Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Liberalism An anti-ideology? Reformation, enlightenment and the roots of liberal thought American and French revolution Political and economic liberalism.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Liberalism An anti-ideology? Reformation, enlightenment and the roots of liberal thought American and French revolution Political and economic liberalism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Liberalism An anti-ideology? Reformation, enlightenment and the roots of liberal thought American and French revolution Political and economic liberalism

2 Liberalism vs. ideology Liberal critique of ideology Ideologies are intolerant Ideologies claim a monopoly of truth Ideologies are based on spurious claims to be scientific Ideologies are inherently repressive (totalitarian) Prime examples of ideologies are fascism and communism Liberalism understands itself as the opposite of an ideology (valuing tolerance, individualism, pluralism, relativism, based on reason, law, inalienable rights)

3 Liberalism as ideology Ideology: a systematic set of ideas performing four functions Explanatory (explaining political phenomena) Evaluative (providing criteria to distinguish right from wrong) Orientative (giving a sense of identity, guidance through values) Programmatic (providing a program for political action) Liberal ideology Individual, agency-based explanatory model Based on human rights, equality before the law, pluralism, tolerance Universalising Enlightenment philosophy (Kantian categorical imperative); frequently accused of lacking in orientative power because of inherent relativism Calling for small state, respect for human rights, respect for private property; conflicting views on taxation and public spending (classic vs. social liberalism)

4 Reformation and the seeds of liberalism Reformation (16 th century) Challenging the unity of church and state Propagating the individual character of worshipping The English Civil Wars (17 th century) Conflict for supremacy between king and parliament Religious sectarianism Levellers (the first proto-liberal movement) Thomas Hobbes ( ) Pre-liberal thinker State of nature and existential need for a social contract Essentially illiberal, authoritarian solution, but resulting from an individualistic model of man

5 Liberalism as the political philosophy of the enlightenment Enlightenment Scientific discovery challenging religious doctrine about the natural world Positivism Reason Secularisation, rejection of tradition John Locke ( ) All individuals endowed by God with reason In contrast with Hobbes, Locke argued the state of nature as guided by reason, but problematic Social contract creates government as a trust, to protect their rights Advocating religious tolerance, equality before the law Inalienable right of man to life, liberty and property

6 The non-revolutionary character of English liberalism Long parliamentary tradition Glorious Revolution (1688) permanently established parliamentary sovereignty Lockes definition of government as trusteeship can be understood as a rationalization of the factual redefinition of constitutional monarchy after 1688 Freedom of expression an extension of parliamentary immunity English liberal ideology not a cause but a reflection of social and political change Liberalism not necessarily pro-democratic, neither socially nor politically revolutionary Political inclusion in Britain developing gradually through 19 th and early 20 th century

7 Revolutionary use of liberalism The American revolution War between American colonies and British crown for independence Paraphrasing Locke in Declaration of Independence Republican rather than democratic constitution checks and balances separation of powers democratic element, but initially mirroring British system of rule of the one (King), the few (Lords), and the many (Commons) The French revolution Liberté, egalité, fraternité A social revolution, proclaiming sovereignty of the people Egalitarian and democratic, balancing liberal elements Exporting revolutionary thought (both democratic/egalitarian and liberal throughout Europe, which lacked parliamentary tradition like Britain, thereby radicalising liberal thought)

8 Industrial revolution and classic, laissez-faire liberalism Industrial revolution Late 18 th /19 th century Began and remained most forceful in Britain Napoleonic wars leaving Britain least ravaged Protestant work ethic Investments from colonial/slave trade Laissez-faire liberalism Just as Enlightenment had challenged the old social and political order, so did the Industrial revolution challenge the old economic order, i.e. the control of the state over economy The fusion of political and economic liberalism resulted in an individualistic view of economic development, claiming that if individuals are left to their own economic devices, this would lead to prosperity, harmonious society, universal progress

9 Economic liberalism Adam Smith ( ) The Wealth of Nations (1776) Foundation of modern economic theory Arguing that a free market will benefit society Invisible hand mechanism Natural (just) price theory Human motivation: selfishness, greed Competition renders individual greed socially beneficial Movement of goods, capital and labour shall be unrestricted Proposing government policy of non-intervention More influential with social class of entrepreneurs than with current politics in Britain at his time


Download ppt "Liberalism An anti-ideology? Reformation, enlightenment and the roots of liberal thought American and French revolution Political and economic liberalism."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google