The meaning of liberalism- meaning of liberalism- Meaning of liberalism in political Science -Meaning of liberalism in political Science-Liberalism theory-Characteristics of liberalism

The meaning of liberalism

Liberal ideology includes many different types of philosophical, political, social and economic theories, so it is impossible to present such a definition of liberalism in which all of them can be included. Liberalism is often considered the opposite of Conservatism. Conservatives are those people who want to uphold the already existing political, social, religious institutions, traditions and customs, fear reform and change and oppose them. In contrast, liberals look to future progress, have no attachment to the past, so they welcome change and are often not even afraid of revolution. In fact, this approach is not correct in relation to liberalism. 17th. The liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries were really opposed to all the earlier institutions, laws and traditions that protected the privileges of kings, feudal lords and church officials and hindered the freedom of the rising bourgeoisie, so they called the revolutionaries of that era. welcomed and encouraged the changes. But today, when the people of socialist and communist ideas are trying to bring socialism by abolishing the privileges of the capitalist class, then the liberals themselves have become staunchly conservative and have started opposing change. Therefore, it would be wrong to consider liberalism as synonymous with change and progress. Clearly liberalism has been concerned with the interests of the bourgeoisie and still is today. He supports progress to protect the interests of that class and also becomes an enemy of change when necessary. In other words, what was liberalism yesterday has become liberalism today.

Sometimes liberalism is taken as synonymous with individualism, but this approach is also not entirely correct. Individualism is an integral part of liberalism but both are not the same thing. George Sabine has written that till the end of the third phase of the 19th century there was not much difference between individualism and liberalism, the principle of non-interference in the life of the individual was the name of liberalism, but later the situation changed and liberalism also had enough Amendment done. Liberals began to lay emphasis on the welfare of the society as a whole and supported emotional freedom in place of prohibitive freedom, which meant that proper facilities should be arranged for the welfare and development of all the members of the society.

Often democracy is given the name of liberalism, this approach is also correct in a limited sense. In a democracy, the government is formed and controlled by the majority. It may also happen that even a fully democratic government does not accept the principles and claims of the individualists. Majority people can violate the rights of individuals and minority groups. But the principle of liberalism is that even the majority cannot have the right to suppress the basic rights of the individual and the minorities.

Types of liberalism

Principles of liberalism

(1) Faith in human conscience – Faith in human intelligence and conscience was the most important element of liberalism. Faith and belief were given more importance in Christianity. The Dharmashastras were considered the final evidence in all subjects. People believed that Christian theology is the source of divine knowledge, so whatever is written in them should be accepted with reverence. But ordinary people were not even free to interpret the scriptures according to their intellect. Church officials, especially the Pope, who interpreted the scriptures, were considered proof. In this way, Christianity had kept man’s intellect in a rigid bond, but the Renaissance broke this bond and taught that to understand the world and its problems, man should use his intelligence and discretion. The leading liberal philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, instead of blindly following the scriptures, started thinking with the help of intelligence. John Locke taught that man can get knowledge of the world only through the senses. It meant that man should observe and examine the world and draw conclusions. A thinker named Tomas Paine even declared as a challenge that I do not believe in the principles of any church like Jews, Christians, Turkey, etc. “My own mind is the church.” This approach gave great impetus to independent thinking and paved the way for the progress of science. The thinkers of this era believed that on the strength of intelligence man can do anything. They were unwilling to accept any idea or doctrine which was not rational, however old and sacred, nor were they ready to accept those institutions, laws and traditions whose usefulness could not be proved by reason. Would have been In short, rationalism was the lifeblood of liberalism.

The meaning of liberalism

(2) Hatred of history and traditions – The ancient political, social, economic and religious institutions of Europe were against the interests of the rising bourgeoisie and since the liberals essentially represented the interests of the capitalists, they vehemently opposed the archaic system. He had no love for history and traditions. He wanted to completely abolish the old system and renovate the society according to the wisdom and on the basis of new ideals. This is what the French revolutionaries did. He usually uprooted the roots of traditional life in one stroke and started the work of construction anew in every area. The utilitarian liberals of England refuted every already existing system and tradition in the name of utility. Due to his influence, in the 19th century, revolutionary changes took place in every sphere of life in England. The outlook of the liberals of the twentieth century has changed. Now they have become supporters of the existing political and economic system and have started opposing the new type of revolutions.

The meaning of liberalism

(3) Belief in human progress – In the Middle Ages, Christianity had taught the Europeans that the human race was going towards a gradual decline. The golden age of man was once in the past. When he was happy, prosperous and sinless, but now there is a continuous decline. On the contrary, the view of liberals was optimistic, they understood that by destroying the water rotten system on the strength of intellect, a happy, prosperous and fulfilling life can be created. The Industrial Revolution that took place in the early 18th century gave further emphasis to this approach.

