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A2 Government & Politics Revision



Revision Notes

Liberalism

Core Values of Liberalism

Liberty
o Political/Revolutionary Liberty
Self-determination
No longer central to liberal thought
o Individual Liberty
Over-powerful gov'ts enemies of liberty; gov't too paternalistic
Utilitarianism ­ Bentham
Absence of constraint ­ J.S. Mill
o Negative vs. Positive Liberty
Negative: Absence…

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o Inequality natural; free society ­ social outcomes just

Issues in Liberalism

Democracy
o Rousseau ­ diff. between will of people and general will
o Liberals suspicious tyranny of majority
o Ways to resolve paradoxes:
Constitutionalism
Pluralism
Gov't by consent
Individual liberties protected
Representative and…

Page 3

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Human Nature
o Pessimistic ­ original six
o Justifies paternalism; people are untrustworthy and self-seeking
Order and Authority
o Hobbes: "nasty, brutish and short"
Tradition and Preservation
o Burke: "partnership between those who are living, those who are dead and those
who are yet to…

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State only intervene to control currency and public finances (monetarism)
o Populism
Centred on potential of individual success
o Right-wing Nationalism
Pragmatic: faced with globalisation and European integration
o Neo-conservatism
Stressed importance of good order ­ paternalistic view of role of state
Contemporary US conservatism…

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Socialism

Core Values

Equality
o Equal rights ­ birth right
o Equality of opportunity
o Fundamentalists: Equality of outcome
o Ultimate goal of Marxists: Absolute equality
o Equality of welfare ­ all entitled to minimum standard of living
Class Conflict
o Revolutionary: conflict unsolvable under…

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Based on individual self-interest, draining human creativity
o Development of capitalism
Capitalism becomes highly productive
Surplus generated = more productive
Working class grown = polarisation
Capitalism overproduces, economic slumps occur
Socialist consciousness grows amongst working class
Rivalry between capitalist countries intensifies = war
Class consciousness…

Page 7

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Capitalism and Socialism
o Early: offered alternatives to capitalism
o Marxists/Fundamentalists: fundamentally exploitative ­ destroy capitalism
o 1959 ­ German Social Democratic Party ­ no longer need to destroy it

Marxism in Practice

Russian Revolution
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
o Problems: underdeveloped proletariat…

Page 8

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o Libertarians: property acceptable as long as justly obtained
Critique of capitalism
o Libertarians : free-market
o Contemporary anarchists: international capitalism exploiting poor nations

Types of Anarchism

Anarcho-communism
o Dissolve state voluntary, self-governing communities
Direct democracy
Collectivisation
Self-sustainable
Anarcho-individualism
o Stirner: Humankind driven by egoism…

Page 9

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Anarchism, Socialism and Marxism

On what grounds do socialists and anarchists differ?
o Oppose private property
o Individuals can achieve self-realisation through collective action
o Strong sense of equality
Is anarchism merely unscientific socialism?
o Lack of theory of history
o Lack of coherent view…

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