Inwardness and depth belonged to the self, whereas the person stood now for convention, tradition, custom, and superficial appearance. First, if reductive value pluralism is true, then reductive value monism and any theory that relies on it must be rejected. How to use liberalism in a sentence. In turn, African political study has made an important contribution to comparative politics. In order to grasp these vicissitudes of the two terms, one has to look at some of the main turning points in their evolution. Liberalism also derives from the practice of adversariality in European political and economic life, a process in which institutionalized competition—such as the competition between different political parties in electoral contests, between prosecution and defense in adversary procedure, or between different producers in a market economy (see monopoly and competition)—generates a dynamic social order. Cause lawyers seek to mobilize money, media, validating organizations, professional alliances, and the church, through legal and political strategies, to advance their clients' interests. Liberals had originally contributed to the political climate that, since the 1880s, gave birth to social security laws, first in Germany and then in rapid succession in other countries. Despite these variations, liberal thought does exhibit a few definite and fundamental conceptions. Others have thought that value pluralism is the foundation of political liberalism: if values are metaphysically plural, then liberalism is the correct theory of justice. There are two main implications that are thought to be important. If there is ultimately only one value, evaluative differences between items must always reduce to differences in amount or quality of the supervalue, and quantities or qualities of the same thing can always be compared. Many economists and some philosophers favor desire-satisfaction accounts of value, and their accounts at the very least require modification if value pluralism is true. Political liberalism recommends its principles as a way of fairly resolving disagreements in a pluralistic society; it does not expect free and equal citizens to agree on one comprehensive conception. This leads Rawls to seek a political conception that ‘all affirm’ and that is ‘shared by everyone.’ Such a conception would be supported by the diverse reasonable comprehensive doctrines that characterize our democratic societies. Pleasure can be greater in amount without the value of that pleasure being thereby greater. However, in the England of Locke’s time and in other democratic societies for centuries thereafter, not every person was considered a member of the electorate, which until the 20th century was generally limited to propertied white males. Collectively, people and groups, as well as the positions they hold, are referred to as the Left or the left wing. A. Gutmann, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. The far left is often used for what is considered more extreme, revolutionary views, such as communism and socialism. Chang, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. If value pluralism is correct, then difficulties supposedly follow for rational choice. Rawls's core argument—and so his entire political liberalism—apparently depends on the contrast between comprehensive views and the shared, political, conception. In the 19th century liberals generally formed the party of business and the entrepreneurial middle class; for much of the 20th century they were more likely to work to restrict and regulate business in order to provide greater opportunities for labourers and consumers. How can the option of respecting someone's right to free speech be compared with an option that doubles everyone's pleasure? The inference from monism to comparability, however, is mistaken. Whether the focus was on the capacity for autonomous reasoning or autonomous agency, whether the human being was regarded primarily as the possessor of rationality or the bearer of inalienable rights, throughout early modernity and the Enlightenment interest was primarily directed to the human self as such—the rights were typically predicated as universal rights of ‘man’ as such—and the notion of the person began to look inextricably entangled with the particularism of estates and the privileges of the order of ranks typical of the absolutist monarchies. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. It strove for a civil, rather than bourgeois society, in both its ideas of social and economic order as well as in its model of the state. Take any two putatively ultimate values such as the value of the right to free speech and the value of pleasure. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies (see below Contemporary liberalism). Only after the mid-nineteenth century did pre-industrial liberal ideas of order pale in favor of industrial capitalistic ones. Historical liberalism arose in the pre-industrial age. 1.4). This socially harmonious guiding idea was directed against the class/feudal order, but did not initially field an industrial view of the world against it. The problem is compounded when one asks whether this is all that government can or should do on behalf of individual freedom. With the idea of the citizen, European liberalism sketched a vision of the future of a society of citizens without great property-ownership differences that would have contradicted the liberal ideal of a middle-class society with a broad distribution of assets (Schapiro 1958). We have already encounteredthe first: perfectionism. The conviction that the individual must take priority over the collective distinguishes even the decidedly social liberalism of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the other progressive movements, such as socialism. Value pluralism has been thought to have a second implication. Like other