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While liberalism undoubtedly favours openness, debate and self-determination, it is
also characterized by a powerful moral thrust. The moral and ideological stance of
liberalism is embodied in a commitment to a distinctive set of values and beliefs. The
most important of these are the following: individualism, freedom, reason,

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Liberal belief in freedom is closely related to the belief in reason.
Reason largely influenced liberalism arising during the Enlightenment, key
figures of which were Rousseau, Kant, Smith and Bentham.
Central theme of the Enlightenment was the desire to release humankind
from bondage to superstition and ignorance and unleash…

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It is right to reward merit and hard work (meritocracy) and this naturally leads
to inequalities.
These inequalities are only because everyone competes on a level playing
field. Nobody is denied equality of opportunity, therefore liberals believe in
meritocracy in that social position is determined by ability and hard work.…

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The state
Law and government are necessary because liberals fear that free individuals
may exploit others for their own interest and advantage.
Thus, the liberty of one person is always in danger of become a license to
abuse another, each person is both at threat and under threat from every…

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Rules that seek to allocate duties, power and functions amongst various institutions of
government. It therefore constitutes the rules that govern the government itself. It
defines the extent of government power and limits its exercise.

All liberal political systems exhibit internal fragmentation, achieved by applying the
doctrine of separation…

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The problem is rooted in the competing implications of individualism that
both embodies a fear of collective power and leads to a belief in political
19th century: Liberals saw democracy as threatening or dangerous.
Plato and Aristotle viewed democracy as a system rule of the masses at the

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Economic liberalism Social liberalism
Egoistical individualism Developmental individualism
Maximize utility Personal growth
Negative freedom Positive freedom
Minimal state Enabling state
Free-market economy Managed economy
Rights-based justice Justice as fairness
Strict meritocracy Concern for the poor
Individual responsibility Social responsibility
Safety-net welfare Cradle-to-grave welfare

The state is necessary to…

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Locke saw the contract between state and citizen as a specific and limited
one: to protect a set of defined nature rights. As a result, he believed in
limited government, with the legitimate role of government limited to the
protection of `life, liberty and property'.
Therefore the realm of govt.…

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themselves. Those with a willingness/ability to work will prosper whereas
those who are lazy will not.
Herbert Spencer drew on Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection
and applied this to the social sphere. Society and the distribution of social
rewards are a just reflection of each individual's efforts. Thus…

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Liberals found it increasingly difficult to maintain that capitalism had brought with it
general prosperity and rising living standards for all. Unrestrained pursuit of wealth
had not produced a just society and the minimal state seemed incapable of rectifying
the injustices and inequalities of civil society. As a result of…


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