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Core Values:
= Unique and Equal.
Feudalism was displaced by increasingly market-orientated societies .
Individuals were encouraged individuals to think for themselves and to think of themselves in
personal terms.
A serf was now a `free man' and acquired some ability to choose who to work for and maybe
the opportunity to leave the land altogether and look for work in the growing towns or cities.
Rational and scientific explanations gradually displaced traditional religious theories.…read more

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Individual liberty the supreme political value and the unifying principle within
liberal ideology.
Belief in the supreme importance of the individual leads naturally to a commitment to individual
Liberals do not accept that individuals have an absolute entitlement to freedom.
If liberty is unlimited it can become `licence', the right to abuse others.
John Stuart MILL: the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any
member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others.…read more

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Liberal case for freedom linked closely with a faith in REASON.
The purpose of the `Enlightenment period' was to release humankind from its bondage to
superstition and ignorance and unleash an `age of reason'.
Enlightenment rationalism strengthened liberal's faith in both the individual and liberty.
Human beings are rational, thinking creatures and they are capable of defining and pursuing
their own best interests.
Liberal's belief in reason builds a strong BIAS against paternalism.…read more

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Indicates MORAL JUDGMENT: Particularly about REWARDS and PUNISHMENTS.
Justice is about giving each person what he or she is `due'.
Social justice: refers to the distribution of material rewards and benefits (wages, profits,
housing, medical care and welfare benefits.)
1st Individualism implies a commitment to FOUNDATION EQUALITY. Human beings are seen
to be `born equal' = each individual is of equal moral worth, an idea embodied in the notion of
natural rights or human rights.…read more

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Liberals believe social equality to be undesirable because people are not born the same.
They possess different talents and skills and some are prepared to work much harder than
Liberals believe it is right to reward merit, ability and the willingness to work. It is essential to
do so if people are to have an incentive to realise their potential and develop the talents they
were born with.…read more

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Sympathy for toleration and diversity is also linked to the liberal belief in a balanced society. Although
individuals pursue very different interests, liberals hold that there is a deeper harmony or balance
amongst these competing interests. These competing interests also complement one another. Each
group is essential to the achievement of the other group goals.
1. The Liberal State
Law and government are necessary because liberals fear that free individuals may exploit
others for their own interest and advantage.…read more

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Liberal thus regards the state as a neutral arbiter amongst the competing individuals and
groups within society.
2. Constitutional Government
Liberals are convinced of the need for government but also AWARE of the dangers that
government embodies.
All government are potential tyrannies against the individual. This is based on the fact that
government exercises sovereign power and poses a constant threat to individual liberty.
Liberal fear of power.…read more

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Liberal democracy = A form of political rule that balances the principle of limited
government against the ideal of popular consent.
Liberal democracy is the dominant political force in the developed and the developing world.
Its `liberal' features are reflected in a network of internal and external checks on
government that are designed to guarantee liberty and afford citizen protection
against the state.
These goals are essentially achieved through constitutional government.…read more

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MADISON argued that the best defence against majoritarianism is a network of checks and
balances that would make government responsive to competing minorities and also safeguard
the propertied few from the property-less masses.
Liberals have doubts about democracy: Danger of the majority rule and makeup of the majority in
modern industrial societies.
MILL: political wisdom is unequally distributed and is largely related to education.…read more




Old Sir

A very well-organised and presented survey of the roots of liberal philosophy. Excellent for fulfilling assessment objective 1.This might be very useful for students who want to develop their own learning further and address assessment objective 2 by researching recent examples of political argument in western democracies which exemplify aspects of this philosophy.

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