Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The fear that isolation has eroded our social bonds had simmered for at least two decades when communitarianism first emerged as a cogent political philosophy. Beau Breslin '88 examines communitarianism in his new book, "From Words to Worlds: Exploring Constitutional Functionality," from a wholly original standpoint, tackling the question of whether or not communitarian policies are truly practicable in a constitutional society.
Breslin follows the development of American communitarianism from Lincoln's unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus, and references Federalist and Anti-Federalist tenets to support his argument. He also investigates Germany's and Israel's constitutions, which offer insight into the relationship between constitutionalism and communitarianism.
"From Words to Worlds" is vital reading for anyone interested in the evolving tensions between individual rights and the good of the community, especially at a time when American politicians and citizenry are struggling to balance competing needs, such as civil rights and homeland security.
Breslin was a member of Sigma Phi and graduated from Hobart College in 1988 with a degree in political science. He went on to receive both an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Breslin is currently an associate professor of government at Skidmore College, as well as the director of Skidmore's First-Year Experience program. He is also the author of "The Communitarian Constitution."