political doctrines, liberalism is highly sensitive to time and circumstance. The word liberty is derived from the Latin root, liber, which comes from the earlier Italian (Venetic) leudheros. It is, by its very nature, the realm of reasonable pluralism. Analytical recognition of the political economy of the ‘informal sector’ or underground economy in good part originates in Africa-based studies. There is no necessary connection between liberalism and any specific form of democratic government, and indeed Locke’s liberalism presupposed a constitutional monarchy. But what is essential to utilitarianism is compatible with value pluralism (Sen 1981). The historical development of liberalism over recent centuries has been a movement from mistrust of the state’s power on the ground that it tends to be misused, to a willingness to use the power of government to correct perceived inequities in the distribution of wealth resulting from economic competition—inequities that purportedly deprive some people of an equal opportunity to live freely. Rawls's political liberalism is a response to the problem posed by reasonable pluralism (Sect. So, for instance, an option that involves violating everyone's right to free speech is worse than an option that involves reducing one person's pleasure by a small amount. As some political theorists have pointed out, liberalism itself might be understood as monistic about value: the ultimate value is the value of permitting people to pursue different nonultimate values. Other conceptions of liberalism—such as the perfectionist and autonomy-based theory of Joseph Raz (1986)—offer comprehensive philosophies of life, which include ideals of personal character, friendship, and association. Since the late 19th century, however, most liberals have insisted that the powers of government can promote as well as protect the freedom of the individual. There is good reason, however, to think that the plurality of values does not entail the incomparability of options that bear them. Liberals often have been wary of democracy, then, because of fears that it might generate a tyranny by the majority. John Rawl's Political Liberalism (1993) marked an important new development in liberal theory. Some version of the principle of political legitimacy motivates the search for public reasons in contemporary liberal political philosophy: if the exercise of coercive political power relies on nonpublic reasoning, it is oppressive and illegitimate in relation to those who do not share those reasons. N. Baverez, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001, Raymond Aron, as with other great liberal thinkers, was too respectful of each person's freedom and too influenced by the principles governing methodological individualism to found a school of thought. While the value orientations of these two kinds of lawyers' politics may differ, they show some convergence and exist in creative tension to each other. The reasonable pluralism of comprehensive views renders such views unacceptable as bases for the justification of political power. In that sense to be a self without being a legal person would be tantamount to being nothing. Etymologically the term ‘person’ originated at the crossroads of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The first is the West’s preoccupation with individuality, as compared to the emphasis in other civilizations on status, caste, and tradition. An alternative interpretation of Rawls' view is to take the political conception as constructed out of that which is shared. The singular trajectory of the African state generates multiple challenges to understanding, and divergent responses. Even now, the liberals were not characterized by convinced affirmation of a free, unregulated market. Classical liberalism is a political ideology that favors the protection of individual liberty and economic freedom by limiting government power. Omissions? In it, he attempts to show that his theory of justice is not a "comprehensive conception of the good" but is instead compatible with a liberal conception of the role of justice, namely, that government should be neutral between competing conceptions of the good. In ancient Greek prós-opon (literally ‘placed in front’) designated the artificial face, the mask that actors used to wear on stage when performing tragedies. The odyssey of independence began with high hopes and unrestrained optimism in the capacity of the state to manage rapid development and build an expanding political order from the center. Liberalism is a political philosophy held by people who strongly believe in the principles of liberty and equality for all. In John Locke’s theory, the consent of the governed was secured through a system of majority rule, whereby the government would carry out the expressed will of the electorate. The rebirth of the concept of civil society began in Africa and the former Soviet camp in the 1980s. This willingness is tempered by an aversion to sudden, cataclysmic change, which is what sets off the liberal from the radical. The quest continues for forms of rule which could bring sustainable development, accountable and effective governance, and also be authenticated and legitimated by a rooting in the African cultural heritage. Insofar as the value of a right to free speech is irreducibly distinct from the value of pleasure, it seems that there is no common basis on which to make a comparison between their bearers. Each country’s liberalism is different, and it changes in each generation. To understand liberalism one has to understand liberty. ‘Political liberalism assumes that, for political purposes, a plurality of reasonable yet incompatible comprehensive doctrines is the normal result of the exercise of human reason within the framework of free institutions of a constitutional regime’ (Rawls 1993, p. xvi). Africa was a critical site of the