A Life of One's Own
Available October 1998. Order toll-free from 1-800-767-1241, noon till 9:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

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The Objectivist Center

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he welfare state rests on the assumption that people have the right to food, shelter, health care, retirement income, and other goods provided by the government. David Kelley examines the historical origins of that assumption, which, he shows, is deeply flawed. Welfare "rights," he argues, are incompatible with freedom, justice, and true benevolence, and they have damaged the genuine welfare of those who can least afford to become dependent on the government.

"David Kelley provides us with a moral compass that points the way out of the current welfare system. A Life of One's Own reaffirms and sets on solid philosophical ground the traditional American principles of personal responsibility and individual liberty with human dignity for all. I found it both convincing and inspiring."
-- Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.)

"By explaining the tradition of liberty rights and the economic system of capitalism that accompanies it, Kelley shows 'welfare' rights to be both an ethical and an economic sham. Kelley argues that individualism is at odds with neither morality nor community. This is a clearly written work that appeals to common sense."
-- Douglas B. Rasmussen, Professor of Philosophy
St. John's University

"Anyone interested in the moral legitimacy of the welfare state must deal with the arguments of this book."
-- Ellen Frankel Paul, Editor
Social Philosophy and Policy

"A gifted and remarkably clear writer, David Kelley examines the tripartite intellectual pillars of so-called welfare rights: freedom, compassion, and belonging. Skillfully combining philosophical argument with empirical research, he shows how these three concepts, properly understood, are undermined by any coercive welfare program--from AFDC to Social Security to Medicare. Kelley presents the views of those who advocate wefare rights with sensitivity and fairness, but he also shows how everyone, including those in genuine need, is better off in a world of voluntary giving. A brilliant mix of theory and practice, this is a book you will share with your friends.
-- Randy E. Barnett, Austin B. Fletcher Professor
Boston University School of Law

"A Life of One's Own is a provocative, often devastating, critique of the central assumptions of the welfare state. Kelley reminds us that our country was founded on individual freedom and responsibility, not a coercive obligation to provide for others. At a time when many people are coming to the realization that our welfare system needs to be overhauled, it is increasingly important to question the system's central premises. Kelley accepts this challenge, exposing a system based on faulty assumptions and lacking incentives for personal responsibility."
Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court

David Kelley

David Kelley is founder and, since 1990, executive director of The Objectivist Center, a leading center for research and education in Objectivism, the philosophy originated by Ayn Rand, world famous author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, among other works.

His many articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Barron's, Harpers, The Sciences, Harvard Business Review, and elsewhere. He also lectures widely and is a frequent talk show guest. He was recently featured on John Stossel's ABC-TV special, "Greed."

A well-known philosopher, teacher, and writer, David Kelley earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975. He has since taught philosophy, cognitive sciences and other courses at Vassar College and Brandeis University.

Dr. Kelley's books include The Evidence of the Senses, a treatise on perception; The Art of Reasoning, a widely used college logic textbook; Truth and Toleration, an essay on the principles of intellectual exchange; and Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence.

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