FREEDOM AND EQUALITY: CLASSICAL LIBERALISM VS. FACISM AND NATIONAL SOCIALISM

Topics: Political philosophy, Liberalism, Liberty Pages: 7 (2543 words) Published: October 30, 2013


The concept of both freedom and equality play equally large roles in the ideologies of Classical Liberalism along with Fascism and National Socialism. Although freedom and equality play such large roles in these ideologies, they also play very different roles in each ideology. Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint 1. Equality, on the other hand is simply defined as the state of being equal 2. Classical Liberalism is based off the ideologies of John Locke, Adam Smith, and Immanuel Kant. These three figures helped develop the ideology of Classical Liberalism and ensured that freedom and equality would play a major positive role in the ideology. On the contrary, Fascism and National Socialism is the complete opposite of Classical Liberalism. Developed predominantly by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, the ideology of Fascism and National Socialism is completely against the concept of freedom and equality.

The ideology of Classical Liberalism is extremely opposed to political totalitarianism. Classical Liberalism is firmly against having rulers/leaders who determine the rights and freedoms of their populations. The main objective of the ideology is to avoid the excesses of state of nature. John Locke once stated that “the unconstrained power of one in command of 100,000 is worse than arbitrary power of 100,000 individual single men.” 3 Locke firmly believed in this because he thought that one man who is in power of many other men could cause much more damage than that of a large group of individuals with equal power. A huge concern for Locke was determining a set of principles and rules in which political institutions must follow in order to benefit the majority of individuals.4 One of Locke’s more interesting ideologies is that of the state of nature. Locke believes that people are born as equals with the capacity to reason and generate ideas.5 It essentially states that all individuals have the right of life and liberty. Locke introduced many of the first natural property rights. He states that any labour put into the production of a good using raw materials gives the respective individual the right to own the good.6 This then gives the individual the right to trade or give away his/her good upon their own desire. Locke played a huge role in property ownership. Locke truly believed that a government is genuine because its power comes from the people who allowed its existence in the first place. In other words, he believed that a government could not be anything more than that of the natural power of each person who is a member of the community.7 Classical Liberalism greatly defends the rights of those who were trying to resist tyranny. There are two rather extensive reason which Locke introduced in order to justify rebellion: unconstitutional alteration of the legislature, and a breach of trust on the part of the prince or legislature.8 This essentially means that rebellion is just when legislature is unconstitutionally altered or if the government breaches their citizen’s sense of trust. Locke had a fair view on tolerance. He believed that the Government has no right to push a particular religion into its population. He genuinely believed that religion is a truly private matter. It is evident that John Locke, who played a major role in Classical Liberalism, greatly supported the concepts of freedom and equality for all citizens.

Fascism and National Socialism is an ideology that is very against freedom and equality for everyone. The ideology consists of several different headings, including anti-liberalism, anti-Marxism, the veneration of the nation and state, the leadership principle, racism, the rejection of procedural and substantive justice, autarky (self-sufficiency) and corporatism. This ideology has a way of controlling a society by having a government that is ruled by a dictator who controls the lives of...

Bibliography: 1) freedom: definition of freedom in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)."Oxford Dictionaries. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
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