Terms in this set (81)
What is the background of liberalism?
-chosen ideology of the bourgeoisie and middle classes
-priority was to allow the development of capitalism
-capitalism was believe to allow individual freedom to flourish and this reason, justice and toleration
-it's main concern was to break the power of the landed aristocracy, established church and the monarchy
What was the problem with these institutions?
-imposed restrictions to preserve their own social, political and economic power
-liberals wanted to end these restrictions in order for capitalism to develop
What is utilitarianism?
-devised by Jeremy Bentham
-believed that society should be organised so to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number
-there is the problems of the tyranny of the majority
What is the natural rights theory?
-philosophers such as John Locke and Jefferson believed that people had certain inalienable rights
-most importantly these were life, liberty, happiness and property
-it is the role of the government and the law to protect these rights and little else
What is economic liberalism?
-based on the work of Adam smith and Ricardo
-liberal economists maintained that only through the development of capitalism based on market forces could individuals engage in an unrestrained pursuit of profit
-thus allowing the creation of wealth
-allowing individuals to be free
How was this theory extended in the 1970's?
-revived and extended in the 1970's under the name of neo-liberalism
-'twas the idea that the state should not get intervene in the economy, only market forces are able to deliver a properly functioning economy
What is social Darwinism?
-adapted from Darwins theory of evolution by thinkers such as Herbert Spencer
-claims thAt humans are also engaged in a process of natural selection
-society is a struggle for survival amongst individuals
-inequalities in society are thus a result of a natural meritocratic order
How did liberalism run into problems?
-during the Great Depression
-the economic difficulties of the time were blamed on laissez faire economies
-widespread poverty amongst an expanding industrial working class
What is modern liberalism?
-in order to retain political popularity and address a changing world, liberalism moved away from the concept of limited government towards one of an enabling state
-this would address the problems of poverty and economic inequality
What is social liberalism?
-the creation of the welfare state to provide equality of opportunity and which would broaden the number of individual rights
What is economic management?
-liberals have supported JS Keynes where AD is sustained in order to deliver high levels of employment and general prosperity
What is positive freedom?
-thinkers such as TH green suggested that humans are altruistic creatures possessing social responsibilities
-govts should create an environment in which individuals are able to realise these potentials and achieve individual fulfilment
What is equality of opportunity?
-all should have the opportunity to make the most of their lives irrespective of which social class they are born into
-this is usually established through the welfare state and access to state education and healthcare
What is Individuality?
-JS mill emphasised the importance of personal self-determination? Rather than simply a crude egotistical satisfaction of individual interests
What did these changes do?
-brought a more social concept of liberalism which brought it closer to socialism but without abandoning the importance of capitalism and the individual
What is the liberalist relationship with conservatism?
-character was formed in opposition to conservative political forces and the need to break the monopoly of power enjoyed by feudal institutions
-conservatism remained as it's main idealogical opposition as it clashed over individualism, social change, the nature of authority, tolerance and tradition
How did liberalism also face opposition from the left?
-once the industrial working class emerged in the 19th Century as a political force they faced oppisition from socialism and anarchism
-Anarchism saw the state as limiting freedom
-both anarchism and socialism saw capitalism as creating economic inequality and neglecting the needs of the needs of collective society
How did liberalism share common roots with left wing politics?
-commitment to progress, reason and political equality
What is the liberalist view of human nature?
-mostly positive and optimistic view of human nature
-humans are believed to have an innate set of equalities that are not a result of social or historical circumstance
How is individualism related to liberal view of human nature?
-the uniqueness of the individual
-each individual has their own interests and preferences and have the right to pursue these interests and preferences
-society that encourages individuality and freedom that provides the best setting in which these rights can be met
-every human is free and equal
How can rationality be related to human nature?
-humans considered to be rational, reasoning beings
-Rationalism allows humans to develop abstract theories concerning political and social equality and justice or human rights and to engage in social engineering to realise these theories
-this is preferable to relying on the largely empirical approach of only following what has worked in the past
How can self-determination be related to human nature?
-humans are capable of self-determination
-the ability to better themselves through education, self-determination and self-realisation
-it is imperative that individuals should strive for improvement for this will maximise the potential of each individual allowing for society to flourish
What is the classical liberal view of human nature?
-humans are egotistical individuals
-each pursue their own self-interests, desires, wants, needs and inclinations
-Benthams utilitarianism saw this as self-interest as the rational pursuit of happiness
What is the modern liberal view of human nature?
-shifted the emphasis towards individuals being driven by a desire for self-fulfilment and personal development
-humans are seen as altruistic capable of showing generosity to each other, rather than simply pursuing a crude individualism
What is individualism?
