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  • Liberalism
    • Origins
      • - The roots of liberalism lies in the Reformation in the late 15th and 16th centuries led by religious protestors such as Martin Luther and the founders of 'protestant' Christians. They argued that individuals are seeking to communicate with God and to understand his commands without relying on priests and popes
      • - The printing press and the wider literacy this promoted allowed Luther to argue that Christianity could assume a more individualistic character
      • - The Enlightenment was in the 18th century and was when liberalism took form. It was an intellectual movement and influenced the French and American revolutions of 1789 and 1776 respectively. Defined by a belief in reason rather than faith and promoted debates as well as questioning
      • - Among the radical ideas that emerged was that each individual is someone with free will and so are the best judge of their own interests, their lives should be shaped by their own actions
      • - For Locke, the'father' of liberalism, Mechanistic theory = Mankind is rational and therefore capable of devising a state that reflects mankind's needs. it was a rebuff to notions such as the 'divine right of kings' which argued that the state reflected God's will and that obedience to the state is a religious duty
        • - Locke questioned the relationship between individuals and governments, seeking to define why and how individuals should defer to those who governed them
    • Human nature
      • - Has a positive and progressive view based on rationalism, rejects the view that humans are limited. Views individuals as unique and highly capable. View humans from a standpoint of equality and rejects superiority based on birth right and prior social conditioning
      • - Challenged the religious doctrine of original sin. Liberalism argued that human nature has a capacity to bring about progress and an unending ability to forge greater human happiness. Mankind's innate reason is manifested in debate and discussions. Individuals have the capacity to plan their own future. Human nature allows individuals to shape their own destiny. Human 'problems' are merely challenges awaiting reasoned solutions
      • - Individuals are naturally self-seeking and self-serving and so an emphasis on egotistical individualism, naturally drawn to a situation where they are independent and in charge of their own destiny. Mankind's innate rationality stops them from destructive selfishness and competition. Natural conditioning of human nature is one of self-aware individuals living in peace, harmony and mutual understanding
        • Developmental individualism = Individual freedom is linked to human flourishing. Modern liberals use this to justify state intervention
          • Egotistical individualism = The idea that individual freedom is associated with self-interest and self-reliance. Classical liberals believe more of this concept. Human beings are naturally drawn to the advancement of their own selfish interests and the pursuit of their own happiness
      • - Locke believed in foundational equality which is the idea that man's natural state was that of freedom especially from unnecessary external interference by the state. Modern liberals argue that classical liberalism underplays the inequality of society. Rawls argued that societal position, race and gender etc determine achievement
      • Formal equality = Equality under the law
    • Society
      • - Sees society as a collective body which is comprised of self-reliant individuals. The need for contractual obligations. Understands the work of voluntary groups in society in the belief that a natural order emerges with the market economy as people promote the common good
      • - Locke cited the existence of 'natural' society with 'natural laws' and therefore natural rights to life, property and happiness all of which preceded the state. life was pleasant, civilised and long
      • - JS Mill emphasised that during the mid-19th century the main purpose of society was to facilitate individualism. Mill argued that individuals have a unique personality and peculiar talents, rational in their pursuit of self-interest. The 'default setting' of any society is a focus upon individual freedom and that any society that seeks to deny individualism is dysfunctional
        • - The 'right' to property which is "that with which Man has mixed his labour" is seen as the tangible expression of an individual within society, Property is also the 'prism' through which individuals develop their potential, providing an opportunity within communities for men and women to nurture their tastes and judgement
      • Tolerance = A willingness to respect values, customs and beliefs even if you disagree. Locke in the 17th century focused on respecting alternative religious and political beliefs whilst Wollstonecraft 18th century and Friedan 20th century argued for end to sexual discrimination. 21st century tolerance extended towards homosexuals and transgenders
      • Utilitarianism = Government should not prevent people from doing anything unless their actions would threaten others ability to do the same for themselves, JS Mill's harm principle
        • - JS Mill advocated negative freedom which is freedom without being given to you by the state
        • - TH Green advocated positive freedom which is where individuals can control their destiny with some state intervention needed


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