Liberalism

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 03-06-19 17:45

Introduction and Origins of Liberalism

Developed in the 17th century - a belief in anti-authoritarianism, secularism and the social contract - views of John Locke; Macpherson 'possessive individidualism' - about the individual and capitalism - today, akin to rational choice theory - sees society as AN AGGREGATE OF INDIVIDUALS - opposes state interference, and is linked to democracy today - the EU DEMOCRACY INDEX + 'liberal-democratic' state - has links to NATIONALISM, REPUBLICANISM and PLURALISM, with various SCHOOLS OF LIBERALISM

ORIGINS - in Britain, with Hobbes 'leviathan' post-Civil War - a basic contract - however, soon developed into individualism - Locke - saw tolerance, commercialism and a SOCIAL CONTRACT as the way forward - 'a civil society of free men' which invest their trust in the government, holding property rights and governed by the RULE OF LAW; ECONOMIC - Adam Smith - laissez-faire and the 'invisible hand'; differs between NEW and NEO liberalism

FRENCH ORIGINS - the French Revolution was about liberal ideals - views of de Tocqueville, Constant (idea of liberty for all and participation for 'surveillance' of government), and Guizot (argued for constitutionalism, enfranchisement in the industrial age)

SPREAD TO EUROPE - Liberales in Spain 1812 + new Constitution, later Congress of Vienna 1815

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Key Features of Liberalism

INDIVIDUALISM - sees the individual as at the centre of society - a rational and true being, which is unconstrained and respected at all times - individuals are motivated by 'virtue of selfishness', and are NOT DEPENDENT on anyone, let alone the state - Humboldt; Hobbes said man was 'anti-scoial', and there are other EXTREME INDIVIDUALISTS - Spencer, Nozick

LIBERTY - in various respects - economic (Locke, Smith) with property rights, or political liberty from state overreach - free to do whatever you want; - POSITIVE LIBERTY (New liberalism) - about positive discrimination for those who are marginalised, but still guaranteeing liberty for all (Mill, T.H Green); - NEGATIVE LIBERTY - free from state in all respects, no 'helping hand' - no welfare, and more 'pure' - the classical view

EGALITARIANISM - we are all morally equal and have identical worth - humans are responsible for the consequences of their own actions - leads to EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY and the POSITIVE VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE possessed by liberals

JUSTICE - a need for the rule of law and meritocracy - Gallie's idea of 'commutative justice' - you exchange your talent for a reward in a just society - equality protected by the RULE OF LAW

CONTRACT - Locke's 'government by consent of the people'; a peaceful state of nature - a good example is the American idea of 'no taxation without representation'

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Features of Liberalism II + Classical

CONSTITUTIONALISM - focus on a 'higher law' which limits the power of the state (Montesquieu); no transgression aganst individuals, and legal positivism (Comte); focussed on a MINIMAL STATE which is held to account (Spencer, Nozick) - but the key question is HOW MINIMAL? Only an 'ethical' level? (Hayek); or NO INTERVENTION AT ALL? (Spencer)

NATURAL RIGHTS - this challenges government overreach - in terms of slavery and disenfranchisement - liberal rights are UNIVERSAL - Kant - every human is equal

SEPARATION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE is hugely important; as is TOLERANCE - this is crucial to the operation of liberalism, must be tolerant of everyone's views

ECONOMICALLY - an unhindered free market and commercial values through a civil order - anti-aristocracy and anti-privilege - for example, the GOLDEN AGE OF LAISSEZ-FAIRE (1800s)

All features are KEY TO CLASSICAL LIBERALISM - school supported by Locke, Humboldt, Constant - view of a 'nightwatchman state' which promotes egalitarianism - Tocqueville opposed 'democratic despotism' and argued for a separation of public and private; state protects the citizens in the first right, and does little else - a 'limited government at the centre' - Reeve - however, still fairly NATIONALISTIC

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New Liberalism

Clegg and Cameron - belief that 'everyone has the chance' - egalitarian, but achieved in a different way to CLASSICALS - about FREEDOM TO rather than FREEDOM FROM; positive view of liberty - the STATE SHOULD DO SOMETHING: Mill, 'welfare measures'? Keynes, economic management? Roosevelt, 'new deal'?

