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"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" why do liberals believe this and what are its implications.

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Introduction

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" why do liberals believe this and what are its implications. The above statement was written by a liberal called Lord Acton, he is what is commonly called a classical liberal. Classical liberalism was pre-Twentieth century liberalism, before it was revised because of the progress in industrialisation. However, the consistent central theme of liberalism in both forms (classical and modern) is individualism. Classical liberals see humans as being selfish and egoistical beings, as opposed to the modern liberal thought that humans are altruistic. Therefore modern liberals have a much more optimistic view of human beings compared to that of classical liberals. As I have stated above Lord Acton as a classical liberal believed humans to be egoistical, and as such thought that if beings got in to a position of power and authority then the government would be tyrannical. ...read more.

Middle

Also, JS Mill thought political wisdom was unequally distributed and mainly related to education, and that the uneducated masses may act according to narrow class interest rather than for the good of others. However, modern liberals see democracy as a virtue this is because protective democracy checks the power of the government and advanced individual interests. Active participation of the population in a democracy advances the education of citizens and allows them to fulfil their potential. Moreover, they believe that democracy creates a consensus and maintains equilibrium within complex and fluid modern societies. Liberals believe in liberal-democratic political systems, there are two elements evident in these systems; the liberal part means the belief in limited government power, and the democratic part means that government should be sensitive to the needs of the people. ...read more.

Conclusion

Then this in turn would lead to tyrannical governments such as those of; Hussein, Mugabe and Stalin. The implications of liberals believing in this statement are that they believe that rational individuals should want to sign up to a social contract to establish a sovereign government. Individuals would want to do this because life before government was endless civil war, with life being; solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Life would be this way because individuals are selfish, greedy and power seeking. Therefore rational beings would enter into a social contract and sacrifice a portion of their liberty to set up a system of law; this would prevent the otherwise inevitable: property and lives being under constant threat. Seventeenth century writer John Locke said "Where there is no law there is no freedom." Thomas Taylor ...read more.

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