Liberalism Is Defined by a Desire to Minimise the Role of the State Essay

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Liberalism is defined by the desire to minimise the role of the state

Liberalism’s view over the years has evolved and so as a result different liberals have different views on the state and how “large” it should be. Over the years the trend has fir liberals to become more “state-friendly” moving from classical liberals who preached for fragmented government to modern liberals who were state friendly, however since the 1960’s/70’s Neo liberals have tried to reverse this trend.
Classical liberals such as John Locke, “the father of liberalism”, have argued that in order for the state to achieve and uphold its core principles such as individualism and liberty then the frontiers of the state should be rolled back and state power curbed,
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It goes both ways on whether the state should be minimised or not as there are risks that if the state was to be minimised rights could be infringed upon however if the state is not minimised then such core priciples such as individualism and liberty may be encroached upon.

Modern Liberals are completely different to classical liberals in the sense that they believed in positive freedom, and the more the state did they could ‘enable and empower’ the individual to do more and it is through the empowering of the individual that individuality can be achieved as the state will be able to maximise the individual and make them achieve their full potential making them more free than if they weren’t able to do everything they could due to the state being rolled back. New liberals argue that the biggest threat to freedom isn’t the state and that social and economic reasons are why people aren’t able to do all that they want to and so as believers in positive freedom the state would have failed. Whereas classical liberals just wanted equality before the law and as a result a large state wasnt needed, modern liberals would argue that ‘extended equality’ was needed before