To What Extent Are There Contradictions Within Liberalism? Essay

1499 Words May 24th, 2016 6 Pages
To what extent are there contradictions within liberalism? (45)

Liberalism is an ideology which places its main focus on individualism: the belief in the utmost importance of the individual over any social group or collective body. A key tenet within liberalism is that of universalism, the belief that a person is worth one and no more than one. This, coupled with the belief that humans are innately rational beings, encourages a tolerant, diverse society which focuses on maintaining social justice. Liberalism is split into two branches: classical liberalism and modern liberalism. Classical Liberal views were mostly developed throughout the nineteenth century, dominating the political thinking of that time, with modern liberal views only emerging towards the end of the nineteenth century. Whilst both branches share key tenets such as Individualism, Liberty and Rationalism, supporting the Rule of Law and Consent theory, there appear to be contradictions within the ideology. The main contradictions surround the Role of the State and the extent of Individual freedoms. There has been debate about whether Modern Liberalism is a complete departure from Classical Liberal ideas and theories or merely a reinterpretation of Classical views, taking into consideration rising poverty and lack of opportunity and as a consequence increasingly unfulfilled human potential.
Despite the broad links between classic and modern liberalism, there are essential differences in ideas, which impact on…

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