-the belief that the individual is of more importance than the social group or collective
-the needs and wants of individuals are considered to be more important than those of the group of the wider society
What is methodological individualism?
-the individual is placed at the centre of political theory and social explanation
-all theoretical and social constructions should bear this in mind
What is ethical individualism?
-moral priority is given to the interests of the individual
-thus all political, economic and social features constructed should benefit the needs and wants of the individual
What is the basis of this belief for liberals?
1. Unique: different, has distinctive talents and desires and required different needs
2. Equal: all have equal moral worth and value
What is the classical view of Individualism?
-tend to have an atomistic view of individuals, self-reliant, self-sufficient and egotistical
-individuals engage in a crude form of pleasure seeking and self interest
-SOCIAL DARWINISM: spencer stressed the importance of the individual responsibility and the 'survival of the fittest'
-UTILITARIANISM: Bentham believed that all individuals should be allowed to engage in their pursuit of their own happiness
What are modern liberals beliefs of Individualism?
-shifted the emphasis away from individualism to individuality
-JS Mill stressed the importance of individuals to achieve personal self-determination, autonomy and self-realisation
-There are high pleasures and low pleasures and the emphasis should be on pursuing high pleasures
How is freedom important to liberals?
-importance of freedom revolves around the freedom of the individual
-freedom allows individuals to pursuer their own desires and allows their talents and abilities to develop
-Locke and Jefferson considered the liberty of the individual to be the Natural Right
How does freedom develop?
-under the law as it is not absolute freedom
-the purpose of the state and the rule of law are to guarantee individual freedom
-Isaiah Berlin devised positive and negative freedom
What is the classical liberal view of freedom?
-the absence of external constraints and interference
-society should be constructed in such a way to minimise restrictions on liberty
-the state should be kept limited to law and order and defence, mostly left to the individual to decide what appropriate behaviour is
What is the modern liberal view of freedom?
-individuals are able to pursue personal development, self realisation and autonomy
-allows individuals to achieve their full range of talents and skills
-TH Green humans were altruistic beings with a social responsibility to allow all individuals to develop and attain individuality attain skills and knowledge as it empowers individuals
-state could be given authority and Power to prevent individuals from harming others
-an enabling state was needed to provide the social conditions for everyone to enjoy positive freedom
-Positive discrimination can be seen as a form of positive freedom as disadvantaged groups are given special rights to bring them up to level of mainstream society
How have classical liberals broken from traditional liberal ideology?
-they have criticised the concept of an enabling state as a socialist idea
What are political and legal justice?
-since all indiviuals are considered to be of equal moral worth, it follows that all should be considered to be equal before the law and all should have equal political rights
-Political and legal equality are an important element of constitutional government
Explain the Natural Rights Theory?
-Classical liberals believe that individuals had natural rights invested by nature and God
-For Locke, all had a right to life, liberty and property believing that the state shoulld be devoted to the protection of these rights
-For Jefferson all had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
-Indiviuals have the right to oppose the state if it violated these rights
-were 'negative rights' the state should not restrict freedom of speach, association, worship
What is Social Justice?
-the notion of a fair or equitable distribution of wealth and rewards in society
-individuals are not expected to be equal in economic terms and given that all individuals are different, economic equality would not be expected
-material rewards and benefits are awarded on a meritocratic basis
-the welfare state provides 'positive rights'- provision of health, education, housing, pensions and an end to discrimination
What is the classical liberal view of social justice?
-a free economy and a limited state would guarentee social justice
-Inequality acts as in incentive to hard work
-for others it is not a matter of any great importance
What is the modern liberal view of social justice?
-social justice is of greater concern
-welfare state is needed to deliver social justice since it is able to extend social rights and entitlements
What was John Rawels theory?
-developed a theory of social justice and equality based on the right to discriminate in favour of the disadvantaged
-social and economic inequalities should be arranged to benefit the least well-off and allow them to improve their social position
-Rawels maintained that this should only occur if the disadvantaged group in question itself approves of positive discrimination
What is foundational equality?
-individuals are concerned to be born equal and are of equal moral worth, they are this entitled to be treated in the same way and to have the same natural rights
What is formal equlity?
-individuals shouls have the same status in society and thus entitled to the same rights and subject to the same responsibilities
What is political equality?
-delivered by a democratic political structure that allows all individuals an equal voice in government
-it is based on universal franchise and one person one vote
What is legal equality?
-based on a properly constituted law, where none are above the law or entitled to special privileges within the legal system
-all are seen to be equal in the eyes of the law and all have the right to a fair trial
What is Social Equality?
