‘Liberalism is defined by the desire to minimise the role of the state’ Discuss.
Liberalism as an ideology revolves around the idea of freedom for the individual. The reason for this is due to the liberal’s view of human nature; they see the human being as unique and rational; able to make decisions in their best interest. Although all liberals agree on individual freedom, when it comes to the role of the state they are split down the middle. On one side there are the classic liberals who believe in as little state intervention as possible, and on the other side there is the modern liberals who believe state intervention is necessary as it can develop people and create equal opportunity. When looking at a liberal view of the state it is necessary to focus on both modern and classic liberals and compare their ideas. Classic liberalism can clearly be defined by the desire to minimise the role of the state, this is also known as negative freedom. Whereas modern liberalism believes the state is necessary to develop individuals and create opportunity, this is known as positive freedom.
The individual is important to both Classical and Modern liberals, as Mills stated, “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign”. For liberals, the individual is the most important part of their belief and government should not restrict the individual. Instead of looking at society as a whole, they look at it as a group of individuals, all striving to be the best they can be. Apart from this, a liberals view on the individual can differ greatly depending on whether they are a classic or modern liberal. Classic liberals choose to follow egotistical individualism, which places emphasis on self-interestedness and self-reliance. Following on from this they believe in negative freedom, that the individual should be left alone as much as possible, although they do think there should be very minimal state intervention in order to restrict a state becoming a...
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