Liberalism and fascism present two very different understandings of freedom. On one hand, liberalism provides freedom whereas on the other hand fascism provides a lack of liberty. This essay will argue that liberalism and fascism provide two different ideas of freedom and to discuss this through the differences and similarities between the two. In order to argue that point, we need to address the meanings of freedom, the idea of freedom in both ideologies, and then the key similarities and differences between liberty in fascism and liberalism.
Before freedom in liberalism and fascism can be discussed, freedom must be clarified firstly. John Stuart Mill (1859) and Isaiah Berlin (1958) classified two sorts of freedom; negative freedom and positive freedom. Berlin presents that negative freedom is the freedom from outside restriction and positive freedom being the freedom to act upon whatever they desire (1958). For Mill, freedom must not involve overstepping the rights and liberty of other people. However, power can only be used over another person against their will is to prevent harm to others (1958). What can be classified as harm though? The spectrum of harm differs to each person, so it can be quite a slippery concept to be able to full define. In a nutshell, liberty can be conceptualised as people having the ability to flourish their skills without being stopped or sabotaged from people (Young 2002). It is the capacity to be able to be an individual and to grow that is at the heart of individual freedom. It could also be proposed that freedom can include the freedom from oppression and the freedom to think, act and have expression. Whilst the idea of freedom is quite a vague concept and differ...
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...re is still a need for the state to provide equality and fairness. Whilst there may be unjust distribution of private property, it creates competition and something for people to strive for in this sort of economy. Even though the distribution may be unjust, there is still private property and the private sphere evident in a liberal society. Compared to a fascist society where they lack a true private sphere. There will always be the problem of poverty and with the unjust distribution of private property in political concepts that lack the ideas of sharing and complete and utter equality. These political ideologies would be socialism and communism. Although, even with these main limitations of liberalism, they still have their freedom. Having freedom to choose and act upon your decisions and to be an individual is one of the most important principles in liberalism.
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