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  • Created by: Muy
  • Created on: 24-04-13 00:33


Liberalisms origins lie in the Enlightenment, most principle works were between 1720-1900

the Englightenment brought 2 major thought

changed beliefs in nature of causation - acts of God replaced by laws of science

changed beliefs in source of knowledge - divine revelation to human rationality

i.e. King Charles I executed due to infringement of laws of God, King Louis XVI executed due to infringement of the rights of man

French Revolution was the culmination of the Englightenment as well as American Revolution

Earliest group of Liberals were 'Liberales' - they attempted to force King Ferdinand to implement a constitution in 1819

Core elements are - humans possessing rational thoughts meaning the autonomous human being is the centre of existence, this generates concepts ro generate a society that allows the rational individual to flourish

Idealist and universalist ideology, its principles are true regardless of time/places

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individualism - individual is key to human existence, individuals possess self awareness, personality and capabilities and free will

most fundamental feature of Liberalism, and relates to human nature 

contrast to collectivism, collectivism is hostile to individual rights/liberty (classical) whilst (modern) saw human nature having a dual character - both individualistic and collectivist

society is constructed around a mass of autonomous rational individuals 'atomic individualism' - metaphor likens society as a mass of seperate/distinct atoms which can exist by itself, society has to be organised to benefit these individuals - individual needs must be prioritised over collective bodies 'ethical individualism'

'egotistical individualism' - emphasises self-interest and self-reliance, individuals are driven by their own needs and to rely on themselves - neo liberalism... 'developmental individualism' argues individuals desire to realise their potentian in full (T.H. Green and modern)

the state is a threat to individual autonomy, so it must be restricted

state is necessary, though it should be a 'nightwatchman state' protecting individuals... Adam Smtih believed the state had 3 functions 1. maintain a system of justice 2. defend against foreign aggression 3. maintain public works

John Locke justified Adam Smiths idea under social-contract theory, individuals surrender autonomy to allow a stable social life... the state merely exists as individuals have a consensus with it existing

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linked to human nature of the autonomous individual, mature individuals should be free to decide their own fate without legal/social restraint

there should be no confines on their ability to express themselves, or to associate with others, freedom to own property (negative freedom coined by Isiah Berlin) - the state shouldnt infringe these freedoms

freedom was used in a campaign against slavery, legally enslaved individual were undermined freedom - this developed the basis of civil rights/human rights

Green argued freedom accepted social inequalities, restricting individuals from exercising freedom... a population suffering from poverty weren't free - freedom existed when people have the POSITIVE oppostunity to realise their potential -> private enterprise didnt do this so the state had to intervene e.g. universal education and National Insurace 'positive freedom coined by Isiah Berlin'

both modern & classical accept freedom but differ of the implications of the state... Classical liberals negative freedom meant the states role was limited to keeping peace and providing defence

Neo-liberals such as von Hayek argue positive freedom and social welfare infringed the freedom to use property on a scale that comprised true freedom, they advocated a minimal state & free market - the state shouldnt allow imperfections on the market to develop

Positive freedom implies an interventionist state, taxation was ncessary to ensure freedom - and the regulation of the economy and social activity

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original form of liberalism, founded on individualism in its atomic/egotistical variant

humans have inalienable natural rights, no state had the right to take away these universal rights

utilitarianism (Bentham) "greatest happiness for the greatest number" ... ultilitarians believe imperfections of society can be removed by legal/administrative action, implying somewhat state regulation

negative freedom with a minimal state, therefore few restrictions on an individual behaviour consistent with the maintenance of a stable society

property ownerships a core freedom so must be protected, a system of law to regulate property ownership and transfer, and a system of justice to punish those who infringe property rights

free market linked with laissez faire philosophy, governments should regulate economic activity minimally - Adam Smith - market will regulate itself with the law of supply and demand

reject large scale welfare, it destroys wealth created by enterprising and encourages immoral behaviour be individuals - 'dependancy culture'

it is immoral to deprive the enterprising of their rewards of hard work by taxation to support those who dont work

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formal equality didnt create actual equality, as it ignored equality of opportunity by allowing vast inequalities of wealth/living standard 