late-century democratization experiments, which fed into the comparative study of democratic transitions (Diamond et al. In politics, left refers to people and groups that have liberal views. Conservatism: Conservative thought is coloured b… Its fundamental terms—such as the idea of individuals as free and equal citizens—are derived from the public political culture of a liberal democracy. In each case, however, the liberals’ inspiration was the same: a hostility to concentrations of power that threaten the freedom of the individual and prevent him from realizing his full potential, along with a willingness to reexamine and reform social institutions in the light of new needs. Accompanying the development of political liberalism are other conceptions of liberalism, including feminist liberalism and multicultural liberalism. In contemporary political philosophy John Rawls, for example, bases his view of. This new relation between the two terms continued to dominate throughout the Middle Ages (Augustine, Erasmus), the Renaissance and the Reformation (Luther). Part of what we mean by the liberal project, then, is that from a broad historical perspective liberalism is a fairly new and certainly radically different conception of social and political order from its predecessors and subsequent rivals. A. Ferrara, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. Sustained patterns of civil conflict and violence in some parts of Africa had counterparts in some regions of the former Soviet Union, suggesting the emergence of new kinds of political pathologies requiring analysis. Modern liberals are generally willing to experiment with large-scale social change to further their project of protecting and enhancing individual freedom. R.E. Perhaps more significant is the result that preference utilitarianism, or, more generally, desire-satisfaction theories of value must go. But the individual, not the collective, was still the focus of liberal norms and politics. Thus, monism seems to guarantee that there is a rational choice in every choice situation, no matter how intractable the conflict may seem. Modern social theory has operated rather with the notion of the individual since the time of Hobbes (Hobbes, Thomas (1588–1679)) and Locke (Rokkan, Stein (1921–79)) and then later, starting with Cooley's and Mead's (Luria, Aleksander Romanovich (1902–77)) symbolic interactionist perspective, it has widely adopted the concept of the self. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. The liberal demand for free trade among states did not rule out a willingness to accept and call for regulation of the market within the state. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). For biographies of individual philosophers, see John Locke; John Stuart Mill; John Rawls. Aron thus was a unique example of a twentieth-century French intellectual who was both patriot and European, republican and liberal, antitotalitarian and cosmopolitan. Updated July 28, 2020 Neoliberalism is a political and economic policy model that emphasizes the value of free market capitalism while seeking to transfer control of economic factors from the government to the private sector. By contrast, political liberalism is a moral conception concerned only with the basic structure of a society, and presented as a view that is independent of any comprehensive doctrine. Whereas comprehensive conceptions produce diverse reasons that conflict, the political point of view provides public reasons—reasons that all reasonable comprehensive views can endorse. liberalism 1. a political or social philosophy advocating the f reedom of the individual, parliamentary legislatures, governmental assurances of civil liberties and individual rights, and nonviolent modification of institutions to permit continued individual and social progress. Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. In contrast, one might define the political as those matters on which reason converges in democratic societies, and so necessarily generates constitutional principles that satisfy the principle of liberal legitimacy. But his mark in French political history and thinking was just as profound due to the fact that, far from relying on a network of disciples and institutions, it was anchored in an intellectual heritage which transcends partisan differences or academic studies. A second school of thought, cause lawyering, focuses on instances of lawyers' politics where lawyers identify explicitly with the values of their clients. The increase in complexity and the somewhat more anomic quality taken by social life in the Hellenistic monarchies and in Imperial Rome, the increase in complexity of the political apparatus alongside with the more despotic and arbitrary styles of government, the increasing religious eclecticism of the Roman public world, and the appearance of the Christian ethos of holiness and personal sanctity, all contributed to the rise of a cleft between public and private life and to a new distribution of value across that divide. The intellectual founders of liberalism were the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704), who developed a theory of political authority based on natural individual rights and the consent of the governed, and the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723–90), who argued that societies prosper when individuals are free to pursue their self-interest within an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and competitive markets, controlled neither by the state nor by private monopolies. One might briskly say, therefore, that democracy looks after majorities and liberalism after unpopular minorities. Thus stated, the content of public reason seems sparse indeed. Individualism: Individualism is the central idea or theme of liberalism. Author of. Over the past few centuries the term ‘person’ has almost disappeared from the vocabulary of the social sciences, only to undergo a sort of revival, sometimes tinged with religious overtones, in the existentialist and so called ‘personalist’ philosophical currents of the twentieth century. To complicate things further, there is no settled account of the relation between ‘person’ and ‘self.’ The term ‘person’ has for a long time been the prevailing one for referring to a single human being. They believe regulation is necessitated when individuals-, corporations-, and industries demonstrate a willingness to pursue financial gain at an intolerable cost to society--and grow too powerful to be constrained by other social institutions. The argument goes, if options for choice bearing plural values are incomparable, rational choice between them is precluded. Liberalism is the culmination of developments in Western society that produced a sense of the importance of human individuality, a liberation of the individual from complete subservience to the group, and a relaxation of the tight hold of custom, law, and authority. The expansion of governmental power and responsibility sought by liberals in the 20th century was clearly opposed to the contraction of government advocated by liberals a century earlier. Politically, it means "“a person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change." Many have supposed, for example, that alternatives for choice bearing plural values are incomparable. The political terms "left" and "right" have roots in the French revolution. 1995). Classical liberalism emerged during the 18th and early 19th centuries in response to the sweeping social changes precipitated by the Industrial Revolution. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. On the one hand, the rapid succession of distinctive political moments within Africa engages and defines the interpretive priorities of students of African politics. Emeritus Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics. In the face of collective passions and demagogy which overtake regularly democracies in general and French political life in particular, Aron played the major part, according to Claude Lévi-Strauss of a ‘teacher of intellectual hygiene.’, D. Langewiesche, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. Thus, because there exists a reasonable plurality of comprehensive doctrines, basing the justification of political power on any of them violates the liberal principle of legitimacy. The holding of political views that are socially progressive and promote social welfare. But the dwindling numbers of liberal voters since the early twentieth century, teaches us that the variant offered by the liberal parties as a mediation between collective welfare security and individual freedom to decide no longer had the persuasive power that had characterized the liberal guiding ideas of the nineteenth century. One might hold that every value must satisfy some or other desire to be a value while denying that all values reduce to the value of desire satisfaction.) As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The political is thus characterized as the overlapping consensus of those diverse comprehensive views characterizing modern societies. The existence of ‘nominal-notable’ comparisons demonstrates that if alternatives are incomparable, it is not the plurality of values per se that entails their incomparability (Chang 1997). Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. At least at times Rawls seems to suggest that the political point of view can be conceptually distinguished from moral, religious, and philosophical matters; whereas the former identifies a common point of view that can be affirmed by all, when human reason is applied to moral, religious, and philosophical issues it leads to reasonable disagreement. Apparently modern democratic societies agree on only the most abstract of public—political—reasons. Cause lawyers encompass everything from pay equity, animal rights, capital punishment, land rights, women's rights, and human rights. Classical liberalism focuses more on liberty, or personal freedoms, while social liberalism is more concerned with equality. The fact that there are ultimately many values does not entail that a state should not compel its citizens to pursue one value over others, nor does monism entail that a state should not protect its citizens' choices to pursue nonultimate values in ways that do not best promote or respect the supervalue. Moreover, even assuming that the supervalue does not admit of different qualities, it is a mistake to assume that all quantities of a single supervalue are comparable. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. The difficulties alleged are various, but the reason for thinking that none follows from value pluralism is the same. Liberalism is derived from two related features of Western culture. Liberalism is the ideology of liberty. T.C. Unfortunately, if a more detailed articulation of this idea is provided, Rawls indicates that the use of human reason again leads to disagreement., Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Liberalism, liberalism - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Classical liberalism: Liberalism and democracy. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. URL:, URL:, URL:, URL:, URL:, URL:, URL:, URL:, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, From the first application of modernization theories of largely extra-African derivation to African political study, a succession of conceptual perspectives drawn from comparative politics broadly defined have shaped political inquiry (dependency, neo-Marxism, rational choice, economic and, Raymond Aron, as with other great liberal thinkers, was too respectful of each person's freedom and too influenced by the principles governing methodological individualism to found a school of thought.