Liberalism And Fascism : A Different Understandings Of Freedom Essay

Liberalism And Fascism : A Different Understandings Of Freedom Essay

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Liberalism and fascism present two very different understandings of freedom. On one hand, liberalism provides freedom whereas 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 first clarified. John Stuart Mill (1859) and Isaiah Berlin (1958) classified two sorts of freedom; negative freedom and positive freedom. Berlin (1958) introduces that negative freedom is the freedom from outside restriction and positive freedom being the freedom to act upon whatever they desire. For Mill (1859), freedom must not involve overstepping the rights and liberty of other people. However, power can only be used over another person against their will when it is to prevent harm to others (Berlin 1958). What can be classified as harm, though? The spectrum of harm differs depending on the person, so it can be quite a slippery concept to be able to fully define. Liberty can be theorised as people having the ability to flourish their skills without being stopped or sabotaged from other people (Young 2002). It is the capacity to be able to be an individual and to grow that is 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 differs to each person, Mill and Berlin construct a fi...


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...the state has no right to control which leads to having an area of freedom. While, fascist movements argued for the principle of private property rights which is used for the freedom of the individual, a main aim of fascism is still to eliminate individuals’ autonomy (Payne 1996). Liberalism is based upon the individualistic and egalitarian ideas. Mill (1859) encouraged the idea of a private sphere where individuals could think and act how they wanted, ultimately providing freedom. However, this freedom in the private sphere is not like having freedom in both spheres, like liberalism ideology where there is complete freedom. Fascism ideology then lacks freedom in both the negative and positive concepts. Overall, the main similarities between the ideas of freedom in a liberal and fascist society are by private property rights which allows a certain amount of freedom.

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