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Explain The Link Between Liberalism And Rationalism St Hugh's School Pollitics,15 Marker, A2, Ideologies

645 words - 3 pages

Explain the link between liberalism and rationalism
Rationalism is the belief that the world has a rational structure, which can be disclosed through the application of reason and analysis. Liberalism is traditionally split into two strands. The first, classical liberalism was classical liberalism, is often referred to as economic liberalism and the second is modern liberalism and its establishment is usually associated with Thomas Green and is often called social liberalism. Liberalism is linked to rationalism in the sense that liberal ideology stemmed from Enlightenment ands so reflects an underlying belief in reason and progress and that in straight-forward terms, liberals share an optimistic attitude towards human nature. This is based upon an assumption that our behaviour is determined by rational interest rather than irrational emotions and prejudice. We are therefore governed by reason and should be entrusted with as much freedom as possible.
The liberal belief that humans are rational creatures holds several implications. Firstly, it promotes the view that we are free to choose our own path in life regardless of what society dictates as the ‘norm.’ Liberals firmly believe that we should be allowed to express ourselves fully as guided by our own free will. There is a lengthy tradition amongst liberal figures and pressure groups of championing the rights of minority groups such as political dissidents and the LGBT community. Secondly, liberals instinctively welcome those fleeing from persecution and discrimination in their native homeland. Freedom of movement is a central tenant of liberalism, and the only logical conclusion amongst people who place reason above prejudice. The link here between individualism and rationalism is that rationalism strengthens the liberal belief in freedom, as it implies that rational individuals are the best judges of their own best interests.
Another important link derived from this rationalist perspective is the importance of human happiness and that conflict can be resolved through debate, not force. All liberals would agree with...

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