This then leads to helping to ensure that there is individual freedom and rights, and that individuals have autonomy. Liberals tend to be suspicious of the government and the power that they posses to limit an individual and their freedom. By limiting the government, it makes sure that they are not using their power to target citizens and to constrain their liberty. Friedrich von Hayek (1960) debated for the rule of law, where individuals under this law can make choices and act upon them without constraint. With the rule of law and separation of powers, it ensures that no single person can rule over the people and rob them of their freedom.
Classical liberal ideas often form the basis for opposition to the use of government to attain social objectives. They stress instead reliance on private initiatives or the free market to determine the best outcomes. Liberals believe in the government action the allows equal opportunities and equality for all. Liberals have a more fact-based, rather than faith-based, ideology. They are not so motivated by self-serving but actually negative emotions, such as prejudice, greed and fear, and thus can see the great advantages to a society of justice for all The basic duty of the government is to protect the common good and private rights of individuals.
Classical Liberal Theory Classical liberalism is a very interesting political theory. The underlying belief is that what makes a person human is freedom from the dependence on the will of others. It is complete freedom from any relations with others, except those entered voluntarily. Another main point of classical liberalism is that the individual is the owner of his person and his capacities, for which he owes nothing to society. The individual, although free, has no power to limit anyone else's freedom.
In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argues that individual freedom may be limited by only one thing, the maintaining of society and other people. To that end, man must remain free to act and think as he wishes, without the elimination of ideas or opinions, as long as it does not harm others. This idea is called Mill’s Harm Principle. Mill states that, “The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their members, is self-protection…[his] own good, physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” (p. 14) Mill gives good reason for this as a solution to two types of tyranny: tyranny of the majority, in which the many abuse the few, and tyranny of public opinion, in which society tries to force values on everyone. Although Mill allows all actions that do not directly harm others, he completely supports laws that punish inaction where action would prevent harm to another.
All liberals agree that the state is necessarily a coercive power and therefore ought to be minimised lest it encroach on individual freedom, one of the key values in liberalism. However, liberals were also the first to seek a justification for the state on rational grounds, such as through consent theory, their predecessors having generally accepted the state as divinely ordained. This shows that the state is clearly not something to be completely opposed, as it is for anarchists, but rather is seen as necessary to perform certain functions. While liberals do not tend to believe human nature to be flawed, as conservatives do, they do believe that human self-interest needs to be tamed in order to protect us from one another and maintain law
By tying liberty fundamentally to the absence of (“freedom from”) coercion, proponents of negative liberty generally maintain that the defining characteristic of an infringement on liberty is the “deliberate interference of other human beings” (169). (However, Berlin seems to concede that relaxing the deliberateness of the interfering agents’ actions does not substantially alter this concept of freedom.) Negative freedom by Berlin’s definition, then, plainly does not constitute the affirmation of human potential in any sense. We are free if and only if we are unimpeded in the pursuit of that which is doable; if we take Berlin at face value here, whether and to what degree we actualize our capabilities in reality is entirely irrelevant to the question of liberty in the negative sense. The most pertinent of Berlin’s immediate conclusions is that a p... ... middle of paper ... ...stantial degree of public provision for education is politically defensible in a philosophical sense, and robustly so.
In other words, the government is expected to govern with restraint and never attempt to interfere with people’s private rights and liberty. Therefore, on the basis of mutual benefit and convenience, the formal agreement i... ... middle of paper ... ...onservatives paint the human nature in a much less admirable way than the liberals. For instance, they see man as a selfish being, capable of good and evil. Man ought to fight evil with good and any evil committed should not be blamed on the society but on the person who has committed it. Consequently, individuals who commit evil should be punished individually (Downing, 2010).
A citizen in a liberal democracy can always appeal to his or her liberty rights in order to stop the government from promoting social equality. From a theoretical point of view, a liberal state cannot impose an income tax on the individuals, because the simple fact that some citizens are earning more money is not a direct cause of harm to the others. According to Karl Marx, this is the main problem of liberalism: it legalized inequality, and to some extends also competition. Marx criticizes Mill’s harm principle, by saying that, defining freedom as the right to do whatever we want, as long as we do not harm the others means that people need a state to regulate their actions, or they will eventually do something harmful to the others; this definition presupposes that people are selfish and evil. For Marx, this definition of liberty is too individualistic, and thus it generates a society where people are egoistic and do not trust each
Secondly, they guarantee the fundamental rights and freedoms of their citizens. Lastly, the government is accountable to citizens who democratic rights are not only protected but also promoted. Another perspective would argue that ideological perspective of political liberalism should never be embraced or embraced to a minimal extent showing a near complete rejection of liberalism, as effective decision-making is inefficient due to a long legislative process; citizen apathy shows the mediocrity of society. Also security and national unity is threatened by competing interests in society. It is apparent that the ideological perspective of political liberalism should be fully embraced so as to protect the civil liberties of both the majority and minority, to promote the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, and to ensure the accountability of governments through the promotion and protection of democratic
For what is problematic about his liberalism, it might be argued, is that it will prove non-neutral in its effects on doctrines and ways of life permissible on its own account of political justice. But Rawls has not missed the point. Rawls’s liberalism does not rest on a commitment to the value of, nor does it require, a social world maximally diverse with respect to comprehensive doctrines or ways of life willing more or less to accept liberal principles of political justice. Of course, Rawls’s liberalism would be in serious trouble were it to lead to a social world only weakly diverse. But so long as Rawls’s liberalism permits a healthy degree of diversity, to claim that its non-neutral effect on some comprehensive doctrine or way of life is unfair is to presuppose rather than establish the correctness of some competing conception of justice.