The meaning of liberalism

(4) The notion of a master-free man – In medieval Europe, the individual was bound in many kinds of bondages. He was not free in any sphere of life. In religious life he was subordinate to the Church and in economic and social life he was under the control of his lord, the feudal lord or his rank. The position that a person had in the society, he used to get it from birth and he had to stay in that position throughout his life. He could not change it with his efforts or achievements. A new type of person was conceived in liberal thought. Liberals believed that man is free from nature and complete in himself. He has no master, he is his own master. The personality of every human being has an absolute moral significance. The responsibility of his physical and spiritual welfare rests with himself, no one else can do his welfare.

Another important idea associated with the notion of the moral value of man’s personality was that infinite powers of creation are hidden in the individual. By his will and power he can create things himself for his own pleasure and development. In all fields of science and philosophy, art and literature, politics and economic life, the individual’s initiative is of paramount importance.

The meaning of liberalism

Two important conclusions emerged from these assumptions—all men are equal, and no man has the right to impose his will on others. Man’s conscience or conscience is his master.

(5) Mechanical nature of society and state – According to liberals, both society and state are artificial and their nature is mechanical. Individuals have deliberately created them for their convenience. They can also amend and modify them as and when required. The basis of human social relations is contract, not status.

There is no elemental quality in society or state. They do not have any personality which is separate and superior from the personality of the individuals. The life of individuals is the life of the society and the state, their welfare is the welfare of the society and the state. The general welfare or collective welfare does not mean that the society or the state has its own separate welfare. General welfare means such welfare in which everyone participates.

According to liberals, a person is complete in himself in every respect. There is basically no debt of society and state on it.The meaning of liberalism

(6) Individual end, society and state means – From the aforesaid theory of liberals, it is logically concluded that the individual is the end. The most important thing is his moral and spiritual well being and the development of his creative powers. It cannot in any way be made a means of anything else. There can be no community, no system, no law or tradition in the name of which a person can be sacrificed. Human beings have tender feelings – mental, physical and spiritual powers. The purpose of life is to meet them all. State, society and other institutions, laws and traditions are all means, their purpose is to contribute to the development of the individual. They are not ends themselves, they have no importance in themselves, so if they do not fulfill their purpose as a means, then the justification of their existence ends. In this case they can be replaced or destroyed.

The point to be remembered here is that in the beginning the liberal philosophers considered the spiritual and spiritual development of man as the ultimate end. The names of John Stuart Mill and Sridi H. Green are more notable in this. Green said that human beings have an innate moral consciousness. Its ultimate development is the aim of life. Society and the state are there to aid in that process of development. The liberals of the present age also give more importance to the moral personality of man.

(7) Theory of natural rights of the individual- Liberals have believed that there are some birthright and inalienable rights of the individual. He has often termed these rights as natural rights. John Locke was the biggest proponent of the theory of natural rights. He said that life, property and liberty are the main natural rights of the individual. These rights have not been created by any human organization. Society or the state is not the creator of rights, but society and state have originated from rights and they are there to protect these rights. This theory of Locke had a wide impact. The leaders of the American freedom struggle and the leaders of the Great Revolution of France were deeply inspired by this theory. This theory remained in effect till the nineteenth century. Herbert Spencer was a great supporter of this. The utilitarian liberals like Bentham were certainly opposed to this theory. The liberals of the present era have also often abandoned this theory.

(8) Ideal of Freedom – According to liberals, the most important right of the individual is freedom. Man is born independently of nature. Freedom is his natural and birthright. Freedom means that a person is not controlled by any authority which can act arbitrarily. Man should be free to behave according to his conscience, should be free to behave according to those natural laws which his right mind finds. Liberals supported freedom in all spheres political, economic, social, religious.

The meaning of liberalism

L. T. Hobhouse has divided freedom into nine types-

  • 1.) Civil liberties
  • 2.) Financial Freedom
  • 3.) Personal Freedom
  • 5.) Economic Freedom
  • 6.) Family Freedom
  • 7.) Racial and National Freedom
  • 8.) International Freedom
  • 9.) Political Freedom

The meaning of liberalism

(9) Ideal of Equality – In liberal thought, along with freedom, the ideal of equality is also integrally involved. In fact, when the liberty of every individual is upheld, equality is automatically supported. The freedom advocated by the liberals is for all. There are two main grounds for equality of liberals-

1.) All persons are born with equal natural rights.

2.) Conscience and moral consciousness are common to all persons. Liberals believe that all persons are not equal in physical, mental and spiritual qualities, but they say that all citizens should be considered equal in the eyes of law and government and there should be no discrimination between them on the basis of race, language, religion, sex etc. should be done.

The meaning of liberalism

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The meaning of liberalism

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