-individuals are entitled to 'equality of opportunity' where all have an equal chance to exercise their talents
-individuals are not the same and talents vary
-'equality of outcome' would not be expected
-social outcomes are unequal
What is the classical liberal view of Justice and Rights?
-the equality of opportunity offered by a free-market economy and limited state interference
-all have the ability to freely enter and withdraw from the market as they please and to make the most of their talents
-attempts to promote equality of outcome through a redistributive state would lead to a loss of liberty- in this resepect equality is the enemy of freedom
What is the modern liberal view of Justice and Rights?
-a modern welfare state is needed to deliver equality of opportunity for everyone
-free market by itself cannot do this
-an enabling state is expected to create a system whereby equality of opportunity is viable to all
-could be achieved through the welfare state, a managed economy, freedom for trade-unionism and progressive taxation
Rawels theory of justice attempts to justify the provision of social equality through the idea of positive discrimination
What is tolerance?
the willingness to accept views, ideas or actions with which one does not agree
How do liberals support tolerance?
-the support for individualism and a belief in the uniqeness of all naturally leads to support for diversity and pluralism and tolerance
-since all humans are different, these differences should be both respected and allowed to develop
What are the details for liberal support of tolerance?
-Tolerance of diversity allows self-development and personal autonomy
-Tolerance of diverse ideas and practises leads to religious and political freedoms
-JS Mill believed in the 'ideas market.' Through debate, argument and discussion, good ideas would replace the bad and truth could be discovered
-Intolerance societies produce stagnation and perpetuate errors and dogma
How do Liberals support for tolerance cause more problems for liberalism than any other?
-a society tolerant of diversity is prone to conflict and disorder
-liberals believe that interdependance will override differences and lead to a balanced and harmonious society
Multiculutral tolerance often means support for cultures based on collective and anti-liberal identities which may oppose freedom of the individual and be extremely intolerant of liberal cultures
-open debate shoould produce liberal outcomes
-in reality there are limits to liberal intolerance where actions limit the freedom of the individual and prevent the flourishing of a liberal political climate
Why has it been suggested that liberal intolerance has been so successful that liberalism has now been replaced by pluralism?
-success of pluralism has supposedly resulted in liberalism being relegated to simply one amongst a number of competing idealogies
-Post modernists claim that al competing idealogies can be seen equally valid, none can bee seen as having a monopoly on the truth
-Others have claimed it is liberalism not pluralism which has become the meta-idealogy. Liberalism had been so successful that all other idealogies compete within parameters established by liberal idealogy
What are liberal beliefs of the state?
-human nature is considered to be imperfect, liberalism believes that the state is needed to ensure tolerance, freedom and justice for individuals within society
What did Locke believe?
-individual freedom and property could only be guarenteed when the state oversaw a properly constituted system of the law
-state was not a natural concept but designed to protect property owners and individual freedom
What was Hobbes and Locke's 'social contract'?
-Individuals accepted certain limits to their freedom in order to guarentee order
-state authority comes from below, from the general population
-since government arises from the consent of the population, support for the state can be withdrawn; if the state breaks the social contract by limiting the individual freedom
-follows that the the state is a neutral body that can act as a means to settle disputes between different groups
Why have liberals supported Constitutional Government?
-liberal beleif that there is always the potential for government to become a tyranny, given that individuals are power-seeking and egotistical
What are the two aspects of liberal support for constitutional government?
1.Limited Government: the state is given only those powers that are necessary to allow individuals to pursue their own interests
2. Separation of Powers: competences would be dispersed between different sections of government in order to prevent concentration of power, each section of the government acts as a check on the others
What is the classical liberal belief of the state?
-the state is a necessary evil, in contrast to civil society which acts as a realm of freedom, balance and opportunity
-state is kept to a minimal level-'the nightwatchmen state'- where it engages only in matters of defence, diplomacy and law and order
What is the modern liberal beliefs of the state?
-supports an enabling state to allow all individuals to achieve their potential and to pursue personal development
-takes the form of a welfare state and a state that helps to manage the economy and benefits of all individuals allowing genuine equality of oppurtunity and enhancing positive freedom
Why was support for democracy originally problematic for liberals?
-democratic government offered the possibility of further entrenching limited government, individuals would clearly see the importance of electing those govts that enhanced their individual freedoms thus limiting state power
-democracy offered a potential route for establishing the tyranny of the majority, since govt arose from majority votes it had the potential to opress minorities and impose a universal uniformity
In particular for classical liberals...
