Liberalism Thinkers and Themes

  • Created by: Vee Chan
  • Created on: 07-02-19 08:37

John Locke

Human Nature Rational but not egotistical induvidualism. Pursuit of self-interest.

State Rejection of Divine Right of Kings.  Representative, consent of the governed.

Society State of Nature. Society preceeds formal state. Natural rights and laws of society (eg.Property) (Adapted from Hobbes, though contrasts his conclusion of 'Nasty, Brutish and Short)

Economy State policy must respect natural rights (eg. Property) and arbitrate. More Laissez-Faire.

Early Classical Liberalism. Because of its rejection of divine rights it also had revolutionary potential in context of the 17th century.

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Mary Wollstonecraft

Human Nature Rationalism is inherent in both genders.

State  Against the monarchical state. Republican with enshrined rights for women and formal equality. Consent

Society Women complicit in their subjugation due to lack of education making them desire motherhood. Formal education for both genders to help instill rationality.

Economy Free Market economics would be further helped by the influence of liberated women.

Classical Liberal. Supporter of the French/American Revolutions for constitutional defence of rights.

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John Stuart Mill

Human Nature Fundamentally rational but not fixed. Potential to progress. Optimism around developmental induvidualism.

State Cautious move to representative democracy. Negative Liberty. Worried govt. compromised by will of certain induviduals over others. Democracy=Tyranny of the majority.

Society  Tolerance of others. Human actions respected under Harm Principle. (Self-regarding=tolerate Other Regarding=not tolerate). Progression by self-improvement and induviduality.

Economy Laissez Faire Capitalism to progress induvidualism.

Bridge between classical and modern liberalism. 'Transitional liberalism'.

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John Rawls

Human Nature Selfish yet empathetic. Care for others as well as induvidual liberty.

State Enabling state. Help conditions of its worse off by public spending.

Society Induviduals would prefer a society where the conditions of the poor were improved.

Economy Free Market Capitalism Tempered in state plight to improve the poorest. The gap between poor+rich not narrowed. Redistribution of wealth not a surrender to socialism but consistent with modern liberalism.

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Betty Friedan

Human Nature  Human Nature evolved that it discourages women's self advancement though society causes feelings that human nature=lot in life.

State Legislation to prevent discrimination against women. Rejected rad.fem arguement that state was partiarchical and complicit. Enabling state.

Society Chauvanistic and women complicit in subjugation. Illiberal attitudes nurtured by Culture Channels (School, religion, media).

Economy Free market capitalism an ally to female emancipation allied to legislation that stops sexual discrimination eg. Equal Pay

A Liberal/modern feminist as well as a modern liberal. Adapted Wollstonecraft to modern era.

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Modern Liberalism-Second Strand

Late 1800s-Present. T.H.Green argued for Positive Liberty-enabling to help freedom where absence of restraint inhibits. Therefore supports enlarged state that enables. 

Criticised to have betrayed classical lib.ideas where they argue enabling state consistent with liberalism. Indifferent to equality of outcome. 

Constitutional Reform to update liberal principles. 

Social Liberalism to tolerate. Friedan. Calls for sex/race tolerance by legislation and positive discrimination. Cite Harm Principle for basis of ideas. 

Side with Keynesian economics to manage the economy

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Neo-Liberalism- Third Strand

Debate on whether it is Conservatism or Liberalism. 

Friedrich Von Hayek: Self described Liberal. 

  • Update of Classical Lib. for 20th/21st century. Reapply Smith ideas on Economy to globalisation. 
  • Liberal criticism of modern liberalism creating dependency culutre with state paternalism. Support state restraint.
  • Roll back of the state and reduce public spending. 

Dubbed conservative as their views are reactionary than progressive to restore economic ideas of the 19th century than innovate. Helped developed New Right politics (Thatcher, Reagan). 

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Overall Ideas on themes

HUMAN NATURE: All believe in rationality and potential of human capability. Early Classical and Neo-Libs (Hayek) view induviduals as blessed with qualities where Modern Lib + Mill think they are potential features. Modern Libs endorse Mill's concept of induviduality that stresses what induviduals could become once enabled.

SOCIETY: Classical Lib. think society preceeds the state but all see it as a collection of diverse, autonomous induviduall with potential to seek goals. Modern Lib (Rawls) see industrial/urban society creates less autonomy and require 'positive liberty' and enabling to be free. Neo-Lib see Modern.Lib ideas of positive liberty creating a dependency culture that needs radical state reduction. Thatcher's-No such thing as society.

STATE: All believe state function with rules and consent. Extent is debated. Clas.Lib like Mill believe in Neg.Liberty and think state should be minarchical. Modern believe Pos.Lib and state intervention should enable. Democracy debated as Mod.Lib view it enhancing constitution where Clas.Lib think it threatens property rights.

ECONOMY: Based on Locke, all believe economy based on private ownership. Classical/Neo support Adam Smith's Free Market/Laissez Faire. Modern Support Keynes (managed economy).

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