Liberalism pt 5

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  • Liberalism - Thinkers
    • Classical: John Locke (1632-1704)
      • Wrote: Two Treaties of Government (1690)
      • - Denied the traditional medieval principle that the state was part of God's creation. Rejected the idea of 'divine right' to govern. The true state would be one created by mankind to serve mankind's interests through consent
      • - Prior to the state's existence there was a 'natural' society which served mankind's interests well. State of nature was one guided by rationalism and underpinned by 'natural laws', 'natural liberties' and 'natural rights' such as the right to property
      • - 'State of law' will only be legitimate if the state respected natural rights and natural laws. There must be voluntary consent a principle known as 'Social Contract' theory
      • - Since the relationship is 'contractual' the government must be limited to presenting the interests of the governed
      • - Government should be limited through constitutionalism with a clear separation of powers to prevent an abuse of power. There also needs to be great tolerance of different views
      • - Government should be limited and be based on consent. There must be voluntary agreement between the society, state and government
    • Classical: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
      • Wrote: A Vindication of the Rights of Women 1792
      • - Women are rational, independent and capable of reason. Women should have full liberties to be free and should be able to pursue a career
      • - She argued that in the 18th-century women were not treated as rational and were therefore denied individual freedom and formal equality
      • - She argued that as a result of fettering female individualism, nations like England were limiting their stock of intelligence, wisdom and morality
      • - She welcomed the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. Stressed the importance of a republican government and formal equality, involving constitutional defence of individual rights
      • - Women needed formal education because without it individuals could never develop their rational faculties, never realise their individual potential and the 'absurdity' of illiberal principles such as the divine right of kings
    • Classical: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
      • Wrote: On Liberty (1859)
      • - Individuals should be free to do as they please so long as it doesn't affect others
      • - 'Negative freedom' which is freedom that involved the absence of constraint which connects to the 'harm principle'- the notion that an individual's actions should always be tolerated unless they harm others
      • - Divided human actions into 'self-regarding' and 'other regarding', the later would 'harm' the freedom of others in society and therefore shouldn't be tolerated. The tolerance of diverse opinions was important
      • - He saw liberty as not just a 'natural right' but as an engine of ongoing human development. Human nature is never the 'finished article' there is always room for improvement
      • - Emphasis on individuality, developmental individualism. Liberty develops the individual
      • - He was concerned that 'government by consent' would compromise the wishes of some, a democratic state could lead to a 'tyranny of the majority'
      • - State should intervene enough to hep individuals to attain developmental individualism, continuation of classical liberalism
    • Modern: John Rawls (1921-2002)
      • Wrote: A Theory of Justice (1971)
      • - Foundational equality means that individuals also need greater social and economic equality to ensure a just society. There needs to be an enabling state with extensive public spending and progressive tax
      • -'The original position' is the first condition where individuals were asked to construct from scratch a society they judged to be superior to the one they lived in currently. Questions on how wealth and power should be distributed
        • - 'Veil of ignorance' is the second condition whereby individuals would have no preconceptions about the sort of people they themselves might be in this new society
          • - Rawls argued that when faced with such conditions, human nature being rational an empathetic would choose a society where the poorest members fared significantly better than in present society. A 'fairer' society where inequalities were reduced would be one which individuals would choose so an enlarged state is better
      • - There is a need for a welfare state, one involving health and education. Economic equality, a just society should provide equality of opportunity for everyone. State should undertake a larger role
    • Modern: Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
      • Wrote: The Feminine Mystique (1963)
      • - All individuals should be free to seek control over their own lives and the full realisation of their potential, gender hinders females
      • - Illiberal attitudes in society rather than human nature condemn most women to underachievement .These were nurtured and transmitted via society's 'cultural channels'
      • - These channels of 'cultural conditioning' left women convinced that their lot in life was determined by human nature rather than  rationality
      • - Supported liberal constitutionalism. An enabling state would free women. State could counter patriarchal values, emphasis on foundational equality and equality of opportunity


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