Assess the Liberal View That the Role of the State Should Be Minimal

Topics: Liberalism, Liberty, Individualism Pages: 1 (289 words) Published: May 2, 2013
“Assess the liberal view that the role of the state should be minimal” (25 marks) The role of the state being minimal would mean that instead of controlling everything the populous does the state would instead only have rights to intervene in specific circumstances. The liberal view that the state should be neutral rejects other ideologies such as conservatism as well as expressing a positive outlook on the nature of humanity and our autonomous nature. The liberal view is an argument for the liberty of individuals, philosophers who are liberal and agree with this view would be people like Mill. Mill argued that the state should have as minimal role as possible and that their involvement should only be to prevent harm to people bar the harm caused by themselves to themselves. The harm principle is intended to set the appropriate boundary between the state and the individual, it also sets out a condition for when an individual can be forcibly controlled (when they will harm others it is right that they’re stopped), showing where the involvement of the state is necessary in a liberal view. An initial problem with Mill’s case is defining “harm”. It could be argued that the principle allows too much to be interpreted from the world harm. When Mill’s references harm is he talking about physical harm, psychological harm or another sort of harm. It could be suggested that the presence of a meat eater at a vegetarian meal may be considered to cause harm to the eyes of the vegetarian but is the meat eater actually thought to be harming the vegetarian or does it have to be physical harm for Mill to consider it something that would require state involvement.
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