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The Rise Of Classical Liberalism In The Nineteen Eighties And Nineteen Nineties.

1124 words - 4 pages

North American society has been changing in its social and economic spectrums over the past two decades. In turn, the current political ideological viewpoints of liberalism have digressed toward those of John Locke and John Stuart Mill of the eighteenth century in order to compensate for these changes. Reform liberalism, the popular political ideology at that time, was insufficient to deal with the problems that were arising due to these social shifts. Society's recent turn toward classical liberalism in particular can be explained with the discussion of the main concepts on which classical liberalism is based.Classical liberalism is composed of many ideologies that are shared by both it and reform liberalism. Reform liberalism grew from classical liberalism because of the limited nature that the classical liberal ideologies possess. The nature of classical liberalism can be viewed as limited in a negative or a positive light depending on who is being subjected to it. The presence of the government can be interpreted as helping or detrimental. Classical liberals choose to view the state as more harmful than helping and therefore choose to promote the idea of limited government, which will be discussed further as it pertains to the economy and other social matters. Classical liberalism also promotes an ideology in which people believe in the absolute freedom from coercion by the government and in all other aspects of a person's life. This negative liberty is a major downfall of the existence of government, according to classical liberals. In the eighteenth century, when liberalism began, the monarchy was totalitarian in nature and gave rise to an ideology that saw the state as a threat to freedom and equality. Classical liberals believe in the equality of right, while reform liberals believe in the equality of opportunity. Equality of right is the right for every individual to have the same claim to the same resources such as jobs and income. Equality of opportunity describes the ideology in which everyone is given the resources that they need in the beginning to ensure a fair competitive environment later on. Another ideology that both classical liberalism and reform liberalism have in common is the need for the consent of the governed. Those who are being led by the state must be of a majority agreement regarding the credibility of the ruling party. The classical and reform liberal ideologies disagree with respect to the breadth of the population that is valid in providing their consent. Reform liberals feel that a larger group is necessary while the classical liberals are satisfied with a smaller group in comparison.Classical liberals believe that society should be left to itself on all matters except for those concerning the protection of people from the harm of other people. This suggests that the state should take on a "nightwatchman" entity and keep its contributions in a minimal respect. One single entity cannot be expected to successfully...

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