Viewed alternately as an obstacle to justice, an impediment to efficient government, and a tool by which some groups gain benefits and privileges at the expense of others, public administration threatens to become the whipping boy of American government. In this innovative look at the nation's bureaucracy, Michael W. Spicer revisits the values of the Constitution in order to reconcile the administrative state to its many critics.
Drawing on political and social philosophy, Spicer argues that there is a fundamental philosophical conflict over the role of reason in society between writers in public administration and the designers of the American Constitution. This examination of worldviews illuminates the problem that American government faces in trying to ground a legitimate public administration in the Constitution. Defending and developing the Founders' idea that political power, whatever its source, must be checked, he critically examines existing ideas about the role of public administration in American governance and offers an alternative vision of public administration more in line with the Founders' constitutional design. This book will provide fresh insights for anyone interested in the role of public administration in the United States today.