Core Values of Liberalism

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  • Created by: cg97
  • Created on: 20-05-15 09:27
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  • Core Values of Liberalism
    • The Individual - each person fulfilling their potential
      • Methodological - Society made up of individuals so they are central to political theory
      • Egotistical - Emphasises self-interest and self-reliance (there is no such thing as society)
      • Ethical - Society should be constructed so as to benefit the individual, give moral priority to individual rights
      • Developmental - Prioritises society flourishing over individual self-interest
    • Freedom - Liberals believe that freedom is a fundamental right
      • Libertarians (JS MILL): "Too much liberty can limit liberty - selfish actions restrict the freedoms of others" (Preferred the Harm Principle
      • Radical Libertarians (JOHN RAWLS): "Everyone is entitled to the widest level of liberty" - individual is sovereign over all aspects of their life and body
      • Classical Liberals (JOHN LOCKE): Believes in 'negative freedom' -> absence of constraints and interference
      • Modern Liberals (ISAIAH BERLIN): Freedom is being one's own master. This has led to the belief that gov should interfere to ensure equality of opportunity for all
    • Reason
      • Liberals believe humans to be rational, thinking creatures capable of defining and pursuing their own interests - in order to do this, they must be free
      • This idea rejects paternalism and tradition
      • Embraces education and rationalism
    • Justice - giving people their due
      • Foundational Equality - Humans are born equal so have equal moral worth
      • Equality of Opportunity - Have the same opportunity to rise of fall within society
      • Formal Equality - All have the same rights and entitlements -> they reject social privileges based on 'irrational' factors e.g. race, gender, religion etc.
      • Reject ides of equality of outcome - FAVOUR MERITOCRACY INSTEAD (inequalities based on abilities
    • Toleration
      • JS MILL: Toleration guarantees personal autonomy to pursue moral self development
      • VOLTAIRE: "I detest what you say but I shall defend to the death your right to say it"
      • It is both an ethical and social principle
        • Represents the goal of personal autonomy
        • Sets rules as to how humans should treat one another


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