posted on Jun, 6 2004 @ 11:16 PM
Political philosopher John Kekes! PLEASE, spare me. Kekes writes against egalitarianism as he makes the magical leap and equates it to liberalism. A
real stretch of logic if I might add……….Since you force me let me add some light to this insanity of ignorance with some factual information………..after
reading and some due consideration, PLEASE…………..tell me what element of liberalism you are against and why.
This is what liberalism is………….it’s not what Rush says it is……….TRUST ME, he distorts and lies to you………..
Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. The ethical theory proposed by
Jeremy Bentham and James Mill that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
1. The state or quality of being liberal.
a. A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties,
government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.
b. often Liberalism The tenets or policies of a Liberal party.
3. An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard.
Liberalism is a philosophy or movement that has as its aim the development of individual freedom.
Because the concepts of liberty or freedom change in different historical periods the specific programs of liberalism also change. The final aim of
liberalism, however, remains fixed, as does its characteristic belief not only in essential human goodness but also in human rationality. Liberalism
assumes that people, having a rational intellect, have the ability to recognize problems and solve them and thus can achieve systematic improvement in
the human condition.
Often opposed to liberalism is the doctrine of conservatism, which, simply stated, supports the maintenance of the status quo. Liberalism, which seeks
what it considers to be improvement or progress, necessarily desires to change the existing order.
Origins of Liberalism
Neither individualism nor the beliefs that freedom is a primary political good are immutable laws of history. Only in the Western world in the last
several centuries have they assumed such importance as social factors that they could be blended into a political creed. Although Christianity had
long taught the worth of the individual soul and the Renaissance had placed a value upon individualism in limited circles, it was not until the
Reformation that the importance of independent individual thought and action were expressed in the teachings of Protestantism.
At the same time, centralizing monarchs were destroying feudalism and alongside the nobility arose the bourgeoisie, a new social class that demanded
the right to function in society, especially commercially, without restriction. This process took several centuries, and it may be said that the first
philosopher to offer a complete liberal doctrine of individual freedom was the Englishman John Locke. From this period on the doctrines of classical
liberalism were evolved.
Classical Liberalism – Its focus
Classical liberalism stressed not only human rationality but the importance of individual property rights, natural rights, the need for constitutional
limitations on government, and, especially, freedom of the individual from any kind of external restraint. Classical liberalism drew upon the ideals
of the Enlightenment and the doctrines of liberty supported in the American and French revolutions. The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of
Reason, was characterized by a belief in the perfection of the natural order and a belief that natural laws should govern society. Logically it was
reasoned that if the natural order produces perfection, then society should operate freely without interference from government. The writings of such
men as Adam Smith, , Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill mark the height of such thinking.
In Great Britain and the United States the classic liberal program, including the principles of representative government, the protection of civil
liberties, and laissez-faire economics, had been more or less effected by the mid-19th cent. The growth of industrial society, however, soon produced
great inequalities in wealth and power, which led many persons, especially workers, to question the liberal creed. It was in reaction to the failure
of liberalism to provide a good life for everyone that workers' movements and Marxism arose. Because liberalism is concerned with liberating the
individual, however, its doctrines changed with the change in historical realities.
Liberalism in the Twentieth Century
By 1900, L. T. Hobhouse and T. H. Green began to look to the state to prevent oppression and to advance the welfare of all individuals. Liberal
thought was soon stating that the government should be responsible for providing the minimum conditions necessary for decent individual existence. In
the early 20th century, in Great Britain and France and later in the United States, the welfare state came into existence, and social reform became an
accepted governmental role.
In the United States minimum wage laws, progressive taxation, and social security programs were all instituted, many initially by the New Deal, and
today remain an integral part of modern democratic government. While such programs are also advocated by socialism, liberalism does not support the
socialist goal of complete equality imposed by state control, and because it is still dedicated to the primacy of the individual, liberalism also
strongly opposes communism. Current liberal goals in the United States include integration of the races, sexual equality, and the eradication of
In the twentieth century, a viewpoint or ideology associated with free political institutions and religious toleration, as well as support for a
strong role of government in regulating capitalism.