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Analyse the main differences between Liberal and Marxist ideology

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Analyse the main differences between Liberal and Marxist ideology Ideology can be defined as a set of beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideas that characterises the consciousness of a class at a given historical moment. This set is determined by social, economic, and historical factors. According to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, any ideological superstructure derives from a material infrastructure or economic base. The term liberalism refers to the distinct set of political ideas encompassed within it. Liberalism as an ideology may not have been around until the early 1800's, but the essence of it had been developing since the collapse of the feudal system, mainly in Europe, and it being replaced by a market or capitalist society. The term individual freedom is what liberals sometimes refer to as the "natural right", a fundamental necessity for having a true life. Individuals should be free to decide where and how they live, creating an environment where they can reach their true potential. However, this is not limitless, as liberals believe there should not be complete freedom, as it can become "licence". This basically means that individuals do not have the right to abuse others - anything that would lessen another individuals personal freedom. ...read more.


Both parties enter into the contract voluntarily and for their own benefit, so the contract should be adhered to and if necessary legally enforced. A liberal society is a pluralistic society, consisting of a multitude of different groups holding a wide range of opinions and beliefs that are tolerated. This aspect can only be removed by repression or a spread of conformism. It's a willingness to allow people to think speak and act in ways we disapprove. Liberals accept or even celebrate cultural and political diversity. For example, F. Voltaire summarised toleration thusly, "I detest what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it". Therefore liberals are against anyone or thing that prevents an individual expressing their views within society e.g. censorship. This is summed up by J.S. Mill, "society had no more right to overturn the opinion of a single individul than that single individual had to overturn the opinions of the rest of society". Toleration guarantees democratic society as civil liberties are guaranteed. However, there are limits to toleration, such as to views that are themselves, intolerant. For example racist or sexist opinions. The liberal state does not develop naturally. It is based on the fear that certain individuals may exploit others individuality for their own benefit. ...read more.


Marxists see history as the history of class struggles among the classes in society. New progressive classes arise that are related to new forms of production and struggle with the old. New forms of society arise appropriate to the new forms of production when the new classes win power. This doctrine is called historical materialism. Marxists see the state as the means whereby the ruling class forcibly maintains its rule over the other classes. A Marxist state would exist fundamentally to ensure materials and goods are dispensed fairly and according to individual need. Liberals see that the state must exist to ensure the liberty of all individuals in its jurisdiction, which may include restraining certain individuals so that they do not encroach another's freedom. Marx's view on the individual was that each man is a creature made in the image of a sovereign God. Rather, man is an essentially social being, with no individual human nature. His whole life is bound up with his social relations. Marxism has an ethical imperative for men to act in ways that correspond with the direction of history. Liberalism sees the individual as a social being, a product of his relationships and social class. However, the ethical imperative for the Liberal individual is to be free, and have no restrictions on attempting to achieve their full potential, except those that serve to maintain the individual freedom of others. John Dunster ...read more.

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