POLS 1500 Lecture Notes - Liberal Democracy, Classical Liberalism, Neoliberalism

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10 Apr 2014
Beyond Left and Right?
- Where would feminism, environmentalism or nationalism fit on the ideological spectrum?
- No more major changes to society, just a little fine tuning
All ideas, once they become dominant, appear to be only rational and valid ones
Dominant ideologies: liberalism or liberal democracy
Counter ideologies: Socialism/Marxism; feminism
Fundamentals of liberalism
- Humans are naturally rational but self-interested
- Individual as the fundamental unit of organization
- Society as an artificial construct based on individual consent
- Change is natural and inevitable rationality allows continual progress
- Limited government/minimalist state to promote maximum amount of individual freedom
- Not natural communal beings
Classical Liberalism (also Smith)
- Individuals living in the world without government
- Leviathan: The general inclination of all mankind that is perpetual and restless desire of
power after power, that ceases only in death. Competition leads to contention, enmity
and war; because the way of one competitor to the attaining of his desire is to kill
subdue, supplant, or repel the other
- Wanting to leave state of war self-interested individuals would all agree to give up their
natural liberty- the freedoms they have in the state of nature
- They contract together to give to establish an absolute sovereign , an absolute and
unchallengeable ruler
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