Search Liberalism compatiable with democracy To what extent is Liberalism compatible with democracy? Democracy played an important role in civilisation at the end of the 19th and early 20th century in terms of the liberation of the masses. In the modern world, Liberalism is seen to be merged with democracy but some disagree with this view.
This essay explores the relation between them. It argues that, despite common parlance, there is an inevitable tension between the two.
Furthermore, attempts to resolve this tension by showing that democracy is a good thing in its own right, or that it is the inevitable development of liberal aspirations, or that it is conceptually connected to fundamental liberal ideas, all fail.
The conclusion to be drawn is that liberalism requires a pragmatic rather than a principled approach to democratic aspirations. Do liberals have good reason to be a democrats? That is to say, must a free society also be a democratic one?
Nowadays the ideas of freedom and democracy are so closely allied in the phrase 'liberal democracy' that it is difficult even to raise this question. How could there be a tension between them? And yet it was not always so.
To begin with, the two ideas have different origins. Liberalism is a relatively modern theory of the state, democracy an ancient conception of a form of government. Moreover, the two have not always been allied. Benjamin Constant, one of the principal theorists of modern European liberalism expressly contrasts the modern, liberal conception of freedom, with the ancient democratic one.
The ancients aimed at a distribution Extent liberalism compatible democracy essay power among all the citizens of a given state, and they referred to this as freedom.
For the moderns, the goal is security in their private possessions. For them, liberty refers to the guarantees of these possessions afforded by their institutions.
F A Hayek, for instance, says: Liberalism requires that all power, and this must include the power of the majority, must be circumscribed. Democracy, by contrast, tends to the view that the opinion of the majority constitutes the sole limit to the powers of the government.
The difference between the two principles is clearly apparent when we recall that the opposite of democracy is authoritarianism, and the opposite of liberty totalitarianism.
Further, the exploration of this tension will show that true liberals must temper their enthusiasm for democracy. One difficulty in the way of showing this lies in the fact that precisely what beliefs a true liberal must hold is a matter of considerable dispute.
Arguably in fact, there is no one set of distinctively liberal beliefs or policies. This does not mean, however, that liberalism can be anything at all - it would be eccentric to describe as liberal a theory which gave pride of place to the collective accomplishments of the state and took no interest in the promotion or protection of individual liberties.
From this we may infer that any form of liberalism must be concerned with the freedom of the individual within the state. Even if this is generally agreed, however, there are still a great many matters on which disagreement between liberals is possible, and about which disputes are in fact quite familiar.
Why is individual liberty to be protected? Is it because liberty maximizes utility Millor is it because such liberties belong to individuals by natural right Lockeor because such protection is demanded by the moral requirement to treat people as ends in themselves Kant?
And how is the sphere of individual liberty to be delimited? By appeal to natural right, the operation of the categorical imperative or Mill's one simple, if somewhat mundane principle of preventing harm to others?
Even if one of these answers were fixed upon, there is the possibility of further disagreement about just what things are rights and harms.
Are there welfare rights?
Should the state prevent moral harm to others? All these are issues of the greatest importance in the philosophical examination of liberalism. But they are issues which in the main it is possible to avoid, if what concerns us is the relationship of liberalism, in whatever way we understand it, to other political conceptions.
And though I shall have to return to the question, for the moment I shall assume that whatever its basis, liberalism must offer us reasons to prefer a state which makes its principal role the promotion and protection of individual liberty, however these are to be specified.
Consequently, any liberal will approve a political constitution whose provisions reflect this concern, and this I shall call a 'liberal constitution'. The question then becomes: Is there any reason to think that a liberal constitution must be democratic?
Democracy versus Aristocracy Imagine a country with a liberal constitution but an unelected government, a meritocratic oligarchy along the lines of Plato's philosopher-kings perhaps. It is a country whose laws protect the rights and interests of the individual citizen in whatever way our particular brand of liberalism commends.
These laws are faithfully observed by the government and applied by an independent judiciary. Constitutional arrangements of one sort or another provide a peaceful check upon government power, thus ensuring that groups and individual citizens are effectively protected from excesses on the part of the executive.
Moreover, with freedom of speech and assembly and by means of a free press, citizens are in fact often able to influence government decisions, though the oligarchs, let us add, take account of popular opinion only in so far as this is conducive to freedom, peace and prosperity.
There are, however, no formal arrangements for voting or power sharing.Liberalism compatiable with democracy To what extent is Liberalism compatible with democracy? Democracy played an important role in civilisation at the end of the 19th and early 20th century in terms of the liberation of the masses.
Free Essay: To what extent is feminism a single doctrine? Until the s, feminism was widely regarded as a sub-set of liberalism and socialism, rather than.
This essay is a great expose on western misgivings about Islam and the Middle East. over time, the same as any other religion. The original version of Islam certainly wasn’t compatible with democracy, but that version of Islam is not coming back.
That is why we asked, “To what extent does liberalism and democracy obtain in Islamic. Essay Sample on Are liberalism and democracy compatible? To a certain extent democracy creates a certain amount of equality through the voting process.
However this generates inequalities for those outside the political sphere, and in minority groups. It is my belief that liberalism and democracy are compatible, or we simply would not. Extracts from this document Introduction.
To what extent is liberalism compatible with democracy? Liberalism has an ambivalent relationship with democracy, as liberals are against collective power, but support political equality. Related Documents: to what extent is direct demoracy compatible with representative democracy Essay To What Extent Has the Use of Direct Democracy at the State Level Been Criticized?