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Eliva Press book is recommended by leading constitutional scholar Prof. Lawrence B. Solum

Review by Prof. Larry Solum

"The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends Justice as a Fair Start in Life: Understanding the Right to Have Children by Carter Dillard.  Here is a description:

“Heidegger wants us to recapture the sense of people as unique and valuable, and this seems like the central argument of Dillard’s book.”

How did we ever come to believe in the myth of intentional, just and legitimate systems of social organization - like states and families - without actually accounting for the fair creation, development and consensual inclusion of future generations – the majority of persons – into those systems? How is consent, or self-determination, possible without that account? What norm could possibly precede that account? These articles - several peer-reviewed and originally published by Yale, Duke, Northwestern and other universities - will argue that, abstraction aside, there is no real justice without ensuring all children a fair start in life, both socially and ecologically. We first move towards justice by reforming the moral and legal right to have children, and the family planning systems the right creates, around zero baseline - or Fair Start - modeling that through collective child-centric planning enables consent to power and thus relative self-determination against the true baseline of nonpolity. Without it, we never orient our actions from a just, or inclusive and reflective, position.

Fair Start moves the discussion away from population and toward people, away from counting people and toward making people count. If we care about freedom, we first care about people because in democratic systems they – ultimately – have political authority over us. A just creation norm makes God fair, our systems consensual, and frees us from one another.

This book thus seeks to correct what we might call the constitutive or grundnorm fallacy: The mistake of trying to derive inclusive systems of justice, and freedom, downstream of our creation rather than going to the source - just family planning. Correcting that mistake, and understanding the right to have children, resolves a corruption at the heart of human rights which makes a system designed to protect the most vulnerable, like future persons, fundamentally exploitative of them. The creation norm is what most accounts, and should most account, for the lives we experience. Making that norm fair brings us to optimal world populations. It is also the most effective solution to the ecosocial crises we face today, with the weight of evidence showing ten to twenty times the impact, via redistributive Fair Start family planning entitlements/incentives, on things like the climate crisis and economic inequality relative to downstream measures.

"Justice is not abstract, but created in the constant and fundamental formation – or procreation – of power relations."

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