Published in 1998, this critical analysis of welfare state morality argues that all its essential claims are untenable: that need-based distribution of goods is inconsistent with its rationale; that morality can be given a rational grounding from which follows an exceptionally strong right of personal sovereignty; that cognitive self-sufficiency in the ordinary adult shows capacity to deal adequately with the problems of life. The same arguments lay the basis for an alternative social morality giving the individual his due respect. Among the topics are subjective and objective approaches to moral justification; when moral intuitions must be rejected; how it can be rational to act against reason; personal autonomy and the irresistible impulse; and why and when expropriation is morally permissible. A summary chapter applies the main conclusions to the poverty problem, comparing welfare state morality and the alternative in action.

chapter |4 pages


chapter |18 pages


chapter |23 pages


chapter |21 pages

More Objections

chapter |6 pages


chapter |20 pages

Starting Over

chapter |23 pages

The Plunder Problem

chapter |24 pages

Other Arguments

chapter |21 pages


chapter |15 pages


chapter |25 pages

The Helping Problem