Liberalism is defined by the desire to minimise the role of the state?
Liberalism as an ideology revolves around the idea of freedom for the individual. When it comes to the role of the state they are split down the middle. Classic liberals believe that state intervention should be as little as possible, while the modern liberals believe that state intervention is necessary as it can create equal opportunity for each and every individual. When assessing as to what extent liberals desire to minimise the role of the state it is important that we look at the opinion of both classic and modern liberals. Classic liberalism can clearly be defined by the desire to minimise the role of the state, this is also known as negative freedom. Whereas modern liberalism believes the state is necessary to develop individuals and create equal opportunity, this is known as positive freedom.
One of the key arguments as to why many believe that liberalism minimises the role of the state is that liberals believe humans are self seeking and capable of personal development (progress). This means that liberals are against any form of paternalism whereby the state helps to look after people and feel that society as a whole can progress and learn from the errors of previous generation and for that reason state intervention is not required. They also believe that individuals have the intellectual capacity to work out the best course of action, to the extent that human are rational; free to pursue their interests. This liberal view was supported by Js Mill (theorist) who believed little state intervention is the basis of moral self development. Thomas Jefferson was also fond of the idea as he thought this would give humans ‘The right to life, and pursuit of happiness’. On the other hand it can also be argued that this is not the viewpoint of all the liberals. Overtime there has been a change in