For utilitarianism and Hegelianism, and their combination in various forms of liberal thought, the… General characteristics Liberalism is derived from two related features of Western culture.
The diversity of liberalism can be gleaned from the numerous adjectives that liberal thinkers and movements have attached to the very term "liberalism", including classicalegalitarianeconomicsocialwelfare stateethicalhumanistdeontologicalperfectionistdemocratic and institutionalto name a few.
At its very root, liberalism is a philosophy about the meaning of humanity and society. Political philosopher John Gray identified the common strands in liberal thought as being individualist, egalitarian, meliorist and universalist.
The individualist element avers the ethical primacy of the human being against the pressures of social collectivismthe egalitarian element assigns the same moral worth and status to all individuals, the meliorist element asserts that successive generations can improve their sociopolitical arrangements and the universalist element affirms the moral unity of the human species and marginalises local cultural differences.
The moral and political suppositions of liberalism have been based on traditions such as natural rights and utilitarian theoryalthough sometimes liberals even requested support from scientific and religious circles.
These ideas were first drawn together and systematized as a distinct ideology by the English philosopher John Lockegenerally regarded as the father of modern liberalism. Employing the idea of a state of nature—a hypothetical war-like scenario prior to the state—he constructed the idea of a social contract that individuals enter into to guarantee their security and in so doing form the State, concluding that only an absolute sovereign would be fully able to sustain such a peace.
Hobbes had developed the concept of the social contract, according to which individuals in the anarchic and brutal state of nature came together and voluntarily ceded some of their individual rights to an established state authority, which would create laws to regulate social interactions.
Whereas Hobbes advocated a strong monarchical authority the LeviathanLocke developed the then radical notion that government acquires consent from the governed which has to be constantly present for the government to remain legitimate.
He concluded that the people have a right to overthrow a tyrant.
By placing life, liberty and property as the supreme value of law and authority, Locke formulated the basis of liberalism based on social contract theory. To these early enlightenment thinkers, securing the most essential amenities of life— liberty and private property among them—required the formation of a "sovereign" authority with universal jurisdiction.
Once humans moved out of their natural state and formed societies, Locke argued as follows: And this is that, and that only, which did or could give beginning to any lawful government in the world".
One political scientist described this new thinking as follows: In the First Treatise, Locke aimed his guns first and foremost at one of the doyens of 17th century English conservative philosophy: Filmer's Patriarcha argued for the divine right of kings by appealing to biblical teaching, claiming that the authority granted to Adam by God gave successors of Adam in the male line of descent a right of dominion over all other humans and creatures in the world.
Reinforcing his respect for consensus, Locke argued that "conjugal society is made up by a voluntary compact between men and women". For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority.
Three arguments are central: Rather than force a man's conscience, government should recognise the persuasive force of the gospel.
His central argument was that the individual is capable of using reason to distinguish right from wrong. To be able to exercise this right, everyone must have unlimited access to the ideas of his fellow men in " a free and open encounter " and this will allow the good arguments to prevail.
In a natural state of affairs, liberals argued, humans were driven by the instincts of survival and self-preservation and the only way to escape from such a dangerous existence was to form a common and supreme power capable of arbitrating between competing human desires.
Modern liberals claim that formal or official guarantees of individual rights are irrelevant when individuals lack the material means to benefit from those rights and call for a greater role for government in the administration of economic affairs.
As heirs of the Enlightenment, liberals believed that any given social and political order emanated from human interactionsnot from divine will. From the 17th century until the 19th century, liberals from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill conceptualised liberty as the absence of interference from government and from other individuals, claiming that all people should have the freedom to develop their own unique abilities and capacities without being sabotaged by others.
Classical liberals were committed to individualism, liberty and equal rights. Writers such as John Bright and Richard Cobden opposed both aristocratic privilege and property, which they saw as an impediment to the development of a class of yeoman farmers.
This new kind of liberty became known as positive liberty to distinguish it from the prior negative version and it was first developed by British philosopher Thomas Hill Green.
Green rejected the idea that humans were driven solely by self-interestemphasising instead the complex circumstances that are involved in the evolution of our moral character.Mar 18, · Liberalism is deeply rooted in American soil, so much so that in the years after World War II, many historians and social scientists regarded the liberal project and the American civic creed as more or less the same.
Given that liberalism fractures on so many issues — the nature of liberty, the place of property and democracy in a just society, the comprehensiveness and the reach of the liberal ideal — one might wonder whether there is any point in talking of ‘liberalism’ at all.
_After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State_ by Paul Gottfried is a very powerful and important book which shows specifically how a discontinuity existing between nineteenth century liberalism and its twentieth century version has made possible the rise of a "managerial state".
Arab Liberalism and Democracy in the Middle East Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 4 (December ) The second article, by an American. The discoveries of social choice theory have undermined the simple and unrealistic 19th century notions of democracy, especially the expectation that electoral institutions smoothly translate popular will .
Liberal democracy is a modern synthesis. Liberalism—a respect for human or natural rights; limits on the scope and power of public authority; state neutrality on fundamental questions of, for example, religion and the ultimate human good—emerged as a practical détente after exhausting religious.