Liberalism is about . . .Freedom and LibertyIndividualismGovernment that is constitutional, limitedand by consentTolerationJusticeEqual rights and equality of opportunityPluralism
Liberalism & ‘progressive’ ideasSocial reform Should all be directedEducation towards, andScience lead to, the general improvement and progress of humankind
The origins of Liberalism The Enlightenmentc1699 - c1800: an important starting pointfor what emerged as LIBERALISM.Key ideas of the Enlightenment –• Free will of the individual• People are born free, rational & individual• Individuals are the best judges of their own interests• People are free to find their own place in society• People may be born with different talents, powers, skills and potentials – yet all should have equal rights
The origins of Liberalism The Enlightenment – Key ThinkersJohn Locke (1632-1704)– ‘Two Treatises on Government’– Government had to be with the consent of the peopleThomas Jefferson (1743-1826)– One of the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the USA– Individuals & the ‘pursuit of happiness’
The origins of Liberalism The Enlightenment – Rousseau ‘Man is born free, but is everywhere ‘The Social Contract’ (1762) in chains’ People are controlled by social and political restraints – Rousseau found this impossible to justify. ‘Chains’ •The ‘real’ restraints on people imposed by absolute rulers. and •The denial of HUMAN RIGHTS – the basic freedoms to exist.www.politicsassociation.com
Freedom and Liberty The key element in liberalism. Freedom/liberty may be political. Freedom/liberty may be about/for the individual. Freedom/liberty may be positive – the desire of individuals to be in control and not controlled. Freedom/liberty may be negative – the absence of any kind of restraint.
Individualism The individual as the best judge of their own interests – Utilitarianism. The individual free from constraint.
Constitutional, limited government Government must act within clearly defined boundaries. Government should not interfere with the interests of individuals. Political power can be substantial – it must always be controlled. The most effective way of controlling government (according to liberals) is to define the extent of their power in a constitution.
Toleration Original link with religious toleration / freedom. Modern liberalism – tolerance of sexuality, lifestyle.
Justice Social justice – more a feature of modern than traditional liberalism. Early liberals felt that social justice might require too much intervention by the state. Legal justice – everyone equal before the law.
Equal rights and equality of opportunity Equal right of individuals to reach potential – not all liberals agree if this is a natural right or not. Equality of opportunity – all are entitled to equal life chances, this can be promoted initially through education.www.politicsassociation.com
Pluralism The liberal belief that a healthy society and political system is characterised by the existence of, and encouragement towards, group activity. Group activity and opportunities help to promote the freedom of individuals and limits the power of government.www.politicsassociation.com
Coming soon . . . Liberalism CD ROMwww.politicsassociation.com