Liberalism Core Ideas & Principles

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  • Core Ideas and Principles (Liberalism)
    • Individualism
      • values the primacy of the individual in society over any group.
      • Mill - “over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
      • Freedom / Liberty
        • actions should not harm others or limit the freedom of others
    • Meritocracy
      • defined by merit and ability rather than the fate of our birth.
    • Freedom / Liberty
      • actions should not harm others or limit the freedom of others
    • Social Contract
      • invisible contract between the people and the state
        • rights and duties that both parties must abide by
      • Individuals can withdraw their consent
    • Limited Government
      • powers of the state are limited by law, usually in a codified constitution.
      • prevents those who govern from abusing that power.
      • Classical Liberals
        • role of a night-watchman
      • Modern Liberals
        • enabling role based on positive liberty
    • Mechanistic Theory
      • behaviour is determined by the interactions between individuals
      • state is akin to a mechanistic, artificial machine to protect individual's freedom
    • Social Justice
      • attempts to address problems such as social exclusion and social inequality.
    • Equality of Oppurtunity
      • Foundational Equality
        • All born with equal entitlement
      • Formal Equality
        • All equally treated at all times
    • Tolerance
      • Everyone holds an equal moral worth
        • Granted the same rights
      • be tolerant of those who differ from the norm
    • Liberal Government
      • “all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
      • balances the will of the people, shown through elections, with limited government (state) and a respect for civil liberties in society.
    • Rationalism
      • our behaviour is determined by rational interest rather than irrational emotions and prejudice
      • humans are rational creatures, capable of reason and logic.
    • The state
      • Must be limited
      • 'necessary evil'


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