To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy

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FIRST THOUGHTS. What are the key concepts in this question that I need to understand?What does the stem

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To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy

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1. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? 2002 – essay question

2. FIRST THOUGHTS What are the key concepts in this question that I need to understand? What does the stem “To what extent” imply? How do I achieve balance in the answer?

3. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? The key concept, of course, is democracy, and your initial thought would be that there are several ways to define democracy. Democracy is, essentially, the power of the people, and while most liberals support this, they do not do so in an unqualified fashion.

4. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? Your answer may wish to answer the question as follows: In what way do liberals endorse democracy? What do liberals fear about democracy? How do they reconcile the two? (i.e. into ‘liberal democracy’)

5. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? Why do liberals endorse democracy? Protects individual freedom Democratic government secures individual rights (see Declaration of Independence; Lincoln at Gettysberg) Fosters political participation; leads to personal development. Helps balance rival interests in society.

6. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? Why do liberals fear democracy? ‘Tyranny of the Majority’ – De Tocqueville. Individual liberty can be threatened by mass government The rule of the masses may not be exercised wisely – indeed, the ‘wise’ may be excluded from government (Mill – political wisdom is unevenly distributed; related to education)

7. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? 3. How do liberals reconcile these conflicts? Representative democracy – politicians can use their education to exercise judgement in representing the interests of the people Regular and competitive elections ensure popular participation Constitutionalism, comprising checks and balances and a clear distinction between the state and civil society ensures protection from majoritarian rule.

8. To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? Thus, we have liberal democracy. Liberals have an ambivalent view of democracy, but have sought to overcome this in the modern exercise of democracy through checked but representative and responsive institutions

9. Have modern liberals abandoned individualism and embraced collectivism? Key ideas:- Individualism Collectivism Modern Liberalism Classical Liberalism The focus of the question is on the modern liberal approach, so undue time should not be spent describing classical liberalism.

10. Have modern liberals abandoned individualism and embraced collectivism? What is modern liberalism? A development within liberalism that has sought to revise some ideas of classical liberalism. Modern liberals endorse the concept of positive freedom – empowering individuals In practical terms this has led to ‘big’ government – or a more interventionist government.

11. Have modern liberals abandoned individualism and embraced collectivism? What is the nature of classical liberal criticism of modern liberals? By abandoning free market and minimal state, modern liberals have abandoned individualism in favour of collectivism. A classical definition of individualism assumes minimal state regulation – anything more impinges on individual freedom.

12. Have modern liberals abandoned individualism and embraced collectivism? How do modern liberals justify their stance? They have re-defined, not abandoned, the concept of individualism Developmental individualism – linked to human flourishing – intervention is used to help those who cannot help themselves. But this must imply a more collectivist approach However, modern liberals would say they are seeking to reconcile collectivism and individualism for the good (flourishing) of the individual.

13. Has conservatism been more concerned with social stability than with economic freedom? Tensions between traditional and One Nation conservatives on one hand/New Right on the other Social stability – results from an understanding of organic society – fragile fabric One Nation – communitarian – endorses social welfare/economic interventionism

14. Has conservatism been more concerned with social stability than with economic freedom? Rise of New Right has shifted balance to arguments about economic freedom – libertarian element Libertarianism threatens stable organic structure of society, according to earlier tradition (economic dynamism = inequality/threats to welfare provision = instability.

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