Neccessities of Modern Liberalism


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Neccessities of Modern Liberalism

  1. 1. Necessities of Democracy2010Peter DerksHumanities 30-16/9/2010<br />Government involvement is often criticized in a democratic government that holds fundamental principles of classical liberalism such as: rule of law, self interest and individual rights and freedoms. Complexity is created in the source due the statement that “there may be times when a temporary suspension of rights and freedoms is necessary to guarantee the preservation of democracy. Modern Liberalism does not reject principles of classical liberalism, it simply applies them to all individuals and citizens; by doing so, nations acquire principles of liberalism such as: human rights, welfare state and suffrage. These principles of modern liberalism allow for the collective to be more secure and the promotion of the common good, as opposed to allowing for individuals to gain more opportunities than others. The controversy behind allowing the temporary suspension of rights and freedoms is that no individual should have so much power in a democratic society to withhold specific rights from individuals. A crisis that may stem from allowing governments to reject rights and freedoms, is that they may become an authoritarian government and permanently suspend rights and freedoms. Individuals who idealize classical liberalism would not allow for the suspension of rights and freedoms, because they believe in principles such as self interest and individual right and freedoms (as opposed to human rights, which apply to everyone and reject individual well-being over common good). Pierre Trudeau was prime minister of Canada during the FLQ crisis and believed in the principles of modern liberalism, he implemented the War Measures Act to allow government officials to reject the rights and freedoms of potential terrorists, in order to create security and eliminate the extremist crisis. Temporary suspension of rights and freedoms are necessary in times of crisis, that being said, this rejection of rights and freedoms must not become permanent.<br />Individuals who advocate classical liberalism and believe that allowing for the suspension of rights and freedoms is violating principles such as self interest and individual rights and freedoms. Also, allowing for specific rights and freedoms to be rejected, may ultimately lead to permanent and total rejection of these rights and freedoms; no individual or government group should be allowed to hold such a constrictive regime over its citizens. The advocators of classical liberalism, such as Friedrich August von Hayek, would agree that “The [classical] liberal, of course, does not deny that there are some superior people…he denies that anyone has authority to decide who these superior people are.” Adolf Hitler was an elected member of the German Reichstag; however, during the burning of the Reichstag, there was much fear over the spread of communism and the lack of justice in a Germany recovering from World War One and the reparations from the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler took this opportunity to enact the Reichstag Laws and reject the rights and freedoms of specific minorities. The right to property, free speech and religion were permanently rejected under Hitler’s authoritarian regime. The minorities were used as a scapegoat to allow for Hitler to openly reject self interest, human rights, and individual rights and freedoms. The German government before Hitler did have a form of democracy and allowed for suffrage, however, once Hitler’s regime began rights and freedoms began to be rejected and the preservation of democracy was no longer relevant; this is when the justification behind suspending rights and freedoms is denied.<br />Events do aspire that require the temporary suspension of rights and freedoms, in order to create stability and security for the collective; this may require the rejection of principles of classical liberalism and the introduction of the principles of modern liberalism, which apply to all citizens. During the FLQ crisis of the 1960s, there was a demand for justice against members of the FLQ who wished to create rapid and revolutionary acceptance of francophone culture. When their demands were not met through the Quiet Revolution and recessive change in public opinion of Francophone society, bombings on specific buildings throughout Montreal and Quebec were met with retaliation from the Canadian government. Pierre Trudeau implemented the War Measures Act to stop the bombings and seek justice for the kidnapping of a British Commissioner during the October crisis of 1970; however, many officials began arresting individuals under simple suspicion of terrorism and without justification. The complexity of this issue is that individuals were given too much power over citizens and principles of modern and classical liberalism were rejected, such as: human rights, individual rights and freedoms, self interest, and rule of law. The preservation of democracy was not withheld and citizens were not given equal rights and freedoms. The suspension of rights and freedoms was necessary to prevent the spread of the extremist FLQ members, but the War Measures Act should have had tighter restrictions on which individuals were able to be arrested and rejected rights, and the regulations needed to be implemented to not allow for individuals to hold this power against its citizens.<br />Rights and freedoms are often needed to be temporarily suspended to allow for the preservation of democracy, but not to the extent that these rejections become permanent and wielded by single individuals. During the FLQ crisis and the Reichstag laws, the principles of classical and modern liberalism were rejected to an extent that allowed them to be politically manipulated for the advantage of single individuals. Democracy is a government for the people; modern liberalism advocates human rights and welfare state, which allow for governments withhold specific rights and freedoms from citizens, but only to the extent that is still may be returned to the people. <br />