Liberalism pt 3

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  • Liberalism - Classical liberalism
    • Early classical liberalism
      • Revolutionary potential
        • - State should be driven by representatives in the 17th and 18th century needed revolutionary upheaval
        • - Locke's philosophy became associated with England's Glorious Revolution of 1688 which secured a constitutional government. Locke's blueprint for representative government also inspired the American revolution and constitution in 1787- insisted on the separation of power and government by consent
        • - Rationalism was firmly accepted in the 18th century. Wollstonecraft argued that women were equally as rational as men but society contrived to "keep women in a state of listless inactivity and stupid acquiesence". She also argued for formal education for women
      • Late 17th and 18th century: revolutionary potential, negative liberty, minimal state and laissez-faire capitalism
      • Negative liberty
        • - The notion that freedom involves individuals being left alone to pursue their destiny
        • - Freedom is an absence of constraint. Individuals are assumed to be 'naturally' free until something or someone puts a brake on their actions. People are autonomous, atomistic and self-reliant
      • Minimal state
        • - Government should not just be limited in terms of how they could act but also limited in terms of what they could do. Thomas Jefferson "when government grows, our liberty withers"
        • - Strengthens the faith in the dispersal of political power
      • Laissez-faire capitalism
        • - Adam Smith argued that capitalism via the 'invisible hand' of market forces had a limitless capacity to enrich society and the individuals within it. The wealth would 'trickle-down' to the rest of the population if state (let-it-happen)
        • - Smith advocated the end of tariffs and duties which had 'protected' domestic producers and the spread of 'free trade'
    • Later classical liberalism
      • - Early to mid-19th century
      • - By the 1800s Britain and USA became more industrialised and people worked in urban environments . There was a growing sense of class consciousness and growing interests in democracy and socialism
      • - Jeremy Bentham known as the father of utilitarian philosophy developed utilitarianism which was the idea that each individual would seek to maximise their own 'utility' by maximising personal pleasure and minimising personal pain but in an industrialised society this would cause clashes so the liberal state would need to be more proactive
      • - Bentham used the formula of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" to inform legislation and government policy. Justified democracy which was the "greatest happiness of the greatest number" if they were elected by and accountable to "the greatest number"
      • - Samuel Smiles acknowledged that industrialised societies made it harder for individuals to be self-reliant but in seeking to overcome the new obstacles, individuals would be challenged more vigorously and become more fully developed
      • - Herbert Spencer acknowledged the importance of self-help and echoes Smiles' contempt for more state intervention but questioned Smiles' belief that all individuals would rise to the challenge of self-help noting the presence of "the feeble,the feckless and the failing"
        • - Spencer feared that the minority would justify the extension of state power, he applied the principle of 'natural selection' in what was known as 'social Darwinism'. The minimal state and negative freedom will lead to a 'survival of the fittest' and the outcome would be a society where rational self reliance was the norm and individual freedom could thrive
      • - Mill anticipated universal suffrage so updated Locke's case for representative government into a case for representative democracy. During the mid-19th century Mill thought voters would be ill-equipped to choose 'intelligent' representatives to act 'rationally' on their behalf. Thus Mill argued that universal suffrage must be preceded by universal education which will promote developmental individualism
      • - Once widespread education was secured Mill argued democracy could further liberal values by promoting political education and opportunities for enlightening debate, he refined Betham's utilitarianism- politicians and voters are the best


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