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Evaluate the different interpretations of the role of the state

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Evaluate the different interpretations of the role of the state There are many different views about what the role of the state is and should be. All mainstream parties have concluded that there is some need for welfare provisions in a modern day liberal democracy. However with historical variations to each ideology it is sometime difficult to group an ideology as one. Also many variations agree with other ideological variations. The role of the state is a controversial issue with many differing ideas. Traditional conservatism stresses the importance of a strong state in order to maintain and uphold society. Authority and tradition are embedded in the state and act as the state to hold it together. Although Burke is a strong advocator of this view it is clear that from such a role the state could become a totalitarian state, especially with Conservatives believing that being born into society simply means you must follow its rule. A criticism of this view would be found in classical liberal ideology, with theorists such as Locke and Hobbs that would argue that by having a strong state individual freedoms were being eroded away. ...read more.


Green and Hohouse call for a need for a welfare state to free those who are exploited through industrialisation. It answers the criticism of Classical liberalism, that doesn't provide any safe guard against social inequality, by providing a welfare state. It also avoids the possibility of unrest and revolution from the lower orders. Anarchists would argue that no state is required and put trust in the good nature of humans in running a society. I agree to some extent with Paine (classical liberal) that the state is a 'necessary evil' but I see the state as more of a safety net, there to protect when needed. Modern liberals believe that a welfare state answers the question of removing social inequalities, where as Marxists believe that removing the state initially is the answer. By radically redistributing wealth among society and eventually dissolving the state, it aims to eradicate an unfair class system, as it sees itself. However in order to achieve this stateless state, a strong state is required in order to implement it! ...read more.


In conclusion there is a clear consensus that a welfare state has its merits in a liberal democracy. It is the modern liberal approach, that both one-nation conservatism and social democrats have been influenced by, that protects its citizens whilst still allowing them individual freedoms. Although there is a clear argument that by imposing a welfare state individual freedoms are eroded but this is a small price to pay in order to protect against rebellion and unrest. But as Hobhouse and Green would highlight, a welfare state s needed to protect the individual freedoms that are eroded away through free capitalist societies. Although social democrats have a strength to their argument for a full remake of the economy and the framework of society I believe this goes too far. To remove the class system, would be to remove tradition and that is not necessary in order to protect individual freedoms, it could even go some way to eroding them further. A welfare state that doesn't seek to become a 'nanny' state such as one-nation conservatism, but one that puts protection of individual freedoms at the forefront of its ideas would be a desirable way to run a state. ...read more.

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