Liberalism is define by the desire to minimise the role of the state, discuss.

1515 Words Oct 11th, 2013 7 Pages
‘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
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In classic liberals eyes, true freedom is that when the individual is left completely to their own desire, at best the state can be seen as ‘a necessary evil’, or as Jefferson summed up, “Government is best when governed least”. On the other hand there are the modern liberals, who in contrast, have advanced a developmental form of individualism that prioritises human flourishing over the quest for interest satisfaction. This idea says that people can be developed in order to become the best person they can be. In contrast to classic liberals, modern liberals follow positive freedom. This was an idea proposed by Green in the late nineteenth centaury; it recognizes that liberty may also be threatened by social disadvantage and inequality. This, in turn, implied a revised view of the state. By protecting individuals from the social evils that threaten to limit their lives, the state can expand freedom, and not merely diminish it. In the place of the old minimal state, modern liberals have devised a new ‘enabling state’, exercising an increasingly wide range of social and economic responsibilities. Therefore modern liberals differ from the classic liberal in terms of the individual, as the classics believe the state restricts and limits individual freedom, whereas modern liberals see the state as enabling and protective, and can therefore boost levels of individual freedom
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