Liberalism (History)

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 17-06-19 14:36

Introduction to Liberalism + Origins Part 1

Seen as THE IDEOLOGY behind the 'making of the modern world' - arose in the 17th century and the basis of Enlightenment ideals - viewed by Macpherson as 'possessive individualism' (pejorative?); CLEGG AND CAMERON - about fairness, responsibility, and freedom

- This ideology is inextricably linked to capitalism and individualism, as it sees these as the best method of echieving EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY - also linked to republicanism (Kalyvas and Katznelson), as well as NATIONALISM - proliferation around 1750-1830, and still present in modern nation-states

ORIGINS: emerged in Ancient Greece/Rome, however based around RATIONALITY, SECULARISM and SCIENCE in modern society - linked to MODERNITY and policy formulation today, especially in REPUBLICS - no traditions to uphold

BRITISH ORIGINS OF LIBERALISM: Hobbes post-ECW, discussed how civil association and the pursuit of individualism could occur within a negative 'state of nature' - argued that man was IGNORANT and needed a central Leviathan to ensure the COMMON GOAL was upheld

However, Locke - took this and put a positive view of human nature on it - a social contract and religious toleration were key to uphold a civil society of free men with key values - LIBERTY, INDIVIDUALISM, PROPERTY, NATURAL RIGHTS and LIMITED GOVERNMENT

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Origins Part 2

Britain continued - Adam Smith - ECONOMIC LIBERALISM - belief in free trade, laissez-faire, the 'invisible hand' and ensuring that the market never fails as GOD will keep this equilibrium - used during REPUBLIC FORMATIONS - also the foundations of CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHIES - 'Liberales' in Spain, 1812 and new Constitution

FRENCH ORIGINS - the 'ideology of the enlightenment' (Arendt, Skinner) - leading the FRENCH REVOLUTION 1789 - Republican, liberal and about freedom (Pettit)

- Rousseau - anti-authoritarian, but revised his idea of liberalism following the Jacobin terror - believed in a GENERAL WILL and a SOCIAL CONTRACT, however this was OPEN TO ABUSE - wanted freedom over subservience, but the 'GENERAL WILL' often led to populism and assumptions of fascists/communists - basically, wants FREEDOM over SUBSERVIENCE

- Guizot - rethought French liberalism - wanted moderate liberalism as opposed to extreme Jacobinism - favoured institutionalised liberalism which protected freedom - constitutional monarchism, a limited franchise, but still democracy - also Tocqueville, Paine, Madison, de Stael

- Constant - laissez-faire - limited the political sphere and promoted the 'surveillance of representatives'; favoured POLITICAL LIBERTY for all, as well as CIVIL LIBERTY so all could pursue happiness - used this concept to REVINENT FRANCE

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Key Features of Liberalism

REPUBLICANISM: Arendt, Wood see this - liberalism as intertwined with this, as both are based on freedom, rights and modernity - Katznelson and Kalyvas

RULE OF LAW (Gallie); TOLERATION (Locke - religious; Catholic Emancipation Act 1829); ECONOMICS (Smith - laissez-faire); CONTRACTARIAN THEORY (Locke, Rousseau); NATURAL RIGHTS (Kant)

INDIVIDUALISM: the moral primacy of the individual over collectives; sees people as rational, respected and selfish - at the CENTRE of the social world (Humboldt), however are anti-social creatures (Hobbes); EGALITARIANISM: all individuals are equal in moral worth - hold same rights and responsibilities as eachother, and same opportunities (Corn Law Repeal 1846 - Cobden)

LIBERTY: political and economic - freedom from state interference - Tocqueville - CRUCIAL; MINIMAL STATE - liberal want only a 'nightwatchman state' which protects people - supported by French 'industrialists' (Dunoyer)

CONSTITUTIONALISM: Spain 1812 - belief in a higher law which limits state power - Montesquieu, also Comte's positivism; CRAIUTU - all liberals are anti-despotism and rationalist


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New Liberalism + Feminist Liberalism

Same features as classical, but argues we need to REVISE THESE following industrialism and oppression that was caused by this - influenced by Marxism

MILL - argued that we needed to tackle poverty based on welfare measures, a more ATOMISTIC VIEW of society; more communitarian - a concept of utilitarianism (greatest good for all), and 'SOCIAL INDIVIDUALISM' - government may need to be more involved to help the POOREST ACHIEVE EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY - Hobhouse, Green, Roosevelt's 'New Deal'

Key features: - constrained liberalism; - expanded state (anti-paternalist originally); - mixed economy; - welfare state; - Keynesian demand management (spending in recession)

- Should PREVENT coercive government through the 'harm principle' - Mill - but, is this too open to INTERPRETATION? A need for 'INTELLIGENT SOCIAL ACTION' - Isaiah Berlin

FEMINISM: does this equality include women? Wollstonecraft - first wave liberalism - argued that it should - women deserve rights, equality and liberty - supported by Taylor and Mill, who argued that WOMEN were NOT TIED TO MEN any longer

LIBERALISM OF FEAR - Judith Shklar - argued that the government's top priority should be protecting peoples' individual interests - 'preventing cruelty'

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Criticisms of Liberalism

Opposed by aristocratic conservatism from ABOVE and by socialists from BELOW - a middle ground view; disliked by the religious, and also by fascists - but IS THE DOMINANT IDEOLOGY

- Fukuyama - end of ideology as liberalism has won over the Cold War - there is little revolution and industrialism today, so no communism; the USA is the dominant superpower, and is governed by neoliberalism; PROCEDURAL LIBERALISM - globally, liberal procedures like democracy are used to guarantee our rights - in the UN, for example

OPPOSITION - authoritarian states have been economically successful (USSR, China) - this has made people more accepting of authority - this leads to divergence - Trumpism, the socialist response to the GFC 2008 (Saskena) and rise of US socialists - Bernie Sanders?

1) INDIVIDUAL CRITICISMS - what is an individual and why is it central? How do we form an 'aggregate' of individual interests as Rousseau suggests?; 2) ILLUSION - there are bigger priorities in many nations, such as poverty and hunger - no need for civil liberties first; 3) DOCTRINE - liberalism is not universalist - more exclusive due to support for capitalism

OVERALL - is it appropriate for all cultures? Too Western-centric and imperialistic - limited?

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Key Thinkers of Liberalism

Macpherson; Clegg; Cameron; Kalyvas and Katznelson; Hobbes; Locke; Smith; Arendt; Pettit; Guizot; Constant; Rousseau; de Dijn; Kant; Gallie; Cobden; Tocqueville; Dunoyer; Montesquieu; Comte; Mill; Bentham; Wollstonecraft; Hobhouse; Green; Roosevelt; Taylor; Shklar; Fukuyama; Saskena; Craiutu

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