Liberal Principles and Minority Rights

Topics: Affirmative action, Sociology, Minority group Pages: 6 (1975 words) Published: September 27, 2010
We live in a world with differences, biases and hindrances we tend to take into account to be able to cope up with the changes happening around us. These differences could be between races,religion, culture, language, etc. But within a country, these differences also exist. Most countries are composed of diversed culture that divides the society to the majority and the minorities that establishes cultural differences related problems. It is often heard that minorities are deprived from certain freedom and the majority avails most of the best previleges that could be given. Minorities are often judged by different steoreotypes and prejudices that establishes conflict between the groups.

The main point of Prof. Hans Ingvar Roth, head of the sweden research team of the University of Lund in his article “Liberal Principles and Minority rights,” minority groups particularly in a liberal democratic society should be able to deal with the existing problems confronting their existence and culture in relation to the liberal principles through group-targeted measures. These group-targeted measures will be further explained throughout the article critique.

The purpose of this paper is to give a brief summary of Roth's article Liberal Principles and Minority Rights, what are the liberal principles of a liberal democratic society how it affects the condition of the minorities and my point of view as a reader. It will also tackle the different features of a liberal society, the problems encountered by minorities and the possible solution to the problems. In other words, the life of the minorities in a liberal democratic society.

According to Roth, inequalities in modern western societies are faced by the minorities particularly ethnic, racial and religious which sometimes seen to result to discrimination. The minorities are confronted by social, political and cultural inequalities which were percieved to be the consequences as a memberof a liberal democratic society. Moreover, the majority enjoys the benefits and priveleges that were given by the society.

In relation to this, to know the reason why these inequalities occur, we must know the grass roots of this condition. Roth stated in his article his definition of a liberal democratic society. According to him, “a liberal democratic society is charcterized by the certain institutions or norms that are seen among many of its citizens as essential guidelines for the organization of society.” A liberal democratic society has its liberal principles namely, majoritarian democracy, free moblity, market economy, meritocracy and neutrality. The first principle is the majoritarian democracy or the rule of many . This concept of democracy implies disadvantages to the minorities because literally, it shows how minorities are outnumbered by the majority in terms of their cultural survival. As stated in the article, this idea of democracy have serious consequences for defenseless minorities.

Furthermore, another liberal principle which is a burden to minorities is free mobility where people get to move freely without any intent hindrances but it has its limit in reality. Roth expounded it as the ideal of open borders for refugees from non-european countries in contrast to the migration policies implemented on various countries for them to easily enter the European countries. Basically, the idea of this principle is the easy access of majority population into minority territories that could threaten the cultural survivability of the latter which is also dependent upon its geography.

Moreover, the market economy as a principle which assumes freedom of choice that is considered to be the prevailing model for arranging economic activities systems in liberal societies. Roth added that according to many of his critics, the market economy could lead the majority to cultural supremacy over the minorities where the former has more access to important resources that could affect the...
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