Through 19th century - idea of 'social inividualism' and communitarianism - an 'atomistic' view of society, with individuals forming part of the group - not more SOCIALIST however - Mill clearly anti-socialist, but state only tackles issues pertaining to equality of opportunity - ensuring equality, and allows the poorest to realise their opportunities - view of Green, Hobhouse, Arrow

KEY FEATURES: - constrained liberalism; - expanded role of state; - mixed economy (public and private); - welfare state; - corporatist (in Europe); - Keynesian demand management (spending to get out of a recession)

- Mill - state intervenes based on 'harm principle' - but this is open to interpretation - state should try and maximise development, and prevent TYRANNY - Bentham + utilitarianism

- Should use the state to secure good outcomes for all, and not using liberty for the sake of it, which may lead to oppression - I.Berlin 'intelligent social action' - a need for 'managed capitalism' and 'constitutive liberalism'

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Neo-Liberalism

The 'classic' reaction to NEW liberalism, with a few tweaks - seen as the 'hegemonic form of government today' to Vincent - sought to challenge issues of GOVERNMENT OVERLOAD; a New Right ideology which attacked the POST-WAR CONSENSUS in the UK - opposed bureaucratisation, and supported DEREGULATION AND PRVIATISATION - Nozick, Friedman

Hayek - not a Spencerian, but held a belief in a free market 'catallaxy' to challenge the goverment becoming overloaded + bureaucratic incrementalism - public choice theory

Links to LIBERTARIAN CONSERVATISM of Rand and Nozick - favour drug decriminalisation, low taxation (if at all), etc - state has NO ROLE TO PLAY at all

KEY FEATURES: 1) RATIONAL INDIVIDUALS that have their own views and pursue them (RC theory); 2) THE FREE MARKET is central, which differs from classical - markets exist in all aspects of life + throughout society - used to 'roll back the state' and gain economic freedom (view of Thatcher); 3) THE PRIVATE SECTOR - supported, is a less bureaucratic and more effiecient and productive system - favour privatisation; 4) MINIMAL STATE; 5) INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY - Spencer - borderline social Darwinism?

PROBLEM: free market restrictions; SOLUTION: markets everywhere; METHOD: 'ROLL BACK'

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Criticisms of Liberalism

CLASSICAL DEATH POST-1914? Not seen as a viable solution anymore, due to the existence of a 'modern, industrialised society', universal suffrage and the failures of the free market - led to new liberalism and neoliberal tweaks

CRITICISMS: - opposed by conservatives who favour tradition and elite monopoly as more efficient; - opposed by Marxists who argue in favour of revolution from below; - authoritarian successes in China, USSR; - too divided - new and neo are wildly different; - Westerncentric - only really applies to nations that are advanced economically, like USA and Western Europe

LINE 1 - INDIVIDUALISM - criticised as we don't know what a 'social' and 'anti-social' being is; how do we form an 'aggregate of interests'? How does the individual become a central feature? No reasoning for this

LINE 2 - ILLUSION - no use for political and civil liberties as many have bigger priorities, such as hunger, poverty, corruption - idea of a 'selfish individual' fails as people band together to live - some are denied property rights in these nations, so the 'individual' should not be central

LINE 3 - A DOCTRINE? it is clearly not a universal ideology, as it excludes many in its policies through capitalism - liberalism is NOT A VIABLE DOCTRINE in this sense - it develops slowly, and is less adapatable than conservatism - so more opportunities to criticise

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Key Liberal Thinkers

Locke; Smith; (Hobbes?) - classic British liberals

Macpherson - 'possessive individualism'

Tocqueville; Constant; Guizot; Humboldt - international classical liberals

Spencer; Nozick - extreme liberals, individualism

Gallie - 'commutative justice' - reward for contribution

Mill; Green; Hobhouse; Keynes; Roosevelt; Arrow; Bentham; Berlin - new liberalism

Comte + Montesquieu - rule of law and constitutionalism

Reeve - limited government at the centre of liberalism

Clegg; Cameron - 'new liberalism' within the coalition government?

Hayek; Friedman; Thatcher; Rand; - neoliberals, with Rand being more extremist

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