Liberalism and Conservatism

Topics: Liberalism, Classical liberalism, Conservatism Pages: 9 (3171 words) Published: December 1, 2007
In this paper I will discuss three topics in light of two philosophies which are liberalism and conservatism in contemporary America. First of all I will do some research about the word philosophy and then I will further study about the meaning of political philosophy and then compile my knowledge about the two philosophies. This will be followed by a detailed discussion on the three topics given to be discussed in this paper in light of Conservatism and Liberalism. A philosophy is a complicated detailed system of ideas about human nature and the reality of the world which the humans have inhibited. Philosophy provides guidelines for living and discusses basic issues. Philosophy raises the deepest and widest questions in human mind. "There is no one philosophy worldwide, as there are many minds there are many philosophies".1 Now let's understand the meaning of political philosophy. "Political philosophy is the study of human social organization and of the nature of man/woman in society".2 This is a study of very important and basic questions about the government, type of government , system of government ,role of government, state, role of state, justice, right , law , freedom, liberty ,property, rights, politics, economics, welfare , growth and many more topics. Political philospohies aim to maintain the best balance between individual rights, freedom, obligations of the state, power of the State, governmental structure, electoral procedures, and the rule of Law, economic concerns and many more issues. Change cannot be avoided in a society, government, public policies and in every other aspect throughout the political world. Political philosophies should aim to seek these changes at a normal pace that helps to achieve progress. These changes have to be well balanced, therefore they should not be too fast and result in destruction of stability and order or too slow and result in stagnation. There are many political philosophies but I will shed some light only on two important political philosophies in America which are liberalism and conservatism. What does liberalism and conservatism mean? Liberalism was derived from the Latin word "Liberare" meaning set free and French word "libre" meaning free. While conservatism was derived from a Latin word "conservare" meaning to preserve and a French word "conservateur" which meant an official responsible for the protection of certain rights and charged with the guardian of certain public property. These were the meanings understood from these words in the early eighteen and nineteen centuries. Now a day these two words are used in contrasting meanings.3 In 1400 after Renaissance liberalism emerged under cultural influence and it promoted individualism. John Lock is considered as the founder of the liberal ideology that has so much influenced politics in the coming centuries. Liberalism was based on ideas that every one is free and can choose to do what he wanted according to his own free will. Liberalism was later divided into modern and classical liberals in nineteenth century and was later further divided. Other meaning of liberalism is openness to progress, change, generosity, tolerance, open-mindedness and willingness to give.4 Liiberal ideology focuses on free markets, individual liberty and reduced role for government. According to liberal views government exists to serve the people and community with limited power. In a liberal society individuals have all the natural rights. Liberals believe that life, liberty and estate belong to individuals. The fundamental purpose of the liberals is to liberate people from oppression although the method of liberation and sources of oppression have been different at different times but mainly liberation is the fundamental purpose of liberal political movements. Liberalism emphasizes protecting individuals from oppressive governments, religious institutions, and oppressive social customs, oppressive traditions and vast economic...
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