Essay on Alan Wolfe 's The Future Of Liberalism

Essay on Alan Wolfe 's The Future Of Liberalism

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Liberalism, the most prominent political ideology today, stresses the importance of individual autonomy, or living the life one desires with as little government intervention as possible. Alan Wolfe uses his book The Future of Liberalism as a platform in order to argue that personal autonomy will only be achieved on the occasion of the state practices liberty and equality. After liberty and equality are practiced, other values and ideas are followed closely, such as tolerance and personal growth.
Wolfe stresses the importance of the goal with reference to individual autonomy The Future of Liberalism. Wolfe begins the discussion of autonomy, where he states, “The core substantive principle of liberalism is this: As many people as possible should have as much say as is feasible over the direction their lives will take. Expressed in this form, liberalism […] is committed both to liberty and to equality,” (Wolfe 11). Wolfe quotes John Locke in the above italics. The main principle, or goal, of the liberal’s ideology is to give as many individuals as possible the chance to live life by the means of their own terms.
To achieve individual autonomy, Wolfe stresses the importance of two qualities: liberty and equality. Wolfe refers to Thomas Jefferson when discussing liberty, saying that liberals and Jefferson share a goal: liberty, in the form of independence (10). To have liberty means to live a life with as little government intervention as possible. When individuals are able to live their lives with little government intervention, they achieve individual independence from the government.
The second quality, equality, is also introduced early in the book. Wolfe stresses that equality is also important to individual autonomy saying, “L...


... middle of paper ...


...een classical liberalism and modern-day liberalism, Wolfe is able to successfully refute the possible argument that equality and liberty could be contradictory to one another. Because of the fact that there is a distinction in the types of liberalism (classical verses modern liberalism), and classical liberalism places its emphasis on the importance of liberty, the argument is invalid.
In a final analysis, Alan Wolfe in his book, The Future of Liberalism, that liberty and equality are the means to make the end goal of personal autonomy possible. Without the practice of liberty and equality, personal autonomy will never be possible. When liberty and equality are practiced, certain ideas will follow, such as tolerance and the yearning for personal growth. When these ideas are practiced, individuals will have personal autonomy, which is the ultimate goal of liberalism.

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