Liberalism Essay Research Paper

Liberalism Essay, Research Paper

İ.?ağdaş Hatinoğlu

Adam AvRuskin

Communications 102

Article Response With Annotated Bibliography



Ronald Beiner, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto

investigates liberalism by considering the communitarian critics of it and different opinions of

liberalists. He describes the critics of liberalism of Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, Michael

Walzer, and Alasdair MacIntyre. These community defenders think that all experiences of

communtiy aren’t so morally desirable, but if people are looking at the world only in an

individualistic way, they find themselves on a narrow horizon of experiences. Beiner also

makes us understand the difference between left and right liberalists. Beiner is against the

opinon that the liberalism refers to a particular relation between the state and the individual

and he thinks that it’s a view of human life, which leaves people alone to do what they want

freely, and in that sense the one in which society doesn’t guide people to give meaning to

their life. He gives the painting example stating ‘the world without furniture’ as the main

point. I believe that Beiner’s understanding of liberalism is wrong and I will tell you what a

liberal is, what liberals want and what they expect from the government.

Liberal means ‘favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual

freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of

civil liberties’ (Kennedy, pars. 3-4). John F. Kennedy states that “liberal is not someone

against the government and who is uncorned with the taxpayer’s dollar. It means someone

who looks ahead not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,

someone who cares about the welfare of people” (pars. 1-2).

Liberals want to change things to increase personal freedom and tolerance, and

are willing to empower government to the extent necessary to achieve those ends. This is

against the idea of Beiner about what liberalism is. They want to help individuals to take

more control over their own lives. This requires environment where choices are not

arbitrarily removed. Also enough information should be offered so that choices can be

understood and made intelligently. Alan Brinkley states that “this also requires giving

people responsibility and encouraging self-reliance within a social framework” (par. 8).

Liberals see the role of government as providing a framework within which

individuals can develop their lives and contribute to society. Harold Meyerson states that

“regulation of private industry is needed to ensure integrity and safety, with respect to

customers and workers” (pars. 15-16). According to Beiner liberals don’t want any state

power, but it’s not that way. Left-liberalists are “realistic or sensible liberals who take

account of the failures and excesses of earlier liberalism” according to Walter Williams (pars.

1-2). Liberals want the equal opportunity should be a goal of government, they want health

care and education to be universally available. Liberals do not want government to protect

people from themselves, or interfere in individual interaction.

Liberalism is an optimistic philosophy. Beiner is right to think that we should not

limit ourselves in certain ways like only believing in liberalism or another ideology, but I

don’t agree with his understanding of liberalism. For me the true liberals are the sensible

ones, left-liberals and to generalize the liberalism in the way Beiner does is an injustice to true

liberals, because what they want is freedom with considerable state intervention.


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