BENTHAM developed the notion of democracy as a form protection for the individual into a case for universal suffrage. Utilitarian’s have argued that individuals will vote so as to advance or defend their interest. Bentham believed that universal suffrage is the only way of promoting the greatest happiness for the greatest number. However, liberals also have an ambivalent view of democracy. Liberalism places great stress on the protection of individual’s rights while democracy emphasise on collective control.
Although we are currently in a coalition the government still has a majority through the combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. This therefore often renders opposition as a form of scrutiny meaningless and also means that it is difficult for the executive to be held to account. Party loyalty is also very strong. The power of prime ministerial patronage renders many MPs excessively docile and loyal, hence the term ‘lobby fodder’. With the rise in the professional politician many prefer to remain loyal in order to gain power and move up in the hierarchy as opposed to become a rebel who remains in the back benchers.
Be it resolved that John Locke’s Theory is stronger and better than that of Thomas Hobbes, on the basis of man’s ‘state of nature’; social contract and ‘the right of rebellion’. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were opposing philosophers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries during the time of enlightenment. Their viewpoints are important in explaining differences in the mind and the way people infer human behaviour in a natural state. Locke believed that all men are born with freedom, equality, and independence. All men have the right to be free and by forming a social contract, a nation can be brought together.
To what extent is Liberalism the dominant ideology in British politics? The term liberalism is generally associated with ideas such as liberty and equal rights. Associated with it are ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections and human rights. The UK government incorporates all the key aspects of liberalism in to their own organisation such as the fact that Britain comes from a constitution and the laws and rights of citizens are drawn from it. Liberalism was drawn from the age of enlightenment in which many religious restrictions were broken in order for meritocracy to strive which allowed individuals to strive on their own basis.
Ideals such as a focus on the individual, individual rights and equality, a social contract based on government by consent, free market, and minimum government intervention and maximum freedom. I will concentrate on the works of other prominent ‘liberals’ of the same period of classical liberalism, such as Locke and Mill as a comparison to Hobbes in an attempt to establish if Hobbes can be regarded as a liberal. Perhaps the most important and fundamental principle of liberalism is that it centres around the individual and their rights. Mill in ‘On Liberty’ states that the cultivation of individuality produces humans who are ‘noble and beautiful objects of contemplation’ (Hampsher-monk, 2000). He holds the value of individuals as the highest in human life and in the role of promoting a development of civilisation.
Every American citizen knows about their constitution and they are proud of it. The British may be proud of the queen and other aspects of our history, but we have no constitution to identify with. The third argument is the most important. This is the dangerous shift of power towards the prime minister and the government. It is happening because the powers of the prime minister are not well defined and mostly contained in unwritten conventions which are a mystery to most people.
Why Democracy? Preserving Human Right: Democracies attempted to preserve individual freedom and to promise equality of opportunity. The U.S. Declaration of Independence expressed the belief that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The declarations added that the people may change or abolish the government if it interferes with those rights. People once thought that the greatest obstacles to individual freedom and equality were political.
The democratic form of government is most familiar to the modern western citizen. However, there are many forms of communism and dictatorships which exist around the world today. The ancient philosopher Plato protests that a monarchist oligarchy, which calls upon an elite group for governance, is the best possible form of government. However, based on vagueness in terms and overgeneralizations Plato creates a flaw in his argument and weakens its validity. Through the elimination of social class systems and based on the separation between Government and economy it may be seen that the platonic ‘drone’ will not lead to tyranny.
It defined itself as striving to maximize individual liberty through a democratic system of rights under law. Under Classical Liberalism, societies were determined by the outcome of open competitive process, including economic competition, freedom of thought, and political declaration. This idea was first proposed by John Locke in 1690. An English philosopher who wrote
In this respect, the main goal of liberalism is to promote a laissez-faire society and their main goal is preservation of human rights and freedoms. Secondly, liberalism aimed at ensuring that there is democracy in the society whereby the power of the monarchs and the other political class is limited. To achieve their goals, liberals enlightened members of the society about their rights and freedoms and in countries like France, Germany, and Italy liberals organized for revolutions that removed those leaders who were dictators in these countries. In addition to this, liberals championed for the rights of the minority in the society. A good example of a liberal government is the federal government of the United States of America (Jayapalan, 2009).