POLS 110 Lecture Notes - Liberal Democracy, Harm Principle, Limited Government

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
Political Studies
Course
POLS 110
Our version of representative democracy is called liberal democracy
Liberal Democracy: absence of the law
Liberal democracy is a product of a society that was oppressive and
authoritarian
Personal freedom- silence of the law
Being able to do something because there is no law saying your cannot do it
Freedom vs. Liberty
Freedom is freedom to
o Positive freedom
o Effective freedom of all to realize their potential
Ex. Scholarships and awards
o Involvement from the law to do something
Liberty is freedom from
o Negative freedom
o Absence of the law- able to do things because there are no rules telling
you you cannot
“Freedom can mean freedom of the strong to down the weak following market rules
or effective freedom of all”
- C.B. MacPherson
Rights are promises of the state to allow you to do certain things
What areas should be free?
o The harm principle: where your conduct does not harm others,
government has no right to control it (J S Mills)
Liberals don’t care what you do with your life as it is your business
o No qualitative assessment between choices in life
Belief society is a collection of individual thoughts and beliefs
Liberty is negative
o Liberty is the absence of interference
Freedom is positive
o Freedom can be advanced by the state by making available resources
and supports citizens needs
Liberal Democracy
Equality
o Justice is blind; weighed on facts
o Rawl’s veil of ignorance
o Everyone abides by the same rules
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Document Summary

Our version of representative democracy is called liberal democracy. Liberal democracy is a product of a society that was oppressive and authoritarian. Being able to do something because there is no law saying your cannot do it. Freedom is freedom to: positive freedom, effective freedom of all to realize their potential. Scholarships and awards: involvement from the law to do something. Liberty is freedom from: negative freedom, absence of the law- able to do things because there are no rules telling you you cannot. Freedom can mean freedom of the strong to down the weak following market rules or effective freedom of all . Rights are promises of the state to allow you to do certain things. What areas should be free: the harm principle: where your conduct does not harm others, government has no right to control it (j s mills)

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