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Political Science 2230E Chapter Notes -Liberal Democracy, Webct, Negative Liberty

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2230E

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Citation Analysis must use Chicago Style PDF on WebCT
Outline for each class is on WebCT and if you can answer the questions on that
outline you will be fine for the exam
Fundamental Values of the Canadian Democracy
Based on Liberalist ideology
Classical vs reform vs neo liberalism
What distinguishes one form of liberalism from another?
All forms share a set of values
o Freedom, justice, equality etc
o But there is disagreement amongst liberals about what these
terms actually mean and how to go about achieving them.
What is an Ideology?
Specific kind of theory with three basic characteristics
o Incorporates a statement of ideal political values
o Sets out the means by which those values and goals will be
realized how to put the vision of an ideal society in practice a
o Ideology seeks to mobilize political action around its stated values
and goals.
Normative blue prints about what the good society looks like
Marxism, feminism, socialism and liberalism are all ideologies.
What is the difference between a democracy and a liberal democracy?
What does the concept of democracy entail? Ruled by the people, consent
of the governed, self-government, self rule.
o In Canada is achieved through representative government.
Important to distinguish between a democracy and a liberal democracy
because what you can do in those two different democracies are very
Regular democracy requires 51 percent of the votes in a voting situation.
o Presents a problem called the tyranny of the majority liberalism
tempers this problem in democratic theory
In Canada, individuals and groups have rights and there is a concern in
liberal democracy about the tyranny of the majority and the oppression of
the minority.
Fundamental values of liberalism and of the Canadian Political System
o Overriding value of liberalism is freedom of the individual
o Why? Because human beings are unique to other beings because
we possess the capacity for reason, logic and rationality.
Gives us the ability to critically reflect and evaluate options
about how we want to live our lives to determine their
own conception of a valuable life.
For liberals this is what makes human beings
o The freedom of the individual must be protected, respected and
our capacity to reflect and evaluate should be given room to
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o In liberal theory this process of rationally assessing our life goals
and putting them into action is called self- actualization.
o How do we create this freedom for individuals to achieve self-
actualization this is where liberals disagree.
What is Classical Liberalism and what are its Guiding Principles?
Classical Liberalism’s form of Freedom
o Conceived of in negative terms
The freedom to be left alone non interference, absence of
coercion “freedom from” as opposed to “freedom to”
o The individual has to be given the widest possible scope of non
Less interference, more freedom
More interference, less freedom
Classical Liberals form of State
o Non interference from the government the state is a necessary
We must have a state in order to protect freedom and
ensure non-interference between citizens.
In order to do this, the state makes laws and is backed up
by police and army ability to interfere in peoples lives.
For classical liberals, the state is a high risk because of its
potential ability to interfere and who will prevent the state
from interfering?
o Their answer comes in terms of the Limited State
The state and state interference has to be constrained.
The smallest state possible that regulates as little as
possible and therefore interferes as little as possible in the
lives of citizens.
How to achieve the limited state? Public/Private distinction
Split into two realms public realm and private
realm (civil society)
The private realm is were people will lead their lives
and make their decisions it is imperative that the
state does not interfere in the private realm which is
where individuals achieve self actualization.
Rights is another way to achieve the limited state
Individual rights Charter of Rights in Canada.
The charter can only be used against the state; it
cannot be used against another private individual.
Charter rights erect a wall between the state and the
individual and the private and public realm.
Classical Liberals form of Market
o Should be organized in the form of laissez faire economics
o Classical liberals are more concerned with economic freedom
which is explained by the fact that classical liberals believed
material well being was the best measure of human happiness.
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