Kajsa Hallberg Adu
The Ideology of Liberalism
Liberalism as a term can perhaps be tracked back as far as to early agricultural societies, when people started living in settled communities and were forced, for the first time, to find ways of trading and living with strangers. Nevertheless, liberalism as a developed ideology was a product of the breakdown of feudalism in Europe , and the growth in its place, of a market or a market or a capitalist society. In many respects, liberalism reflected the aspirations of the rising middle classes, whose interests conflicted with the established power of absolute monarchs and the landed aristocracy. The English Revolution of the seventeenth century and the American Revolution of 1776 and French Revolution of 1789each embodied elements that were distinctively liberal , even though the word ‘liberal’ was not at the time used in a political sense. Liberals challenged the absolute power of the monarchy , supposedly based on the doctrine of the ‘divine right ‘ of kings’. Liberalism has undoubtedly been the most powerful ideological force shaping the western political tradition. The radical , even revolutionary edge of liberalism faded with liberal success. Liberalism thus became increasingly conservative , standing less for change and reform, and more for the maintenance of existing – largely liberal –institutions. Whereas , early or classical liberalism had been defined by the desire to minimize government interference in the lives of its citizens, modern liberalism came to be associated with welfare provision and economic management . Liberalism is , in a sense , the ideology of the industrialized west. So deeply have liberal ideas permeated political , economic and cultural life that their influence can become hard to discern , liberalism appearing to be indistinguishable from ‘western civilization’ in general . the moral and ideological stance of liberalism is embodied in a...