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Chapter 3

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E

Political Science Chapter 3LiberalismThe hallmark of liberalism has been the attempt to promote individual liberty o Liberals disagree upon themselves as to what exactly liberty is and how best to promote it it is split into two rival camps ofNeoclassicalWelfare BOTH PROMOTE INDIVIDUAL LIBERTYLiberty and liberal derive from the word liberty freeLiberal was commonly used to mean generous or tolerant now refers to political position or point of view o Party that people would be free to pursue their own ideas and interests with as little interference as possible FREEE SOCIETYo HOW TO BEST PROMOTE ITLiberalism rests on a concept that human beings as fundamentally rational individuals Believe that most people are capable of living freelySETS THEM APART from the people that believe that human beings are at he mercy of uncontrollable mercy passions and desires maintain that people also have the ability through reason to control and direct their desiresMost women and men are rational beings who know what is in their own interests and given the opportunity are capable of acting to promote those interests o Liberals believe that the primary motive for most people is SELF INTEREST Some argue that self interest should be given free reinOthers argue that it should be carefully directed to promote the good of allit is wisest to think that people are more interested in their own good than the wellbeing of othersit is healthy as long as the competition remains fair and stays within proper boundssharp disagreement lies on exactly what is fair and where the proper bounds lie isbest way to promote competitionliberals believe that human beings are ration self interested and competitive living freelyliberals promote freedom to each person of individual agent o free people from a variety of restrictions or obstacles social and legal barriers to individual liberty esp social customs ties of feudal dependence and religious conformity o claim that poverty racial and sexual prejudice ignorance and illness are also obstacles to individual liberty o free to decide for himself individual is the best judge of what their best interest is o as long as the person does not choose to interfere with others freedom to live as they se fitEQUALITY is also an important element in the liberal conception of freedom o Equal opportunity to enjoy freedom no persons liberty is more important or valuable than any others o Though does not mean everyone is equally successful o EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO SUCEED Historical BackgroundMedieval origins o Two features of medieval society in EuropeReligious conformity and ascribed status Religious conformityLiberals call for Freedom of religion and separation of church and stateThroughout medieval Europe religious and political authority joined forces to ensure conformity to doctrines of roman church which they believed to be the true and universal path to the kingdom of GodAscribed StatusLiberals object this statusA fixed social standing thats given to the person at birth and there is a little she or he can do to change itAchieved status is the opposite of it which everyone is supposed to have an equal opportunity to work his or her way to the top
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