Liberal Democrats Are Suspicious of State Power

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‘Liberal Democrats are suspicious of state power, yet support big government in the pursuit of economic management and social reform’ The liberal democrats were formed in 1988 from The Social Democrat party, set up by four ex labour members. Currently the liberal democrats have formed a coalition government with the Conservatives. Classical liberals traditionally believe in negative liberty when it comes to state power (The idea that the state should have as little intervention as possible, socially and economically to enhance the freedom and innovation of the individual, therefore not infringing basic, natural rights). Classical Liberals prefer to keep the state to a minimum however with enough framework to provide basic laws prohibiting other regarding actions and to regulate government power. These views where portrayed by many liberal philosophers such as Adam Smith, in regards to economic management; he believed that free trade and free markets where fundamental to successful economic growth, as individuals, consumers and business would create competition and feel confident within the economy. However more modern liberals believe in a form of positive liberty (More state intervention for progression by providing individuals with the tools to create a basic standard of living to develop their social and economic lives, with systems such as welfare) TH Green believed there was a need to embrace positive liberty as he stated that individual liberty was only achievable under favourable social and economic circumstances (Creating the welfare system). However today’s contemporary liberal democrats have a combined belief of both positive and negative liberty. There is potential to suggest that there is a contradiction within the lib dems with regards to their position on the state. Liberal philosophy clearly remains at the heart of the liberal democrat party.
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