-the prospect of the working class whose members were considered to be un-educated and illiberal controlling govt was not an attractive one
What did Pareto believe?
-that democracy could be used by the elites and political parties to simply pursue their own interests whilst claiming to do so in the interests of the people
What did Schumpeter believe?
-democracy worked best when popular participation rates remained low so that educated elites could continue to oversee the process
-Democratic decision-making was best left to elected and competing elites
How did Liberalism remove the democratic dilenma?
1. REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: elected representatives could exercise their own decision making and not simply follow the will of the majority, direct decision making would be given to the representaitves
2. POLITICAL PLURALISM: a range of political parties competing for power, in the desire to gain votes, the interests of individuals would be adressed and enhanced
How did Bentham see Democracy?
-as a means of limiting the state power of controlling govt and guarenteeing individual freedom
How did Mill see Democracy?
-as a means of increasing popular political participation, a process that would lead to better-informed, politically mature and developed individuals
Explain Dahls polyarchy?
-Democracy would help develop consensus in society as the competing interest groups were drawn into a reasonable system of government
-Polyarchy was the rule of many, this competition between the interest groups should create a balanced society as the different interests were adressed
What do modern liberals favour?
-liberal democracy, with its emphasis on individual rights, civil liberties, freedom of speech and association, consitutionalism and consent
Why and how have liberals seen society as often unimportant?
-see society as simply made up of a collection of individuals
-self-interests create a balance which primes harmonious society
-society is not an entity in its own right
-where liberals accept the concept of society they draw a sharp distinction between the public sphere and private spheres
-It is acceptable for the state to intervene in the public sphere but in the private one decisions should be left to the individual
What do Classical Liberals believe about society?
-LOCKE saw individuals as 'anarchic' and the state was needed to create some form of society within which individuals could flourish
-BENTHAM- considered that those institutions within society which create the greatest happiness for the greatest number were those that should be promoted
-Some say individuals owed nothing to society since it was through self-help and individual responsibility that individuals flourished
-private sphere for classical liberals is more extensive that for modern liberals
What is the modern view of society?
-positive view of society maintaining that a healthy and balanced society is needed to enable individuals to flourish
-welfare state has been the main instrument in modern times for creating a balanced and harmonious society
-ML regard society as made up of responsible and self-reliant individuals and the co-operation that exists between them
-ML are willing to concede that wider number of issues/concerns fall into the public sphere
What are liberals view of the economy?
-capitalism promotes progress, good practise and aids discovery
What is the CL view of the economy?
-favoured economic liberalism based on theories of SMITH
-market capitalism allowed freedom of choice; voluntary and contractual agreements followed individual self-interest and the acquisition of wealth
-a market economy would promote prosperity, well being and freedom
-market economies were considered self-regulating and created a balance within society
What is the ML view of the economy?
-Keynesian demand management was favoured
-state intervention was needed to maintain a prosperous capitalist economy
-considered that capitalism was prone to damaging periods of economic depression
-KEYNES proposed that the state should inject money into the capitalist economy through job creation schemes and monetary and fiscal policies
How did neo-liberalism emerge?
1980's saw the revival of economic liberalism and a return to free market capitalism
-Keynesian economists had delivered high levels of inflation taxation and trade-union militancy
-a return to economic liberalism and market disciplined would introduce a self-regulating economy
What are the 4 reasons why state intervention considered undesirable for neo-liberals?
1. Economy was too large and complex
2. Promoted an invasion of civil society and thus danger of totalitarianism
3. Delivering high levels of demand may cause inflation
4. Public sector would pursue its own interests at the expense of wider society
What are the advantages of a free market-economy?
-self-regulating and can eliminate inflation
-efficient and productive
-responsive to individuals thus democratic
-creates opportunities for individuals
What are the problems associated with neo-liberalism?
1. Undermining of governments by large international companies
2. Created unbridled consumerism and materialism
3. Fostered competitive individualism
4. Stifled economic and cultural diversity
5. Led to mergers and the creation of economic monopolies that limited choice and opportunity
Give a summary of CL?
-main priority was the elimination of aristocratic and feudal structures
-free market capitalism provided an environment in which all individuals could be free and prosperous, those who were poor were those who deserved to be
-supported a negative concept of freedom, preferred a more egoistic individualism and were sceptical of democracy
Give a summary of ML
-free market capitalism was not enriching or liberating much of the working class
-liberals needed to find a way of extending the benefits of capitalism to the whole population for liberalism to flourish and survive
-welfare stare would provide equality of opportunity and was supported by the concept of positive freedom
-social liberalism allowed those who had been made poor by circumstances beyond their control, regain prosperity