poor Laws, up through FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, he shows how welfare evolved into the "entitlement" it is today. He ilustrates lucidly how the idea of welfare transformed from philanthropic choice, and act of kindness, into its present state as a "right" endowed by the government to the people through their "coercive" actions. He argues that the welfare state was caused by a change of philosophy, from the individualist, classical liberal philosophy to the "new liberal" let's-take-care-of-everyone philosophy. He goes on to say that these welfare "rights" are not rights, but acts of coercion by the government which force people to look out for others in the name of "compassion" and "benevolence." This book is an excellent book for anyone, wether you are against or for the welfare state. He opens eyes and challenges the common presumptions of our modern political, moral and ethical beliefs
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Boudreaux on October 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book stands with Charles Murray's classic LOSING GROUND as offering the best analysis of the American welfare state. The data Kelley uses to help make his case against government-directed welfare assistance are relevant, clear, and convincing. And his argument is tight, compelling, and beautifully written.
Kelley is surely correct when he says that "The concept of welfare rights does not represent a historic advance in moral development, as its advocates often assert. It represents a reversion to a primitive moral code." For a solid explanation of the truth of this insight, and for other key insights into the nature of the welfare state, read this marvelous book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greg Diebel (gdiebel@hempseed.com) on February 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Kelley is a rational, intelligent writer and thinker. A Life of One's Own clearly and consisely shows why the welfare state is a contradiction in terms and a tremendous harm to our nation and our liberty. A bit too terse at times and repetitive at others, overall a well structured work. This book should appeal to all hard working Americans, not just libertarians and principled conservatives.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Will Wilkinson on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
In this book David Kelley lays out with remarkable clarity the history and philosophical underpinnings of the welfare state. Kelley's style, besides being extremely lucid, is dispassionate and fair. He brings to the question considerable analytical abilities and puts them to use, thereby showing the notion of "positive rights" to rest on a conceptual muddle. He makes a strong and convinving case for the morality of individualism, and a social ethic of individual responsibility and voluntary association and aid. Opponents of welfare will find themselves edified. Defenders of welfare will find themselves challenged. Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews