POLS 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Social Forces, Bourgeoisie, French Revolution

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Secular societies are not ruled by religion
o The direction society is moving to is not decided, its unsure
o Ideology gives some sense of direction to secular societies
o Secular societies aren't devout of religions, they're simply privatized. It's an individual's
There are risks that can come from ideologies
o A certain intellectual laziness comes over when we think we have all the answers. Ideology
can lull the mind when we think that a certain ideology has all the answers.
Summarized into one sentence : Liberalism puts the rational property owner at the center of the
One of the tenants of liberalism is that we're rational beings . Through the proper usage of reason,
we understand that our happiness can only be found in the full consumption of nature
In order for out happiness to last we need property (economic goods).
The reason why the individual is the centre for liberals is because they believe no collective
institution could no more about the happiness of the individual than the individual himself.
o There is no collective rationality that can impose itself naturally over the individuals use of
If you own property, you’re constantly under threat of it being taken from you (Hobbes).
o Ownership immediately begs for a form of security
o Because of the need to protect property, the state will be needed in liberal thought in order
to protect property an to prevent public disorder. Therefore the state must have minimal
In theory, liberals are for a minimal state but the actual history and ractice of liberals are obliged
to expand the state
7th tenant of liberal thought
o Liberals see the state as a danger that constantly threatens the individual. It is a collective
after all
o Power has a tendency to generate more power
o The state is for Liberals "a necessary evil", its powers must be limited
o Has a series of measures to neutralize the danger that the state represents. They all aim at
protecting the individual 's property rights
e.g. a constitution (says exactly what a government can and cannot do)
e.g. the division of power (judiciary, executive and legislative branches)
e.g. decentralization
e.g. competition of different political parties
o History of liberalism is the balance between the maintenance of balance of the need for the
state and managing the evils of the state. For liberals, the state must be efficient in order to
protect private property but it cannot be too powerful
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