What is liberalism?

Liberalism

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Liberalism is an ideology committed to the individual and a society in which individuals can pursue and realize their interests. The

word “liberal” is derived from the same Latin word as liberty – liber, meaning “free.” The word was used before the 19th century to mean “generous or tolerant.” Presently, the word “liberal” refers to a political position or point of view.

 

What are the core liberal values?

We believe that human beings are essentially individuals endowed with reason and should be afforded the maximum possible freedom consistent with freedom for all. However, equality and equal opportunities should be accompanied with responsibility and hard work. These principles are articulated in the core values of liberalism that include the following:

• Individualism – the belief in the importance of the individual over any social group or collective body

• Rationalism – the belief that the world has a rational structure, and that this can be disclosed through the exercise of human

reason and critical inquiry

• Freedom – the ability to think or act as one wishes in accordance with self-determination

• Responsibility – being responsible for oneself and one’s own economic and social circumstance

• Justice - morally justifiable distribution of rewards and punishment

• Tolerance - forbearance, a willingness to accept views or actions that one disagrees or of which one disapproves.

Source: Liberalism – a primer BY JULIO C. TEEHANKEE, Ph.D. 2005