^ this denied individuals to develop their abilities and reach their full potential, whilst some individuals exercised their power and denied many others 

'self fulfilment' justification for promoting 'developmental equality' - society should act to ensure individuals have a real chance at success and to realise their abilities - this justified an interventionist state and developed into managed economy -> state ensures health of the economy isnt vulnerable to free market dysfunctions

humans have dual nature - individual and collective (T.H. Green) - advocated developmental individualism that could only be realised by an interventionist state... poverty made it impossble for certain individuals to achieve what their merits deserved, threse merits had to be developed by collective action

John Stuart Mill - two pleasures 1. higher culture i.e. art and literature 2. lower - he believed everyone could develop their sensibilities to appreaciate high culture

positive freedom, a state that provides self realisation of individuals thorugh universal education and welfare, it supports individuals -  a level playing field means real equality of opportunity

UK welfare state expanded on these ideas, they introduced old age pensions, NI, Lord Beveridge wrote the 42 report that was the basis for postwar welfare state i.e. NHS

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Modern II

economic management - Keynes argued 30s great depression displayed the dysfunctional nature of free market economy, it wasnt self regulating so it required state management of economic activity

2 proposals by Keynes... 1. government spending 2. fiscal policies to regulate the level of economic demand

success of neo-liberalism based on classical liberalism produced tensions with modern liberalism, after Clintons administration many liberals adopted the 'hand up, not a hand out' principle to welfare...

this restricts positive freedom aspect to finding exployment, which is closer to utilitarianism than core modern liberalism

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democracy is the ultimate political form of liberalism, both classical/modern endorse this ideal form of state... liberal democracy - representative democracy combined with entrenched consitutional government/human rights

liberal democracy is protection against tyranny, free and fair elections, open competitions between parties, allow governments to be disposed if they lose the confidence of the electorate... there must be no artificial restrictions and elections must be fair

democracy implies - individual is equal as an elctorate, one person-one vote, equal influence on government/legislation, voting constrains collective pressure of groups as its done by individuals... liberals oppose vote blocks or collective voting - this undermines individual autonomy and is undemocratic

democracy means personal development, decision on vote should be a process of ratonal thought, reading various manifestos and questioning candidates allows individual to consider the arguments and make a decision, elections educate electorate, improves individuals ability to participate in future elections

Robert Lowe viewed democracy as a potential threat, who believed uneducated masses were not capable of exercising their right to vote, hence restriction of democratic rights... Lowe argued democracy is collectivist, working class voting bloc would vote for socialist candidates committed to nationalisation/state control, excessive state regulation would mean heavy taxation/suffocation of individual enterprise and innovation

 democracy can produce 'tyranny of the majority', a temporary government (not always the majority of the electorate) could pass legislation that restricts human rights of members of the majority i.e. religion and ethnicity

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constiutionalism - defined laws and regulations through which the government is carried out, usually a single document which defines powers/responsibilities of the state

central feature of classical and modern liberalism, liberals celebrate individuals qualities, theres a concern though... individuals act in their own enlightened self-interest so theres danger the individual uses political power to pursue their own interests - acting against interests of other individuals - in worst cases they become oppressive

constiution discourages corruption, it creates internal checks & balances - 3 powers of the state (executive, legislature, judiciary) are seperated , if any branch exceeds its authority procedures exist for the other to take action

USA - legislature has 2 houses seperately elected, each has specific powers.... it acts as a check on a temporary majority in one ... Each state has delineated powers/responsibilities -> this cant be removed by a federal government as its entrenched... Power is diffused, tyranical governments are less likely

Powers/responsibilities are entrenched, it can't be removed by a temporary majority - amendments occasionally required, changed need the assent of the instiutions of state... state has protection over possibly corrupt individual

UK uncodified consitution criticised, nothing is entrenched so any parliamentary majority can enact any legislation, 'no Parliament can bind its successor'... most entrenched consitution is Germanys, in order to prevent Nazis legal seizure to power repeating itself - no emergency provisions to suspend any part of the consitution unlike Article 48 of the Weimar Republics constitution 

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